‘Squid Game’ builds tension through character development

Luka Turanjanin, Sectional Editor

Netflix’s “Squid Game” presents one specific guiding question throughout its nine episodes:

How far would you go to get what you want? 

The show’s creator and director Dong-Hyuk Hwang highlights these behaviors and twisted series of events that encompass the characters and the continuous life-or-death situations that challenged them.

The many games that occur throughout the show have simple objectives, but with the consequence being that those who fail them face death itself. With prize money that gets larger for each death of the 456 total players, This Stacks on top of the danger of the games and builds tension for viewers of the show.

There’s usually no added noises or any alteration to the sound throughout the show. The silence allows for more ambiance to the scenes and the collective atmosphere and allows for greater focus on the characters behavior and having their emotions capture the moments themselves. 

Everyone involved in the games and themselves have personal issues and flaws in their character and demonstrate how it wears them down. Our main character is Gi-Hun Seong; A divorcee who is both on a downward spiral in poverty and debt himself. Although he doesn’t have much of his personality expressed in the games, viewers can still come to understand his character in the struggle that weighs down on him both from his personal life and the risks he takes partaking in the games.

The other various secondary and side characters and their behaviors are strongly representative of their flaws and the consequences they come from it. Just like Gi-Hun, everyone else has struggled greatly with something in the past, whether it be their financial situation or the genuine trauma they faced.

Their past mixed in with their actions throughout the game opens doors to other people’s points of view and how their decisions are consequential to them, both personally and in the games. Sometimes characters’ sins come back to haunt them in the end, and other times it helps to teach viewers how to understand other people’s points of view and what the characters themselves had to struggle with. As the show continues, viewers can start to see the shift and mentality for some of the characters overtime and just how far we go to achieve winning the prize money.

As the shows Director Dong-Hyuk Hwang intended, the shows themes are meant to be an example of the continuous fighting for survival under capitalist societies, and also as criticism of a growing class disparities in South Korea.

Progressively throughout the show we witness more of the lore developing and learn to an extent what purpose does the games themselves serve. The more we learn about what happens in the background of the game and who’s behind it’s concept, The more questions are left to be answered. The final episode does this very well by wrapping all these questions up with a surprising and unpredictable bow on top. It gives the show direction in its final moments to leave it open window for a second season.