Squid Games:

Society’s Secrets Revealed in Hit Series


Netflix debuted their Korean drama Squid Game on September 17, 2021. The series, directed and written by Dong-hyuk Hwang , conquered television screens around the world with it’s amazing plot, visuals, and characters. 

This show targets a mature audience. It is not recommended to anyone below the age of 15 because of the vulgar, violent, and mature scenes that it contains.

In Korea, wealth and success are two of the dominating factors in the social structure of the country. The plot of the show centers itself on the life and economic desperation of Seong Gi-hun, a middle aged divorced man, who lacks the economic stability to live on his own. In the first episode, he battles with his constant urge to take his mother’s credit card and go gambling. Unfortunately, luck does not take his side and he ends up losing a lot of money. On his way home he meets a no-named man in a business suit who invites him to play a game. If Gi-hun wins the game, he receives money, but if he doesn’t the salesman will slap him. After so many tries, he finally wins and the salesman gives him an envelope full of money. The salesman gives him a card and invites him into another game which he says will allow him to earn even more money. He contemplates participating in the game and eventually convinces himself to do it after hearing the news that his daughter, who is in custody of his ex-wife, is moving to the United States. This begins the horrendous and terrible fate many of the players will reach during the game, which ironically, is composed of children’s games with a sinister twist.  Unknowing of the future that awaits them, they eagerly begin their journey to quench their thirst for wealth, ignorant to the fact their life is the price for participating in these games. 

Squid Game calls out the inequality and tragedy that many South Koreans experience because of the poverty they face in their lives. Not only does this affect their manner of living, but it also creates a social rift between the different economic classes. The lower class is in a hole that grows deeper and deeper everyday because of the lack of sympathy and care towards them by those who do have the money to help. This show is not just a major call out for Koreans, but also to the rest of the world; it uncovers all those pressures that poor and rich people have to face day to day. 

The visuals of the show were simple, yet still eccentric. The small details on the sets allowed for it to become more appealing to the audience. The colorful and cheerful atmosphere of the sets rang ironic while the players died. The music and tracks played during the show became famous sounds on the popular app, Tik Tok which reflects how much people enjoyed them. One of the most famous tracks is based on the children’s game, Red Light, Green Light, which was one of the games the players had to endure. The costumes they had on the characters became an iconic representation of the show because of the individual numbers the players and workers had. The director included great cinematography and really caught the detail and facial expressions of the characters. 

Even though this show does not mean to be educational, it does address the specific values and mindsets that different people have. The morals, desires, and goals of poor and rich people are more alike than one may expect. Squid Game opens up about the darkness and maliciousness of today’s society and how it continues to grow.