What do the circle, triangle and square mean in ‘The Squid Game’

The Korean series is littered with symbols that viewers are eager to scrutinize. What if those figures say much more than meets the eye?

The Squid Game It has caused a real revolution, advancing by leaps and bounds to become the most watched series of the year – and who knows if of the decade. Everyone wants to analyze the symbols that house its nine episodes and social networks have been filled with memes and unknowns. One aspect that is very interesting has to do with its infinite army of circles, triangles and squares. Behind these forms there is an evident meaning and the possible explanation to the hierarchy that exists between the workers.

In Netflix fiction, non-participants are differentiated by the figure that appears in their masks. In this way we find three types of people:

  • Those who carry the circle: they are the workers in charge of the most daily tasks, such as cooking or cleaning the dead.
  • Those who carry the triangle: they are the soldiers, more focused on maintaining order.
  • Those who carry the square: the superiors.

While this aspect is clear, why have these symbols been chosen for each of them? Art and religion could have the answer.

What do the circle, triangle and square mean in ‘The Squid Game’?

The first explanation, and the easiest, is that in the Korean alphabet they match the word Ojingeo Geim (squid game), abreviatura de The Squid Game in Korean. The letter O is the circle (ㅇ), the J is the triangle (ㅈ) and the letter M is the square (ㅁ). They are also the shapes that make up the drawing of The Squid Game on the Ground, so everything is related to the great event of the experiment.

How to win ‘The Squid Game’? A video reveals the key for each of the games

But if we dig a little more and look for a symbolism we find curious ideas and the possible explanation of the hierarchy. As the user MacaroonOriginal reveals in Reddit, a piece of art by Sengai titled The universe it places the square, the triangle and the circle as “an image of the universe. The circle represents infinity and infinity is the basis of everything. Infinity itself has no form. We humans, endowed with meaning and intellect, demand tangible forms. From there comes the triangle, which is the beginning of all forms. And hence the square, which is a duplicated triangle. The duplication continues infinitely and gives rise to the multitude of things … the universe. “

In this explanation, the order of the figures is as follows: circle> triangle> square (which would be above the rest).


El universo, de Sengai

It is not the only time that these figures appear united in popular culture. The Christian movement called the Spiritual School of the Golden Rosicrucian – also known as Lectorium Rosicrucianum– use a symbol composed of, as you may have imagined, a circle, a triangle and a square. Its meaning is in accordance with Sengai’s work, since it represents the true identity of the human being, the universal consciousness. However, it does not clarify the hierarchy.


Symbol of the Rosicrucian Reader

And one more explanation in relation to the existence of the human being. As Yukitaka Yamamoto argues in the book Kami no Michi, the three figures symbolize the meaning and guidance of the destiny of human life. “The body must be triangular, the mind circular. The triangle represents the generation of energy and is the most stable physical posture. The circle symbolizes serenity and perfection, the source of unlimited techniques. The square is synonymous with solidity, the basis of control applied”. The hierarchy here would not fit, although we can think that the superiors are squares because they must be the most controlling, the soldiers are triangles because they are aware of the participants and the workers are circles because they are in charge of logistics. However, this is taken a bit by the hair.

In any case, it is clear that the circle, the triangle and the square are the basic forms of the human being, isn’t the series about the most primal instincts that we have as individuals and the values ​​by which we move? Finally, we could not ignore the most common comment on social networks. Many users comment, as a joke, connecting the triangle, circle and square with the PlayStation controller. It would only be necessary to add the X, which is what all the players press, symbolically, to enter to play in the experiment.

The Squid Game is available on Netflix.

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