Squid Game Star Jung Ho-Yeon Says The Show Is Really About Love

There's more to "Squid Game" than its anti-capitalist discourse, according to Jung Ho-yeon, who played Player 067 (who went on to become one of the three finalists in the game's 2021 edition). "Squid Game" quickly became a global phenomenon following its Netflix premiere last year, and one of the many reasons why it resonated with audiences is, of course, the show's solid social commentary and well-paced narrative. According to PopSugar, Jung opened up about her interest in the central story of "Squid Game," and how the show propelled her to think deeply about her own life.

Love, an age-old motivator

"Squid Game" is essentially a commentary on the broken economic system in Korea, wherein thousands of people are crushed under the mounting pressure of accumulative debts. This is simply one aspect in a vicious cycle of inequality and dearth of resources/opportunities, exacerbated by the mindset of internalized capitalism, often force-fed into our psyches since birth. There are those who suffer (on a socio-economic level), and there are those who capitalize on human suffering to simply further their own agendas. While "Squid Game" is a compelling take on these dire realities, Jung says the show is also, really, inherently about love.

Profit is a straight-cut motivator, sure, but it is actually love that compels Player 067, Sae-byeok, to return to the competition in order to provide for her brother. The prize money is a strong incentive, but if she had won, she would undoubtedly use it to ensure a safer future for her brother, and safe passage for her parents across the border. Jung explains how love is the chief motivator for the key actions that fuel her character:

"I realize the show is about the power of love. It's very cheesy to say it, but you know, as Hoyeon, I never led my life for other people. I only cared about my career and my wellness, and maybe some of my closest friends. I never had that kind of experience to live for somebody else as my whole life's purpose, like my brother or my family."

It is endearing to see Jung open up about how the role urged her towards self-introspection, making her want to support child charities as a result of researching for the role.

Another reason why Jung took on her role in the acclaimed Netflix show is because of the way the characters were written. Nobody in the world of "Squid Game" is morally black or white, as the grey areas have been painted with incredible realism and nuance. And for some characters — like Sae-byeok and Gi-hun — the key motivator, as clichéd as it sounds, has always been love.

"Squid Game" was created, written, and directed by Hwang Dong-hyuk. It also stars Lee Jung-jae (as Seong Gi-hun), Park Hae-soo (as Cho Sang-woo), O Yeong-su (as Oh Il-nam), Wi Ha-jun (Jun-ho), Heo Sung-tae (as Deok-su), Kim Joo-ryoung (as Han Mi-nyeo ) and Anupam Tripathi (as Ali).