The Inferno and Greek mythos in C – Control

Once I start finding a show’s symbols and symbolism to be attractive, it often heightens my appreciation for the show and makes me passionate in my pursuit of understanding more about the series as well as interpreting the symbols in relation to the series. This was the case with Tatami Galaxy, and it is what’s currently happening to C – Control and me. I always loved series that were subtle with their symbolism, especially when they contribute to the milieu of the series and its further development.

I’ve tried to prove in the past that mysticism has an integral part in C especially in the Financial district. Although the reasons remain to be unclear, one is already more than a third into the series and I sincerely doubt all those symbols to be mere coincidences, as I’ve stated in my three previous posts.

Since this post is going to be sprawling, I think I should begin with the intricate link between the Qabalah and tarot mysticism, and work from there.

The Qabalah and the Tarot

The Qabalah is an important part of Judaistic philosophy that presents, through the Sephirot diagram, God’s relationship with his creations, or with the universe. Among the ten different emanations (marked with a circle), there are 22 relationships that not only correspond with the number of Jewish letters in its alphabet but also of the number of cards in the major arcana of tarot. Occultists did not take long to notice the parallels between tarot mysticism and the Qabalah, and developed that link with years of passionate study. While I honestly read five articles on the relationship between the Qabalah and the tarot, I cannot cover for a half millennia of intense study in just a few hours. I must also admit that I lack knowledge about both entities. What I did glean from the different articles I have read is that both the Qabalah and the Tarot observe and interpret the Tree of Life, or life itself: the two are not merely mystic and occult in nature; they also present life. I find it notable that these arcane symbols of life are solely seen in the Financial District. They do not appear in the real world, which seems contradictory, as the real world reflects more of life than the Financial District.

This, however, makes sense when the viewer discovered in the past episodes that the Financial District has such a hold in the real world that any major occurrence in the Financial District tornadoes into catastrophe in the real world, as explicated upon by Mikuni in the fourth episode. The real world shivers and quakes from the actions of the FD, but the converse is not true. The real world seems to be the puppet existence in this series.

Anyway, I also found it amusing that in my research, the Malkuth corresponds to a suit of pentacles in tarot. When the exchange of Msyu’s stock was being done between Kimimaro and Mikuni, guess what suit appeared: it was the suit of pentacles.

A Mix of Historical Mythology

Many people have noted that the Financial District presents an infernal image. I think they are correct, but to specify, I think the district channels Dante’s City of Dis. Wikipedia states that:

Dante emphasizes the character of the place as a city by describing its architectural features: towers, gates, walls, ramparts, bridges, and moats.

The viewer sees a desolate city with tons of towers, gates, and walls around. I don’t think it’s accidental. Furthermore, the natural inhabitants of the city, the assets, seem to look like the Furies that guard hell’s city. Not only does Q look like a Fury, so does Msyu.
Wikipedia describes Erinyes physically as:

The heads of the Erinyes were wreathed with serpents and their eyes dripped with blood.

Q nearly berserk

Compare this to the historical portrayal of the Erinyes.

It sure reminded me of Msyu and Q and of Ebara's asset.

I disagree, however, with the people who think Masakaki as the Devil himself, with the sole reason that he seems too disjoint from the action in the Financial District. He is more of an observer than an actor, even after a third of the series has already past. I think he was based more on the image of Pluto, who is not merely a god of the underworld, but is also heavily involved with wealth. I thought of this when I thought of the term ‘plutocrat,’ which was a person who domineered an aspect of society or government through his sheer wealth. I think this is closer than thinking of Masakaki as the devil.

Pluto, according to Wikipedia – one doesn’t really have to look very far, is:

Pluto (genitive Plutonis) is the Latinized form of the Greek Ploutōn. Pluto’s Roman equivalent is Dis Pater, whose name is most often taken to mean “Rich Father.” Pluto was also identified with the obscure Roman Orcus, like Hades the name of both a god of the underworld and the underworld as a place.

Most people are sidetracked by his abduction of Persephone and his being synonymous to death that they ignore this part of him. I think Masakaki as a pagan god is more apt than the obviously devious devil, and his actions reflect this.

Conclusion

To conclude, as these are all just speculations, I think an aberration occurred within the Financial District that connected it to the real world. As it is the realm of gods (or a god), the actions within this area have major repercussions in the real world, just as the actions of gods in Olympus affected how the world ran in Greek mythology. It’s obvious enough that the name of the circulating money in their world is Midas money – it doesn’t take much to connect it to another god known for his wealth, Pluto. I don’t think the infernal method of portrayal of the FD is a representation of hell; I think it presents an ‘underworld,’ and what more can remind us of an underworld than the City of Dis?

The symbols of life found in both the assets and the players and the mysticism behind them reflect the priority of the Financial District over the ‘real world,’ and it could be seen when one player became bankrupt: this was essentially where life was. Tarot and the Qabalah are known to observe not only one’s current life, but of one’s future lives. It also can be used to predict what will happen. It symbolically applies to the future collateral of the players in the FD.

I think Kimimaro was led into the FD by his father to correct this aberration (remember the mysterious notebook), and to free the real world from being affected by the actions within the FD. In contrast, Mikuni seeks to stabilize the FD to produce the same effect. There is something devious within the FD that I am as yet unfamiliar with that will propel Kimimaro to want to destroy the source of it all, as the ED suggests. Kimimaro will probably want to break the puppet strings between the FD and reality; Mikuni wants to maintain it with his guild and way of winning. I think this will be the source of friction between them from what I have researched, although all these are just guesses.

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6 Responses to “The Inferno and Greek mythos in C – Control”

  1. Sapphire Pyro Says:

    Q and Mashu being similar to the Furies is an interesting observation *_* But hhhmm… from what I remember, Furies are “wild”, “hotheaded”, or well, “furious” most of the time ^^; And those two aren’t really like that. Hmmm…

    I’m not sure about Masakaki being Pluto either. Though I don’t think he’s The Devil himself, how he lures Entres is like a Devil’s Temptation, and the “agreement” on the deals like the Devil’s Contract. The future collateral has been similar to the devil asking for your soul in exchange. Things not being right even if you got what you wanted is how evil grants wishes (popular theme for “be careful of what you wish for”), and how skrewed up your life’s gonna be in the end… the devil just gives you a “sorry loser” or “how pathetic, I don’t care” look, like what Masakaki did to Ebara.

    Oh this makes me tempted to write an article but… guuuh… I hate you limited free time!!! roar!!! >_<

  2. Michael Says:

    Sapphire:

    They could be transformed into the Eumenides, however, who serve a protective role as reflected in the Oresteia.

    I do see the parallels you’ve made with regard to Masakaki and I do recognize them, it’s just that he’s too aloof to be anything truly devilish. But perhaps that’s just me. Thanks a lot for the comment!

  3. Taka Says:

    The problem I see with this particular line of thought is that Dis was a city for punishing some of the most heinous crimes, or what we would consider the most heinous crimes (Dante has a interesting mind for sin). To me the idea that the assets are furies (the girls anyway) hinges on the idea that the level of hell is the 6th. When I think it’s far more likely to be the 4th Level where the avaricious were placed. To heighten the connection in the Inferno they the people who spend either too much or too little are pitted against each other in combat. I feel like this could mirror that moral tension that exists in the series. Though we haven’t seen too many outright greedy fellows. Also Pluto or Plutus is once again present. Perhaps the girls were furies but we’ve changed the level of hell, or perhaps it’s something else entirely different.

  4. Michael Says:

    Taka,

    I see your point. Yours actually makes a lot of sense, too. Maybe it’s just an inconsistency with the mythos, but at least you agree with my thoughts about Pluto.

    It’s all speculation anyway, but I’ll keep on doing it anyhow. Thanks for the comment.

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