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1

Freitag, 29. September 2006, 02:28

ENGLISH: FFX-Interpretation by Jack1603 / Robert Vlcek

This is my English translation of the

FFX-Interpretation
by Jack1603 / Robert Vlcek
( robertwolfkid@freenet.de ).

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Hier bitte nur Englisch. Das selbe Thema gibt's auch nochmal in deutsch.
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Contents
1. The protagonist of Final Fantasy X ?
2. Dreams within dreamlessness
3. Dream or dreamer? The freedom of the mind?
4. The mirror world
5. Final Conclusion



The protagonist of Final Fantasy X ?

It is a difficult question to determine the actual protagonist of the story, since FFX starts with Tidus and ends with Yuna.
All characters group around that girl and everyone wants to protect her, yet Tidus apparently is in the focus of the narration.
While Tidus is claimed to be the possible protagonist and one journeys the adventure through his eyes, another thing becomes relevant: a change of the protagonist.

More than in any other Final Fantasy Tidus is the unknowing observer. He does not know about culture, religion, etc. since the world of spira is unfamiliar to him – as well as to the player. What seems awkward in the other games (explanations on Mako, as the characters around Cloud should possess this knowledge, since they are from this world), is magic trick of the narration here. Because the – supposed – protagonist does not know anything about Spira, step by step the world is explained to him and to the audience respectively players.
Thus especially for FFX it can be said: Tidus is the representation of the player.

But back to Yuna:
In the beginning we don’t know her at all, she is neither mentioned, nor she appears.
Only Tidus and Sir Auron, who is getting things into motion, are introduced with Tidus being in the focus of the narration first. But I stress that he only seems to be, since Tidus probably is only meant to be the one who starts a story that is primarily about Yuna.
At this point it is Auron’s role to link between the narrator (Tidus) to the protagonist (Yuna) and so to link between the worlds, so that he is called the "hero� by some.

Tidus seems to be the protagonist, yet he may only be the player’s access to the world of Spira, which leads to Yuna, although not played by oneself, she takes over the protagonist’s role in the story the moment she appears.

As mentioned above, at the same time Tidus is the figure thought whom things get moved and as well through Auron.
Tidus’ major role is the interaction between Yuna and the player.
Anticipating the second part, Yuna says "This is my story� – of course Tidus uses this phrase in the first part as well, but it does not really seem sound for the simple knowledge one gains later in the game that Tidus is only a dream figure.
Thus Tidus can rather be considered the narrator and the phrase "my story� could really refer to Yuna. (see below "Dream or dreamer?�)


Dreams within dreamlessness

I think, the story and the interpretation of the meaning of the dream (Zanarkand incl. its inhabitants) and the question about the key figures respectively main characters have to be linked.
Definitely the key figure is Tidus, who is needed for defeating Sin or rather having influence on Sin, since Sin is Jecht, Tidus’ father. Only a dream can defeat a dream – This is the idea, one has to find out for one self – as Square wants it that way.

Even if Sin is real, one should not forget that Jecht is only a dream as well, figured by the dreaming dead and who strikes Spira as Sin. A real nightmare, that keeps returning and takes the peoples’ lives in a very real way.
Now the killed dream as so called Fayth (spiritual energy) for themselves and create the world of Tidus, Tidus himself, his father and ultimately what kills themselves: Sin.
Practically the bond "once you die in a dream, you die in reality�, which rather turns into a "died by the nightmare� in this case.

In some way the living in Spira dream as well – a daydream, they don’t awake from, since they don’t see or should not see, how to defeat the nightmare, the fear (Sin). Instead they keep sacrificing a Summoner in a quite regular turn, so that they can have a rest for some years.
It is a withdrawal into a safe refuge – a dream, if you want – since as long as they are kept within their own dream (in other words delusion) they are "safe� in some way. But this safety is misleading, because of the fact that they blindly believe in dubious teachings by anyone and don’t take their life into their own hands, Sin just turns against them again.

Is believing the same as dreaming? Or is rather the dependent obeying to rules the true dream of a religion? Arises this assertion against organized religion and favours the free practice of believe? Believe is about the heart, not rules, not teachings.
In the movie Constantin with Keanu Reeves, the protagonist Constantin says to archangel Garbiel: "I do believe, for heaven’s sake.� – "No, no. You know, that is a difference.�
And as Constantin wants to buy heaven by condemning Satan’s minions into the underworld, the believers in Spira as well try to buy heaven by bringing a sacrifice. But they never do it with the heart, with conviction, but rather – and this is Wakka’s role – for the sake that it is written somewhere and religious leaders order it that way.

Like lemmings they follow their leaders, who only go for their own goals without asking for the least of a second, weather what they do is sensible or yet has to do with believe.
And especially the leaders of the Yevon-religion are dubious figures as they seize the machinas forbidden by their own teachings.
It’s the famous tale about "preaching water and drinking Champaign.�
Interestingly the enemies of the Yevon-religion, the Al Bhed (even though their methods make them appear quite dubious) are not unbelieving. It is Cid, Rikkus’s father, who tunes the song of the Fayth.
Thus, the Al Bhed practice a free believing, since they don’t stick to teachings, but simply believe.

Yuna’s role is mediating between the order and the free believe, since she is half human, half Al-Bhed. Thus on the one hand she stands for not blindly following any rules and calling it believe then, and on the other hand that there needs to be a certain extent of order, since otherwise everything turns into anarchy.

So that the inhabitants of Spira awake from their nightmare, respectively delusion, the first one to raise against this and doubting it (Auron) – although he died for it – has to find another dream, a good dream, who A) defeats the nightmare and B) as well has Yuna arouse and prevent her from giving her life for a lie.

In the end Tidus is Yuna’s dream (quite in terms of partner/husband), a good dream – even though figured by the Fayth. However, since in most cases there is an pantheistic philosophy in FF, the living and the "dead� are linked.
This dream, from whose perspective FFX is told, is meant to free Yuna from the nightmare and open her eyes.

Ultimately it is a philosophic paraphrase of the relationship between father and son. As one embodies the fear of authorities and the other one the fight against these. Tidus is the rebel, who fears the dogmatic rules and yet fights them:
His stubbornness, disobedience and hatred against Jecht are simply conversions of the actual topic into a relationship – the dreamer (Yuna) hates the nightmare (Sin/Jecht) through the good dream (Tidus) within her.
And so the conflicting nature between blind obedience to the Yevon-religion and believe for itself reflects once more.

One can say that, like Yuna says in the end, the people free themselves from their immaturity caused by themselves.
Yuna was helped by her good dream, who defeated the nightmare. Then, when he is needed no more, he disappears… and stays as a memory of hope against the fear in Yuna’s mind.


Dream or dreamer? The freedom of the mind?

Plato’s allegory of the cave about those, who do not see and only become seeing by a chosen one or – for taking a contemporary reference – Morpheus’ words to Neo "Until now you have lived in a dream world� (The Matrix) are matching allegories to Final Fantasy X as well.
Where does one live actually? In reality or in a dream. Is one dreamer or dream?

Finally, Tidus acknowledging that he is a dream, equals one of the oldest questions of mankind itself: About the own existence. Is one dream or dreamer…
A question, already used in many other cases, that had the respective protagonist look at the reflection of his other ego, a ego that creates him by thinking, by dreaming, yet arising the question, who of the two would be "real�.

In Deep Space Nine, Episode "Far beyond the stars�, the protagonist, the commander of the space station DS9, Benjamin Sisko, dreams he would be a science-fiction author by the name of Benny Russel in the New York of the 1950ies. There he creates a story about a black commander of a space station. And his fantasy seemingly overlaps with his reality more and more, until he is sent to a mental asylum, as he fights against racism and wrong believe of the others, since these figures are real for him. At the end, one changes back to Ben Sisko, who – awoken again – stands in front of a window of his accommodation – but it does not reflect him, but his alter ego, Benny Russel. Thus the window is the reflection of the own ego and at the same time the gate to another world.
And the question remains: Did I just dream all of that? Or am I the dream myself?

In the end
Tidus is as real, as he only is a dream at the same time, so that the question about god arises: Is one more than the product of another one’s mind? Does god figure us? And is the so called reality not more than a very complex stage, a theatre play?

Many may dislike this thought, since it affects one’s freedom of choice and one wants to know life in one’s own hands, just like Tidus does.
But, as the story goes, Tidus has to face this thought and thus, weather destiny is in his hands or not. It is exactly Tidus, who as fiercely attacks the dependency the dream is based on – in turns of his conviction that there has to be another way, that is not determined and automatically demands a victim… or almost no victim? I leave it open, since the last scene where we see Tidus is the reunion with his father, although he has set his existence on stake respectively has sacrificed it, so that Yuna can live. At the same time exactly this scene (where Tidus and Jecht clap hands) remains a big question; because what is this scene for, if one could not read out of it, that Tidus has not disappeared or in any form still exists?

He is as volatile as a dream is, but one can imagine a daydream, as Yuna hints in her speech, and thus the dream never really ends. And along the hope, that is embodied by this.
It is a fight for freedom, not for a person, not for the world, but for the freedom of the mind.
Sin’s attack on Zanarkand can be interpreted along this way very good – the nightmare, who attacks the dream of the Fayth…
But in the end one has to realize that despite all the freedom one wishes to have, one is not really free. Since Tidus’ urge on free decision ends with him acknowledging he finally has to give up his freedom; his existence is linked to the Fayth dreaming. When they stop, he disappears.

Because in life one is always dependent from others, in any way, just when walking into a shop: We depend on someone having brought the wares to the shop before.
When we turn on the light: We depend on the electricity created by other people.
Weather we consider that we have to deal with other people we love, we hate, or we don’t care about, in our small and big decisions within the social net of mankind everything depends on another.
In some way every human is his own god and even if he was created by someone dreaming him, just like we create own worlds in our mind, things always depend on each other in some way and freedom is just a dream.
An illusion, a mood of perception? Or finally – and thus not in vain – for reflecting about ourselves. At the end there always remains the question without answer: Why?

Freedom is something, one always pursues, but never can reach; ultimately it is a symbol for the eternal search for god and the question for the own existence, not more, not less.


The mirror world

Once agreed on Yuna seeming to be the protagonist of FFX, one might consider:
If one looks at the huge affairs, the collapse of Zanarkand, the self-castigation of the inhabitants of Spira, the hatred of Yevon, and so on as reflections for understanding the inside of Yuna, a lot of things become clear:
We do not get to know a lot about Yuna, meaning, we only get to know, what she does from an outer perspective: That her father once committed a sacrifice and she strives for this as well, however it does not really become clear, why this is the case and how she really thinks about this deed. One does not really get to know anything about her mother, apart that she is related to Rikku. Only in fragments and hesitation we get to know more about her. Why? Because things are not told from her perspective.

Let us have a look at Tidus, the superficial rebel – if he is honest, Tidus always has obeyed to his father, he would have liked to be a rebel, yet he lacked the courage.
Taking his path, he finally took the same, his father once took (it is not mentioned how and why Jecht came to Spira). Ultimately he succumbs to his father.

But back to Yuna. In to opposite to Tidus her rebelliousness slumbers beneath the surface, where she appears to be obsequious, yet obedient.

Considering this, the tendencies are switched – Tidus poses the rebel, yet is obedient, as Yuna appears obedient, but has started to rebel within her self already – both do not realize the respectively other tendency within themselves, but they only see themselves the way, they want to appear to others.

Thus on could quite possibly say, that Tidus admires his father – he tries to be like him, a Blitzball player, even become better than him. On the outside he acts as if he hated him, on the inside he loves him.
Yuna honours her father, but from a psychological point of view there could be a bitterness along with that – her mother was not here any more and her father, blind for his duties as a father in caring for his daughter, goes on a pilgrimage to die.

But let us not accuse both fathers: they were convinced in doing the best for their children. However, on the one hand they succumb to a mistake, on the other hand they do everything completely right.
Jecht should have been more caring, but thus forms the rebellious character of his son.
Braska did the same by leaving home, yet wants to give his daughter a peaceful childhood and safety by defeating Sin.

Both is diametrically opposed to each other.

Since I never focus on superficialities (the huge fight in Zanarkand, Sin, Spira), but am interested in the small things within the people, I regard the huge conflicts as tensions within the characters.
And of course the other way round it works the same, but I prefer deducing from the big to the small.
My interpretation as well is not about the liberation of mankind, but about the liberation of the individual.

Probably it is even meant to be this way – for getting to know something about the protagonist, one has to deduce the big context into the small.
I claim it to be essential for understanding the protagonist to deduce from conflicts like the war in Zanarkand, the Fayth, Sin to the small things within the psyche of the characters.
One central aspect is the father-child-conflict. Meaning the permanent rebelling of the children not wanting to be like their parents, yet becoming this way, either by trying not to, or by what they do despite.
And yet our future lies within us self and we have – despite of our genetically caused dependency – to determine it ourselves.

Thus even the topic of immortality arises, the immortality of our fathers and mothers, which lies within their children By us becoming like them in some way and yet being different, wanting and even having to be different, they become immortal in us and our descendents.

The religious leaders of Yevon strive after immortality by conserving what they are in an eternal existence.
Hereby they miss that there already is another form of immortality: it is in having children and handing them over a world worth living in.
Deduced from the big to the small this means:
The Tidus-Jecht-conflict is a Braska-Yuna-controversy.
From an psychological point of view I would say that Tidus and Jecht exist for screening Yuna and explaining her character.

Thus it is similar with the dreams of the Fayth: of course, and this is what I am saying all the time, the Fayth create Zanarkand and thus Tidus by dreaming, but I would like to consider this part of the story more as a synonym for Yuna, not simply the way it is told, but symbolically, since this is what FF always plays with.
Otherwise any kind of interpretation wouldn’t be possible at all, if everything was meant the way it is said.
What is told in the story is not more and not less than what happens within the characters.
Yuna (like Tidus as well) follows her father’s lead, Yuna superficially shows obedience, (Tidus plays the rebel), Yuna sends the dead into the fareplane, since they otherwise became demons (thus Yuna chases away inner demons), Yuna recognizes that she has to revolt against Yevon for gaining freedom (Tidus recognizes that he is not free), the Fayth dream a nice dream of the old Zanarkand (the inhabitants of Spira dream a nightmare of Sin) – it is the seemingly contradictions, that demonstrate this inner fight:

Thus Tidus becomes Yuna’s dream in an symbolical way, who – as her counterpart – reflects her psyche, just as Zanarkand reflects Spira.

The world of the dreamer (in this case the inhabitants of Spira) is linked to the world of the dream and is reflected by it as its counterpart. Whereas the world of the living is a mirror for the world of the dreaming Fayth.
And once again I am at my Star Trek example.
Both belong together:
Tidus is Yuna and Yuna is Tidus.
The dream of the dreamer and the dreamer of the dream.
Meaning: God has created the human as his image. Translation: the human is god and god is the human.

Thus even the song of the Fayth can be explained and why the praying gestures (one be reminded to the Blitzball-gestures) and songs are well known to the inhabitants of Spira. Actually it is not even kept covert that the Zanarkand of the Fayth is a mirror of Spira.

Of course this as well is there for telling a great story about an impossible love, the fight between believe and disbelieve, a monstrosity that ravages the world and everything else.

In FFX it is possibly meant to be like in all other parts of FF, to just have the big stories for telling the small ones and vice versa.

Let us have a look at the characters so far: if Cloud, Squall or Zidane, they all stand in the middle of a huge conflict, but in the end the story is about the person itself and the question, how he deals with it.
The wars, dangers, claims for world domination and rebellions behind that, in my opinion are only reflections of the
inside of the characters.

It is right to say, one should consider the story in the background as well, also in FFX, because without it there would be no story, but then again I have to contradict, because without the fight within the inside of the characters only soulless and unmotivated figures would stumble around – it is essential that hereby the goal of the great mission is woven to the fate of the single character, but to be honest the really moving thing is the inside of the characters of a great story.


Final Conclusion

And what about Auron? Some call him the "hero� of the story, who reaches his knowledge through a dream and disappears in the end – similar to FF The Spirits Within, where Gray dies as "hero� and disappears, leaving the protagonist Aki behind.
Tidus is the key figure and the narrator, yet seems to have characteristics of a protagonist throughout some passages. In my opinion, however, this only is a stylistic means, which was used in a genius way for not making it too easy for the player to find out, who really is in the centre of things.

Yuna may seem "useless� in the end, as she does not do the Final Summoning, but the point was exactly in saving HER und liberating her from her way of thinking.
So Tidus does not leave something for Yuna behind, but only has to make sure, that the real protagonist can live on and does not live a lie anymore, so that she gains her mental freedom, at least within the boarders for a human being.

Referring to the other characters, they influence the behaviour of the two central characters and support their way of acting and thinking. Thus they are required. Auron as well, whereas he takes a special position for linking the dream to the dreamer.

All in all it is – as intended – very open for interpretation, as we all know, so that the player is free to find his own way and his own answers.

Maybe it means as follows (at least this works for me):
Reach the freedom to acknowledge, that there is no freedom and that in life everything is linked to each other, on every action there follows a reaction, very action has a cause and a consequence. No good and evil, no black or white, a dream is a dreamer and the dreamer is the dream: when you acknowledge this, you have gained real freedom.


asato ma sad gamaya
tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
mrtyor mamrtam gamaya

From delusion lead me to the truth
From the darkness lead me to the light
From mortality lead me to immortality.

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