Silent Hill 2 Monsters Analysis

The monsters in Silent Hill 2 have a very specific origin, namely James Sunderland’s subconscious. Thus, understanding the monsters is more about understanding James Sunderland than the monsters individually. The main thing to understand is that James murdered his wife, Mary, because he was angry with her for stealing his vision of what the future would be by becoming terminally ill. This memory became buried in his subconscious, which results in the various creatures of Silent Hill manifesting themselves from his subconscious guilt and desires associated with this event.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Abstract Daddy

Silent Hill 2 Abstract Daddy

Abstract Daddy is manifested from Angela’s experience with her father as she grew up, namely abusive experiences. Thus, it resembles a male figure leaning over a female one on a rectangle that represents a bed. This also represents oppressive masculinity and the manner in which James killed his wife, by smother her while she was on her death bed. Thus, it can be seen as having a double significance by representing James over his wife smothering her to death.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Bubble Head Nurse

Silent Hill 2 Bubble Head Nurse

The Bubble Head Nurse embodies a number of James feelings towards the death of his wife. Firstly, they represent his frustrated libido by having the nurses wear particularly short dresses and low necklines. Secondly, they represent his feelings of anger towards the hospital system and its perceived incompetence. As a result of this, the nurse is facing the wrong direction and is also literally a ‘bubble head’, a term used to describe someone who is whimsical and not particularly smart.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Creeper

Silent Hill 2 Creeper

Interestingly, the Creeper is a monster that appears in Silent Hill 1 but looks quite different in that game. Thus, it must be assumed that the Creeper of Silent Hill 2 is manifested from James Sunderland’s mind and not the cities. As the Creeper appears when James retrieves flashlight batteries and activates his light, it can be assumed that they represent what is really ‘bugging’ James being illuminated temporarily. Thus, when James runs away and leaves the room he is actually running from the truth that scares him.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Eddie

At first it is made out that Eddie and James are similar in that they have both lost loved ones, but in truth the connection between the two is that Eddie has experienced oppressive masculinity from his father and James is associated with oppressive masculinity for killing his wife.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Flesh Lips

Silent Hill 2 Flesh Lips

The Flesh Lips is another representation of Mary, this time the frame it floats around in represents a bed. It has a pair of lips at its base that is positioned between its two legs, which is a clear yonic symbolism. The reason the image is so distorted is because James refuses to see the truth clearly.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Lying Figure

Silent Hill 2 Lying Figure

The lying figure is a primarily feminine form and also the first monster James comes across in Silent Hill. It represents the anguish and suffering of his wife Mary during her final days, as well as his own during the period of the game. It appears to be bound in something resembling a straight jacket, which also serves as a symbol of how James cannot see the truth through his pain.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Mandarin

Silent Hill 2 Mandarin

The Mandarin is a feminine monster with two arms and a mouth-like appendage at the end of the arms, a form of yonic symbolism. This monster also has a masculine counter-part in Silent Hill 3, called the closer. It does not stand above ground for a number of reasons. Firstly, the female body is associated with caves and holes beneath ground. Secondly, anything beneath ground is generally associated with something hidden in the subconscious, thus they represent the suppressed memory of James having murdered Mary.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Mannequin

Silent Hill 2 Mannequin

The Mannequin represents James Sunderland’s innate urges towards women and feminine figures. They are attacked by Pyramid Head to remind James of his true, oppressive nature in regards to his wife. Thus, when they are being attacked by Pyramid Head they are actually representing Mary.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Mary (End Boss)

Silent Hill 2 Mary

Mary is the end boss of Silent Hill 2 as she represents the true issue that James came to Silent Hill to resolve. As a result, she rests on the frame of what would have been her deathbed. It is also of note that she is upside down, which represents the false perception that James’ had of her and her fate. In order to come to a psychological catharsis, James must kill the monstrous version of Mary in order to play out what he actually did.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Pyramid Head

Silent Hill 2 Pyramid Head

Pyramid Head is comprised of a number of different images, all of which represent the concept of oppressive masculinity and subsequently James Sunderland’s shadow archetype. The Shadow Archetype is the negative and repressed aspect of every human being, of which James’ shadow archetype is pyramid head. In order to represent James’ shadow, pyramid Head draws on a number of concepts and imagery.

The first concept that the visage of pyramid head draws upon is that of an executioner. Executioners are almost always male and are generally associated with laws designed by males, thus they represent oppressive masculinity. Pyramid Head behaves much like an executioner, serving to punish those around it including James. It also looks like an executioner with its helm much akin to what executioners would wear in the town square. To add further to this, the executioner visage of Pyramid Head represents how James executed his wife.

The second manner in which Pyramid Head represents oppressive masculinity and James’ shadow is by having a range of phallic imagery associated with it. Pyramid Head’s body itself is phallic, with the pyramid area coinciding with the glans of male anatomy. Also, Pyramid Head uses a large sword-like weapon called the ‘Great Knife’, with swords being a popular phallic symbol. He also wields spears, very clearly phallic weaponry. When James comes closer to integrating his shadow archetype, he begins to wield Pyramid Head’s sword. Those who have experienced oppressive masculinity ancd are vulnerable to it are also vulnerable to this weapon, for instance Eddie’s weakness is Pyramid Head’s blade.

Towards the end of Silent Hill 2 there are two Pyramid Heads. The reason for this is that each one of these represents a different murder. The one that has the rusted sphere in it represents the murder of Mary, subsequently the sphere in it is older. The one that has the red sphere in it represents the murder of Eddie, subsequently the sphere is ‘fresher’.

Silent Hill 2 Monsters: Unseen Prison Monster

The prison monster is actually symbolic, in a strange way, of Mary and how James Sunderland murdered her. Thus, if the player decides to shoot the helpless prison monster they are expressing James’ oppressive masculinity in the same manner that Pyramid Head would.

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