Zelda and the Enlightenment (really)

So, I imagine most of you didn’t read my last blog on the enlightenment, because you thought it was going to be boring, or too cryptic. So, How about some enlightenment thinking with the videogame Zelda???
This is the brilliance of my mind. Zelda the videogame truly embodies many elements of enlightenment thought. First, take Link. Link’s whole mission is to rescue the princess Zelda from the evil Gannon. Enlightenment thinkers were concerned with the relationship between man and woman, with love. The whole separation of man and woman is the premise of the entire video game. Link must rescue Zelda.

Link also collects pieces of the triforce, where each piece is a triangle, of a larger TRIANGLULAR OBJECT. The triforce represents the combination of bridled passion, reason, and wisdom. The three corners of the triforce. It is what gives him power to fight his nemesis Ganon. Just as reason allows us to throw off the fetters of tradition and dogma. We think for ourselves. The triforce gives link power. Reason, wisdom, and emotion combined gives us all power.
In order to obtain the triforce and tools to overcome evil, Link descends from the normal world into different dungeons. There are no windows in dungeons by the way. Each dungeon is a representation of the darkness, with a final demon for Link to battle for the piece of the triforce, or the light. Link descends into darkness to find the light. This same dialectic exists in the enlightenment. Darkness and light were major symbols of ignorance and knowledge respectively. Link faces his ignorance, or represents facing religious dogmas of his time, and finds truth. Enlightenment is all about finding truth.
The videogame is also all about collecting “items”. Property was extremely important in enlightenment times, and Zelda emobodies this with Link’s quest to collect potions, bows and arrows, bombs, and the master sword.

The master sword, when link achieves it, represents his mastery over himself. Discipline and refinement are blatant representations of enlightenment thinking. Kant, Hume, Goethe, all discuss how we must think for ourselves and mature in our reasoning. This is all represented when Link transcends his youth and is strong and wise enough to posess the Master Sword.

Also, remember the map and compass so critical to each Zelda installment? Well, Enlighteners were very concerned with measurement and mapping. Magnetism was very popular even before the 18th century, but electricity became a huge interest during the Enlightenment. The map, however was smack dab in the middle of Enlightened times. People wanted to measure the earth from sea to shining sea, and sailors, cartographers and explorers took off in every direction to map and discover new dirt. Way to go Link!

None of us realized when we played the first Zelda on Nintendo so many years ago we were being inculcated with Enlightened doctrine. Ah well.

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2 thoughts on “Zelda and the Enlightenment (really)

  1. blake says:

    Sweet! Well done. Now, explain to me what Resident Evil 4 means.

  2. Magicman says:

    What are your facts? Personal relationships are a true source of happiness. Who said they weren’t? Sometimes however, people have to sacrifice social aspects of their life to accomplish great things. I’m thankful to those people because that’s why we have things like penicillin and atomic power. But if you don’t see how reason has shaped our very lives, then you don’t understand what the definition of reason means. “Reason” is why the restored gospel exists. “Reason” led the reformation and protestant revolution to create an atmosphere for Joseph Smith to start asking questions. “Reason” is why you have a field to study called sociology. “Reason” is why medical progress takes place. “reason” shapes pretty much everything we do now, and our lives are the product of people thinking freely and for themselves. Not in the blog, nor at any time have I been so naive as to say intuition (which is partly our reasoning abilities) instinct, and emotion are useless cart blanche. I have only said I don’t feel emotion is a good indicator of the existence of god, since it is so subjective. But I certainly haven’t wished anyone who felt differently a condescending “Good luck with that!”

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