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Characters: Dante


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The Mythology and Etymology of Devil May Cry
Characters:

  • Dante – The name Dante comes from Dante’s Inferno, written around 1306 in Italy by a man named Dante Alighieri. It chronicles the journey of Dante into Hell so he can be saved.

  • Virgil – In Inferno Virgil is a shade which guides Dante through Hell. He stands for Human Reason. Historically, Virgil was a Roman poet who predated Dante Alighieri by same time.

  • Trish – Trish is short for Beatrice. In Inferno Beatrice is Dante’s love who has died. Beatrice stands for Divine Love. Outside the world of his writing, Dante Alighieri really had a love named Beatrice Portinari for whom he wrote a collection of verses.

  • Lucia – Also mentioned in Inferno, Lucia is the patron saint of eyesight. She represents Divine Light (in Italian “luce” means “light”)

  • Eva – The soft form of Eve. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, she is the mother of all human beings.

  • Sparda – Maybe a form of Sparta, the Greek warmongering city-state. The Spartans did not revel in food and wine as the rest of the Greeks did, instead the focused their entire way of life on war. This could relate to the Sparda of Devil May Cry in that he focused mainly on the war with Hell, putting his family second. Alternatively, Sparda could be a form of Spartacus, the man who led a slave revolt in the first century B.C. (thanks to moseslmpg)

  • Mundus – In Latin, Mundus translates to Cosmos, the original number 21 Tarot card. Since then, the card has been dumbed down to “The World.” Also, historically, Mundus was a Byzantine general during the reign of Justinian I. He died around 536.

  • Arius - A heresiarch, born about 250 and died 336. He continually had disputes with the powers in the Catholic Church higher than him. He was banished, though allowed to return to Alexandria later in life. He had winning manners, an evasive style, and a disputatious temper. He also is the founder of Arianism.

  • Matiér - As far as I can tell, it’s just a name.

  • Arkham – Arkham is actually a city in New England within the cannon of H.P. Lovecraft’s Call of the Cthulhu. There many shady events take place, mostly concerned with witches and witchcraft.

  • Lady – I think Capcom just got uncreative here.


Bestiary:

Devil May Cry 1

Regular enemies


  • Beezlebub – A form of the Hebrew Ba’al-zebub, this has been used as a name for the Devil himself and also for his second in command, the prince of hell. The name translates literally to “lord of the flies.”

    Also, Beelzebub was a deity in the Caananite religion and one of the forms of Baal which means Lord of the Flies. In demonology and Judeo-Christian mythology, Beelzebub is a great prince of Hell, founder of The Order of the Fly, one of the ten mightiest devils. He is sometimes associated with Satan, but it must be noted that they are separate entities. (additional info thanks to FallenAngelBelial) 


    Of course, the enemy in the game isn’t nearly as impressive, it’s just a bee that craps on you.

  • Blade – Nothing special here; the lizards just happen to have blades.

  • Bloody Mari – Within the game, these are just particularly nasty marionettes, but their mythological connection actually has something to do with their game incarnations. The simplified legend of Bloody Mary goes like this: “About 100 years ago or so there was a woman named Mary. One day she had a terrible accident and her face was scratched so badly that she bled to death. But her spirit could not rest. Bloody Mary roams the world as an evil ghost. If you stand in front of a mirror in the dark and say her name three times, you will see her horribly mangled face appear. If you don't turn on the light and run away as fast as you can she will try to scratch your face off.” The marionettes called this in the game do try and scratch your face off, hence the name. Oh, and the spelling “Mari” is probably a play on words, taking the first four letters of marionette.

  • Death Scissor –They look like the mythological incarnation of Death (long black cloak hiding all but hands), but they have scissors instead of a scythe. The enemy has the head of a goat; the goat is a symbol of the Devil and of evil. The use of the scissors is taken from one of the Fates of Greek mythology. “The Goddess of Necessity, Themis, brought forth three lovely daughters, known as The Fates. All living things must eventually submit to these divine daughters of Zeus and Themis. Their names are: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. Life is woven by Clotho, measured by Lachesis and finally, in a very literal sense, the thread of life is cut by Atropos. They laugh at our feeble attempts to cheat them because they always prevail. Death Scissors are based on Atropos. She cut the thread of life with scissors.” (Thanks to Argon_X for additional information)

  • Death ScytheBasically the same as Scissor, just with a scythe, so much more like Death.

  • Fetish – The definition of fetish that first comes to mind is the one concerning sexual desire, but the more simple definition of fixation fits better here. These enemies fixate on Dante and will not leave him alone until they are killed. Another way in which the definition of the word fits is through this definition: “An object that is believed to have magical or spiritual powers, especially such an object associated with animistic or shamanistic religious practices.” This refers to voodoo dolls and wooden idols, the forms of which the enemies in the game take. (thanks to moseslmpg)

  • Frost – These enemies are ice elementals, hence the name.

  • Kyklops – Judging from my research, Kyklops is simply the original spelling of Cyclops, widely accepted as meaning “one eye.” The truth of it is that Kyklops really translates to “round eye”

  • Marionette – Obvious etymology here. These enemies are in the form of the string puppets.

  • Nobody – No clue as to why they’re named this, sorry.

  • Plasma – The energy these guys are made of resembled the sci-fi plasma energy, thus the name.

  • Sargasso – These things are first found under the water, which relates to the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic where, as myth would have it, sailors are choked to death. That myth comes from the fact that adult European eels go there to spawn and die.

  • Shadow – The enemy has a form like a shadow. ‘nuff said.

  • Sin Scissor – Basically the same reasoning as Death Scissor, just replaced Death with Sin, both words in Christian tradition equated with evil.

  • Sin Scythe – See above, only apply to Scythe instead of Scissor.

Bosses

  • Phantom – There are two definitions of phantom that could apply here: “Something elusive or delusive” and “something dreaded or despised.”

  • Nero Angelo – Translated as “Black Angel” from Italian. This refers to Virgil’s ‘fall from grace’ and his now working for Mundus. Nelo is not a word, it’s simply a romaji error when going from Japanese katakana to English. The character for “ro” can also be transcribed at “lo” when changing from Japanese to English.

  • Griffon – The griffon in early Christian mythology was a symbol of evil, but later became a symbol of Christ’s dual nature of the divine and the earthly, since the griffon could move as freely on the ground as in the air. The version in the game probably stems from the early version of the griffon in Christian mythos, but his loyalty and honor in the game may stem from the later incarnation. (http://gryphonguild.critter.net/mythology.html)

  • Nightmare – An obvious choice of name here. Nightmares have a malevolent connotation.

Devil May Cry 2

Regular Enemies



  • Msira – N/A

  • Homromsira – N/A

  • Gbusmsira – N/A

  • Jomothumsira – N/A

  • Agonofinis – The suffix “finis” means “end” or “completion.” The prefix “agone” stems from “agony” so the name probably comes to “end in agony” (thanks to moseslmpg)

  • Terreofinis – “End in terror” where “terre” stems from “terror” and “finis” is “end” (thanks to moseslmpg)

  • Mortifinis – “end in death” where “morti” is the prefix for death, and “finis” is “end”

  • Pyromancer – “pyro” meaning fire and “mancer” being the adjective form of “mancy” meaning “the practice of” so literally “practitioner of fire.” These enemies throw fire at you.

  • Auromancer – “Auro” from “aura.” “Practitioner of aura.” Aura, in the pagan tradition, is basically ones own energy, like chakra, chi or ki in Asian practices.

  • Brontomancer – “Bronto” from the Greek “bronte” meaning thunder. “Practitioner of Thunder”

  • Goatling – Here we get into the goat enemies. “The Goatling is probably based on the Se'irim which is in Jewish Mythology a species of goat demons. Their leader is Azazel and they were evil spirits who roamed the deserts and wastelands of the Judean parts of Asia. The scapegoat, a famous topic in both Christianity and Judaism, was sent into the desert, embued (spiritually, not psychically) with the sins of the people of a town. A goat is a sign of lasciviousness, therefore associating it with a devil, Asmodeus. A goat is not directly a sign of the devil.” (info thanks to FallenAngelBelial) The goatling is the smallest of these enemies.

  • Blood Goat – The goat, a form of Satan, and blood which is used often as a symbol of evil.

  • Abyss Goat – Again the symbol of a goat, this time paired with the ominous idea of the abyss; an idea of nothingness.

  • Savage Golem – The savage part is obvious, but the story behind the golem is routed in Judaic mythology. “In Jewish legend, a golem is an image or form that is given life through a magical formula, such as the power of the letters of the divine name. The word is used to denote anything that is not yet fully developed. They would carry out their master's command and could perform easy tasks, as well as protecting their creators.”

  • Puia – Has something to do with birds, but I haven’t been able to find any definite information.

  • Demonochorus – Literally “demon chorus,” these enemies sing spells.

  • Flamebat – Obvious, a bat of fire.

  • Spicere – The only definition I could find was an archaic one meaning “to see.” That doesn’t seem to have anything to do with these exploding enemies, however.

  • Sargasso – See DMC1 listings

  • Erupt Gel – To erupt is to explode and a gel is a substance halfway between the liquid and solid states, so really it’s a gel that explodes.

  • Blade – Sharp object. Obvious, I know.

  • Infestant – Basically synonymous with parasite.

  • Infested Tank – A tank that has been taken over by the parasite.

  • Infested Chopper – Same as tank, just a helicopter.

  • Nefasvermis – “disastrous vermin”

Bosses

  • Plutonian – Literally “of Pluto.” This most likely refers to the Roman God of the underworld rather than the planet.

  • Tartarussian – Tartarus is the lower level of the underworld in Roman mythology where the Gods banished the great offenders. Titans and various other monsters also were imprisoned there. Tartarussian refers to a denizen of that realm.

  • Orangguerra – Orang taken from orangutan since that’s what the enemy looks like, and Guerra meaning war in Spanish. So really, it’s a war ape.

  • Jokatguin – N/A

  • Nefasturris – Apparently this means “tower of disaster” according to official DMC2 sources. It also seems to come from the route “nefarious” which means “Infamous by way of being extremely wicked.”

  • Nefascapitis – Literally “head of disaster.”

  • Furiatarius – “Furia” stemmed from the word “fury”. Tarius is Latin for bull, so it means “Bull of fury” (thanks to moseslmpg)

  • Noctpteran – “Noct” meaning “night.” “Pteran” means “wing” so literally “night wing”

  • Larva – Just as they sound.

  • Tateobesu – N/A

  • Bolverk – “Evil-doer” in Norse. According to Norse mythology, Bolverk was the name that Odin went by when he offered to do the work of nine slaves for a drink of mead.

  • Freki & Geri – In Norse mythos, Odin’s pet wolves. Their names mean something along the lines of “ravenous” and “hunger”

  • Phantom – See DMC1 listings

  • Trismagia – “Tri” prefix meaning three and magia referring to magic. Probably a reference to the three fates/furies/sorceresses of Greek mythology.

  • Argosax of Chaos – Argos (or Argus), in Greek mythology, was a man with many eyes. Sax is a suffix of some kind, but I was unable to find its meaning. “Chaos was the first thing in existence in Greek Mythology, it was the unformed, shapeless mass of the universe, from it sprang first, Tartarus, then Erebus, then Charon, then Gaia and finally Eros; Tartarus laid himself/itself over Chaos, and the rest followed him, in later Greek Mythology, Chaos was the absolute lowest point of the world, the lowest level of Hades, even below Tartarus, opening like a greedy, hungry mouth, and swallowing everything that fell into him, even light (think a black hole). Both in Demonology and Greek Mythology, Chaos is the bottom most point of the world, in some sources of modern demonology, there is a controversial theory that Chaos is now the source of the power of Satan, increasing his power to become the dark equivalent of Yahweh.” (additional info thanks to FallenAngelBelial) 

  • The Despair Embodied – This enemy is supposed to be the embodiment of despair I suppose. Uncreative naming.

Devil May Cry 3

Regular Enemies



  • Hell-Pride, Hell-Lust, Hell-Wrath, Hell-Sloth, Hell-Gluttony, & Hell-Greed – These enemies are based off of the seven deadly sins in the Christian tradition, but you may notice that one is missing. Envy is not on this list and I’m not exactly sure why they didn’t make one for that. There are seven members of the Hell family of enemies however. The last is listed below.

  • Hell-Vanguard – “Vanguard” refers to the position at the head of a group, so this basically tells us that Hell-Vanguard is the leader of the Hell family of enemies.

  • Enigma – Enigma means “something that baffles understanding and cannot be explained.” That certainly describes this enemy.

  • Blood Goyle – Blood stands for a symbol of evil, but here also for the enemy’s color (red). Goyle is probably short for gargoyle, which where carved as guardians of cathedrals and castles.

  • Gigapede – Literally “billion feet”

Bosses

  • Arachne – From “arachnid” the name of the scientific family in which eight legged bugs are classified (spiders and scorpions). The boss is very spider-like.

  • Agni & Rudra – In the Hindu religion, Agni is the god of fire and the guardian of humanity. Rudra is another Hindu god, this time of wind. (www.free-definition.com)

  • CerberusIn Greek mythology, Cerberus was the three headed dog that guarded the gates of Hades. Interesting note: Cerberus had a brother in the form of a two headed dog named Orthrus who was owned by Geryon. “In The Divine Comedy, Cerberus is a demon that punished gluttons in the third circle of Hell. Cerberus has the ability to speak the languages of humans in both sources. (additional info thanks to FallenAngelBelial) 

  • Nevan – Interesting to note that the name Nevan itself is an Irish boy’s name meaning “holy” or “little saint.” (http://www.babynamenetwork.com/browse.cfm?type=alpha&detail=n&gender=male) Something else on Nevan is she is a succubus, a female demon said to seduce mortal men (especially monks) in their dreams and suck out their energy during sexual acts until the victim was at the point of exhaustion or death. This was used as an explanation for wet dreams, a fact which I find to be extremely amusing. According to some stories, succubi are fallen angels and are also responsible for the births of witches, demons, and deformed children.

  • Geryon – In Greek mythology, Geryon was a triple-bodied, winged giant who herded red oxen. Hercules killed him as part of his twelve labors. In Inferno Geryon is a beast which dwells on the edge of the seventh circle of Hell with the tail of a scorpion but the face of an honest man. “Geryon was, judging from other Greek mythological sources, a monstrous king with three heads. He also was the half-brother of Cerberus. His other half-siblings were the Lernean Hydra, the Nemean Lion, the Chimera, the Sphinx, Orthrus and Ladon. In The Divine Comedy, he was a death demon in the 7th circle of hell.” (additional info thanks to FallenAngelBelial) 


Weapons
Note: All weapons with simple descriptive etymology (i.e.: grenade gun) I will leave off since it’s quite obvious where that came from.

Devil May Cry 1



  • Force Edge – Obvious naming here.

  • Alastor – In Greek mythology, Alastor is an avenging demon associated with blood feuds between families. The name stems from “Avenger”

  • Sparda – See Sparda character explanation.

  • Ifrit – Ifrit (a.k.a. efreet, ifreet, afrit, afreet, afareet, etc.) are a type of Jinn (genie in the anglicized version) from Arabic mythology. The Arabs believed them to be spirits of fire, hence why the Ifrit gauntlets in DMC, and the Ifrit incarnations in Final Fantasies for that matter, hold the fire element.

  • Ebony & Ivory – Either Dante is a strange taste in music (as “Ebony and Ivory” is a song by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder) or he simply named the two guns after the deep black stone of ebony and the white bone of ivory.

  • Nightmare-Beta – Named for the Nightmare monsters in the game, the gun closely resembles their solid form.

Devil May Cry 2

  • Rebellion – “An act or show of defiance toward an authority or established convention.”

  • Vendetta – “A bitter, destructive feud.”

  • Merciless – “Without Mercy.”

  • Cutlaseer – Simply a form of the English cutlass, a curved blade sharpened on the outward part of the curve.

  • Klaymore – Strange spelling of Claymore, a type of huge Scottish longsword.

  • Zambak – Albanian for “Lily” (http://www.websters-online-dictionary.org/definition/english/li/lily.html)

  • Ebony & Ivory – See DMC1 listing

  • Cranky Bombs – Just adding these in because the name amuses me. “Cranky” is the state of being mildly upset over nothing. Upset bombs, hehe.

Devil May Cry 3

  • Ebony & Ivory – See DMC1 listing

  • Rebellion – See DMC2 listing

  • Cerberus – Ice nunchaku, in this case. See DMC3 boss enemy listing.

  • Beowulf – The hero of an Old English epic poem by the same name. He slays the monster Grendel and Grendel’s mother, becomes king of the Geats and dies fighting a dragon.

  • Artemis – In Greek mythology, the virgin goddess of night and the hunt.

  • Agni & RudraThe twin swords, in this case. See DMC3 boss enemy listing

  • Nevan – The electric guitar, in this case. See DMC3 boss enemy listing.


Items

Note: All items with simple descriptive etymology (i.e.: death sentence) I will leave off since it’s quite obvious where that came from.



Devil May Cry 1

  • Holy Water – Water that has been blessed by a priest, in the Christian tradition. In pagan religions, the water must be spellbound and set in the moonlight on the night of a full moon. In either tradition, it is a way of vanquishing evil.

  • Chalice – Reference here to the Holy Grail of Christian mythos.

  • Elixir – Since it is created from the Philosopher’s Stone in game, it is probably the fabled “Elixir of Life” which alchemists strove for in medieval times. It is a substance that was believed to maintain life indefinitely.

  • Luminite – “Lumin” the Latin stem for light and the suffix “-ite” meaning rock or mineral. Literally “rock of light.”

  • Philosopher’s Stone – A hypothetical substance that alchemists believed could turn base metals into gold. It was also said to produce the Elixir of Life.

  • Pride of Lion – In most mythologies, lions represent strength and honor, so it makes sense that the proof Dante needs to bring to continue on is the Pride of Lion.

  • Quicksilver – Another name for the corrosive substance mercury.

  • Sign of Chastity – It looked like a brain in the game to me, which made no sense, but I read up a bit and several walkthroughs said it was a testicle. Gross, but makes sense.

  • Staff of Hermes – In Greek mythology, Hermes is the god of commerce, invention, cunning, and thievery. He served as messenger, scribe, and herald for the rest of the Greek gods. His symbol, called the cadeceus which is the form that the staff takes in the game, is also used as a medical symbol today.

  • Trident – The main weapon of the Roman god of the ocean, Neptune, whose room you open in the game with the trident.

  • Wheel of Destiny – Mirrors the number 10 tarot card Wheel of Fortune. The meanings of this card include abundance, faith and opportunity.

Devil May Cry 2

  • Chrono Heart – Chrono refers to time, thus explaining the effect of the Devil Trigger amulet.

  • Holy Water – See DMC1 items listing.

  • Ouroboros – This is an ancient symbol of alchemy. It depicts a snake or dragon eating it own tail and so forms a circle. It stands for the cycle of life and the eternal return to things anew. In the Greek tradition it refers to the cyclic nature of time.


Colors
(http://www.temarikai.com/meaningoftraditionalcolors.htm)

  • In Asian traditions, red is a hero’s color, hence why Dante wears red. Also, going with the European color scheme, Dante is hot blooded and headstrong, attributes which can also be equated to the color red. Likewise, blue is a villain color and also goes along with a cool, passive attitude, which Virgil seems to have.

  • Lady and Arkham have a condition called heterochromia where the person has two different colored irises. Lady has one green and one red eye, mixing tranquility (green) and passion (red). Arkham has one blue and one red eye, mixing fidelity (blue) with passion (red).

  • Trish’s power is colored yellow, which in the western parts of Asia stands for treachery. In the Far East, however; yellow is a sacred color. This inconsistency between the two meanings could be used intentionally with Trish to show her double nature as a character.

  • Lucia’s devil form is white, a color symbolizing purity and truth.



All information from my own knowledge, wikipedia.org, hyperdictionary.com, or thefreedictionary.com unless otherwise specified. Babel fish translator used for some words. All credit given to names within the text are to ign.com forum users on the Devil May Cry board.


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