BTS are the kings of concepts! Each and every one of their comeback concepts or performances depend heavily on elaborate layering and storytelling, adding to their charm and charisma as artists.
So here are 6 instances of BTS drawing their inspiration directly from Greek mythology, and creating the most memorable pieces of entertainment for their fans to enjoy!
1) Fake Love
“Fake Love” is part of BTS’s 2018 album Love Yourself: Tear. In the first teaser that dropped, all the members except Jungkook exchanged items (their fears) for an item that denotes a positive change in attitude. Jungkook is the only member who did not exchange anything, and received a key instead, which took him into a room where he met a hooded stranger.
Fan theories suggest that when he opens the box to take the key, the box could be likened to “Pandora’s Box”. “Pandora’s Box” is a myth that tells of a woman in Ancient Greece named Pandora, who opened a box and let loose all of humanity’s worst nightmares, like sickness, death, etc. The only thing left behind was hope, and when Jungkook accepts the key, he accepts his role as the only “hope” remaining to save the others from their fates.
2) Blood, Sweat And Tears
BTS’s “Blood, Sweat and Tears” comeback was part visual punch and part theory-heavy, beautiful music. The references to Greek Mythology were plenty in the accompanying MV for it.
One of their biggest inspirations from Greek stories were the story of Daedalus and his son Icarus. Daedalus was a gifted architect who built a labyrinth for King Minos of Crete, but was then imprisoned inside the labyrinth, along with his son. Daedalus then crafted wings made of wax in order to escape with his son, and warned him not to fly too high, or else the sun will melt the wax off his wings. But Icarus paid no heed to his father’s advice, and excitedly flew high up, and got too close to the sun. The sun melted the wax from the wings, and Icarus plummeted down to his death.
In “Blood, Sweat and Tears”, the first reference to the story is in the scene where Suga is covering Jimin‘s eyes. The scene is set in front of a painting, with a neon sign with the words “The Tempter” hanging in front of it. The painting in question is one titled “The Lament of Icarus” by Herbert James Draper, which depicts Icarus on the ground, with his death being lamented by various nymphs surrounding him.
Another allusion to this story is how most of Jungkook’s scenes take place in front of the above mentioned painting. Jungkook is seen floating in the air in front of the painting, with tiny feathers from seemingly broken wings floating around him. This implies that Jungkook is Icarus, with his wings falling apart as he falls down.
Yet another reference to this story is V jumping from the balcony ledge he was seated on. A set of doors open, and V looks back, grinning impishly, and then jumps off.
The backdrop set for this scene is another Daedalus/Icarus inspired painting, “The Landscape With The Fall of Icarus” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
The multiple allusions to the myth of Daedalus and Icarus seems to convey their root message with the song; although it may cost them everything, they are ready to give their all for it!
The track “Dionysus”, from their 2019 album Map of The Soul: Persona, is one for their most obvious inspirations from Greek mythology. Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, festivities and ritual madness, signifying the enjoyment of pleasure and liberation from all things binding. He was depicted as carrying a thyrsus, which is a wand made of giant fennel, covered with ivy vines and leaves, and topped with either a pine cone or vine-leaves and grapes.
This track emulates all of Dionysus’s qualities to the fullest, where the lyrics reference the god directly. RM‘s begins the first verse with the lyrics,
Just get drunk like Dionysus, drink in one hand, thyrsus in the other
The song equates art with alcohol, and celebrates life as one big party, where the group asks their fans to “drink it all up, and fall for this crazy artist”. They celebrate all that the god stands for; the drinking, the partying and the madness that makes life worth living.
3) 2019 MMA performance
BTS’s 2019 MMA performance was the most talked about performance in town!
At the beginning of the performance, 7 lightbulbs descended from above, forming the Corona Borealis constellation. In Greek mythology, the Corona Borealis represents the crown given by Dionysus to Ariadne, the princess of Crete, as her wedding diadem.
Each of the members also took on Greek god personas:
1) RM as Dionysus
2) Jin as Athena
3) Suga as Hephaestus
4) J-Hope as Zeus
5) V as Apollo
6) Jimin as Artemis
7) Jungkook as Poseidon
4) V as Narcissus in “Singularity”
For their 2019 comeback trailer, V starred in the solo “Singularity”. Fans believe that in the MV, V has a strong connection to Narcissus.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus is a man so beautiful, that he scorns anyone who falls in love with him, because he feels they do not deserve him. Cursed by the goddess Nemesis for causing the ones who fall in love with him pain, she condemns him to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. There, he remains so entranced by his beauty that upon realizing that its just a reflection, and his love will not materialize, he melts away in grief and takes the form of the narcissus flower.
V is implied to embody the self-obsession in the MV, in many instances. In one scene, he can be seen dancing with an empty coat on a rack, that implies that he’s enchanted with and is dancing with himself.
There’s an immense emphasis on water in the MV, and in the lyrics as well. V can be seen above a shallow pool of water, where he can see his reflection.
There are also lyrics such as,
I suddenly run to the lake, there’s my face in it
Over the winter lake, I was thrown
I dumped myself into the lake
The lyrics contain covert references to how Narcissus lost himself in his reflection in a pool of water, symbolized by the lake.
6) The Golden Disc Awards VCR
At the 2020 Golden Disc Awards, prior to their performance, BTS played a VCR which heavily alluded to Dionysus. The opening scenes from the VCR showed Dionysus’s various symbols, and then the boys in their Greek god avatars themselves.
The VCR is also entitled “City Dionysia Begins”. Dionysia was the biggest festival dedicated to the god Dionysus, held in ancient Athens where the primary celebrations were elaborate performances.