‘1899’ Symbols, Explained: What Was The Significance Of The Green Bug And The Inverted Triangle?


In the series “1899,” we saw that the symbol of the inverted triangle with a horizontal line was engraved in multiple places on the ship Kerberos. At first, we believed that it might be a logo of the shipping company that was owned by Henry Singleton, but as soon as we realized that the world, we believed to be real was merely a simulation, we knew that the symbol had a much deeper meaning than what we had assumed. Also, the green bug that Elliot had in his possession embodied an ironic notion and somewhere reminded us of the patented human habit of first condemning a practice and then later indulging in it without thinking about its ramifications. So, let’s analyze what the inverted triangle symbol and the green bug symbolized in the series “1899.”

Spoilers Ahead

What Was The Significance Of The Green Bug?

The green bug was a personification of freedom, especially if we take Elliot’s perspective into consideration. The little boy who was living with his parents, Daniel and Maura, inside the simulation wanted to keep a bug. Elliot fondly called the bug Alfred. But Maura told him that he should not trap the bug in a box, as it was against the natural order of the universe, and it restricted its freedom. The naive kid asked his mother how he would see Alfred grow if he let it go. Maura ironically replied that sometimes we have to let things go in life merely because we can’t keep them forever. From that day, the bug symbolized the notion of freedom for Elliot, though Maura eventually ended up doing the same thing that she had told her son to not do. She kept Elliot in a simulation, maybe because she knew that he wouldn’t survive for long in the real world. She herself went against the natural order, as her desire to be with Elliot superseded everything else. When Elliot entered the shafts beneath the room, we saw that he used a bug to open the portal that led them to a fabricated memory of the past. We also saw that the bug opened the locked doors of the cabin and gave Maura and Elliot access. The mere act of opening the door or the portal was like emancipating a person and breaking all the shackles that held them back. Elliot had the bug with him at all times. Maybe it symbolizes the fact that he was also held captive in the simulation world. Probably the day Maura realizes that she cannot keep him in the simulation forever, Elliot will also release Alfred from captivity. 

If we see from a literal perspective, then Elliot’s bug could be a representation of the bugs that appear in a computer program. It could be possible that Daniel and Elliot were trying to plant bugs in the simulation program so that Maura gets back her memories, wakes up in reality and takes back the control of Project Prometheus.

What Did The Inverted Triangle In ‘1899’ Signify?

According to the ancient science of alchemy, everything that exists, in both the physical and spiritual worlds, is a combination of the four elements, i.e., earth, water, fire, and air. The earth element is represented by the same inverted triangle symbol with a horizontal line that we saw in Kerberos. Earth represents the foundation of life, stability, and growth. Maybe Project Prometheus wanted to find the stability and life-giving aspects of planet Earth on some other planet. Maybe the spaceship was headed to a different place in the universe where Maura and Ciaran believed that life could exist. Maybe the inverted triangle was also referring to the importance of simulation for the entire project. Maura was willingly staying inside the simulation because she wanted to keep her son, Elliot, alive at all costs. But it could also be possible that dwelling inside the made-up reality was preparing the characters for the challenges that lay ahead. Maybe Henry Singleton, Maura, or Ciaran might have found out that it was imperative to make rational decisions and not get influenced by emotions at any cost. So, in order to reach a state where one was in complete control of their mind, an inner awareness, represented by the inverted triangle, needed to prevail in everybody who was part of the project. The inverted triangle divided by a horizontal line might also be a literal representation of how the physical body of the characters was in the real world, but they actually existed inside the simulation, which they believed to be their reality.

The inverted triangle could also be symbolic of the introspection and reflection that the characters were made to do. They were given backstories just like the characters in any game, but the difference was that they were all very tragic and traumatizing. Not one character was given a happy past about which they could reminisce without feeling remorseful. So maybe it was all planned so that they face these moral dilemmas and feel the burden of guilt and yet somehow understand that in order to succeed, they would have to block it and move ahead without getting influenced by it.

The Nabla symbol (an inverted triangle symbol without the horizontal line), generally used in mathematics, also represents a specific style of writing in journalism. The style of writing incorporated a concise form that was devoid of any emotions or extravagance. The writing was stiff and impassive. Some experts believed that, though it was gaining a lot of popularity in the contemporary world, it had restricted the writers from writing top-notch and quality pieces and instead focused merely on communicating the information. Project Prometheus was a survival mission, and maybe the creator of the simulation had realized that getting rid of human emotions was the way forward. Maybe they wanted to achieve their goals even if it meant creating an impassive world where there was no room for bonds and feelings that were considered to be signs of frailty.

During the Nazi period, an inverted triangle was used to brand the prisoners. The symbol was used as a badge, where different colors signified the kinds of crimes they had committed. The passengers of Kerberos were prisoners of their past, even if it was all made up. Room 1011 was Maura’s prison, and she wasn’t able to wake up in the real world. The passengers were also held captive inside a simulation, and over a period of time, they started believing it to be their reality, just like prisoners staying in a concentration camp who were subjected to such traumas that they lost all hope and forgot that a normal life devoid of torture could also exist.

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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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