Seven: The Perfect Number of Sins

Joshua Toback
Dec 13, 2018 · 3 min read

by Joshua Toback

In most holy scripture, the number seven is described as “the perfect number”, and appears very often. Seven Days of Creation, the Seven Deadly Sins, and Seven Heavenly Virtues. In film and television, the number seven also appears often as a crucial element of a narrative. In particular, the seven deadly sins have appeared in many forms. These sins; Lust, Pride, Envy, Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, and Greed, can be seen throughout literature, but I believe they can be spotted out quickly in these three examples.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). PRNewsFoto/Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment/AP Images

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is mostly about Snow White, but the dwarfs that accompany her all display the seven deadly sins in one way or another. Even in their names, the dwarfs personify these sins. Sleepy is Sloth, Grumpy is Wrath, Doc is Pride, Happy is Lust, Bashful is Gluttony, Sneezy is Envy, and Dopey is Greed. Of course, all seven display more than one trait, primarily Greed while working inside a jewel mine. But the main reason why these sins aren’t deadly is the fact that they always stick together, never allowing one trait to overpower one another. While the dwarves do remain vigilant and helpful, there is one other Disney character that is the culmination of all seven sins.

Scar from The Lion King (1994, Disney)

Scar is the antagonist of The Lion King, but he is also his own worst enemy. The seven deadly sins he indulges in all culminate in him being forcefully removed from the throne he stole. Granted, I had to look up a deleted scene for all seven to fit, but nonetheless, Scar exhibits all seven sins.

  • Scar believes he is more deserving of the throne. He also refuses to abandon the Pride Lands, even if it means the death of his people. (Pride)
  • He does nothing as the Pride Lands fall apart. (Sloth)
  • He eats constantly while his subjects starve. Ironically, this is what gets him killed. (Gluttony)
  • He murders his brother and attempts to murder his nephew out of jealousy towards the throne. (Envy)
  • In a deleted scene, he tries to make Nala produce heirs for him. (Lust)
  • He wants all the power in the kingdom and squashes anyone who opposes him. (Greed)
  • He attacks those who compare him to his brother, and is overall extremely violent. (Wrath)

While Scar is a sum of all seven deadly sins, these sins can be characters of their own when correctly personified.

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood (2009, Studio Bones, Madman Entertainment)

While there is an anime out there called “The Seven Deadly Sins”, I feel like no other television show, live-action or animated, has given the sins more of a personality than the series “Fullmetal Alchemist”. In this show, the main villain removes the sins he deems “imperfect” from his body and gives them bodies of their own. However, throughout the series, each one of these sins meets their end in a fitting, albeit ironic, manner.

Lust is killed by a man who is a womanizer and has no desire for her.

Gluttony is eaten by a fellow sin.

Sloth dies after being worn out from a long battle.

Envy kills himself after his jealousy for humans is exposed.

Wrath dies peacefully after a furious rampage.

Pride is killed after trying to throw away their pride in order to save themselves.

Greed is more of an anti-hero in this series and dies content with the friends that he had.

Overall, Fullmetal Alchemist gave each one of the seven deadly sins a full character arc based on their “flaw” and gave them all fitting ends.

Elon’s Fairy Tale Files

A blog for Elon English 255, based on The Fairy Tale Review’s Fairy Tale Files. All blog written by Elon students studying fairy tales, old and new.

Joshua Toback

Written by

Elon’s Fairy Tale Files

A blog for Elon English 255, based on The Fairy Tale Review’s Fairy Tale Files. All blog written by Elon students studying fairy tales, old and new.

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