Binaries and Humanity in Escape From Spiderhead

Jeff and Abnesti display a clear binary relationship, in which Abnesti power over Jeff. Jeff, a criminal, has to submit to submit to the scientific experiments conducted by Abnesti. Yet, Jeff and Abnesti interact as friends would, exchanging friendly banter and joking around with one another. While their relationship is friendly on a superficial level, one must wonder what Abnesti’s motivation is for his kindness. Regardless of how he interacts with test subjects, they still must participate in the experiments. He does not gain anything from being kind, and he wonders about the superficiality of his actions. He wonders if he is kind for kindness’ sake, or if he is “a monster” (Spiderhead, 68). Abnesti’s openness about his feelings makes him appear human to Jeff, which contrasts with Abnesti’s own wonderings about his humanity. Jeff views Abnesti as an equal, and although Abnesti treats Jeff as an equal, Abnesti is aware of and ok with the binary that gives him power.

One thought on “Binaries and Humanity in Escape From Spiderhead

  1. NATE F

    I also found it interesting that Abnesti kept up his friendly appearance to Jeff, especially when they could order a drip that could force Jeff to do anything. In addition, I found it odd that Jeff took so long to stop being friendly with Abnesti as it is clear he knows that Abnesti is not truly his friend. This proves Benjamin’s point that in a power binary the person who is being controlled sometimes feeds the binary by not pushing to be equal. Jeff only becomes free when he ends their fake friendship and uses Abnesti’s trust to escape.


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