The bond between brothers can often be a very strong, filled with things as simple as in-jokes through to a fierce brand of loyalty. However it can become a relationship that has its fair share of rivalry and competition, as well as splits on topics that can cause fractures that can result in one sibling lashing out. It’s this strained relationship that makes up the majority of Devil May Cry 3’s plot.
The brothers involved in this tale are Dante and Vergil, twins who are half human and half demon. This split in DNA has manifested itself in how the brothers identify themselves. First there is Dante who appears to act more human, making mistakes, procrastinating, and having a bit of an attitude. Then you have Vergil who is trying to create a bridge between the human world and the demon world, wanting the power of his father, the demon Sparda, while being much more calculated in his methods.
While Dante is quite a likeable character, it is Vergil who is ultimately more interesting. Here we have a character who comes across as a clichéd antagonist, but by seeing his actions and reactions to events there is a depth that is much more rounded than his brother’s.
In Devil May Cry 3, Vergil has control over a whole host of demons which he uses in his bid to raise the tower of Temen-ni-gru. This act represents a major part of Vergil as the tower was originally sealed by his own father, an act which cost Sparda everything and cemented his fate as an enemy of demons. Though Vergil embraces his demon heritage this freeing of Temen-ni-gru shows he will do anything, even forsake his father, for the power that he believes belongs to him.
However Vergil does not begrudge Sparda, using the same sword which he treasures as a keepsake. He even acts like his father in that he does what needs to be done in a way with such precision that no failure is accepted. At the beginning of Devil May Cry 3 Vergil sends demons to kill his brother, but when they return as failures he finishes them off himself.
The question though is why Vergil seeks to have this power over the demon world. As they have grown up, both Vergil and Dante have learnt of their father’s exploits and the power he himself wielded. While Dante pushed these lessons away, Vergil took in the lessons of those tales, and the seed for the same power was planted.
Though this seed is there, it isn’t until the introduction of Arkham does it truly grow. Arkham is a human whose who desire for power manifests after learning of demons and Sparda. In essence he represents the dark side of humanity as a whole when his desire to being the most powerful being in both realms.
While it can be argued the power is Vergil’s inheritance, Arkham can claim no such right. Instead he manipulates the brothers as well as his own daughter, Lady, to twist the tale so he may take Sparda’s power and use it control all of existence. Arkham is humanity’s darkest desires multiplied a thousandfold because he does have no aim but power.
However, we have to also see this from Arkham’s own view of the world: the acquisition of the power is the only thing he has left, the only goal he can use to try and justify his actions up until that point. In an attempt to become a demon, he destroys his relationship with his daughter and sacrifices his wife for the power.
Arkham believes if he fails then all that blood spilt and love lost would have been worthless. Dante and Vergil are his tools to gain that power, but in his quest to do turn them against each other Arkham loses a part of his humanity, while Vergil finds a piece of his.
When both brothers discover the extent of Arkham’s plan they join forces for a brief time, the bond of brotherhood still there even if there is no closeness between them. They fight together to kill Arkham and then eventually it all comes to a head with the path to the demon world remaining closed.
It’s in these last acts that Vergil makes the sacrifice to remain in the demon world to stop the human world from falling. The sacrifice is even greater than first imagined because his family is so hated by the demons. He has no real power and must fight to survive.
Vergil’s final sacrifice is when he faces off against the demon Mundus, one of his father’s oldest enemies. Vergil meets Mundus in battle in an attempt to replicate the victory of his father, but he fails. Vergil meets a tragic end of becoming a slave to Mundus for all eternity with no free will of his own, a harsh sentence.
Yet it’s also an ironic one too. Vergil began as the confident one who desired to have power through any means necessary though through a twisted code of honour. Mundus takes all of that from him and turns him into a being who must obey every order, stripped of confidence, control and honour.
While Dante gets to survive and have his somewhat happy ending, Vergil is lost forever to the demons, with his attempt at a final redemption failing. If we take Vergil’s ending, and Arkham’s own plot, as the true conclusion of Devil May Cry 3 it teaches us that not every sacrifice is worth it.