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He's not even Hannibal Lecter. He's a person with extreme beliefs and he really thinks he's making a difference. He's a vigilante if anything. He thinks he's making a difference. I think he's a very good judge of character, so his sense that, for example, that Detective Matthews was going to play right into his trap, which he did, was right on. Now, it seems to me that he's always got a second plan in place.

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And there's probably been a number of second plans. I mean, we've only seen three movies. Maybe there are six more somewhere where he failed, where something didn't play out". He doesn't view himself as some kind of diabolical psychotic. You know there's a little bit of evil in everyone.


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It just gets carried further. Most of us have some sort of moral fiber that restricts that. Some framework. And then others because of their lives and what happens to them, the thing develops in some other way. Bousman mentioned that Saw III was intended to contain a scene in which Jigsaw showed remorse for his actions after seeing the results of his legacy:.

Imagine your entire life's work. You're on your deathbed. You know there's nothing else you can do and here's how you'll be remembered: as a killer, as a murderer. Not as someone who helped people. Not as someone who changed lives. Someone who took away lives. The one thing he didn't want to be and, as he's on his deathbed, he's realizing this. As a result of his cancer and suicide attempt, John decided to dedicate the rest of his life to teaching people to appreciate their own lives.

The producers of Saw III and director Darren Lynn Bousman see Jigsaw, [6] not as a serial killer, but a "scientist" who is determined to initiate the survival instinct in his "subjects", believing that humanity no longer uses its instinct of survival. While the character's discovery that he has cancer is acknowledged to be the "final straw" that drove him to his actions, Bell has stated in an interview that "His terminal cancer is one of the elements of his life but he's as angry over the fact the world is going to hell in handbasket because it's no longer the survival of the fittest; it's the survival of the mediocre.

That drives him as much as anything else. He doesn't just talk about his frustrations, he does something about them, and he puts himself on the line.

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His cancer was about one element in about elements that caused him to create the world that he's created. Jigsaw is depicted in the Saw films as being extremely cunning and intelligent. In Saw: Rebirth , he is depicted doing extensive study in multiple fields to gain knowledge for designing his tests, and recurring director Bousman himself has described Jigsaw as being "extremely educated" in an interview.

In the series, John usually builds deadly traps for his subjects, which are often a symbolic representation of what Jigsaw perceives as a flaw in the person's life. John calls these tests "games", and tells the person the "rules" of the game usually by microcasette or video tape. The rules are tasks that the person must perform in order to pass the test and survive; however, the tasks often involve extreme self-mutilation although there have been occasions where it is possible for the subject not to harm him or herself if he or she is bright enough, such as the "Razor Box Trap" in Saw II.

Most of the traps are made of scavenged materials, rusty bolts, decaying iron, or anything else he thinks will help him create a new "game". However, not all of the traps require self-mutilation, as one trap actually required a man Jeff to burn his deceased son's toys to get the key to save the second victim which was psychological torture and therefore forced him to burn the memory of his son to save the victim.

Many of the games involve clocks, counting down timers or other measured time constraints provided to the victims. Jigsaw elaborated in Saw II his appreciation of "time", outlining the importance of savoring every moment. He also stated his belief that telling someone the time in which they may die would awaken an alertness for every moment of existence. Huntley described the intention behind John's actions, and evaluated the extent to which they can be analyzed to fit into the philosophies associated with Deleuze , Darwin , and Nietzsche :.

In Deleuzian terms, it is the potential of life that is at stake It is this that gives Jigsaw's games their Deleuzian tone, the urgent revitalisation of life occasioning new experiences to be learnt and assimilated: such as the perverse, singular and aberrant situation of waking to find a man-trap secured around your neck.

There is then the instruction to live or die, to make your choice, to survive the encounter with affect, or the affection-image There is no thrill, sadistic or otherwise, in setting these games; they are throws of the die by the subjects, aleatoric opportunities As Jigsaw makes clear to Detective Matthews during their conversation in Saw II , where Jigsaw's motivation and philosophy are most comprehensively explored, "I've never murdered anyone in my life. The decisions are up to them.

The decisions, the choices, the selection of a potential, are in the hands of the subjects of his games and he only intervenes in order to keep the game within its rules so a decision can be reached. The subjects are faced with a shocking choice that forces them to acknowledge what Deleuze identifies as the virtual — that is, the unacknowledged aspects of our experience with reality. This, in effect, is the particular game that Jigsaw himself plays; one where the organism might be failing but the flow of desire succeeds and endures.

Jigsaw might resort to discussing Darwin's "little trip to the Galapagos Islands" to provide a theoretical underpinning for his project and echo Nietzsche in talking of the will to survive, but this merely misdirects investigators and witnesses in the same way that the gruesome traps and freely flowing gore earn him his unsettling serial killer soubriquet. Jigsaw's games are designed to crack open the world of their respective players: the challenges are nearly always relevant to the subject's lifestyle in a symbolic or literal way, bringing them to painful self awareness, prompting a reappraisal of their squandered potential.

John intends through these traps to force his victims to prove to him that they are "worthy" and "deserving" to continue living, and also for them to learn to abandon what he perceives to be their vices. He often expressed a desire for his victims to succeed, but stressed that their fate was always in their own hands. The video and audio tape instructions for his games often echo this idea: "Live or die.

Make your choice.


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Billy, a puppet, is an icon of the Jigsaw character. John often used it for the purpose of delivering messages to his victims via a television screen, but at times it has also been physically present with the victims during their tests. He provided the disguised voice for Billy when it delivered its messages.

It is shown in Saw IV that the original puppet was created by John Kramer as an intended toy for his unborn son, who died while Cecil Adams was robbing the clinic; Cecil accidentally pushed the door into Jill, which resulted in Gideon's death. John is shown constructing the more menacing Billy puppet in Saw III for the purpose of its inclusion in his "games". Another of Jigsaw's trademarks is his use of microcassettes to deliver instructions to his victims, disguising his voice as on the Billy videotapes.

A flashback in Saw IV reveals that he accomplished this by speaking into a reel-to-reel tape recorder, then slowing down the playback. Often, a victim would find a microcassette recorder left for him or her with a tape already loaded in, while at other times the tape would be found separately in an envelope marked with the victim's name or the tape on its own reading "Play Me". One tape was found in Jigsaw's stomach during his autopsy at the beginning of Saw IV , coated in wax to protect it against his digestive acids.

Both of his apprentices, Amanda Young and Mark Hoffman, eventually began making their own microcassettes, but not always altering their voices as he did. In Saw 3D , Hoffman recorded one set of instructions on a standard-sized cassette, and another on an 8-track tape for use in a car stereo. Huntley remarked that Jigsaw's voice recordings operated for a specific purpose as part of Jigsaw's M. Huntley stated that it allowed Jigsaw to be present there not as "a participant or even a spectator but instead as a referee, observing the rules pertinent to that particular subject rather than salaciously enjoying the 'victim's agony'.

The pig mask is a thematic prop worn by Jigsaw and his accomplices throughout the Saw film series to conceal their identities while abducting their "test subjects". As the series continues, the purpose of the pig mask is explored in detail; it is explained to be a tribute to the "Year of the Pig" , the year in which Jigsaw started his work.

The origin of the pig mask was shown in Saw IV , revealing the first known pig masks to have been latex strap-on masks used at a Year of the Pig Chinese New Year festival. Jigsaw had snatched them and donned one, while using the other one to hold his chloroform -soaked rag. The second mask was then used to knock out his first test subject, Cecil , by placing the mask over his head with the chloroform rag still inside.

When working on the original Saw film, writer Leigh Whannell and director James Wan wanted their antagonist to have some sort of mask.

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After some discussion, the idea of Jigsaw wearing a rotting pig's head was chosen to symbolize his pessimistic view of the world and the disease that he was "rotting" from. Nevertheless, the mask given to them from production a rubber Halloween mask was considered by them to be less than satisfactory. A number of things were added to make it look more gruesome, including long black hair and pus running from its eyes and nostrils. Whannell has still admitted to being disappointed with its final appearance compared to his intended one, but has admitted that the mask has since become one of the "staples" of the Saw franchise.

Along with Billy and perhaps Jigsaw himself, the mask has since become one of the more iconic symbols of the franchise. It has appeared on both the posters for the first film [11] and the fourth. Officially licensed pig mask accessories have been sold for Halloween. In addition, the mask has been featured on numerous Jigsaw action figures.

On the commentary track of Saw IV , several discussions occur about Jigsaw's decision to use references to pigs. In the series, the producers explained that Jigsaw was a spiritual person; however, it has never been revealed what religion he follows. In Saw IV , Jigsaw's ex-wife Jill explains Jigsaw's organized and planned lifestyle, stating that she had conceived their miscarried son Gideon, with Jigsaw planning for him to be born in the Year of the Pig. On the commentary track, the producers explain that in the Chinese zodiac , the Pig stands for fertility and rebirth.

Jigsaw is seen several times throughout the series with figurines of clay soldiers and buddhas , further symbolizing his reverence to various Asian cultures. Cut-outs were made, in the shape of jigsaw puzzle pieces, from the flesh of John Kramer's deceased victims who failed to pass their test. John received the nickname "Jigsaw" from the police and the press stemming from his tendency to perform such a ritual; however, he never encouraged that name and didn't actually like to be called "Jigsaw".

Huntley argued that the jigsaw pieces that John cut out of the flesh of his failed test subjects was not intended as a mere stylized signature, but rather that it had a much deeper philosophical reflection. He stated that:. Those marked with jigsaw pieces are the ones that got away, left inert, reduced to the zero intensity of death.

It would seem strange that Jigsaw — surely the last figure ever to be deemed sentimental — should choose to extract this symbolic jigsaw piece from these subjects, except that Jigsaw is linguistically consistent in explaining how he 'takes' or 'cuts' the piece of skin. The jigsaw shape marking those who 'fail' is the adding of a subtraction — in effect, the removal of their inability, their unfulfilled potential or their lack — the excision that leaves the whole of the body that is not the closed, inert corporeal body but is, instead, the ' body-without-organs ', that is, the nexus point where energy pools amid the flow and fold of forces and durations , existence beyond the living organism.

A hand-drawn jigsaw puzzle piece was also present on the back of a photograph in Saw as part of a clue for one of his games. Throughout the Saw series, John developed a tendency to recruit "apprentices" to carry on his perceived mission. Lawrence Gordon, Dr. Logan Nelson, and Jill Tuck are also assistants in certain games. Huntley argued:.

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The impulse is Deleuzian. Jigsaw remains calm, neutral and impassive throughout the Saw films not least because of his terminal condition yet his only expressed wish, concern or desire, is that his legacy is maintained — the work of testing the fabric of humanity should go on. What seems to be consistent thematically through the Saw films is that "Jigsaw" is a part for various players, an identity composed of pieces John was also assisted by Obi Tate in the kidnapping of the victims of the nerve gas house, shortly before the events of Saw II , and Zep Hindle throughout the first film.

Brad and Ryan worked for Gordon and acted as his muscle, recruited after their trap. They helped Gordon to abduct Hoffman and they chained him in the bathroom. Detective Mark Hoffman : A police officer and a detective, he was recruited by John after he found out that Hoffman killed a man in a trap to make it look like a Jigsaw murder, because the man killed Hoffman's sister.

Jigsaw abducted him, scolded him for killing him since Hoffman created the trap to be unbeatable since he himself despises murder, and made him his first apprentice by blackmailing him, but he eventually grew with the character and became loyal to John. He is considered to be his main accomplice and even an equal partner of sorts, and was Amanda Young's rival; both fought for John's approval, which is why Hoffman blackmailed her into failing her test to lose John's approval or risk his anger. He became John's successor after Amanda and John's death, but he was tested as well by John, when Jill Tuck John's wife subdued him, placed a Reverse Bear Trap on his head and then left, leaving him to die fulfilling John's promise that Hoffman will not walk away untested.

He survived it and he had his revenge while setting up new games, but he was eventually abducted by Dr. Lawrence Gordon, another of John's accomplices, and locked away in a bathroom to die. He was John's first apprentice. Hoffman is considered to be his most powerful associate, utilizing his police contacts and power as a detective to stray away the police from John's location, while keeping his identity secret until he was exposed to Internal Affairs by Jill Tuck.

However, Hoffman never personally chose any of his victims in his own traps, save for Seth Baxter, and posthumously left notes on future victims. Like John, Hoffman is a skilled engineer and programmer, designing the Pendulum Trap and operating it by himself, and also designing and setting several traps for Amanda as she is too slender to properly carry and place victims in some traps, and lacks mechanical aptitude like John or Hoffman. However, his sadistic streak worried John, who was eventually convinced that Hoffman, after his death, would continue his work not out of true beliefs but rather in a sadistic power play of his own, and as such, planned for him to be tested, but Jill set up the Reverse Bear Trap on him to be inescapable.

She managed to free herself from her trap. John recruited her after and was 'put in the House trap' in Saw II to make sure the victims played by the rules. However, she had become disillusioned with John's philosophy of giving the victims a chance; she created traps that couldn't be solved and deliberately made her victims die. John knew this and made a secret test for her to ensure that Dr.

Lynn Denlon, a nurse from the hospital kidnapped to keep John alive, will be protected during the time and to free her after her task. However, she was unable to do so and she shot her. However, this was also a scheme by Hoffman; he blackmailed her into killing Lynn otherwise he would tell him that she was responsible for Jill's miscarriage; she was the one who sent Cecil to steal the drugs.

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She was shot by Jeff, Lynn's husband, and she bled to death. She was John's second apprentice. Amanda, unlike Hoffman, has a much deeper bond with John and considers him to be a second father and a mentor to her. She was almost slavishly devoted to him, abandoning her former life to fully focus on him and keeping him alive at some point it was very loosely implied that she was also sexually attracted to him. Also unlike Hoffman, who uses the traps as his own form of sadistic, perverse justice that is justified in his mind, Amanda truly believes in John's work.

However, by Saw III , she was disillusioned with his MO, and started to design traps to be inescapable , believing that her victims do not deserve the second chance in life. She also envied John's relationship with Hoffman, whom he considered to be a better-suited apprentice and successor, as Amanda was emotionally unstable and not mechanically adept to design traps as Hoffman. She is also deeply ashamed by the fact that she was the reason why John lost his child, as she sent Cecil to steal drugs, and tried to hide it from him.

However, Hoffman, who was aware of it, blackmailed her into killing Lynn Denlon, John's latest victim, in order for Hoffman to prove to John that she was incapable of carrying John's legacy as Jigsaw. Lawrence Gordon : His secret helper, though not an official "apprentice". He was nursed back to health by John after surviving his trap and given a prosthetic foot, and became his new, secret accomplice.

After he sawed off his own foot to escape, his fate was left unknown, although he was referred to in passing and seen in flashbacks throughout the following five movies. He did not appear in-person again until Saw 3D , using his prosthesis and a cane to walk. Following John's death, Jill delivered a videotape to Lawrence, in which John asked him to watch over Jill and take action if any harm came to her. After Hoffman killed Jill, Lawrence and two accomplices abducted him and chained him to the pipes in the bathroom.

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