Vera Ye’s Death In ‘3 Body Problem’ Explained: Why Does Vera Take Her Own Life?

The world that humankind has created for itself has seen countless wars, destruction, and genocide, but probably the greatest war that we’ve been fighting as a species is one between objective and subjective morality. It isn’t uncommon for people to have a tendency to see morality from a rather subjective perspective. There are people who would justify the killing of children in the name of self-preservation. There are people who wouldn’t even bat an eye before taking life for the tenets of their religious beliefs. Then there are people who would harm other people to protect their ‘way of life.’ To be fair, 3 Body Problem indeed seems to draw similarities from several real-world issues. 


3 Body Problem, for me, is a study of civilization from a microscopic as well as macroscopic perspective. The series comments on suffering, but not just human suffering. I do not think that humans are the heroes of this story or any story, if you think about it. So does that make the San-Ti the good guys? Or does that make the followers of San-Ti the good guys? 

Consider this: I believe environmentalists are indeed the saviors of this planet. Truth be told, we need more people to turn to environmentalism with every passing year because we don’t have a lot of time left to reverse the effects of global warming. But what if this ideology injects itself with steroids and amphetamines and becomes something volatile? Would it still be environmentalism? There have been recent developments since a group of environmentalists threw soup on the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. I wouldn’t entirely associate it with the same kind of extremism that Mike Evans practices, but it’s still something. When Karl Marx and Engels came up with the tenets of Marxism and the near utopian principles that they introduced through this philosophy, did they ever think that the Mao Zedongs and Yoseph Stalins of the world would bastardize it to commit genocide? Did Jesus Christ ever stop and wonder about the countless violent crusades that the Catholic Church would lead in his name? Socialist thinkers might call morality a construct, but I beg to draw a line between what’s subjective and what’s objective. 


I might be a left-leaning ideologist and definitely not the kind of person who likes to pander to the masses, but I can truly resonate with how Vera Ye must feel after realizing that her entire life has been a lie. On a scale of morality from Wade to Mike Evans, Vera Ye would be the kind of chaotic neutral that the world really needs right now. I’m not asking people to end their lives in an act of ritualistic ‘seppuku,’ that’d be horrifying. But it’s moral understanding and accountability that humankind needs to think about sooner rather than later.

Spoilers Ahead 


Who Is Vera Ye? 

Vera is Wenjie’s daughter and a renowned physicist at the University of Oxford. She also runs her own particle accelerator at the university. Being a genius like her mother, she mentored an entire generation of physicists at the university. Saul Durand, Augustin Salazar, Jin Cheng, Jack Rooney, and Will Downing were her own students, and judging by their reactions to her passing, they had been quite close to her in the past. Despite her godlike status in the field of physics, she was human and had picked Saul Durand as her favorite, which did meet some discontentment from other students like Jack Rooney. While not much is shown about her, Vera Ye is a central figure in the narrative. It was her death that brought together the Oxford Five and set in motion the chain of events in the series. 

What Is Vera’s Relationship With Saul?

Saul is Vera’s student and protege. She has been Saul’s mentor for years and has been quite encouraging to him. Saul was always led by self-doubt, and that prevented him from being in the limelight as a physicist himself. However, Vera always saw potential in Saul, which is why he was her favorite amongst the Oxford Five. Saul too saw Vera in high regard, which is why he is probably the most affected by Vera’s demise. His recent unhealthy habits, like acid and marijuana abuse, have likely been a result of the grief of losing his mentor. 


Who Is Vera’s Father? 

The whereabouts about Vera’s father wasn’t initially revealed in the series. Wenjie was portrayed as a single mother herself, but there had always been speculation that Vera had a relationship with Mike Evans. Even Clarence was suspicious of Mike’s presence at her funeral but couldn’t entirely guess it either. It wasn’t until he found out that Mike was present in Inner Mongolia at the same time as Wenjie in 1977 and was indeed acquainted with her, that made Clarence confirm his suspicions about Mike and Vera’s connection. In 1982, Wenjie arranged a meeting with Mike regarding her plans with the San-Ti, which brought them closer, and it is hinted that by 1984, they had developed an intimate relationship when Mike Evans showed her the Judgment Day for their base of operations. It is likely that Vera was conceived during this time as well. However, Evans never met Vera until after she was dead. 

What Made Vera Take Her Own Life?

Vera’s suicide was a mysterious one, and her motive behind this act was never really revealed. Among the numerous speculations, the Oxford Five came to believe that she was playing the VR game as well. They suspect that the game somehow manipulated Vera; however, Wenjie’s testimony dispels that notion completely. She had lied about Vera having ever played the game. Vera had never known about the game in the first place, like everything else. Vera was living a perfect lie created by her mother to protect her. But then she became a particle physicist. She led her own research to unravel the mysteries of the universe, but then all the science she had known was proven wrong when the particles in the accelerator began showing abnormal behavior, which was scientifically impossible. This result made her investors pull the funding and shut the door on her life’s work. 


It is revealed later that Vera indeed found out about what her mother had done. She was a smart person and read the emails of correspondence between Wenjie and the other people in the organization. It is likely that Vera even found out about the San-Ti. This is the reason why she asked Saul if he believed in God. Vera could no longer fathom being in a world where her own mother was responsible for her life’s work becoming redundant. Additionally, when she finds out that her own mother has doomed the future of humanity, she can no longer imagine a future for herself. It isn’t clear how much of Wenjie’s contempt for humanity was known by her daughter. Being her daughter, Vera must surely have known the negative and even extremist implications of science and technology, but after finding out about her mother’s actions, she saw both sides of extremism. She realized that good and evil do not come in pairs of zero and one. In that moment, she understood the difference between objective and subjective morality. Perhaps the conundrum in itself is what led to her taking her own life. 

Did Vera ever think that her work would be used to commit atrocities in the future? I’m sure every creator would think of that possibility once or twice, but should the probability of a future full of violence and death overpower Vera’s intentions of goodwill and the ways that her work would’ve helped humanity reach a new zenith? Perhaps the success of her work could have led to discoveries in molecular biology that would have cured even Will Downing’s cancer. But then, talk about the string theory of particle physics and how a particle physicist’s death gradually fuels the flames for a movement that might be humanity’s only hope. It is quite metaphorical and unscientific but nonetheless thought-provoking that Vera’s suicide is the first in this string of particles that will shape the future. 


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Shrey Ashley Philip
Shrey Ashley Philip
A teacher, photographer, linguist, and songwriter, Shrey started out as a Biotechnology graduate, but shifted to studying Japanese. Now he talks about movies, advocates for ADHD awareness, and embraces Albert Camus.

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