Is Mi-gyeong the antagonist in The Interest of Love?

In The Interest of Love, Mi-gyeong befriends Su-yeong and starts pursuing Sang-su. Mi-gyeong‘s character is perceived as the antagonist because she constantly makes Su-yeong realize what she lacks in her life. Mi-gyeong is played by Keum Sae-rok.

The moment Mi-gyeong walks into the bank, she dazzles everyone with her looks and her wealth. It is clear to everyone that she comes from an influential family, as she can change her car in a day just because the manager has the same car.

Mi-gyeong is quick to befriend Su-yeong. The two women share several similarities; they even like the same man, Sang-su. Since Su-yeong cannot be with him due to the difference in their social status, Mi-gyeong pursues Sang-su until he agrees to date her.

In a show like The Interest of Love, Mi-gyeong is seen as the antagonist by the audience. She represents everything that Su-yeong can never have, and Su-yeong is reminded of that every time they spend time together as friends.

The difference in their worlds

Mi-gyeong comes from a wealthy family, but she refuses to take her parents’ help and chooses to work at the bank instead. However, at a college friend’s wedding, Mi-gyeong is reminded that she never would have made it this far if it was not for her family’s privilege. 

She can claim to be a self-made woman, but she cannot deny that her family’s wealth allowed her the space and time to make the best out of the opportunities that came her way. Even today, she can afford her extravagant lifestyle because of her family’s wealth.

While it upsets Mi-gyeong, who wants to have an independent identity of her own, it is true to a certain extent. In a society where one’s worth is measured based on their social background, Mi-gyeong has always had an advantage.

The kind of life that people like Mr. Jeong dream of achieving at the end of their careers is the life that Mi-gyeong has been living all her life. Her beginning is their end. 

Furthermore, her family’s social position allows her to confidently stand up to her superiors, a privilege that Su-yeong cannot afford. When Mr. Yuk makes Su-yeong uncomfortable at work, she does not bother taking an action against him as long as he does not cross the line. 

However, Mi-gyeong comes to her rescue and subtly confronts Mr. Yuk by dropping her father’s name as a veiled threat. Even when Su-yeong later takes action against him, she has to fear losing her own job, something that would never happen to Mi-gyeong.

Mi-gyeong as a foil to Su-yeong

Although Mi-gyeong comes from a completely different background, she still has a lot in common with Su-yeong. The two women are kind, they paint, and they enjoy appreciating art, among other things. They both fall in love with Sang-su, owing to his considerate nature.

They like the same things, but the major difference lies in the fact that Su-yeong can never dream of having everything she desires, while Mi-gyeong gets all those things. The show dedicates a lot of time to establishing this difference.

When Mi-gyeong is assigned to work on a presentation with Sang-su, Su-yeong is asked to take over her job.

Su-yeong, who always felt like she performed the tasks of an ATM at the office as she is just a high school graduate, feels like she has been given meaningful work for the first time and performs exceptionally well.

She is given the hope that she might get to keep this job, only for it to get snatched from her. Her hard work amounts to nothing, and it is handed over to Mi-gyeong, whose mother later asks her if she took all the credit for Su-yeong’s work.

Mi-gyeong feels sorry for her and gifts her a pendant that Su-yeong had complimented when she was wearing it; a disappointed Su-yeong gets to keep Mi-gyeong’s leftovers.

The Interest of Love Mi-gyeong
Mi-gyeong keeps the bag that Su-yeong chose and painted

This is also seen when Su-yeong paints Mi-gyeong’s old bag. Mi-gyeong gives Su-yeong one of her new bags and keeps the one that Su-yeong liked and painted because she changed her mind when she saw the painted bag.

Mi-gyeong also buys the painting that Su-yeong used to like looking at and places it in her bathroom, a place where it would never be seen by people, simply because she liked it when she first saw it. Mi-gyeong takes what she likes, while Su-yeong can only admire the same things from afar. 

The Interest of Love Su-yeong
Su-yeong finds the painting in Mi-gyeong’s bathroom

Similarly, she starts liking Sang-su instantly when she meets him again. She pursues him without worrying about anything else, whereas Su-yeong cannot be with Sang-su because she is reminded of the difference in their status over and over again.

However, if their positions were to be reversed, Su-yeong might still not act like Mi-gyeong. The show addresses that there are a few key differences in the nature of the two women. Even before Mi-gyeong is introduced, the bank employees comment on it.

Su-yeong’s life has taught her to be careful when it comes to addressing sensitive subjects, while Mi-gyeong is not aware of how she might affect those around her.

For instance, Mi-gyeong talks about college with Mr. Jeong, not realizing that she has been excluding Su-yeong and making her uncomfortable at Su-yeong’s birthday dinner.

Mi-gyeong’s character does not oppose Su-yeong’s character. Instead, it highlights the qualities that make Su-yeong special as well as everything that she does not have and cannot have because of her background.

Through her character, the viewers can better understand Su-yeong’s lack of privilege, her reasons for rejecting Sang-su, and her choice to date Mr. Jeong. Mi-gyeong’s character is more of a foil, a character that is very similar to another character and highlights the qualities of that character, than an antagonist. 


Also Read: The Interest of Love season 1 episode 8 recap & review