A Look At Moon Dong-eun’s Life That Depicts The Face Of Trauma | The Glory

Moon Dong-eun is a lead character in Netflix’s The Glory (2022-23) whose life depicts the face of trauma resulted from childhood violence and abandonment. She spends years carefully plotting to ruin the lives of her tormentors, becoming one of the most talked-about drama characters for the year as she represents victims of bullying. An in-depth look at her life experience and profile will show us her thought pattern and behavior in general.

Moon Dong-eun from 2004 to 2008.

A short-haired high schooler named Moon Dong-eun dreams of becoming an Architect. She lives in a slum with her parents who seem neglectful about their child’s needs. But like any other ordinary student, she aspires to be someone someday, so she saves up money in a piggy bank for her future, and does her best to be a diligent pupil. However, she becomes a target of bullying by a group of wealthy students, led by Park Yeon-jin, that marks the beginning of her shattered dreams and life as a whole.

Jung Ji-so as young Moon Dong-eun 📷 Netflix

Moon Dong-eun is often summoned to the school gym by Park Yeon-jin and her friends for a series of assault from physical torment to emotional manipulation and sexual abuse, but most of the time, she gets pressed by a hot curling iron, causing unimaginable wounds to her arms, legs, and shoulder. One night, she comes home and is surprised to see her perpetrators waiting for her inside her small space to make fun of her by destroying her can of savings and pushing her to dance in front of them. She gets a violent beating if she refuses to do what Park Yeon-jin commands her to do. Exhausted from the abuses, she asks for help from the school authorities and the police but she receives nothing but more woundings. Instead of comfort and protection, her own mother uses her ruthless situation to earn money by signing a mutual contract with the bully’s parent who has a powerful tie with the school authority, and worse, abandons her completely in the end.

Young Moon Dong-eun personally decides to drop out of school and live life away from the perpetrators including her mother. Out in the cold one night, she goes to the rooftop of an abandoned building with a wretched heart and stares at the snow falling softly on her wounded body inflicted by her tormentors. She looks at the heavens with her cries of anguish that seem to have fallen on deaf ears, so she removes her school uniform, exposing her huge burn marks on her arms and legs, and lies down on the snow in a folded position. Alone and helpless, she cries out loud like a child who has lost everything, like a young abandoned soul who has no one to turn to or nothing to hold on to.

Jung Ji-so as young Moon Dong-eun 📷 Netflix

She contemplates about ending her life but after a moment of pondering while looking at her burn scars, she decides to stay strong and get back at her bullies for a glorious revenge. Turning into a cold-hearted person, she goes to Park Yeon-jin at the school gym and bravely proclaims a vow in front of her bullies, “Starting today, my dream is you. I really hope we’ll see each other again.”  Determined, she restarts life as a working student, working by day and studying by night, with only one goal in mind: To become a qualified teacher and see her ultimaly bully, Park Yeon-jin, once again.

Moon Dong-eun from 2015 to present.

Several years later, Moon Dong-eun becomes a certified teacher. She still keeps her hair short and often wears dark clothes that resemble the face of hatred and trauma. She doesn’t smile and the look in her eyes appear to be cold and detached, which is caused most probably by a deep-seated torment that lies within her soul. However, she holds that mischievous smirk at the corner of her lips that implies a discreet and brilliant plan for revenge, internally professing, “There will be no forgiveness and so there will be no glory either.”

Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun 📷 Netflix

Conscientiously walking life from the year 2004, Moon Dong-eun’s elaborate plan begins. By this time, she has saved up enough money from her tutorial sessions, fully psyched-up to fulfill her dream. She drives to Semyeong and rents a new place at Eden Apartments that allows her to see the mansion of now weather broadcaster, Park Yeon-jin, who is married to a well-respected businessman that she considers her crown and glory. Like a detective, Moon Dong-eun staples photographs and cut out articles about her tormentors to the wall to examine and execute her revenge plan seamlessly. She then takes up a job as a homeroom teacher at the school of Park Yeon-jin’s one and only precious daughter and masters the skill of playing “Go” Korean board game to get closer to her bully’s husband.

In the process of carrying out her revenge, she meets new people who become her trusted allies and happen to be wounded like her—a woman named Kang Hyeon-nam who suffers from domestic violence and a young doctor named Joo Yeo-jeong whose father was brutally murdered. She deliberates internally, “I sometimes wonder. The solidarity between victims and the solidarity between perpetrators. Which of them is stronger?”

However, Moon Dong-eun whose trauma is deeply engraved in her body and soul, still keeps a distance from these new people and strongly guards her wall of defense and mistrust even in moments of warm connections. She does not easily open her life to anyone and she extends help objectively without showing emotions, not even a smile.

Moon Dong-eun’s poetic justice.

Moon Dong-eun reflects the type of personality who is goal-oriented and plans her chore to the last details. It shows in the way she devised a thorough scheme for several years to destroy the lives of her bullies, considering each one’s career and weaknesses.

As meticulously planned, an unfortunate turn of events slowly occured in the life of her high school bullies that exposed their dark secrets, crimes, and rotten traits, causing public rage and the demise of each one’s career. The group also begins to hate one another that leads to the collapse of their long time friendship. Park Yeon-jin confronts Moon Dong-eun, “Why do the poor always believes in things like poetic justice or karma?” and threatens her of another curling iron to use on her. Moon Dong-eun’s money-hungry mother becomes Park Yeon-jin’s tool to have her kicked out of school as a teacher—doing foolish things to humiliate her daughter in public.

Lim Ji-yeon as Park Eun-jin 📷 Netflix

However, Moon Dong-eun is not shaken. She knows that Park Yeon-jin is struggling with the series of unpleasant events happening around her so she continues to do her plan while dealing with her mother that she considers her first perpetrator, “I’ll never forgive you. The reason I won’t forgive you is because you still don’t understand that you were my first perpetrator.” After a dramatic battle with her mother that leaves her face scarred and her flat in ashes, Moon Dong-eun sends her to a rehabilitation clinic for good.

Park Yeon-jin, on the other hand, gets exposed with her school bullying, a crime case that took place 18 years ago, and arrested for murdering her friend. Her husband who she considers her crown and glory, files for divorce and moves overseas with their daughter, leaving her alone in the prison cell.

Fully satisfied with her poetic justice, Moon Dong-eun states, “I may have set the plan in motion but they caused the ruin themselves.” 

Moon Dong-eun celebrates and bids farewell.

Moon Dong-eun and the rest of the victims managed to get their desired revenge while the perpetrators are either rotting in their dead bodies or facing the consequences of their actions in the prison cell. She celebrates her victory with Doctor Joo Yeo-jeong by the seaside drinking, singing, and freely laughing for the first time. Meanwhile, Kang Hyeon-nam now lives in complete freedom from intense fears and runs her own small restaurant. Besides becoming key instruments to execute Moon Dong-eun’s grand revenge, Joo Yeo-jeong and Kang Hyeon-nam also serve as keys to open the door of Moon Dong-eun’s cold life—for her to experience that human warmth again massively deprived and detached in her childhood days. Because of them, her once dead smile is starting to smile again with a beam of hope.

Justice is served. Her allies are freed. She gets to laugh and dance and smile again, at long last. However, she goes back to the rooftop of an abandoned building where her idea of a grand revenge started. Standing there alone in the dark, she burns all the photos stapled on the wall while reminiscing about the horrifying past and her shattered childhood dreams. She looks at her life, full of hatred and misery, and sees herself in complete ruins with no dignity left despite attaining a glorious revenge and justice. So she decides to end her life peacefully by jumping off the building, saying, “This is the end. Goodbye.”

Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun 📷 Netflix

Moon Dong-eun sees a glimmer of hope.

Perhaps, the heavens have heard Moon Dong-eun’s agonies all along and provided miracles along her path. On the brink of ending her life, Joo Yeo-jeong’s mother calls her name, pulling her back to restart life by giving her a new mission to accomplish and a purpose to stay and live.

It’s the same glimmer of hope that made her stay strong in the face of hopelessness years ago when she tries to attempt of ending her life but sees an old woman she met at a laundry where she used to work, doing the same intention. She grabs her from drowning and they end up saving each other from letting go. She remembers her vividly and surprised to know that the old lady in the past is her landlady in the present, “There was a time when I used to think, ‘What if anybody, or anything, had tried to help me?’ Eighteen springs have passed since then. Now I finally realize that there were good grown-ups around me, too. Friends, weather, and divine intervention.”


Moon Dong-eun’s story reflects revenge on the fact that there are wounds and scars in life that run deep and permanent. In her case, school bullying is extremely brutal and violent to the point of driving her to the edge. No one was there to help, not even the police, the school authorities, nor her parents. The story also strongly shows how society often deals between the wealthy and the poor—how those with money and power easily get excused while the underprivileged gets neglected or unheard of. There’s no denying the tsunami wave of pain and devastation that Moon Dong-eun feels, her kind of suffering that goes bone deep and marks huge scars that are permanent—making her incline to seek revenge.

Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun 📷 Netflix

However, her journey also conveys that all endings are new beginnings. As presented, the grace of heavens will always rain down in the form of miracles—an unexpected call, an uninvited stranger, or a coincidental turn of event.

Netflix’s The Glory (2022-23) is a two-part gripping series about a woman named Moon Dong-eun whose childhood is marked by school violence and trauma. She spends years carefully plotting to ruin the lives of her high school bullies who tormented her body, mind, and soul. It is written by Kim Eun-sook, helmed by Ahn Gil-ho, and performed by Song Hye-kyo, Lee Do-hyun, Lim Ji-yeon, and more. Part one was released on December 30, 2022 and part two on March 10, 2023.

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Images: Netflix