In Silent Hill 2, Maria plays a vital role as she's one of the main supporting characters in the game and resembles eerily to Mary, appearance wise. Only differences are the style of clothing and hair. I truly believe that Maria and Mary were sisters and here's why...
Mary was James Sunderland's wife, who became highly ill. Seeing as it would be near impossible for her to get any better, she asked James to put her out of her misery. James was initially hesitant but did so as he couldn't bare to see his wife sick and suffering anymore, a choice that he'd later regret and would slowly lead him to becoming mentally insane. In the process of James murdering his wife, he filmed it all and it's unknown in the game as to what happened to the video tape.
Maria comes in Silent Hill 2, after James had received a letter note supposedly from "Mary" telling him to come to Silent Hill to find her. But the thing is, Mary's already dead so who could've written the letter? The other characters in the game such as Angela and Eddie definitely wouldn't have, so that leaves Maria as the only possible choice. But why would Maria do this? And why would she bare similar physical characteristics to Mary? Could she had been much more than just a manifestation, and instead been someone related to Mary looking for a way to torture James by bringing him to Silent Hill?
Clues and Evidence
All throughout the game Maria appears to have a subtle anger towards James to the point of even going as far as to demasculinizing him. She also seems very aware that she reminds James of a possible lover of his even when they meet for the first time. It seems all too obvious that this woman is somehow connected to Mary... could Maria have been seeking out some sort of vengeance for Mary by bringing James to Silent Hill, maybe she thought that it'd teach him a lesson or that he wouldn't make it out of town alive.
In the scene where Maria is talking to herself in the mirror she mentions she doesn't have any more reason to live anymore, now why exactly would she say this ? Is it possible she's still grieving Mary's death and has given up on getting vengeance on James?
But it isn't until the cell scene where she reveals to James that she knows what he did to Mary, and she wonders if the video tape is still in the hotel, implying that authorities could get involved if the video tape of what James did to Mary is eventually found. She then tells James, angrily, that she isn't his "Mary"... her immediate change of mood at the mention of Mary seems to be hinting at something more. Maria then proceeds to try to either seduce James or play around with his head, making him feel even more ashamed of what he did to Mary.
In the scene where Maria transforms into a monster that eventually can turn into Mary could of been part of Maria's plan the whole time. She could of had some sinister connection to Silent Hill, and her plan could of been a ritual to try to rebirth as her sister and to mentally torture James in the process. Unironically, her blue butterfly tattoo is a symbolism for "rebirth"
My theory is that Maria must of been aware of where James and Mary were, caring for her sister's whereabouts as she was severely ill at that time. After Mary didn't answer any of Maria's phone calls, she must of known that Mary had last been with James in a hotel room. After entering the hotel room, Maria must of found the video tape of James murdering Mary, and she became both shocked and full of grief after watching it. Instead of taking the case to the authorities, she must of wanted to take out her sorrow and thirst for vengeance on James, knowing that he was still free.
Maria must of had some kind of connection to Silent Hill, so taking advantage of that she decided to somehow try to make James come to Silent Hill in search of Mary, as he had slowly gotten a lost sense of reality and fiction. Her whole plan was probably to get James killed, and also to sacrifice herself to the town for the exchange as rebirthing as her sister, Mary. Of course Maria's plan ultimately failed, leaving herself in a permanent state of falsehood that could only manifest as a spirit that belonged to Silent Hill forever
Conclusion and Symbolism
Maria wasn't looking to doing any wrong doing, she only wanted to have her beloved sister back, even if it meant losing her life in the process. While she may have had an attraction to James, she really only worked as a false desire to him to get her plan to realization. The reason Maria kept coming back to life even after having been killed by some of the Silent Hill monsters was because as mentioned earlier she already had a connection to Silent Hill, and the monsters only served as a reminder towards James to make him feel useless of being inable to help anyone, and also to remind James that he is the real monster, despite being the protagonist of the game !
- During the cell scene, where both James and Maria are both behind bars, facing each other, it could of been a reference to the theme of "Look but do not touch", symbolizing James' desire to get with Maria to fulfill in the emptiness of him losing Mary
- Maria has a tattoo of a blue butterfly, which is symbolism for "rebirth" or "rebirthing"
- The meaning of the name of Maria means "sea of bitterness" or "sea of sorrow", which could be a reference of how she is emotionally feeling through out the game