Emily, this is the video I was talking about.
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
Hi, I’m here to tell you why the Devil is the most interesting character in the Western canon.
(If you’re religious and squicky about de debil, a la Vicky Valencourt’s mom, don’t worry. I’m not a Satanist (Anton LaVey was a horrifically boring writer) and I’m not a Devil-worshipper. (Yes, those are different things). I’m a practicing Christian who happens to be a history/religion/literature geek.)
Anyway. Up with literary Lucifer!
The Devil is interesting from a cultural perspective because unlike just about every other archetype found in Western literature and pop culture, the Devil is always himself. Sure, you get modern versions of him (Louis Cypher in Angel Heart, John Milton in The Devil’s Advocate, etc), but they’re all either explicitly revealed or implied to be “The” Devil. He’s the same guy: the same, body-swapping, temptation-offering, soul-reading guy. It’s not Luke Skywalker the Fool or Richard III the warped soul in a warped body; Satan is Satan is Satan.
Now, interestingly enough, Lucifer isn’t “Lucifer” until the Christians get a hold of him, though Satan as a fallen angel dates to late pre-Christian Judaism. Lucifer literally means light-bearer.
(From etymonline.com: “Belief that it was the proper name of Satan began with its use in Bible to translate Greek Phosphoros, which translates Hebrew Helel ben Shahar in Isaiah xiv:12 — “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” [KJV] Because of the mention of a fall from Heaven, the verse was interpreted by Christians as a reference to Satan, even though it is literally a reference to the King of Babylon (cf. Isaiah xiv:4).” So, Christians did some bad translating. This isn’t exactly a surprise. )
Anyway, so there’s this entity, the Adversary or Accuser. Satan is here to call out dear old Dad on his bullshit. (Interestingly enough, Judaism and many strains of Christianity moved away from the literal Satan-as-tempter image, preferring to acknowledge the evil inherent in human inclination.)
For various reasons I won’t get into here, we’re used to thinking of evil as being selfish, chaotic, and destructive, but Lucifer isn’t. Satan may be an absolute dick of a rules-lawyer, but for the most part he’s depicted as working within the system. The Abrahamic religions are fundamentally legalistic, so having a powerful enemy who is at least nominally lawful instead of chaotic is actually pretty significant. (See Odin the Lawbringer vs Loki, for a nice contrast.)
So what DOES the Devil do, then? In the book of Job, Satan is tasked with tempting people and reporting back on the ones who don’t uphold God’s law. Iblis, the Satan in Islam, was cast out of heaven for being an uppity dick and refusing to bow down to Adam, but vows to god he will tempt the humans into sin so that God can see which men are truly good.
Satan’s great sin is simple hubris and disobedience. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, which is where we get our modern concept of Lucifer, the devil is exiled to Hell for starting a rebellion because he refuses to lower himself to being ruled by humans or even God-in-Man (the Son of the Trinity, who would later be incarnated as Jesus). Milton is where we get the Devil’s great line “Better to rule in Hell than to serve in Heaven.”
So Lucifer is this ancient, powerful being - not as awesome as God, but pretty up there - who gets told “yeah, I know I gave you free will and all, but it’s time for you to bow down to these mud people I just made” and flips his shit. And, depending on which version of the story you get, then starts a big nasty brawl with all his brothers because they want him to get the fuck out of the house and stop antagonizing dad, while he’s trying to point out that no, really, he has a point. Because it is literally his job to call out God on his bullshit.
So that’s who we’re talking about. But why should you care?
Because you know who he is. Because when you see him on screen, you recognize him. Because Milton’s devil influenced the way we see seductive, intelligent evil.* Because for hundreds of years - potentially thousands - we’ve had this amazing bad guy who can be bad for us without being “evil.” Because Satan fucked up so epically he’d like to share the pain with us. If we make the same mistakes he did, well, that’s not his fault, is it?
Because the Devil will always be the Devil, no matter what disguise you put him in, and I can’t think of any other character from religion or literature that can say that.
And that’s why Lucifer is my homeboy.
*Dante’s Divine Comedy, also influential in the Western canon, has Satan as a ravening, thoughtless beast, and one of my favorite Satan stories, Dr Bonoculus’ Devil by Terry Jones, has the Devil as a gamboling idiot, but the fallen-prideful-angel angle still stands. This is the Abbadon/Beast/monster Satan, which is also pretty entertaining.
Photoset mine, because I have too much time on my hands.
You know, I’ve been thinking about something for a while:
Who says that the Avatar has to be good?
I mean it’s pretty universally accepted. The Avatar has to save the world and protect the world and keep the peace, right?
But above everything else, it’s been stressed that the Avatar is human.
That the Avatar experiences humanized emotions and weaknesses. What if one of those weaknesses just happens to be lust and power? What if the Avatar uses his/her power to purposely take over the nations.
What if the Avatar becomes the enemy?
CAN WE HAVE THIS PLEASE?
My first thought for new series was that Amon was a twin to Korra and he had the entire spiritual powers of the avatar while Korra had all of the bending. Amon then develops this sense of bending is wrong and the only way for people to be equal is to take it away.
This is where I had conflicting thoughts on where I would like it to go. One way is that he thinks, maybe twisted by some evil spirit, that the advancements in technology was destroying the environment. So he starts up a revolution thinking that the benders will take out all the none benders. Or that bending has been corrupted by the modern age and needs to be ‘reset’.
The other thing was that he hated the spiritual aspect and strain of the avatar. The spirits are always bothering him about how the modern age is slowly removing them. So he convinces people to rise up to take out benders, the spiritual’s strongest ties to the material world.
-Yinsen. Nice to meet you.
-Nice to meet you, too.
THIS BROKE MY HEART.
I really liked all the little things they threw into this movie. This part was very sad. I do wonder what makes us so nostalgic for dead characters. Is it because we know they have a set frame and can not break it? Something akin to fate or destiny. Are we so sympathetic to these character because we feel like them? Trapped by fate or destiny. Is it because the characters almost always die in a noble way?
I don’t know but every time it happens in books or films I sigh sadly. I am glad to know them a bit better or see them before it changed them.
|dad:||I don't see the point in suicide|
|dad:||if people are pissing you off kill them instead.|
|dad:||if you're sad just kill other people|
|dad:||no point in killing yourself. That's no fun.|