Friday, June 12, 2009

The Nature of Satan

First let me address anyone who is reading this with a literal perspective: Don't. I am no particularly interested in a religious sermon about the Devil. I am more interested in the nature of the literary as opposed to the literal Satan. The Satan as manifested in art and literature from the Divine texts to modern cinema.

It all started while listening to a podcast lecture by Paul Stevens on Milton's Satan. I would encourage you to listen to it. It is well worth the time. I had not thought about Paradise Lost since 1984 when, on earning my MA in English Literature I promptly put it away and turned to Finance and business for further study and to earn a living. Satan, you see, had been a favorite subject of mine in my youth. As much as I feared him as a boy growing up, I engaged him in my early teens through Uriah Heep to overcome these fears and identified with him as a rebel and tragic hero as a late teen and young man in the middle of a religious war where God - as manifested by the deeds of his many fervent servants - was indistinguishable from Satan. The last time I met Satan at an intellectual level, he was seducing Leopold Bloom on the streets of Dublin. Don't misunderstand me, evil has been most prevalent in the past two decades. But the Literary Satan has been absent from my life for a long time. I never watched any of the gratuitous "B" movies or read any of the epic books that may have touched on him recently except perhaps for Harry Potter of course.

With that in mind, I thought that I would engage you in sharing your views of Literary Satan. What role did/does he play in your life? What is your opinion of him? Is he a tragic romantic rebel hero as I came to know him? Or is he something else? What, in your mind is the meaning of the archetypal Satan.

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