Essay on the Devil in Paradise Lost, Holy Bible, Faust, and Devil and Tom Walker

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The Devil’s Role in Paradise Lost, The Bible, Faust, and The Devil and Tom Walker

The devil's role as the inspiration for rock-and-roll is already well documented and commonly understood. Perhaps less well documented is the role of the Devil as inspiration for literature. The Devil has played an active role in literature for quite a while with his name appearing in stories for centuries.

The historical devil has not always been personified. Initially, in religious settings, he was represented as a feeling or power, in attendance as the force of evil, an antagonist to goodness and divinity, and temptation for humans. Although not always represented as human, he has always been represented. In fact, demonstrating that he has
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No longer just a religious being, under the direction of artists, the devil assumed the shape of a fleshed-out character.4 Representations of the devil changed first from feared supernatural force to a "god of grace,"5 and next to a prankster and satirist6 and, at worst, a monster in appearance. With this final development, the devil was almost ready for the Charlie Daniels Band, but first he had to be fine-tuned.

The first important literary work in the devil's modern development was Milton's Paradise Lost. Although the devil's battle takes place in his earliest arena, Heaven, he is somewhat anthropomorphic, suspiciously human in anatomy but also bearing wings, horns, and hooves. Next was Goethe's Faust, whose title character is tempted by an under-demon, Mephistopheles, to whom he submits. Later, just as his contract with the devil is about to run out, Faust turns to God to escape damnation and repents. Although it had drawn from Theophilus, a medieval text, Faustus' originality lies in its non-biblical plot (unlike Paradise Lost).7 The devil had taken a new form in literature and other storytellers took to this incarnation.

By characterizing the devil as a person (most commonly a man), authors endowed him with significant qualities -- signifying qualities, really, many of which are recycled in "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." The devil is frequently wealthy, a sharp
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