Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Illusion That Evil Is Liberating

In his lengthier preface to The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote of dangerous depictions of evil in literature, noting, "But the really pernicious image is Goethe's Mephistopheles. It is Faust, not he, who really exhibits the ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling concentration upon self which is the mark of Hell. The humorous, civilised, sensible, adaptable Mephistopheles has helped to strengthen the illusion that evil is liberating." A fitting quote on the day of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's birth (1749-1832).

Lewis, on the other hand, tried to avoid representing evil as liberating in The Screwtape Letters, showing instead the self-centered, prideful bickering and back-stabbing nature of true evil, albeit via devilishly entertaining humor.

No comments: