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Sympathy For The Devil In Literature

Posted 5/6/2012 at 9:48:24 AM

Interestingly it seems there is a lot of Sympathy for the Devil, I suspect this is true because the Devil is flawed and in many ways very human.  In fact there is no lack of literature portraying the battle between Satan and God not as Evil vs Good, but as humanity vs an impossible standard of perfection.    In the Master and the Margarita there's a brilliant section that illustrates this.

A city is burning down and Satan and the disciple stand on a rooftop:

[Matthew speaking to Satan] "I've come to see you, Spirit of Evil and Sovereign of Shadows," ...

[Satan] "If you've come to see me, then why haven't you greeted me and wished me well"...

[Matthew] "Because I don't want you to do well" ....

[Satan]  "Nevertheless, you'll have to reconcile yourself to the fact that I am," retorted Woland with a twisted smile. "No sooner do you appear on the roof than you blab nonsense, and I'll tell you what it is - it's in your intonation. You pronounced your words as if you refuse to acknowledge the existence of either shadows or evil. But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn't exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and from living beings. Do you want to strip the earth of all the trees and living things just because of your fancy of enjoying naked light? You're stupid."

 

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