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See also Hell


Evil, hell, supernatural, underground

Description of this motif:

Evil personified. Hebrew "satan" means opponent. Greek "diabolos" is the word behind "devil". Originally Satan was a helper of Jahve or one of God's sons, but in the antique Judaism he became an independent opponent of God, and he is regarded that way in The New Testament.

One remarkable and amusing description of the devil is in the beginning of the Andersen tale "The Snow Queen".

Example 1:

"I must attack these things," he thought, and he did so.

But while he was seeking the truth there came the Devil, who is the father of all lies. Gladly would he have plucked out the eyes of this seer, but that would have been too blunt, for the Devil works in a more cunning way. He let him continue to seek and see the true and the good; but while the young man was doing so, the Devil blew a mote into his eye, into both eyes, one mote after another; this, of course, would harm even the clearest sight. Then the fiend blew upon the motes until they became beams, and the eyes were destroyed. There the Seer stood like a blind man in the great world and had no faith in it, for he had lost his good opinion of it and of himself. And when a man loses confidence in the world and himself, it is all over with him.

Comment on this quote: 84

Example 2:

It seemed as if this brother was going to have better luck than the other two.

But that angered the Devil, and so he promptly set to work with all the incense powder and smoke to be found, the very strongest, which can stifle anyone, and which he can prepare artfully enough to even confuse an angel – and surely, therefore, a poor poet! The Devil knows how to take hold of a man like that! He surrounded the Poet so completely with incense that the poor man lost his head, forgot his mission, his home, everything – even himself; he then vanished in smoke.

Example 3:

But the Devil could not put up with this. With more cunning than that of ten thousand men, he devised a way to bring about his purpose. From the marsh he collected little bubbles of stagnant water, and muttered over them a sevenfold echo of untrue words, to give them strength. Then he blended bought heroic poems and lying epitaphs, as many as he could find, boiled them in the tears of envy, colored them with grease paint he had scraped from the faded cheeks of an old lady, and from all this he fashioned a maiden, with the appearance and carriage of the Blind Girl, the blessed angel of sensibility. Then the Devil's plot was consummated, for the world knew not which of the two was the true one, and indeed how could the world know?

Trust in God and thyself; pray then
His will be done, forever; amen.