The Comparison Of Satan In The Bible To Media THESIS When we think of the portrayal of Satan, the prince of darkness, in the different texts, films, and religions, there are many things that are common traits. But there are also things which differ in each medium, and that is what this paper will be exploring. Using three different sources, the movies End of Days, Devil’s Advocate, and Spawn(not the most profound movie I admit, but a sharp contrast and an interesting portrayal Satan), and compare them to the Bible to show the different ways that Satan is portrayed, both visually and personality wise. The first thing that needs to be explored is the way Satan is portrayed visually within these three references. The first, both chronologically and by importance, would be the Bible. Originally, in the Garden of Eden, Satan is portrayed a serpent, though with legs.
Now, nowhere in the Bible does it come right out and say that the serpent in the garden was actually Satan, but it is heavily implied throughout the book that it was he. After the serpent convinces Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit, God says, So the LORD God said to the serpent, Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life(Genesis 3:14). This is the first time Satan (or at least what everyone is convinced is Satan) is portrayed with a visual reference in the bible. All throughout the bible, Satan is given a serpent like appearance, as in Revelations 20:2 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years. So, to sum up what I’ve been saying for the past paragraph, Satan in the Bible is portrayed as a serpent-like creature. In the movie End of Days, you don’t see Satan portrayed right off, you merely hear his voice saying, Behold the thousand years has ended, and you have failed. However, before Satan is even portrayed in the movie, there is a reference to the serpent form he is given in the bible.
A child that he is destined to become betrothed too is born, and is taken down, where a snake is sliced open and some of the blood fed to her. Later in the film, the now grown up child Christine is said to have his blood in her. Which means that the snake is indeed a decedent from Satan, or at least that’s what they’re implying in the movie. The first time we see Satan in the film, it is for our eyes only, meaning that the characters in the movie cannot see him. He is portrayed at first as a spirit of sorts, translucent and shimmering, no real substance, as he seeks out a suitable human form.
The form he finds is an unnamed human, played by Gabriel Byrne. The man is quite fit, with dark hair, slicked to one side, and impeccably dressed. After his human form is destroyed beyond repair by a man named Jericho Cane (played by Arnold, an ex police officer turned bodyguard, who has lost faith in God for losing his family), he once again becomes the translucent spirit that he was in the beginning, which only the audience can see. Than, after a rather ominous silence, Satan pops up from the floor of the church Jericho has taken refuge in, now what would be considered his true form (if beings such as God and Satan can be said to have one permanent form that they prefer.) His true form is quite hideous actually, as he now is at least 20-30 feet tall, composed mainly of what appears to be rotting flesh. He resembles a giant bat more than anything else, with large bat like wings and a face that is similar to that of a bat. He also has the customary horns, though they stick out to the sides and are more like spikes, and a barbed tail.
So this is the physical portrayal of the prince of darkness in the movie. In the movie, Devil’s Advocate, Satan (played by the illustrious Al Pacino) is portrayed much the same way as in End of Days for a while. He’s visually given to us as a normal man throughout the whole movie, save for the very end. He seems to be a suave, sophisticated man who wears nice suits and is a rich individual. He has hair slicked to the side, a somewhat wrinkled facial appearance, and a constant smile on his face that seems to hide something more insidious, which it does.
He can also assume other forms, as he turns into a reporter at the end and than shifts back into his normal guise. There’s virtually no reference to the snake portrayal, nor is there much of a reference to the more classical portrayal of Satan, with the horns, wings, tail, and cloven feet. The only time the devil in this movie is not given a human form is at the very end, when his plot is foiled by Kevin (Keanue Reeves), the veil of humanity is ripped away from our eyes, giving us a glimpse of his true form. It’s not a hideous creature, a fanged monster, nor is it a serpent of some kind. Instead, Satan’s true form is an Angel. That is correct, an angel, complete with wings, glowing aura, and long flowing hair.
If you’ll recall, Satan once was an angel of God, before having a falling out with him, so it makes sense that Satan’s true form would likely be the one he was given at the beginning of his creation, that of an angel. So to sum up what Satan looked like in the film, it’s a mortal man for most of the time, save the end, when he’s given his angelic form. Also, for some reason, when he touches holy water, it starts to boil, most likely because he’s pure evil no matter what form he’s in. In the movie Spawn, which I am using as a sharp contrast to the other two films I have listed, there is a tremendous difference between how he is portrayed anywhere else, except for a few scenes in End of Days. Throughout the entire movie, Satan, actually known as Malbogia in the film, is portrayed as a hideous beast, with no angelic or human form.
His part is played by no one really, just special effects, and a man with a very raspy voice that fits the devil very well. The devil is always rather large and quite a repugnant creature in the movie, with a jaw line that extends outward a good twenty feet from his head, which is covered in spiked blonde hair (along with the rest of his body). He has unsightly horns protruding from the side of his head, which are larger than spikes even. His eyes are about as big as a man, and said mouth contains rows upon rows of razor sharp teeth. He appears to have no use of clothing, either lacking the parts necessary or having little to no modesty, but you never see his midsection down.
It is always hidden behind either a large rock, or a column of flame (which Hell seems to contain an fairly decent amount of.) His arms are longer than his body is presumed to be, with large claws at the end with the customary foot long razor sharp points. In other words this devil, Malbogia, is the stuff of nightmares, the things that a parent would tell a naughty child when they misbehave, that they will get snatched up by this dreadful thing if they continue to misbehave. There would be no mistaking what character is being portrayed if one was to look at this film with no real idea of the plot, as I doubt any other movie would have something this hideous being anything other than the prince of darkness himself. Now, if physical appearance were all that mattered in judging a character, than that would be it. But there is more to comparing people than by merely looking at them.
Personality matters too, as it shows what lies beneath the veil of the physical. In the bible, the devil’s personality is never touched upon that much. It’s a given that he’s the master of evil, and therefore, bad, but he’s never actually given a character, nor does he speak that much to let us know his feelings. Personality does not seem to have much bearing in the Bible. In End of Days, the devil’s personality plays a big factor in him getting what he wants and how he operates, defining him as a character.
He, while in the human body he has possessed, is quite sophisticated. He’s a smooth operator, and seems to know the right things to say to try and get what he wants. When he’s talking to Jericho (Arnold), he says, You know who the biggest underachiever is? HIM. He’s just got a good publicist that’s all. When good things happen, it’s His will.
When bad things happen, He moves in mysterious ways. Satan possesses a pleasant sounding voice, and he’s very convincing, nearly managing to convince Jericho to join him. The Devil is also very promiscuous in this movie as well, even though he’s after just one girl, he has different forms of relations with at least three other women, ranging from a kiss and a fondle, to intercourse with a mother and daughter at the same time. Perhaps his most unique personality trait is his habit of going into fits of calm rage. By that I mean that he will have outbursts of anger, such as turning a restaurant to a charred cinder of it’s remains, punching a man right through the head, snapping someone’s neck, or stabbing them in the head with a cross, all the while remaining the perfect picture of calm.
He refuses to get all that angry, even when his mortal body is shot and blown into several different and no longer usable parts. He’s the perfect gentleman, right up until the last minute when he’s nearing the deadline for his evil plot to take over the world at the beginning of the new millennium, at which point he loses his cool and destroys nearly an entire church in his fit of rage. To sum up the devil’s personality he’s smooth and sophisticated, and quite a calm guy. In Devil’s Advocate, Satan has much the same personality as Satan in End of Days, except for the fact that he shows emotion more often than the End of Days version. He likes to have a lot of fun, using the riches he acquired …