Monday, August 29, 2011

History Mystery: Realm of Myths and Legends -2

Devil: Supreme embodiment of evil and the archenemy of God, also known as Beelzebub, Lucifer, Old Nick, Satan and the Prince of Darkness. Satan has been depicted in many ways: as a man with horns, goat hoofs and pitchfork, and as an angel with large bat wings. In the early book of the Old Testament, it was God who inflicted punishment on men, while one of his officials- known as ‘the Satan’, Hebrew for ‘adversary’ – acted as a prosecutor. In the New Testament and in later times, the image of Satan grew increasingly monstrous, until he was eventually blamed for all sin and evil, the story of the fall from heaven of Lucifer is told in the Book of Isaiah, in the Old Testament. Belief in the Devil was largely abandoned among theologians as a result of the Enlightenment. John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost tells of the rebellion and punishment of Lucifer, a proud, arrogant and tragic figure who believes that it is ‘better to reign in hell than serve in heaven’.

Faust: Legendary scholar, magician and practitioner of astrology, who sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for youth, knowledge and power. A ‘real’ Faust lived in 16th century Germany- a charlatan who boasted that he could perform miracles because he was in league with the Devil. The writers Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe wrote plays about Faust. In Marlowe’s Dr. Faust, ends up being dragged to hell to face an eternity of torment; in Goethe’s version, however, Faust is finally redeemed. A ‘Faustian’ bargains is one in which a person sells his soul for huge tangible material gain.

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