Seeing the Real Lucifer: Exploring the Mythology Behind Episode 2.06: “Monster”

Last night’s Lucifer gave us a glimpse of Lucifer without the mask. However, descriptions of Lucifer don’t come easily. In fact, the only descriptions within the Bible are reserved for John’s Revelation, which is steeped in so much metaphor and prophecy that it’s hard to sort out what’s what. John refers to Satan as “a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns” (Rev 12:3), which actually sounds more like the Tiamat from Dungeons & Dragons (I miss that cartoon).

All other mentions of the Devil do not describe him, only mention him. At best, we might have his words, but not a physical description. It’s not until the Middle Ages does Christianity attempt a depiction of Lucifer, nearly all of which have monstrous elements—giving him horns, goat or chicken legs, claws, wings, tail, etc. The most famous visual depiction is that found in the Codex Gigas, believed to have been written in the 12th or 13th century.

Illustration of the Devil from the Codex Gigas
The next image of Satan is from Dante’s Inferno, where the devil has definitely taken on a more monstrous form. Now, he has three mouths, wings under each chin, a thick pelt of hair, and is large enough to fit a man in each mouth. More than the physical, Dante demeans the devil by claiming “Out of six eyes he wept and his three chins / dripped tears and drooled blood-red saliva” (Inferno, Canto XXIV, 53-54).

This is not an angel in Dante’s mind. This is a monstrous being so thoroughly corrupted by the evilness of his betrayal that Dante remarks, “If he was fair as he is hideous now, / and raised his brow in scorn of his creator, / he is fit to be the source of every sorrow.” This is a Lucifer who is nothing but a defeated monster, only capable of being a mechanism for misery and pity. 

This is clearly not the Lucifer we see in the show. For that, we have to go with something a little more contemporary and look to Paradise Lost. John Milton wrote the epic picturing a completely different Lucifer than anyone else. In his story, Lucifer is the leader of the fallen rebellion, and each one of the angels was “Cloth'd with transcendent brightness didst out-shine / Myriads though bright” (Paradise Lost, Book I, 86-87).

It is in this work that we have a Lucifer who stands tall and proud. Though he has been expelled from Heaven, he is not defeated, and he's quite willing to take up the fight against God again and never give it up. This is the angel that would have borne the wondrous wings we saw from the first episode, a Lucifer who is too beautiful to behold.

However, the episode takes us down a different visual path near the end when Lucifer pulls off the mask for Linda. This is a Lucifer with red skin, who looks like he has been burned—which makes sense for he was cast into Hell, which was described as being a lake of fire even in the Bible.

This is a Lucifer who has borne thousands of years of pain for his rebellion, who is a mix of both the Dante and Milton versions of the character. When he takes off the mask for Linda, we get a glimpse of a Lucifer who is on the verge of sorrow and tears for the guilt he is suffering. However, he is still the Lucifer of strength and fortitude that is ready to face down opposition. Really, what we see is a Lucifer who is showing humanity. This may be a further transformation, as Lucifer claims he never before felt guilt and, yet, now does. 

Before, he rebelled against Dad, but that was an acting out, and it seems that no one came to harm. He has many siblings, but there is no mention of hurting them, and it is him killing Uriel that has left him in this state.

Lucifer is not the only character to let his mask slip, as Maze shows Trixie her true self, with half her face horribly scarred. It’s clear that the demon is going through many emotions making herself so vulnerable and greatly fears rejection, but Trixie’s reaction turns this into a bonding moment. It seems the heartless tormenting demon has made a true friend and cares about someone other than Lucifer.

Mum is working her agenda on Amenadiel, slowly turning him to her side—and it works. He’s in. Showing him the grave of Uriel is what tips Amenadiel against God in what is a tried-and-true argument: “If he wanted to, he could have prevented all of this from happening, all of the misunderstandings, all of the pain.” And now Amenadiel is truly Fallen as he has turned against God.

This piano music from Lucifer punctuates Amenadiel’s Fall as well as highlights Lucifer’s pain as he plays Metallica’s “The Unforgiven,” a very apt choice of music for Lucifer’s guilt. However, Lucifer has not yet asked for forgiveness. Chloe spends the entire episode trying to get him to let out his feelings, to tell her what’s going on, but he refuses. She is, in essence, trying to get him to confess his sin. He refuses, of course, as he believes she won’t understand, and he seeks out Linda instead.

His unveiling to Linda, though, is probably the wrong call. She has never been equipped to deal with anything of that nature. Her scientific and medical training tells her that he is wrapped in delusion and metaphor, that the supernatural cannot exist. Chloe, however, treats him as a partner and has deeper insights into him. “[She] is there for him. [She] just wants to understand,” without the silence that is all Linda can return.

See also: Angel Throwdown: Exploring the Mythology Behind Lucifer, Episode 2.05: “Weaponizer”

 


Andy Adams is an adjunct professor of English at various colleges in the Phoenix area. He has an affectation for fedoras as they complement his villainous goatee. He’s been known to poke his head onto Twitter @A3Writer, but he’s never been big into birds. He blogs at A3writer.comabout writing, teaching, and the conquest of fictional worlds—they’re more fun than the real world.

Read all posts by Andy Adams for Criminal Element.

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