Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

Death Note

Image Credit: Death note(book)

Video Credit: Death Note, Episode 1 part 1

Video Credit (2): Death Note, Episode 1 part 2

Since Christopher Marlowe wrote Doctor Faustus, the idea of a deal with the devil for powers has been spread widely. Death Note is one of the many shows that takes this Faustian deal idea and changes it to fit its own needs. The main character in Death note, Light,  finds a small black notebook called the Death Note while in class one day. He later finds out that this notebook has an ability to kill people. By writing a person’s name and imagining his or her face, the person will die either by a heart attack or by a more specified way if the writer so desires.  After 5 days of writing down names, the god of death appears to him to tell of the origins of the notebook. This demon, as the god of death, is a representation of Satan, as exemplified by his horrific appearance, demonic wings, and his power over mankind. Also, ironically, his favorite fruit is apples; the fruit most people believe is the fruit that was on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The devil explains that by using the Death Note, the person is basically forfeiting his or her soul, as he or she will not go to either Heaven or Hell, but gives up the soul entirely: the power comes with a high price. This similar to the idea of a deal to gain power as in Doctor Faustus, but dissimilar in the fact that Faustus was dragged down to hell after his time on earth exhibiting his power, while the Light here would go to neither Heaven nor Hell.  Even with this high price, Light is willing to accept it, and believes that by using his powers, he will eliminate all the evil people in the world, and usher in a new world, with him as the new powerful god. He is ready to give up eternity for power in the here-and-now.

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2 responses

  1. Akshata

    I’ve never heard of this show, but it seems intriguing. The show seems to have a lot of irony, since the demonic figure’s favorite food are apples and the main character’s name is Light, even though his actions in the show seem rather dark. Although the show seems a lot like Faustus, I think you the one difference pretty clearly; that instead of being dragged down to Hell, Light is able to contain his newfound power and use it for good rather than for evil.

    May 10, 2011 at 11:00 pm

  2. deesdetfc

    Death Note! I love this show! Started to suck about 2/3 into it, typical of animes. What an ending.

    I didn’t think about that, he did like apples didn’t he?

    In the end, what I think messed everything up was that Light tried to be a God and in control of everything. He was power drunk. And that’s why he lost. Just like Satan

    May 14, 2011 at 8:34 pm

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