Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

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Highway to Hell

Highway to Hell is the opening track of AC/DC’s 1979 album Highway to Hell. The song was written by Bon Scott, Angus Young and Malcolm Young while the main guitar riff created by Angus Young. The song is ranked number 254 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Including its name Highway to Hell is a song accused of Satanism as many have interpreted as the story of a man leaving a bad life and happily going to hell. The repeated verses of “I’m on the highway to hell” and the line “Hey Satan payin my dues” suggest the character in the song is going to hell and has some connection to the Devil. The reality of the song is far different from being a satanic message. The song and album’s title supposedly came after a reporter asked band members if they could describe what life was like being constantly on tour. Angus replied that it was “a fucking highway to hell”. He stated in the magazine Guitar World that when you are out on the road on a bus sleeping with a guy’s smelly sock in your face, it’s like you’re on the highway to hell. However, rumors circulated that the band members were Satanists and the cover of the album named after the song, depicting Angus with devil horns and tail, added fuel to the fire. The band has denied having anything to do with Satanism, with Malcolm Young commenting: “my mum would kill me for that!” it became the first million-selling album for AC/DC, reaching number 17 on the charts. Brian Johnson has speculated at least twice about the origins of the lyrics. In October 2009, Johnson told British newspaper Metro: “it was written about being on the bus on Mt. Hood Highway in Oregon, USA. When the Sun’s setting in the west and you’re driving across it, it is like a fire ball. There is nothing to do, except have a quick one off the wrist or a game of cards, so that’s where Bon came up with the lyrics. In a 2010 interview in The Sydney Morning Herald on the day of AC/DC’s first Black Ice concert in Sydney, Johnson stated that the lyrics were about the 2,000 miles drive from cities like Sydney and Melbourne to Scott’s home town of Perth. Hence the song was just an allusion comparing the long roads traveled in tours by the band with the highway to hell.


Black Butler

Black Butler

The concept of a Faustian bargain or a deal with the devil has been represented in many ways through the years mainly by the play Doctor Faustus by Marlowe. The anime Kuroshitsuji or Black Butler is a modern representation of the concept of the Faustian bargain. The series follows Ciel Phantomhive a twelve year old boy head of a noble family, and his demonic butler Sebastian Michaelis. Ciel serves under the queen of England as her “watch dog”, required to follow her orders and solve any problem that plagues England with the aid of his butler Sebastian.
As a younger child Ciel saw the murder of his parents and burning of their mansion. Filled with hatred Ciel forged a contract with the demon Sebastian having him serve as his butler and carry out any order Ciel commands. When Ciel has finally finished all of Ciel’s tasks including getting revenge on the people who killed Ciel’s parents, Sebastian will kill Ciel and take his soul. Sebastian appears as a perfect butler in the series who is able to do many tasks such as cleaning the mansion, cooking, tutoring Ciel and other subjects as a perfect man as other characters in the series describe him but in reality Sebastian is able to do all of this because he is a demon. In the series Sebastian makes a pun where when other characters ask him how he is able to do such incredible feats for a human, he replies “I’m just one hell of a butler” making a pun of the fact he is a demon. As a demon Sebastian shows inhuman abilities such as running as fast as cars and incredible fighting abilities in par with other unnatural creatures such as grim rippers and angles. Just like Faustus, Ciel sold his soul to the devil and had a demon under his control but instead of having a time limit, Ciel’s contract lasts until his desires (mostly the desire of revenge for the people who killed his parents) are fulfilled. The tasks the queen sends to Ciel are manly completed by the demonic abilities of Sebastian just like Faustus great feats are done by Mephistophilis. At the end of the series just like in Doctor Faustus, Ciel avenges his parents and the final scene of the series shows Ciel accepting his fate and openly allowing Sebastian to come close to consume his soul. Unlike in Doctor Faustus, Ciel is not dragged to hell and accepts his end of the deal for the contract while Faustus repents and is dragged by two demons into hell. Also the last scene on the series show Sebastian leaning to take Ciel’s soul not making clear what happens to Ciel afterwards possibly making room for a second season.

Guitar Hero 3:Legends of Rock Boss Battle Against the Devil

Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock is a music video game developed by Nerversoft. The game was released in October 2001 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Xbox 360 gaming consoles. Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock is the first game in the series to feature a storyline for the Career mode, portrayed through animated cartoon scenes between venues. Your band starts as a neighborhood sensation, and after signing a recording contract with a shady music producer named Lou, gains worldwide fame, performing at venues around the world. However, when the band attempts to break the contract, Lou reveals himself to be the Devil, and their recording contract is actually a contract for their souls. Lou forces the band to play against him in hell, but the band is able to succeed, forcing Lou to break the contract. The band returns to the mortal world in flying motor cycles as Rock Legends.
The motif of the Devil as a trickster is present when Lou deceives the band with the contract to actually sell their souls. When the band is dragged to hell, the player gets a chance to fight the Devil Lou for the souls in a rock duel. The player has to literally bestow the Devil in a rock challenge to win the game. The song for the duel happens to be a rock version of The Devil Went down to Georgia by the Charlie Daniels band covered Steve Ouimette. Just like in the song The Devil Went down to Georgia the player has to win the musical contest in order to bestow the devil but instead of winning a golden fiddle in the game you get the band’s souls back. During the battle the player and Lou play to get as many notes as possible and the occasionally opportunity to ruin each other’s performance for a while by attacking each other and ruining the others guitar. If the player manages to land enough notes, the Devil Lou gives up and leaves the player to continue the song which happens to be the part in The Devil Went down to Georgia were Johnny defeats the devil and challenges him to come back. After the winning the duel, the Devil Lou falls into a fissure depeer into hell, while the band rises from hell as legends of rock.

The Devil Went Back to Georgia

A sequel to the song The Devil Went down to Georgia, titled The Devil Comes Back to Georgia, was recorded by Charlie Daniels and fiddle player Mark O’Connor in 1993. The song featured guest performances by Travis Tritt as the devil, Marty Stuart as Johnny and Johnny Cash as the narrator. In the sequel, after ten years of bestowing the Devil,Johnny has grown into a man, who is married and has a child. Hoping to take advantage of Johnny’s sinful pride as the victor of the previous duel, the Devil goes back to Georgia and challenges Johnny to a rematch. As Johnny prepares but tuning his golden fiddle since he hasn’t played for a long time, the Devil snatches the Golden Fiddle from Johnny, demanding that he practice with his old fiddle to play against him. The ending does not state the victor, though the music video suggests that Johnny won, as the song ends with the line the line “Johnny’s still the best that’s ever been”.
The concept of a Faustian Bargain remains in this song as the Devil challenges Johnny to a rematch for his soul. At the beginning of the song the Devil clearly estates how he intends to use Johnny’s pride against him to once again have a duel for Johnny’s soul. Johnny still has the power to bestow the Devil but the song only shows when the two prepare for the duel. Unlike the first song the sequel ends as both participants begin their duel only stating that “Johnny’s still the best that’s ever been” hinting that Johnny might have won the duel again but not making it clear for the audience.

The Devil Went Down to Georgia

The Devil Went Down to Georgia is a 1979 song written and played by the Charlie Daniels Band. The song is a narrative about the Devil, who comes to Georgia to obtain human souls. The Devil stumbles upon Johnny, a young fiddle player, who is playing impressively. The Devil approaches Johnny, and informs him that he, too, plays the fiddle. He then challenges Johnny to a fiddle-playing contest, confident that he is more skillful than the young boy. The terms of the duel are that should Johnny win, he will be given a fiddle made of solid gold, but if the Devil wins he gains Johnny’s soul. Although Johnny fears that taking the Devil’s challenge might be sinful, he accepts proudly telling the Devil that the he will regret this challenge as Johnny is “the best there’s ever been”. As the duel begins, the Devil performs a sinister and powerful piece with the backing of demon musicians. Afterwards the Devil is fairly defeated when Johnny takes his turn to play. The Devil acknowledges being defeated and, gives Johnny a beautiful golden fiddle. Johnny boastfully tells the Devil that he is welcome any time to come back for a rematch.
The concept of a Faustian bargain and the devil as a trickster is presented in this song as the Devil challenges Johnny for his soul. Johnny has the opportunity to repent or rather decline the offer just like Faustus from Dr. Faustus but he accepts the duel motivated by his pride as “the best there’s ever been.” By presenting the reward of a golden fiddle and using Johnny’s pride, the Devil tricks Johnny into accepting the challenge. This Devil manifests his power as a good musician, even summoning demons backing up his performance nevertheless Johnny defeats him in the duel, earning the golden fiddle. Unlike in Dr. Faustus Johnny is victorious, defeating the Devil and keeping his soul, while Faustus is dragged down to hell once the time period of the contract is over. With is victory Johnny fits the motif of the Devil as a trickster by showing how mortals have the power to sub best the Devil in their own game.

The Devil’s Advocate, John Milton

The Devil’s Advocate is a 1997 thriller/horror movie. The film’s villain, John Milton or Satan is played by Al Pacino. His character is a slight tribute to the author of Paradise Lost John Milton. Milton from The Devil’s Advocate is the head boss of a New York law firm. Al Pacino’s version of Lucifer is very much like the Lucifer from Paradise Lost as both use vanity to tempt humans.
During his speech to Kevin Lomax (the protagonist), Milton talks about how God made rules against the instinct of man. He talks about not touching, tasting or swallowing which refers to the forbidden fruit, Lucifer tempted Eve to eat in Paradise Lost. Then Milton goes on sating a few insults towards God, such as calling him a sadist, and expresses his discontent on serving under God. Kevin then says “better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven”, referring to line 262 of Paradise Lost ‘Here may we reign secure, and in my choice to reign is worth ambition, though in Hell. Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.’ Line 262 from Paradise Lost is a famous line from when Lucifer is giving his speech to his legion of fallen angels after falling to Hell. Lucifer appeals to the vanity of the fallen angels. He tempts the angels who seek power, in their vanity by stating that in Heaven they will have to serve under God almost like a slave but in Hell they can rule. Milton from The Devil’s Advocate appeals to Kevin’s vanity to tempt him just like Lucifer from Paradise Lost. By offering a job to Kevin based on his merit of never losing a case and constantly appealing to his skill he tempts Kevin to always keep winning which is his vanity, slowly and unknowingly falling into temptation. In the end of the movie when Kevin quits the case that got him a job offer at Milton’s law firm he is asked by a reporter for an interview. After appealing to his vanity Kevin accepts, only to reveal a grinning Milton saying “Vanity definitely my favorite sin.” Just like the Lucifer from Paradise Lost, Milton will attempt to make Kevin fall into temptation once gain just as Lucifer will continue to tempt Adam, Eve and their descendants.