Solving the problem of evil in the twenty-first century

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Dance with the Devil

Video Credit: Dance with the Devil, Immortal Technique, Youtube

NOTE: I was shown this song; it’s not something I would ever listen to. He curses far too much, and the song in itself is really messed up, but it does well to exhibit how dark evil really is. I recommend not listening to it, but if you are really curious go find it on YouTube.

Dance with the Devil is a song by Immortal Technique that follows the actions of a man named Billy Jacobs on his self-destructive path. It is not a mainstream song, as it doesn’t really follow a pattern, but is more of a story of the darkness in people from the start to the end. It exemplifies how dark evil can really be, from normal beginnings all the way to “dancing with the devil forever.” Jacobs starts out with the basics of what most people know are evil and yet accept in life: materialism and vanity. He aspires for cars and money and to make a name for himself, like a real-life Scarface. To get his money, he starts selling drugs, but this is only the first step. The song echoes, “devils used to be gods, angels that fell from the top.” His step into this life caused him to fall deeper. His greed and desire to make something of himself pushed him further down, until the only way he could move on to satisfy his greed was to rape and kill. And thus, one night, as an initiation, he rapes a woman, and then kills himself because of his horrible deed. Once he had committed the crime, he echoed, “I’m fallen and I can’t turn back,” the thought expressed in Faustus that he has done too much evil that he could never be forgiven. The song exemplifies the belief that sin can grow into greater sin and once you go too far God can no longer reach you, exemplified when he cried out but “only the Devil responded, ‘cause God wasn’t there.” That night the others who were there and committed the same heinous act learned, “the devil grows inside the hearts of the selfish and wicked” causing them to fall from a normal life: a beginning in materialism can develop into sins as bad as rape and murder, because humans like the devils, can fall from the top.

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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.


Jafar

Image Credit: Jafar

Video Credit: Snake Jafar

Jafar in Aladdin alludes strongly to the Old Testament through the representation of evil through a snake, and the power he wields in his staff. Throughout Aladdin, Jafar holds a staff, a symbol of power as derived from the Old Testament. Firstly, the staff is in the form of a snake, alluding to Exodus 4:2-4, where Moses threw down his staff, and it became a serpent, but when he picked it up again, it turned back into a staff. When it departed Moses, it was serpentine, but with him, it was a normal staff. With Jafar, the staff is a serpent, revealing not that without Jafar the staff is a serpent, but because of the evil in Jafar’s heart, the staff in in the likeness of a serpent, which is the symbol of evil derived from Genesis 3. Later in the movie, Jafar uses his staff to exercise his magical powers. This is clearly an allusion to Exodus 4:17, which says, “take in you hand this staff, with which you shall perform the signs.” Moses used the staff through his talks with Pharaoh, making it a snake again, turning the river into blood,  bringing in the plagues, and then also when he parted the Red Sea. Likewise, Jafar’s power came from his staff: putting jasmine in an hourglass, turning the monkey into a toy, turning the carpet into thread etc. In an ultimate consummation, Jafar became like his staff, and took on the body of a massive snake, which is, of course, evil. This serpent, however, isn’t the crafty, subtle serpent in Genesis 3, but is more like the vicious, powerful serpent who became a dragon in Revelation. The dragon wars against the angels in heaven, but is cast down and defeated. Likewise, even with all his power, Jafar at the end of the movie is defeated and cast down into a lamp where he will be held forever more. Clearly then, Jafar’ very person as evil has a strong background based off the Bible.


Jungle Book

Image Credit: Kaa

Video Credit: Trust in me-Jungle Book

Evil is represented in many different sources, even including children’s movies, as exemplified by the Jungle Book. The main antagonist is a talking snake. Clearly, this references back to Genesis 3, where Satan is a serpent talking to Eve to deceive her into thinking eating of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil will not lead to death, but instead would lead to her becoming like God. As a consequence of merely speaking with the serpent the tree began to look “good for food” and it was “a delight to the eyes;” she began to desire the tree and thus she fell (Genesis 3). In the same way, the snake in the Jungle Book, Kaa, has some magical powers in his eyes that enable him to hypnotize people when they look into them. He wants to be able to control the animals, but especially the human, and the more he is around them, the higher the chance is that he will have them look into eyes so that they will become hypnotized. He decides to pick on the easier target, the man-cub, as his prey, telling the little boy in the movie that he is there to help the boy out if only the boy would trust him, similar to when Eve trusted the serpent, as the boy didn’t know that the snake was evil. After deceiving the boy into thinking that he could be trusted, the man-cub breaks out of the hypnosis-induced sleep, and is able to get away from the snake for the time-being. This is a sort of awakening. Even though the boy fell fully under the snake’s powers, he still had the ability to escape when the proper time arose, giving him the chance to get away from evil. Though it isn’t the best portrayal as evil, it does a good job in introducing an antagonistic evil character to children by exemplifying him as a crafty, subtle, and deceitful snake.


Buu vs. Buu

Image Credit: Buu vs. Evil Buu

Video Credit: Majin Buu vs. Evil Grey Buu

As previously viewed in my post on the Demon King Dabura in Dragon Ball Z, the show is full of evil people. Not too long after Dabura’s death, a deeper representation of evil was portrayed. An evil creature named Majin Buu was released on the world, and he was seemingly pure evil, but he had a certain likeable quality as he was so childlike. Similar to other depictions of evil, Buu takes extreme joy in destruction. He enjoys to watching the world burn under his power, but even more than that, he enjoys murdering mass amounts of people. Through the progression of the episodes, he comes to realize, through love and friendship of a man and (ironically) a puppy, that killing people is bad, and he rejects his evil desires on behalf of them. He had always been told he had to kill people, that had been his purpose, but he was faced with the choice to do right, and he did. Like Dabura, Buu had a reverse-fall: rather than being good and becoming evil, Buu was evil, the most powerful and most evil creature the world had ever seen, and yet he was still able to be redeemed to the “good side.” This however, caused an outward projection of an inward conflict. Buu expelled all the evil from his being, and it formed into a cloud, and then into another, more menacing Majin Buu: an “evil” form of himself. The conflict that plagues all people, a conflict of our good and evil sides, suddenly changed from a good versus evil war on the inside, to a good versus evil war in the physical realm. And just as evil can never be completely expelled from one’s being, the “good” Majin Buu was unable to defeat his evil counterpart, and was completely absorbed into the “evil” Buu.


Dabura, Demon King

Image Credit: Dabura

The rise of the show Dragon Ball Z was amazing, spreading all over the world, and many shows nowadays, like literature, allude to something further than what is portrayed on the surface. It connects to something the audience knows about in a new light. And thus, Dabura. In Dragon Ball Z, there are all sorts of evil, people who are out to gain power and watch the world burn, but one of the most prominent in name(not in power, just name) is Dabura, King of the Demons. Just as in Paradise Lost or The Screwtape Letters, this character is quite literally the King of the Demons: he is the leader and ruler over all of them. His stereotype goes further though: He has a grimacing face, horns, and is red all over. Ironically however, he isn’t the all-powerful. While he thinks he has a lot of power, he is actually portrayed as a slave to a wizard named Babidi. His only time in the show, he wears an emblem on his forehead for his master: a symbol of his inferiority and servitude, almost like in Paradise Lost when all the fallen angels in Chaos became snakes once a year to remind them of their position. Dabura resembles other portrayals of Satan also in the fact that he is out to watch the world burn, and wants to rule the universe. Ironically however, he isn’t fighting anyone specific. There is no huge being opposed to him, but rather just the good in the world embodied in other characters is his opposition. When he is finally defeated and killed, he is sent to Heaven, because he would enjoy Hell, and he has a sort of reverse-fall. He becomes what we would think Lucifer would have been like as an angel before he rebelled: joyful, full of love, and picking flowers in fields.