Dramatic Irony In The Screwtape Letters By C. S. Lewis

1916 Words 8 Pages
“There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them” (C.S. Lewis). As one of the most influential Christian writers of all time, C.S. Lewis wrote The Screwtape Letters as a collection of 31 convicting letters from Screwtape, a senior demon, to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon. After beginning in July of 1940, it took Lewis a little over six months to complete the letters. They were later published weekly in a gazette called The Guardian. Screwtape, who is described as an assistant to “Our Father Below”, is teaching his nephew the ways of turning his “patient”, a young man who is struggling …show more content…
Dramatic irony is the irony inherent in a situation and fully understood by the audience, but not by the characters within the story. This flawlessly describes the relationship between the patient and his demons. “There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working. Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us” (C.S. Lewis). Wormwood’s core objective is to subtly turn his patient away from his newfound faith by any means necessary, and without revealing himself. Each letter addresses aspects of the struggles of the human condition and how the devil will use them to tempt the soul away from God, not on a grand scale but on a trivial one. The letters expose how evil can trickle down into all aspects of our lives, including, but not limited to, friendships, family, church and even prayer. While we, the readers, know exactly what the two intend to do, the patient is left to fend for himself and to lean on his faith in God to resist the enticements of evil. These evils being small and fickle instances. Screwtape’s depiction of hell is not filled with an overwhelming amount of murderers or criminals; it is filled with humans who are unaware that they have evened sinned at all. “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without …show more content…
He did this by using satire. Satire is used to “expose and criticize foolishness and corruption of an individual or a society by using humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule” (literarydevices.net). Irony and satire go hand in hand. “Irony is the difference between what is said and done and what is actually meant. Therefore, writers frequently employ satire to point at the dishonesty and silliness of individuals and society and criticize them by ridiculing them.” (literarydevices.net) Each of these elements is prevalent in C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters. Lewis used his overly exaggerated devil, Screwtape, to ridicule the corruption of contemporary religion and Christianity with these sardonic letters. By writing these letters in the form of satire, Lewis wished to point out the hypocrisy of modern-day religion in the hopes that those reading will look at their lives and return to the true nature of Christianity and the love of

Related Documents