Satire In C. S. Lewis 'The Screwtape Letters'

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Many view Satan as an abstract concept, but what is not realized is that Satan is real and that he wants our human souls. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a novel of thirty-one letters, written from an experienced devil, Screwtape, to his inexperienced nephew, Wormwood. In these letters, Screwtape suggests various ways Wormwood can distract his “patient”, specifically a middle aged male, from his faith in God. Screwtape's instructions include tempting the patient to rely on realistic materials in hopes of turning him against God, who cannot be seen. Wormwood tries to tempt his patient following Screwtape's advice, but fails to do so. In the last letter Screwtape writes out his disappointment in Wormwood for his failure to send the man …show more content…
Screwtape mocks society’s unawareness of Satan when he states, “It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out” (Lewis 16). Screwtape also tells Wormwood, “Our policy . . . is to conceal ourselves” (Lewis 31). In order to conceal themselves, Screwtape tells Wormwood to “suggest to [the patient] a picture of something in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that . . . he therefore cannot believe in you” (Lewis 32). Screwtape ironically shows society’s view of devils; Lewis advices that this views actually give Satan the upper hand because human beings do not fully realize the reality of Satan's crafty work in the world. A journalist from The New York Times, Casey N. Cep, published a similar thought about Satan's way of covering himself, "These demons aren’t digging pits of fire or offering bargains of absolute power, they are embedding themselves in the daily lives of their patients" (Cep). Lewis continues to use satire as a way to expose the devil's wicked ways of attracting a human soul. This is specifically seen when Screwtapes begins to mock God for His "fantasies" of a perfect human being, "He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little humans into what He calls His 'free' lovers" (Lewis 7). Furthermore, Screwtape begins to reverse the roll …show more content…
Lewis is filled with irony through letters from Screwtape, a senior devil, to Wormwood, a junior devil. As the novel progresses Satan's evil actions become more evident in the novel's plot. The novel not only gives readers a scare, but it also reveals important religious truths about Satan and his hatred for human beings. Lewis uses various types of irony in order to distribute this message to the readers. First, Screwtapes use of allusion uncover society’s hidden thoughts about church and prayer, paints a clear picture of Satan's crafty way of alluring a human soul. Secondly, Screwtape’s sarcasm about society’s ideas of Satan and devils, God’s purpose for people, and God’s advantages over Screwtape, his fellow devils, and Satan shows the differences in God’s attitude towards humans and Satan’s. Lewis as well uses fear to attack human pleasures to demonstrate important differences between Satan and God. Lastly Screwtape uses temptation as a way to demonstrate the strength sins and distractions gives him to gain a patient's soul. Lewis’ crafty use of irony in The Screwtape Letters ultimately fulfill the book’s purpose: to show Satan’s efforts to fight God's love in order to gain the soul of a human

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