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Thursday, October 24, 2013

What the hell (10)

Ironically enough, Satan is the only character in GC who offers us a 'Sunday school' on the history of salvation; a sort of Catechism such as had been invented by Martin Luther and then published by the Catholic Church too (in 1566, when Tasso was working on his poem).

Special relevance is here given to Christ's Descent into Hell, that in the Western tradition is usually considered a minor, picturesque event in the life of the Savior, but in the Eastern tradition, i.e. that of the East-European Orthodox Churches, was and is the only way to portray his resurrection and triumph. Tasso's description of the Descent echoes Dante, once again; see Inferno 4: 52-54 and 12: 38-39.

In more modern times, a powerful image of Satan remembering that fatal Easter is provided by CS Lewis in his unsurpassable sci-fi fantasy horror philosophical theological erotic novel Perelandra (1943).