Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Discourse - Lucifer Volume 4: The Divine Comedy

Unfortunately, again, I cannot remark at length about the text and must limit myself to highlights only.

Lucifer as Anti-hero, Lucifer as Character

This text introduced an interesting juxtaposition of Lucifer.

First, it begins with Lucifer revealing himself to the citizens of his newly populated world. He towers above them, a figure of strength, and a taker of no bullshit.

His first command is the forbidden commandment of worship.

This is, inherently, an image of strength. Lucifer is beautiful in his rebellion, in his absolute self assuredness, in his confidence, and, most importantly, in himself.

However, as the draws towards its end, that strength is undercut with a newly revealed aspect of his character.

It's not when he falls when the Cards attempt to establish themselves as gods in his universe. It's not when he falls prey to a magical attack from behind (a plot point simmering since volume 2), it's not even when he goes forward into hell to face the angel completely powerless (which is, ironically, an image of strength in and of itself).

It's when he converses with Death that he reveals the fragility of his character, of his inexorable will.

He does not accept death, he flings himself against her in anger and denial - and she cooly, confidently gives him a piece of her mind and advice while she's at it.

The differences between their manners is staggering -- and it adds more depth to an already complex character.

I think that's one of the reasons I love this image so much:

It incapsulates the very nature of their conversation.

And it is beautiful.

As for the anti-hero - Lucifer knows how Elaine adores him. How she loves him. How she'd do anything, absolutely anything. How young she is.

And he does not warn her that in giving life to him, she will sacrifice it for herself.

That moment is so poignantly sad.

I love how Carey isn't afraid to make it absolutely real.

Lucifer, Michael, and Yahweh

I liked how Lucifer and Michael became two sides of the same coin essentially. Lucifer is full of this inexorable will, Michael full of creative power. Without them both, the new universe would never have come to be.

They are, in a way, a circle, incomplete without the other. And this is seen even more clearly in Michael's fall.

I'm eager to see how volumes 5 and onwards will explore this circle that's sort of coming into light. And, of course, I could be misreading it, but I hope I'm not.

I love how offended Lucifer was when Death compared him to Yahweh -- even as he conveniently ignores all their other similarities: creation (the big bang encore), a first people, appearing on high and delivering a commandment - simply differing on the nature of the commandment.

It's interesting that in this and other literature about the devil, folks have always commented on Lucifer's pride, the pride that eventually lead to his downfall.

Yet, he commands people not to worship anybody -- not even him.

And, on the contrary, the god of the Bible is a jealous god, demanding the sole worship of himself.

It's just interesting, the juxtaposition of the two characters in parallel with each other.

I also liked the subtle (and not so subtle) commentary on religion. Lucifer's world was perfectly happy and content without religion -- they were beautiful and intelligent, so much so that Rachel slips into that universe with wonder and amazement.

This world - torn apart by war and there are still nations living impoverished and uneducated.

And it's only when the Cards come claiming to be gods that true, national disaster strikes.

My atheist heart thrilled.

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