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Hotter than Hell: Tracing Satan’s Transformation from Beastly to Beguiling

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Abstract

From God-fearing angel to monstrous goat-man, Judeo-Christian traditions have been dreaming up new conceptions of Satan for thousands of years. However, out of this diverse catalogue, contemporary American television seems to have become especially interested in one depiction of Satan in particular: a devil who is not only handsome, but also charged with a kind of “hypnotic” sexuality. While each show featuring this kind of character offers their own twist on Satan as a sex symbol, they share enough similarities to prompt a glaringly obvious question: how, exactly, did Satan evolve from a figure like Dante’s slavering, three-headed beast, to a seductive playboy? In order to answer this question, I have compared how three popular American television shows—the CW's "Supernatural" and "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" and Netflix's "Lucifer"—depict Satan, and how those depictions can be tied to major shifts in how Satan has been imagined throughout history. In this way, I demonstrate that although the transformation from monstrous to seductive may seem to have taken place overnight, it is, in fact, a change grounded in millennia of human creativity.
Hotter than Hell:
Tracing Satan’s Transformation from Beastly to Beguiling
Jamie Lewis
RELS 3501-A: Heaven and Hell in the Christian Tradition
University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB
April 22, 2020
Lewis 1
Introduction
From God-fearing angel to monstrous goat-man, Judeo-Christian traditions have been
dreaming up new conceptions of Satan for thousands of years.1 However, out of this diverse
catalogue, contemporary American television seems to have become especially interested in one
depiction of Satan in particular: a devil who is not only handsome, but also charged with a kind
of “hypnotic” sexuality.2 While each show featuring this kind of character offers their own twist
on Satan as a sex symbol, they share enough similarities to prompt a glaringly obvious question:
how, exactly, did Satan evolve from a figure like Dante’s slavering, three-headed beast, to a
seductive playboy?3 In order to answer this question, I have compared how three popular
American television shows—all targeted at young adults between the ages of 18 and 34—depict
Satan, and how those depictions can be tied to major shifts in how Satan has been imagined
throughout history. In this way, I demonstrate that although the transformation from monstrous
to seductive may seem to have taken place overnight, it is, in fact, a change grounded in
millennia of human creativity.
The three shows I referenced for this project were The CW’s Supernatural (2005-present;
previously on The WB), Netflix’s Lucifer (2016-present; previously on Fox), and Netflix’s
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (CAoS) (2018-present). The shows have vastly different
premises; for instance, while Supernatural centres around two adult brothers who hunt monsters
and battle angels and demons, Lucifer follows the eponymous character’s journey of self-
discovery when he leaves Hell to party and solve in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the Chilling
1 Peter A. Schock, “Introduction,” in The Romantic myth of Satan (Volume 1) (PhD diss., University of Iowa, 1989),
2. I use the term “Judeo-Christian” here to intentionally refer to Jewish and Christian traditions, without intending to
exclude Islam as an Abrahamic religion. None of the sources read for this piece discussed Muslim understandings of
Satan or the djinn; this could clearly be an interesting area of study.
2 Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig, “The Devil We Know,” The Hedgehog Review (Spring 2017): 32.
3 Kelly J. Murphy, “Leviathan to Lucifer: What Biblical Monsters (Still) Reveal,” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible
and Theology 74, no. 2 (2020): 156.
Lewis 2
Adventures of Sabrina tells the story of a witch on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday as she is
forced to choose between magic and humanity. It is unsurprising, then, that each of their Devils
look slightly different. Lucifer features the most obvious example of the sexualisation to which I
am referring; although the show’s protagonist, as played by Tom Ellis, does have a visually
monstrous side which he chooses to display from time to time, he is more commonly seen as a
perfectly groomed British heartthrob. His allure is such, in fact, that along with remarkable
speed, strength, and healing, Lucifer has a special power: to compel other beings, through a
sultry gaze, to reveal to him their “deepest, darkest desires.”4 In addition to his physical appeal,
this Lucifer is also a profoundly sympathetic character, having transformed over the course of
the show’s first four seasons from impulsive and egotistical to loving and protective—while still
maintaining his mischievous charm.
CAoS’s Lucifer, on the other hand, is far more monstrous. This Satan is first introduced
as a disturbing, goat-like creature, as I discuss in the next section, and it is not until the show’s
second season that viewers are introduced to the fact that he, too, can be restored to a chiselled
and charming human form, played by Luke Cook. As entertainment author Bec Heim has
written, he’s “charismatic, and loves to have a good time,” but, unlike Lucifer’s protagonist, has
no desire to improve himself; “he wants the end of the world.”5 Still, he has a seductive aura
about him even in his first monstrous appearance, and is depicted in sexual situations throughout
the series, including an instance in which it is revealed that he “holds the rights” to have sex with
the young witches who are most devout to him on the night before their weddings.6 Furthermore,
4 Murphy, “Leviathan to Lucifer,” 156.
5 Bec Heim, “Comparing the Devils from Lucifer and the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina,” Fansided, accessed April
21, 2020, https://netflixlife.com/2019/06/27/lucifer-chilling-adventures-of-sabrina-comparing-devils/.
6 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, part 2, episode 5, “Chapter Sixteen: Blackwood,” directed by Alex Pillai, written
by Matthew Barry, aired April 5, 2019, Netflix.
Lewis 3
as the series progresses, Satan is revealed to be a sexual threat even to Sabrina, despite her
having been revealed to be his own biological daughter.7
What is left, then, is Supernatural’s depiction of Lucifer, which lies somewhere between
Lucifer and CAoS’s. While his presence is always sexually charged, it has less to do with
Lucifer’s mutually pleasurable sex appeal, and more to do with a similar sort of predatory
confidence to that presented in CAoS. Although Supernatural’s Lucifer changes possessed
bodies (“vessels”) throughout the series, he is most frequently played by Mark Pellegrino, who
portrays the Devil as both sympathetic in his anger toward God, and deeply unsettling in his
murderous and apocalyptic intentions. He is, perhaps, no more sexually charged than in his
relationship to Sam Winchester, one of the aforementioned brothers at the heart of the series.
Having been destined to be Lucifer’s “true vessel,” the two have a tumultuous relationship,
beginning with their first encounter in which Lucifer disguises himself as Sam’s first love and
waits until they are talking in bed before revealing himself.8 Later in the series, Lucifer torments
Sam with hints at sexual abuse like “You’re my bunk mate, buddy. You’re my little bitch in
every sense of the term,” or “I had a really great time with you, but I think we should see other
people. What do you say?”9 Thus, although sexuality is presented with different under- or
overtones throughout these respective series, it is clearly visible and essential to Satan’s
characterization across all of them.
This is interesting since Satan is not expressly connected to sexuality within the Biblical
canon. The closest that the Biblical texts come, in fact, is in the account from Genesis 6:1-4
7 Heim, “Comparing the Devils.”
8 Supernatural, season 5, episode 3, “Free to Be You and Me,” directed by J. Miller Tobin, written by Jeremy
Carver, aired September 24, 2009, The CW.
9 Supernatural, season 7, episode 2, “Hello, Cruel World,” directed by Guy Bee, written by Ben Edlund, aired
September 30, 2011, The CW; Supernatural, season 13, episode 23, “Let the Good Times Roll,” directed by Robert
Singer, written by Andrew Dabb, aired May 17, 2018, The CW.
Lewis 4
(NIV) which references the Nephilim, beings born of sexual relations between fallen angels and
human women—although none of those angels are ever identified as Satan.10 They would not
have been, of course, since Satan did not come to be imagined as a personified individual until
much later in Judeo-Christian tradition. Indeed, Elaine Pagels writes that in its earliest usages,
the idea of “the satan” referred simply to any individual or group of people who took an
oppositional or adversarial position against God’s people.11 This applied to both supernatural
beings in the Old Testament, such as the angels which God sent with good intentions to “obstruct
human activity” and thereby save them from further harm, and nefarious political foes like the
Israelites who maintained pagan beliefs despite the warnings of monotheists.12 Indeed, the
closest Biblical authors came to an individual satan prior to the Second Temple Period is in the
angel who challenges God in the Book of Job; however, even that satan immediately surrenders
his challenge upon realizing that he has lost his wager with God.13 Thus, the notion of a
dangerous, lustful, and arrogant individual figure known as the Satan did not truly arrive until the
isolationist Essenes began to imagine their own Israelite political opponents as such.14
Conceptualizing Satan as an “intimate enemy” who had betrayed God after being one of His
closest allies, these early portrayals quickly spawned many more apocryphal and midrashic texts
about a personified Satan.15 As they multiplied, they focused primarily on Satan’s failed attempt
at a waging war with Heaven after refusing to bow to Adam like God had asked him to.16
However, they also considered Satan’s role in the Garden of Eden, with some coming to depict
10 Elaine Pagels, The Origin of Satan (New York: Vintage Books, 1996), 48, 50.
11 Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 39.
12 Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 38, 39, 40.
13 Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 42.
14 Colleen McDannell and Bernhard Lang, “The Dawn of Heaven,” in Heaven: A History (New Haven and London:
Yale University Press, 1988), 21; Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 47, 48.
15 Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 48, 49.
16 Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 48, 49.
Lewis 5
him as a “sexual interloper and adulterer” who visited Eve as “the” serpent and tempted her to
eat the Forbidden Fruit not through misleading words, but through seduction.17 As time went on,
he also became associated with the draconic Leviathan of the Book of Revelation, and was
granted a name: Lucifer, or light bringer, a title taken from both a reference to a Satan-like figure
in Isaiah 14:12 (NIV), and a verse in the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus speaks about Satan
falling “like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18, NIV).18 This change, then, from the role of an
abstract adversary to a personified antagonist, marks the first historical shift in thinking which
has influenced modern depictions of Satan, and is an excellent point from which to examine the
other major changes which have contributed to the idea of Satan as a sexually appealing being.
However, prior to delving into those changes in greater depth, I will first pause to consider how
Christianity has related sexuality to both sin and Satan since its beginnings.
The Church and Sexuality
Christianity’s relationship to sexuality has been tenuous, at best, throughout most of its
history. Early readings of the New Testament seem to have triggered this, as Jesus and Paul’s
teachings about the irrelevance of both human relationships and the body in the afterlife rapidly
shaped popular Christian thinking about asceticism in all its forms, including the sexual.19 Since
they are both understood to have thought that only the spiritual aspects of self would matter after
death, many who followed their teachings came to see the functions of the body as “profane.”20
17 Neil Forsyth, “Satan Tempter,” in The Satanic Epic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 259, JSTOR
eBooks COVID-19 Expanded Access.
18 Murphy, “Leviathan to Lucifer,” 153; Pagels, The Origin of Sin, 43.
19 Jennifer Otto, “Jesus, Resurrection, and Eschatology,” RELS 3501-A: Heaven and Hell in the Christian Tradition
(class lecture, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB, January 15, 2020); Pamela Dickey Young, “It’s All about
Sex: The Roots of Opposition to Gay and Lesbian Marriages in Some Christian Churches,” in Faith, Politics, and
Sexual Diversity, ed. David Rayside and Clyde Wilcox (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011): 169.
20 Andrew Kam-Tuk Yip, “When Religion Meets Sexuality: Two Tales of Intersection,” in Religion and Sexuality:
Diversity and the Limits of Tolerance, ed. Pamela Dickey Young, Heather Shipley, and Tracy J. Trothen
(Vancouver: UBC Press, 2015), 121.
Lewis 6
As such, since sex was understood to be the only powerful physical urge which could be entirely
abstained from without risking the life of the one doing the controlling, it became what Pamela
Dickey Young has called the “paradigmatic” reference point for the “weakness of the flesh.”21
This has been especially troubling throughout Christian history because sex is also an act which
is quite pleasurable, and therefore tempting to partake in—meaning that it has often been
interpreted to be “bad, dirty, dangerous, shameful, [and] chaotic.”22 This was certainly Saint
Augustine of Hippo’s view on the matter, as he struggled so much with his own sexual appetites
throughout his life that he eventually came to believe that Original Sin had been passed down
through the generations by way of men’s semen during the act of procreation.23 This is not to
suggest that the Original Sin was the man’s fault, however; the dichotomy between men as
victims and women as “the locus of sexual temptation” has been longstanding throughout Judeo-
Christian tradition, beginning with the aforementioned temptation of Eve in the Garden.24
Satan as Monstrous Tempter
It is here, then, that the cursed temptation toward sexuality becomes related to Satan
himself. Since Satan has long been understood to be the farthest thing from God, he has also long
been associated with the fleshy profane.25 As such, it seems a reasonable jump for the very
serpent who tempted humanity’s fall from God to have become associated with the Devil.
Scholar Philip C. Almond has attributed the first such association to Justin Martyr, who is
purported to have believed that Satan, disguised as or inhabiting a serpent, tricked Eve into her
sin through his seductive manipulations.26 Indeed, this notion has remained prevalent throughout
21 Young, “It’s All about Sex,” 168, 170.
22 Young, “It’s All about Sex,” 169.
23 Young, “It’s All about Sex,” 171.
24 Forsyth, “Satan Tempter,” 260; Young, “It’s All about Sex,” 170.
25 Bruenig, “The Devil We Know,” 32.
26 Philip C. Almond, “The Fall of the Devil,” in The Devil: A New Biography (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,
2014), 35.
Lewis 7
centuries of Satanic depictions, particularly from the Middle Ages onward. Perhaps the most
culturally relevant depiction of this encounter comes to us through John Milton’s Paradise Lost,
an epic poem about both Satan and humanity’s fall from grace. Milton will be returned to
shortly, but what is important to note for now is Milton’s depiction of Satan as having been what
Neil Forsyth describes as “dressed to kill as a sexy snake,” seeking to impress and disorient Eve
by talking circles around her even as “he twists and turns physically.”27 Interestingly, other
authors disagree that Milton’s serpent is, itself, meant to be “sexy,” but rather to be a threatening
reminder of its predatory nature.28 Either way, none of the television Lucifers being discussed
here are ever depicted in this directly serpentine form. However, each of them hint at it, and
Lucifer’s sexual relationship to Eve, in different ways. Perhaps the most salient comes in
Lucifer’s season four relationship between Lucifer and Eve. The two have a longstanding sexual
relationship which is rekindled after she “escapes” from Heaven to rejoin Lucifer on earth.
Although his status as an actual serpent in the Garden is suggested to be a poor metaphor, Eve is
clear that his temptation was overtly sexual, stating in one episode that “the Forbidden Fruit was
less of an apple and more like a banana. A very large banana.”29
Still, the association between a more monstrous form, such as the serpent, and the ability
to both disorient and beguile humans is not exclusive to Satan’s relationship to Eve in the
Garden. Indeed, it is a crucial aspect of his goat-like form, as seen in the first season of the
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. In the series premiere, the Dark Lordas the witches refer to
Satan in the show—appears to Sabrina as a terrifying monster. He towers over the teenager as an
27 Forsyth, “Satan Tempter,” 269.
28 Cherrell Guilfoyle, “Adamantine and Serpentine in Milton’s use of two conventions of Satan in “Paradise Lost,””
Milton Quarterly 13, no. 4 (December 1979): 129.
29 Lucifer, season 4, episode 4, “All About Eve,” directed by Sherwin Shilati, written by Chris Rafferty, aired May
8, 2019, Netflix.
Lewis 8
anthropomorphized goat with burnt skin and a disturbing, tooth-encircled wound in his midriff
which exposes the muscles beneath. Witnessing Satan’s approach through Sabrina’s eyes, there
is no misconstruing his true nature: he is a panic-inducing predator who has set his sights on our
titular protagonist.30 As such, CAoS’s portrayal of Satan, at least during its first season, is likely
to be the one most visually recognizable to people who are more familiar with “traditional”
Christian representations of the Devil. This is primarily because of the ancient ties between Satan
and the Greek god Pan, patron of shepherds and the wild, who is depicted as being half-man,
half-goat. Having long been associated with what researcher Mark C. De Cicco calls “Dionysian
bacchinalia,” Pan was a natural fit to visually represent Satan’s relationship to primal, fleshy sin,
particularly from the Middle Ages onward.31 Like Milton’s Satan in the Garden, depictions of
Pan have often shown him to tempt humans, both men and women, out of their normal lives by
inflicting upon them “conflicting emotions of extreme fear and lust.”32
This association also speaks to broader trends in Christian demon- and angelology which
relate the Devil and his demonic underlings to pagan deities and spirits. In direct contrast to early
Church figures’ condemnations of sexuality, many of the entities which Roman Christians, in
particular, encountered as they conquered Western Europe were related to fertility and
sexuality.33 As such, Pan and the gods similar to him became what De Ciccio calls vortex[es] of
untamed nature and sexual and animal instinct … precisely what early Church Fathers condemn
as pagan and unholy.”34 Stories of incubi and succubi, respectively male and female demons who
are thought to rape humans in order to drain their life force, are also tied to such pagan figures.
30 Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, season 1, episode 1, “October Country,” directed by Lee Toland Krieger, written
by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, aired October 26, 2018, Netflix.
31 Mark C. De Cicco, “The Queer God Pan and His Children: A Myth Reborn 1860-1917” (PhD diss., George
Washington University, 2016), 199.
32 De Cicco, “The Queer God Pan,” 233, 235, 236.
33 De Cicco, “The Queer God Pan,” 201.
34 De Cicco, “The Queer God Pan,” 202.
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Indeed, Augustine referenced similar creatures in his own City of God, highlighting that what we
now call “demons” – a word built off the Greek daemon, which referred to generally benevolent
spirits somewhere between gods and humans – could “ravish” mortals, but did so not with the
intention of procreating, but rather to relieve their most basic, animalistic desires.35 Similarly, the
witches targeted during medieval witch hunts were understood to receive their own unholy pagan
powers from Satan through contracts with demons that almost always required a sexual
transaction—not because of the need to procreate, but because of demons’ inherently monstrous
and primal nature.36
This association with unconstrained primal desire has also led to Satan being connected
to queer relationships and identities over the centuries, as suggested by Pan’s tendency to tempt
both men and women.37 While less visible in the otherwise very visibly queer CAoS, Lucifer and
Supernatural play heavily on these elements, as seen in Supernatural’s previously discussed
predatory relationship between Lucifer and Sam, and the fact that Lucifer’s Satan is openly
bisexual, stating early on in the series that threesomes involving two men and a woman are
“called the Devil’s threesome for a reason.”38 Of course, the connection between Satan and
masculinized queerness also makes sense when related to the Church’s Biblical understanding of
male homosexuality as a sin—who better to embody that sin than the Devil himself?39 As such,
Lucifer’s status as a monster, where it be in the form of a Biblical serpent or pagan goat-man,
represents two important shifts in Satanic depictions which have influenced today’s depictions of
35 Joseph Laycock, “Carnal Knowledge: The Epistemology of Sexual Trauma in Witches’ Sabbaths, Satanic Ritual
Abuse, and Alien Abduction Narratives,” Preternature: Critical and Historical Studies on the Preternatural 1, no. 1
(2012): 105.
36 Laycock, “Carnal Knowledge,” 104, 105.
37 De Cicco, “The Queer God Pan,” 233.
38 Lucifer, season 1, episode 2, “Lucifer, Stay. Good Devil.,” directed by Nathan Hope, written by Joe Henderson,
aired February 1, 2016, Fox (Netflix).
39 Tom Warner, Losing Control: Canada’s Social Conservatives in the Age of Rights (Toronto: Between the Lines,
2010), 102, 103.
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Lucifer as a sex symbol. However, there remains a disconnect between how these beastly
characters were transformed into the three seductive men featured in CAoS, Lucifer,
Supernatural.
Lucifer as Seductive Angel
The reason for this transformation can almost exclusively be tied back to John Milton’s
Paradise Lost (1667), although he, himself, based much of his understanding on the beauty and
sympathetic nature of Satan to the previously mentioned Biblical, midrashic, and apocryphal
depictions of him as a fallen angel.40 In many ways, Milton’s Lucifer is a tragic hero, in the
original sense of Greek tragedy, as he does ultimately realize the terrible results of his prideful
rebuke of God and humanity.41 However, unlike mortal humans, Satan cannot be relieved from
the consequences of his actions through death or suffering—his lot, as an immortal, is far more
ambiguous.42 As such, Lucifer is transformed from the face of undisputed evil, to a figure who is
at once “conflicted, brooding, alienated, [and a] narcissistic self-mythologizer.”43 Due to this
transformation, later readers of Milton, particularly the Romantic poets, were able to recognize
themselves in Satan’s motivations for his Heavenly rebellion and consequent vengefulness after
his fall.44 Seen as more of a literary character than religious symbol, this new Satan seemed to
represent a kind of “eloquent revolutionary” unwilling to sacrifice his sense of pride and self to
God’s command.45 Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the United States’ history, many early
40 Schock, “Introduction, 7.
41 Guilfoyle, “Adamantine and Serpentine,” 130.
42 Guilfoyle, “Adamantine and Serpentine,” 131; Schock, “Introduction,” 1, 8.
43 Edward Simon, “What’s So ‘American’ About John Milton’s Lucifer?” The Atlantic, March 16, 2017,
https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2017/03/whats-so-american-about-john-miltons-
lucifer/519624/?fbclid=IwAR1DqhQfVyyIMojXlHsWFK9G6eTMbNm8fa5i9XyBJXwgzsb1OB9-vk6zhRE.
44 Schock, “Introduction, 1.
45 Forsyth, “Satan Tempter,” 282; Schock, “Introduction,” 4.
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American authors were also drawn to this Lucifer, as he seemed to represent American values of
“self-reliance” and “rugged individualism.”46
This is not to say, however, that Milton’s Lucifer, or Romantic and American depictions
of him, had no darker attributes. The Romantics were clear that for all of his sympathetic flaws
and tragedy, Satan remains a tyrannical and problematic figure throughout Paradise Lost.47 For
every moment in which Satan is moved by beauty and love, as he is when he stumbles upon
Adam and Eve making joyful love in the Garden, or when he encounters Eve on her own for the
first time, there is still a moment in which his willful hatred wins out over whatever part of his
heart is still capable of love.48 He is a “two-faced adversary,” the same “intimate enemy” which
early Israelites saw in their fellow Hebrews, more than willing to do evil despite being capable of
executing the divine good.49 Indeed, Milton’s depiction of Lucifer’s physical deterioration to a
“bestial serpent” after his fall captures this spiritual fall in a visual way; where once was light,
now lies only darkness.50 As such, scholars have wondered why so many modern depictions of
Lucifer present him as a generally well-groomed, handsome, and often be-suited man. Scholars
have, in part, related that particular detail to representations of Mephistopheles in Faustian
legend. As a representative of the Devil sent to strike a deal with Faust, Mephistopheles has often
been depicted as “suave,” “sophisticated,” “elegant, and good-looking.”51 Many scholars have
consequently wondered if current seductive and polished depictions of Lucifer are connected to
this more “insidious” kind of evil, wherein the Devil’s true darkness is hidden beneath a polished
46 Simon, “What’s So ‘American’ About John Milton’s Lucifer?”
47 Schock, “Introduction, 1, 10.
48 Forsyth, “Satan Tempter,” 261, 262.
49 Guilfoyle, “Adamantine and Serpentine,” 130, 133; Pagels, The Origin of Satan, 48, 49.
50 Guilfoyle, “Adamantine and Serpentine,” 131, 132.
51 Adam L. Porter, “Satanic but not Satan: Signs of the Devilish in Contemporary Cinema,Journal of Religion &
Film 17, no. 1 (April 2013): 3.
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exterior.52 To that point, others have wondered if these more recognizable, human depictions
might serve to interrogate the similarities which connect the worst of humanity with the
demonic.53
CAoS, Lucifer, and Supernatural all represent this tension between innate good and
chosen evil in different ways. In Lucifer, it is the centre of the main character’s developmental
arc, as Lucifer consistently struggles with the consequences of the rage he has kept bottled up
over the millennia since his Father (God) assigned him to rule over Hell, even as he grows to
love and care for others. He is consistently adamant that he never wanted to oversee humanity’s
torture, and that he refuses to go back to that life after having left Hell at the beginning of the
series—while still being prone to violent outbursts and self-harm.54 On the other hand, CAoS’s
Lucifer, as I have already discussed, is entirely disinterested in redeeming himself, having been
fully consumed by his loathing for God and his desire to begin the Apocalypse.55 As I stated at
the beginning of this paper, Supernatural’s Lucifer remains somewhere between these two
extremes, even in his aesthetics; whereas Lucifer and CAoS dress their Lucifers, when in their
most beautiful forms, in tailored suits and perfectly coiffed hair, Supernatural’s Lucifer is less
traditionally handsome, and prefers to wear ill-fitting plaid rather than a tailored suit—although
he will wear the latter in his most theatrical moods. Befitting this “in-between” state,
Supernatural’s Lucifer holds onto similar grief and feelings of betrayal against God. However,
despite the show creator’s desire to depict him as a “gentle” and “almost sympathetic” character
à la Paradise Lost, the sympathetic nature of his character erodes over the course of the series.56
52 Bruenig, “The Devil We Know,” 34.
53 Murphy, “Leviathan to Lucifer,” 157.
54 “Lucifer Morningstar,” Lucifer Wiki, Fandom, accessed April 21, 2020,
https://lucifer.fandom.com/wiki/Lucifer_Morningstar.
55 Heim, “Comparing the Devils.”
56 “Lucifer,” Supernatural Wiki, Fandom, accessed April 21, 2020, https://supernatural.fandom.com/wiki/Lucifer.
Lewis 13
As such, these modern American Lucifers are granted the same conditional visual and
sympathetic beauty as Milton’s and Faust’s, one which belies its own betrayal and misdirection.
Conclusion
It is evident, then, that Satan as both a character and an idea have been shape-shifting and
transforming for thousands of years.57 In its most popular current iteration, the American Devil is
represented as a male sex symbol who is at once predatory and hypnotic, as seen in the three
currently-airing American television shows Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Lucifer, and
Supernatural. At first glance, this sexually charged characterization may seem out of left field,
when compared to the serpentine and goat-man depictions of the Devil which have proliferated
across most Jewish and Christian mythology for centuries. However, by investigating the
relationship which these beastly depictions had to sexuality, and connecting them to the more
beguiling depictions of Satan as a fallen angel which began to be popularized in the 1660s, I
have shown that this sexualisation has hardly appeared out of nowhere. Instead, it is simply the
latest, best dressed version of the devil we know.
57 Schock, “Introduction, 2; Porter, “Satanic but not Satan,” 2, 3.
Lewis 14
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Monsters and the monstrous show up in Scripture and outside the pages of Scripture. Two of the most famous biblical monsters—Leviathan and Satan—appear and reappear in different forms, and, at times, their stories are merged into one. A focus on Leviathan and Satan in Scripture helps readers to see the different ways the biblical texts depict monsters and, especially, the relationship between humans, monsters, and the divine. As these creatures (re)appear in popular culture, often drawing on their scriptural representations, they continue to provide a space for audiences to ask: what makes a monster and what do these monsters reveal?
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There are strong similarities between the confessions taken from accused witches in early modern Europe, the testimony of Satanic ritual abuse taken by modern therapists, and accounts of alien abduction given under hypnosis. In each of these narratives, a subject describes horrible sexual transgressions performed on them at the hand of a mysterious other: the thorny penis of the Devil, the bizarre anal insertions of Satanists, and the mysterious probing of aliens. The motive behind these sexual acts is never revealed and the existence of the perpetrators is usually in doubt. This article suggests that sexual trauma serves an epistemological function. For such apparent victims, a belief in demons, Satanists, or aliens provides a meaningful worldview, and narratives of sexual transgressions maintain and even compound these beliefs. "Carnal knowledge"—knowledge through sexual encounters—is privileged above visual or auditory encounters, and is therefore more useful for constructing meaningful cosmologies in which human beings may interact with the divine. Carnal knowledge was a privileged form of epistemology in pre-Christian cultures. Since the days of the early Christian Church and the equation of sexuality with sin, carnal knowledge has survived in the form of masochistic and traumatic sexual encounters.
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