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Admirers of 'The Screwtape Letters' range from Monty Python's John Cleese to Focus on the Family.

In the government of Oceania fights with non-existent Eurasia or, alternately, Eastasia, while the real aim of the Inner Party is to keep the rest of the population subdued. In both cases the governing do not care about the governed. The Mininsty of Love has the same functions as the Infernal Police: spy on the citizens and arrest dissidents.

The Ministry of Truth manipulates public opinion and twists the meaning of words in the same way as the Philological Arm in Hell. It looks as if George Orwell might have borrowed some concepts from Lewis, since The Screwtape Letters were published 7 years before The last point to be made about infernal order and formal hierarchy is the perspective from which it is presented in both books.

Screwtape is still interested most in the tempting work — that is why the reader observes the daily duties of Wormwood, an ordinary tempter, to whom Screwtape writes. Milton focuses the reader's attention on Satan and other figures that are situated at the top of the axis of importance in the infernal hierarchy.

The choice of main characters affects the substance of both writings. The Screwtape Letters, on the other hand, addresses daily problems of man's spiritual life, which resulted from the Fall. There is not much to say about Screwtape's perception of Hell.

He does not evaluate it. Perhaps the devil is afraid of the Infernal Police reading the letters and accusing him of treachery, so he avoids any critical comments, or perhaps he feels good in the environment.

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The latter is more probable, since Lewis' devils are too proud to admit they do not have the best things at hand. They are also very adaptable and make themselves at home by organising banquets and bestowing honours on one another. Milton's devils, in contrast, complain about Hell unceasingly. They have faced the fact that Hell is nothing more than 'regions of sorrow,' PL I 65 'doleful shades,' 65 where 'hope never comes.


Milton uses very vivid and concrete images and makes them dynamic and changing. That is why his description is so detailed. Also, he desires to tell a good story. Lewis' account of Hell is dissimilar to Milton's. Lewis uses a special literary tool, called by himself a "pupil's metaphor". Such a metaphor presents the unknown, unimaginable reality in basic terms, related to every day experience.

The reader does not have to know the details about Hell.

The Michael Letters: Heaven's answer to Screwtape by Jim Peschke

All he needs to do is draw on his experience and feelings related to the totalitarian regimes the book was written in the s when totalitiarian regimes were present in many European countries amd were already notorious. Additionally, within this social structure Lewis places Screwtape, who is at the same time the author of the letters.

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  • Consequently, Screwtape's account of Hell is scattered all over the letters, almost accidental. However, the reader must bear in mind that Screwtape has no reason to give any detailed information about Hell, because Wormwood, to whom the letters are addressed, knows the place perfectly well.

    'The Screwtape Letters': 8 Facts

    It must also be said that Milton and Lewis were to some extent limited by the genre they chose. Milton had to stick to the grandeur of epic style, therefore his descriptions are elaborate and lavish. Lewis decided to write a ficional correspondence between two devils who are relatively close relations, and, as a consequence, his language comes from everyday register. The differences in purpose, the style of writing and the implied author make the both descriptions of Hell distinctive.

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    • Though Lewis and Milton wrote about devils, they were far from encouraging an unhealthy interest in diabolical matters. Lewis admits that: "But though it was easy to twist one's mind into the diabolical attitude, it was not fun, or not for long. The strain produced a sort of spiritual cramp. Nevertheless, it looks as if sometimes they escape the modest intention of their creators. It is common knowledge that spiritual creatures, among which Demons must be placed, do not have bodies, at least in the sense people understand it. What more the reader knows about the fallen angels is that they do not look as they did in Heaven: "If thou beest he — says Satan to Beelzebub, as if he cannot recognise the other — But O how fallen!

      How chang'd. Lewis does not elaborate on the Devil's appearance. The reader does not know if the Devils have stomachs; however, he knows that the Devils eat. Screwtape talks many times about the hunger and thirst for the human soul. Screwtape Interestingly, C. Lewis makes one straighforward reference to Milton's Paradise Lost when, in Letter 22 of The Screwtape Letters, the main character gets angry with Wormwood and transforms himself into a 'large centipede' Screwtape mentions that "distorted account of it [transformation] appears in the poet Milton.

      Milton's demons are capable of squeezing their bodies into a smaller form PL I , changing sex or transforming into serpents. Preface to Pradise Lost 99 Lewis' devils, just like Milton's devils, can assume the shape of Angels for the purposes of tempting.


      The Screwtape Letters However, if Lewis' devils have any particular shape, apart from the one they get in moments of extreme anger or seducing people, is not known. In the midst of a world of light and love The natural consequence of pride is blindness. Screwtape represents it in its extreme realisation. He takes evil for good and good for evil. He delights in hatred and pain and at the same time abhors and does not understand love or even pleasure.

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      Screwtape 77 When he describes a pious and morally good Christian girl, he cannot refrain from the bitter remark: "It drives me crazy, the way the world has worsened. However, this process does not affect Milton's devils, who are aware of the fact that pain, hatred and misery are wrong.

      Lecture Four: The Screwtape Letters and Akrasia, or "The Lust of Deceit"

      The devils may be pompous and blind with self-importance, but they are also very cunning, skilful and intelligent. PL II His eloquence is impressive. He goes on a lonely journey and when he encounters Chaos, persuades him into becoming his ally PL II Eventually, he successfully beguiles Eve.

      The other devils show their outstanding manual skills by building the spectacular Pandemonium and their virtues by their sensible contributions during the Conclave. At this point it is worth noticing, as Lewis remarks, that uncovering the options the devils might have considered after the Fall is Milton's very intriguing invention.

      Preface to Paradise Lost In The Screwtape Latters, devils use all their collective intellectual abilities to lure people. Inventing new methods of deceiving human beings requires, no doubt, intelligence and ingenuity. However, this is not an inborn ability. Screwtape's devils learn things and become mature. They are not as perfect as Milton's Satan. They make mistakes and have to pay for it. Screwtape often speaks of Wormwood's ignorance and warns him: "Do not let us be infected by our own propaganda.

      Thus, it is vital to investigate how the demons behave in thir own circles, to fully reveal the characters of demons. Each letter starts with a similar expression of supposedly warm feelings and each is signed by 'your affectionate uncle, Screwtape. Secondly, the idea of growing old and mature is not unknown to the devils. Lastly, the devils are familiar with the idea of feeling and relationship bonds, and think themselves capable of producing feelings. These three proposition must undergo careful examination. However, these relations seem to be very suspicious.

      It is not said if any mother-child, or husband- wife relation appears in Hell but if does, the question of the demons' sex would immediately arise and cause even more confusion. Humans associate the family unit with parental love, giving birth, children's innocence, taking care of one another etc. From the devilish point of view, these concepts are pure abstraction. It looks as if family units serve only as another means of controlling the spirits by Satan.

      Constantly being observed and inspected by government and family too, the devils live in fear of their own mistakes and possible punishment. Take for example the passage when Screwtape, realizing that he has said too much in his letters, tries to establish some confidentiality between himself and his nephew, obviously feeling insecure about his current situation: Anyone would see that the appearance of heresy into which I have fallen is purely accidental.

      By the way, I hope you understand, too, that some apparently uncomplimentary references to Slubgog were purely jocular And, of course, some things I said about not shielding you from the authorities were not seriously meant. You can trust me to look after your interests.

      But do keep everything under lock and key. They do not trust anybody. However, they easily take advantage of the situation, when they can. Screwtape very often uses his superior social position to humiliate his nephew, pointing out his 'amateurish suggestion s ' or warning him against the 'sort of thing s Eventually, Screwtape leaves the reader and Wormwood totally disillusioned about the character of relations in Hell: "You will soon find that the justice of Hell is purely realistic, and concerned only with results. Bring us back food, or be food yourself.

      In such a place, love, altruism, friendship and loyalty are empty words. What the demons know and understand is hatred, jealousy, resentment and hunger.

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      They are not able to copy human feelings, but they can easily corrupt them, make them false. Under the mask of civility and casual politeness, Evil is hidden, more dangerous and harmful because not openly displayed and unpredictable. In rare moments of honesty or anger, demons reveal their true colours: "You have always hated me and been insolent when you dare. Why, yes.