The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.0077 Friday, 14 January 2005
From: Bill Arnold <
Date: Thursday, 13 Jan 2005 20:23:01 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 16.0069 Why is the Prince of Darkness a Gentleman?
Comment: Re: SHK 16.0069 Why is the Prince of Darkness a Gentleman?
Well, I for one am interested where the words "the Prince of Darkness is
a gentleman" appear first. My question shows I have not followed
closely this thread. Do the words "the Prince of Darkness" precede the
linkage to gentleman?
In the instance of the meeting of Jesus with "the devil" in Luke,
Chapter 4, Verses 5-8, it does appear that the devil acts like a
gentleman, in that his offer is the gentleman's wager of tit for tat.
He offers Jesus the "power and glory" of the world in exchange for Jesus
agreeing to "worship" him. Of course, Jesus's response of "Get thee
behind me, Satan," is a classic retort embedded forever in our psyches.
Obviously, Jesus was above all that "gentlemanly" stuff and reminded
him, and us all, "Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only
shalt thou serve." In offering this rebuke to Satan, Jesus reminded
him, and us, that he was only a man among men despite his especial
powers as the devil.
In Matthew, Chapter 16, Verses 20-23, Jesus said the very same words
to Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan," one of his disciples, adding,
"thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be
of God, but those that be of men." Again, Jesus reminded Peter, and us,
that we are all gentlemanly in our doings, inasmuch as we are all men.
And that is the rub. Jesus wanted Satan, Peter, each of us, to
recognize that men have gentlemenly doings, each of us-and yet our
allegiance is to God, not to each other.
Perhaps that is why the "Prince of Darkness" is a gentleman. Because,
he is! As we all are, even those among us who are "fallen angels"!
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