History Literature / TheScrewtapeLetters

4th Sep '17 12:06:17 PM CLT009
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Added DiffLines:

* ButtMonkey: Downplayed with Wormwood. On the one hand, he gets zero respect from Screwtape, bumbles just about everything he attempts, can't even make a good [[TheStarscream Starscream]] and fails in the end to make use of his senior's advice. On the other hand, he's not ''entirely'' incompetent and comes very close to successfully luring away the Patient more than once. [[AttentionDeficitOohShiny His preoccupation with World War II didn't help.]]
27th Aug '17 6:55:41 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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* EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor: Screwtape falls into the "doesn't have one" variety.

to:

* EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor: Screwtape falls into the "doesn't have one" variety.Devils in general just don't get humor. To them it's just another way to suppress virtue and promote vice, and very much a two-edged sword that can be used by good as well.



* EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor: Devils in general just don't get humor. To them it's just another way to suppress virtue and promote vice, and very much a two-edged sword that can be used by good as well.
27th Aug '17 6:53:22 PM ImperialMajestyXO
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Added DiffLines:

* EvilHasABadSenseOfHumor: Screwtape falls into the "doesn't have one" variety.
16th Aug '17 5:47:51 PM Dante_Virgil
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* UnitConfusion: Screwtape uses lightyears as a unit of time in Letter XXII-though maybe devils and angels reckon such things differently.

to:

* UnitConfusion: Screwtape uses lightyears as a unit of time in Letter XXII-though XXII--though maybe devils and angels reckon such things differently.
16th Aug '17 5:44:03 PM Dante_Virgil
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** According to Screwtape, [[{{Satan}} the Father Below]] was so disgusted with God's idea of "Love" that he decided to remove himself very suddenly to an infinite distance from heaven-he certainly wasn't [[FallenAngel forcibly cast out]] or anything like that.

to:

** According to Screwtape, [[{{Satan}} the Father Below]] was so disgusted with God's idea of "Love" that he decided to remove himself very suddenly to an infinite distance from heaven-he heaven--he certainly wasn't [[FallenAngel forcibly cast out]] or anything like that.
16th Aug '17 5:35:30 PM Dante_Virgil
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** He also throws out the possibility that God may not even love us, and has other, probably less holy reasons why He created us in the first place. Of course, Screwtape's problem is that he's a devil-[[EvilCannotComprehendGood he can only understand things that are done for less-than-holy reasons]]. Sheer altruism like The Enemy's is not only absurd but ''impossible'', as far as he can tell--God ''must'' have some ultimately selfish reason for creating human beings.

to:

** He also throws out the possibility that God may not even love us, and has other, probably less holy reasons why He created us in the first place. Of course, Screwtape's problem is that he's a devil-[[EvilCannotComprehendGood devil--[[EvilCannotComprehendGood he can only understand things that are done for less-than-holy reasons]]. Sheer altruism like The Enemy's is not only absurd but ''impossible'', as far as he can tell--God ''must'' have some ultimately selfish reason for creating human beings.
15th Jul '17 1:48:05 PM nombretomado
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** Also, the devils themselves are interested in tempting humans mostly because they get to [[ToServeMan feed on corrupted souls]]. Despair apparently works something like alcohol, and Screwtape is disgruntled to realize that, after WorldWarII starts, his nephew is writing back drunk.

to:

** Also, the devils themselves are interested in tempting humans mostly because they get to [[ToServeMan feed on corrupted souls]]. Despair apparently works something like alcohol, and Screwtape is disgruntled to realize that, after WorldWarII UsefulNotes/WorldWarII starts, his nephew is writing back drunk.
28th Jun '17 7:52:18 AM Jeduthun
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*

to:

** {{Satan}}: Called "Our Father Below" by his overlings.
* SatanIsGood: Well, Screwtape thinks so, but he's a very UnreliableNarrator and there's a perspective flip going on
* ScienceIsBad: A pointed subversion in the first letter. Humans are best kept away from science entirely, especially the natural sciences, because those instill wonder and perspective. The best sort of human never goes beyond the immediate sense experience. Reason as a whole is an awful way of causing humans to sin, because rational arguments are open to rational counterarguments. InsaneTrollLogic works much better.
** That said, using rationalism to promote atheism is encouraged, since souls that simply convince themselves there is no God by way of rational deduction ''do'' end up in Hell. They're not especially tasty, but it ensures the devils will never starve.
* SecretPolice: At one point, Wormwood [[TheDogBitesBack attempts to get back at Screwtape]] for perpetually berating him, by trying to convince Hell's Secret Police to investigate Screwtape for heresy. It doesn't work: Screwtape manages to cover his tracks by insisting that he didn't mean it when he said the Enemy actually ''loves'' human beings.
** Screwtape warns Wormwood that further insubordination will not be tolerated by sending him one of the secret police's exquisitely illustrated pamphlets on their House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters. (Of course, at the end of the book it's implied that Wormwood has failed so utterly as to merit ''immediate'' execution and cannibalisation.)
* SevenDeadlySins: All of them are {{discussed}} at some point, but the concept itself is a bit {{subverted}}. Screwtape reminds Wormwood that petty sins are just as effective as deadly ones as long as they keep the Patient's attention off {{God}} and his spiritual condition. In fact, getting the Patient to commit a spectacular sin would be counterproductive, as that could make him more likely to say MyGodWhatHaveIDone and repent.
* SexIsEvil: {{Subverted}}. It is only evil when done the devils' way. The fact that the Patient's fiancee is [[GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex looking forward to it]] rather pleases The Enemy.
* ShoutOut: Several, including one to Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw, where Screwtape remembers a comment from Shaw but can't remember how to spell the man's name: "[[TakeThat something like Pshaw]]".
* SoulEating: Demons eat the souls of other demons as well as of humans.
* TheStarscream: Not explicit, but it seems that junior tempters are ''expected'' to scheme against their elders and that a devil who succeeds in overthrowing his supervisor is showing exactly the kind of ambition that Hell rewards.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial:
** According to Screwtape, [[{{Satan}} the Father Below]] was so disgusted with God's idea of "Love" that he decided to remove himself very suddenly to an infinite distance from heaven-he certainly wasn't [[FallenAngel forcibly cast out]] or anything like that.
** Screwtape's transformation into a giant centipede was totally intentional and most certainly not a BalefulPolymorph.
* TakeThat:
** Surprisingly few for a story set in Hell, but there's one not so subtle example directed at Henry Ford. Although if you know much about Ford's personal life (he supported the Nazis' racial ideology, for one thing), it's hard not to agree with Lewis.
** Thoreau's description of how he prays (silently, unbowed, with vague feelings as opposed to concrete requests to God) is declared to be "exactly the sort of prayer we want". So in other words, it's exactly the ''wrong'' type.
** Evil [[TheFundamentalist religious]] [[KnightTemplar zealots]] are made into wine for demons in hell by being blended in with ''other'' evil religious zealots they hated and opposed in life.
*** Conversely, atheists are mentioned as bland but filling fare in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", and devils work hard to promote atheism as a general state of being before concentrating on "refining" tastes with other sinful encouragement.
** In the play, Screwtape points out how famous people are a "good" influence, since they're always changing their minds... then tilts the book he's reading to reveal that it's a biography of Music/{{Madonna}}. Cue "Material Girl" playing during the next set change.
** Also in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," Screwtape mentions a few exemplary sinners such as [[TheCasanova Giacomo Casanova]] and UsefulNotes/HenryVIII whom the devils found [[ToServeMan especially tasty.]] Only one contemporary figure makes the list-- naturally enough, it's UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. And even then, he gets regarded as inferior to most ''real'' sinners.
** In the introduction, Lewis writes that he portrayed {{Hell}} as a VastBureaucracy rather than the more obvious FireAndBrimstoneHell as an intentional jab against {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s (see below).
* TallPoppySyndrome: In "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", Screwtape expounds upon this phenomenon in education, drawing attention to the fact that, in the original story that gave the phenomenon its name, it was a ''dictator'' cutting off heads to insure that his ''subjects'' were all equal. Of course, [[VillainProtagonist Screwtape being a demon]], he thinks this tyranny of the masses is one of the best things to happen in decades. His chilling proposal is that in a democracy, there is no need for a dictator to do it. His tyranny of the masses is as follows: an equivocation of the virtue of equality will confound the belief that all people are equal in rights and dignity with the belief that all people are equal in ability and merit. Those who could excel must then be held back, especially in education, lest the value of equality is broken. Likewise, schoolwork must be made to seem equal, whether learning calculus or finger-painting, so there is "parity of esteem." In the end, those who could excel will purposefully obscure or not develop their talents in order to avoid ostracism.
* TermsOfEndangerment: In Screwtape's last few letters, as the Patient slips out of reach, the terms of affection become increasingly effusive. Culminates in this: "My dear, my [[OhCrap very dear]] Wormwood; my poppet, my pigsnie..."
* TooFunnyToBeEvil: One trope that Screwtape advises; Wormwood can get his patient to commit many sins without realizing it by passing them off as jokes.
* ToServeMan: The main reason the devils take an interest in humanity.
* UnitConfusion: Screwtape uses lightyears as a unit of time in Letter XXII-though maybe devils and angels reckon such things differently.
** If read as taking place within the universe of the Space Trilogy, this is entirely possible.
** Lewis himself points out in the preface that the "diabolical method of measuring time" is pretty bizarre and not all that useful from the POV of a human reader, thereby exact dates were (conveniently) left out of the narrative.
* UnreliableNarrator: Screwtape himself, as Lewis himself cautions in the preface ("Readers are advised to remember that the Devil is a liar...There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on earth.") But what else would you expect from someone whose boss is the Father of Lies? [[FridgeBrilliance Besides]], since Hell is a PoliceState, there are things devils don't say aloud, if they don't want to be sent to correction facilities or to be eaten.
* [[invoked]]ValuesDissonance: Addressed and explained with the concept of "Vogues". According to Screwtape, people from differing time periods have had such different values due to the efforts of the demons in manipulating humans to sin. Specifically, the demons get humans to gravitate towards one type of sin in one era, then get the humans to become repulsed by that sin but edged towards a sin on roughly the opposite end of the spectrum in another era. The ideal is to have the society constantly swinging back and forth between dangerous extremes and avoiding a happy medium at all costs.
* VastBureaucracy: {{Hell}} is portrayed like this. WordOfGod says that this was partly to {{avert|ed Trope}} a Dante-esque FireAndBrimstoneHell, but it also serves as an intentional TakeThat against [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corrupt bureaucrats]]:
--> "The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of iniquity' that [[Creator/CharlesDickens Dickens]] loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps...But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice."
** This line, by the way, was quoted by UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan in [[http://youtu.be/do0x-Egc6oA?t=2m30s his "evil empire" speech]].
* VillainProtagonist: Both Screwtape and Wormwood.
* VillainousGlutton:
** Screwtape advises Wormwood on how to tempt the patient to the sin of gluttony. In a bit of an {{aversion}}, Screwtape says that not all gluttony is overeating; what counts is getting the person enslaved to their appetites (even if they only want toast and tea) in such a way that [[{{Jerkass}} they don't care if they inconvenience others]]. Or just as good, they might become {{pride}}ful over their refined tastes. He even gives an example: the Patient's mother, who is so self-satisfied over her refusal to eat too much that she's become ''impossibly'' picky about portion sizes, to the point that the Patient '''hates''' her for it (though he'll never admit it to himself).
** Also, the devils themselves are interested in tempting humans mostly because they get to [[ToServeMan feed on corrupted souls]]. Despair apparently works something like alcohol, and Screwtape is disgruntled to realize that, after WorldWarII starts, his nephew is writing back drunk.
* WarIsHell: Alluded to, but not {{played straight}}. Screwtape admits that war has many "useful" qualities, since the vices are easier to spread when people are frightened and desperate. But on the whole he feels that war is too dangerous a tool: it brings out charity, self-denial and courage in people who would never ordinarily have shown such virtues. It also makes people very aware of their own mortality so they feel the need to [[HeelFaithTurn get right with God]] rather than being complacent.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: Screwtape gloats over how well they succeeded in causing this in the Church despite the fact that God commanded that every faction show Christian charity to the others.
* AWolfInSheepsClothing: The devils are trained to disguise themselves as angels of light, both as "a parade-ground exercise" and to more effectively tempt their patients to be HolierThanThou.
* YouHaveFailedMe: "Either bring back food, or be food yourself." Rather than a one-time happening, this is standard procedure in Hell. The very last chapter is one long declaration of this.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: {{Hell}} has a Philological Arm, whose job is to redefine words in misleading or ambiguous ways to make it easier to lead people astray with InsaneTrollLogic. Screwtape discusses using several of these words (such as "a religious phase," or contradictory definitions of "real") to tempt the Patient. They're particularly proud of the work they did on "puritanical," which shifted from 'particularly concerned with virtue' to 'hopelessly old-fashioned'.
----
26th Jun '17 6:49:06 PM ProfessorGrimm
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Adaptations of the work include a 2009 audio drama on Family Radio Theatre (with Andy Serkis, known for playing Gollum in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' trilogy, providing the voice for Screwtape) a comic book adaptation by Creator/MarvelComics in 1994, and a stage adaptation by Max [=Mclean=]. 20th Century Fox has held the film rights to the novel since 1950, but despite previous plans to partner with Walden Media to make a live action film adaptation with a 2008 release date, the project is currently in DevelopmentHell. (It's perhaps worth noting that Lewis himself considered the book inherently unstageable and unfilmable, and once advised a playwright who wanted to adapt the book to go ahead and write his own story leaving Screwtape out of it!)

to:

Adaptations of the work include a 2009 audio drama on Family Radio Theatre (with Andy Serkis, known for playing Gollum starring Creator/AndySerkis (Gollum in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' trilogy, providing trilogy) as the voice for Screwtape) Screwtape, a comic book adaptation by Creator/MarvelComics in 1994, and a stage adaptation by Max [=Mclean=]. 20th Century Fox has held the film rights to the novel since 1950, but despite previous plans to partner with Walden Media to make a live action film adaptation with a 2008 release date, the project is currently in DevelopmentHell. (It's perhaps worth noting that Lewis himself considered the book inherently unstageable and unfilmable, and once advised a playwright who wanted to adapt the book to go ahead and write his own story leaving Screwtape out of it!)



* {{Satan}}: Called "Our Father Below" by his overlings.
* SatanIsGood: Well, Screwtape thinks so, but he's a very UnreliableNarrator and there's a perspective flip going on
* ScienceIsBad: A pointed subversion in the first letter. Humans are best kept away from science entirely, especially the natural sciences, because those instill wonder and perspective. The best sort of human never goes beyond the immediate sense experience. Reason as a whole is an awful way of causing humans to sin, because rational arguments are open to rational counterarguments. InsaneTrollLogic works much better.
** That said, using rationalism to promote atheism is encouraged, since souls that simply convince themselves there is no God by way of rational deduction ''do'' end up in Hell. They're not especially tasty, but it ensures the devils will never starve.
* SecretPolice: At one point, Wormwood [[TheDogBitesBack attempts to get back at Screwtape]] for perpetually berating him, by trying to convince Hell's Secret Police to investigate Screwtape for heresy. It doesn't work: Screwtape manages to cover his tracks by insisting that he didn't mean it when he said the Enemy actually ''loves'' human beings.
** Screwtape warns Wormwood that further insubordination will not be tolerated by sending him one of the secret police's exquisitely illustrated pamphlets on their House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters. (Of course, at the end of the book it's implied that Wormwood has failed so utterly as to merit ''immediate'' execution and cannibalisation.)
* SevenDeadlySins: All of them are {{discussed}} at some point, but the concept itself is a bit {{subverted}}. Screwtape reminds Wormwood that petty sins are just as effective as deadly ones as long as they keep the Patient's attention off {{God}} and his spiritual condition. In fact, getting the Patient to commit a spectacular sin would be counterproductive, as that could make him more likely to say MyGodWhatHaveIDone and repent.
* SexIsEvil: {{Subverted}}. It is only evil when done the devils' way. The fact that the Patient's fiancee is [[GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex looking forward to it]] rather pleases The Enemy.
* ShoutOut: Several, including one to Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw, where Screwtape remembers a comment from Shaw but can't remember how to spell the man's name: "[[TakeThat something like Pshaw]]".
* SoulEating: Demons eat the souls of other demons as well as of humans.
* TheStarscream: Not explicit, but it seems that junior tempters are ''expected'' to scheme against their elders and that a devil who succeeds in overthrowing his supervisor is showing exactly the kind of ambition that Hell rewards.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial:
** According to Screwtape, [[{{Satan}} the Father Below]] was so disgusted with God's idea of "Love" that he decided to remove himself very suddenly to an infinite distance from heaven-he certainly wasn't [[FallenAngel forcibly cast out]] or anything like that.
** Screwtape's transformation into a giant centipede was totally intentional and most certainly not a BalefulPolymorph.
* TakeThat:
** Surprisingly few for a story set in Hell, but there's one not so subtle example directed at Henry Ford. Although if you know much about Ford's personal life (he supported the Nazis' racial ideology, for one thing), it's hard not to agree with Lewis.
** Thoreau's description of how he prays (silently, unbowed, with vague feelings as opposed to concrete requests to God) is declared to be "exactly the sort of prayer we want". So in other words, it's exactly the ''wrong'' type.
** Evil [[TheFundamentalist religious]] [[KnightTemplar zealots]] are made into wine for demons in hell by being blended in with ''other'' evil religious zealots they hated and opposed in life.
*** Conversely, atheists are mentioned as bland but filling fare in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", and devils work hard to promote atheism as a general state of being before concentrating on "refining" tastes with other sinful encouragement.
** In the play, Screwtape points out how famous people are a "good" influence, since they're always changing their minds... then tilts the book he's reading to reveal that it's a biography of Music/{{Madonna}}. Cue "Material Girl" playing during the next set change.
** Also in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," Screwtape mentions a few exemplary sinners such as [[TheCasanova Giacomo Casanova]] and UsefulNotes/HenryVIII whom the devils found [[ToServeMan especially tasty.]] Only one contemporary figure makes the list-- naturally enough, it's UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. And even then, he gets regarded as inferior to most ''real'' sinners.
** In the introduction, Lewis writes that he portrayed {{Hell}} as a VastBureaucracy rather than the more obvious FireAndBrimstoneHell as an intentional jab against {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s (see below).
* TallPoppySyndrome: In "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", Screwtape expounds upon this phenomenon in education, drawing attention to the fact that, in the original story that gave the phenomenon its name, it was a ''dictator'' cutting off heads to insure that his ''subjects'' were all equal. Of course, [[VillainProtagonist Screwtape being a demon]], he thinks this tyranny of the masses is one of the best things to happen in decades. His chilling proposal is that in a democracy, there is no need for a dictator to do it. His tyranny of the masses is as follows: an equivocation of the virtue of equality will confound the belief that all people are equal in rights and dignity with the belief that all people are equal in ability and merit. Those who could excel must then be held back, especially in education, lest the value of equality is broken. Likewise, schoolwork must be made to seem equal, whether learning calculus or finger-painting, so there is "parity of esteem." In the end, those who could excel will purposefully obscure or not develop their talents in order to avoid ostracism.
* TermsOfEndangerment: In Screwtape's last few letters, as the Patient slips out of reach, the terms of affection become increasingly effusive. Culminates in this: "My dear, my [[OhCrap very dear]] Wormwood; my poppet, my pigsnie..."
* TooFunnyToBeEvil: One trope that Screwtape advises; Wormwood can get his patient to commit many sins without realizing it by passing them off as jokes.
* ToServeMan: The main reason the devils take an interest in humanity.
* UnitConfusion: Screwtape uses lightyears as a unit of time in Letter XXII-though maybe devils and angels reckon such things differently.
** If read as taking place within the universe of the Space Trilogy, this is entirely possible.
** Lewis himself points out in the preface that the "diabolical method of measuring time" is pretty bizarre and not all that useful from the POV of a human reader, thereby exact dates were (conveniently) left out of the narrative.
* UnreliableNarrator: Screwtape himself, as Lewis himself cautions in the preface ("Readers are advised to remember that the Devil is a liar...There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on earth.") But what else would you expect from someone whose boss is the Father of Lies? [[FridgeBrilliance Besides]], since Hell is a PoliceState, there are things devils don't say aloud, if they don't want to be sent to correction facilities or to be eaten.
* [[invoked]]ValuesDissonance: Addressed and explained with the concept of "Vogues". According to Screwtape, people from differing time periods have had such different values due to the efforts of the demons in manipulating humans to sin. Specifically, the demons get humans to gravitate towards one type of sin in one era, then get the humans to become repulsed by that sin but edged towards a sin on roughly the opposite end of the spectrum in another era. The ideal is to have the society constantly swinging back and forth between dangerous extremes and avoiding a happy medium at all costs.
* VastBureaucracy: {{Hell}} is portrayed like this. WordOfGod says that this was partly to {{avert|ed Trope}} a Dante-esque FireAndBrimstoneHell, but it also serves as an intentional TakeThat against [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corrupt bureaucrats]]:
--> "The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of iniquity' that [[Creator/CharlesDickens Dickens]] loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps...But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice."
** This line, by the way, was quoted by UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan in [[http://youtu.be/do0x-Egc6oA?t=2m30s his "evil empire" speech]].
* VillainProtagonist: Both Screwtape and Wormwood.
* VillainousGlutton:
** Screwtape advises Wormwood on how to tempt the patient to the sin of gluttony. In a bit of an {{aversion}}, Screwtape says that not all gluttony is overeating; what counts is getting the person enslaved to their appetites (even if they only want toast and tea) in such a way that [[{{Jerkass}} they don't care if they inconvenience others]]. Or just as good, they might become {{pride}}ful over their refined tastes. He even gives an example: the Patient's mother, who is so self-satisfied over her refusal to eat too much that she's become ''impossibly'' picky about portion sizes, to the point that the Patient '''hates''' her for it (though he'll never admit it to himself).
** Also, the devils themselves are interested in tempting humans mostly because they get to [[ToServeMan feed on corrupted souls]]. Despair apparently works something like alcohol, and Screwtape is disgruntled to realize that, after WorldWarII starts, his nephew is writing back drunk.
* WarIsHell: Alluded to, but not {{played straight}}. Screwtape admits that war has many "useful" qualities, since the vices are easier to spread when people are frightened and desperate. But on the whole he feels that war is too dangerous a tool: it brings out charity, self-denial and courage in people who would never ordinarily have shown such virtues. It also makes people very aware of their own mortality so they feel the need to [[HeelFaithTurn get right with God]] rather than being complacent.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: Screwtape gloats over how well they succeeded in causing this in the Church despite the fact that God commanded that every faction show Christian charity to the others.
* AWolfInSheepsClothing: The devils are trained to disguise themselves as angels of light, both as "a parade-ground exercise" and to more effectively tempt their patients to be HolierThanThou.
* YouHaveFailedMe: "Either bring back food, or be food yourself." Rather than a one-time happening, this is standard procedure in Hell. The very last chapter is one long declaration of this.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: {{Hell}} has a Philological Arm, whose job is to redefine words in misleading or ambiguous ways to make it easier to lead people astray with InsaneTrollLogic. Screwtape discusses using several of these words (such as "a religious phase," or contradictory definitions of "real") to tempt the Patient. They're particularly proud of the work they did on "puritanical," which shifted from 'particularly concerned with virtue' to 'hopelessly old-fashioned'.
----

to:

* {{Satan}}: Called "Our Father Below" by his overlings.
* SatanIsGood: Well, Screwtape thinks so, but he's a very UnreliableNarrator and there's a perspective flip going on
* ScienceIsBad: A pointed subversion in the first letter. Humans are best kept away from science entirely, especially the natural sciences, because those instill wonder and perspective. The best sort of human never goes beyond the immediate sense experience. Reason as a whole is an awful way of causing humans to sin, because rational arguments are open to rational counterarguments. InsaneTrollLogic works much better.
** That said, using rationalism to promote atheism is encouraged, since souls that simply convince themselves there is no God by way of rational deduction ''do'' end up in Hell. They're not especially tasty, but it ensures the devils will never starve.
* SecretPolice: At one point, Wormwood [[TheDogBitesBack attempts to get back at Screwtape]] for perpetually berating him, by trying to convince Hell's Secret Police to investigate Screwtape for heresy. It doesn't work: Screwtape manages to cover his tracks by insisting that he didn't mean it when he said the Enemy actually ''loves'' human beings.
** Screwtape warns Wormwood that further insubordination will not be tolerated by sending him one of the secret police's exquisitely illustrated pamphlets on their House of Correction for Incompetent Tempters. (Of course, at the end of the book it's implied that Wormwood has failed so utterly as to merit ''immediate'' execution and cannibalisation.)
* SevenDeadlySins: All of them are {{discussed}} at some point, but the concept itself is a bit {{subverted}}. Screwtape reminds Wormwood that petty sins are just as effective as deadly ones as long as they keep the Patient's attention off {{God}} and his spiritual condition. In fact, getting the Patient to commit a spectacular sin would be counterproductive, as that could make him more likely to say MyGodWhatHaveIDone and repent.
* SexIsEvil: {{Subverted}}. It is only evil when done the devils' way. The fact that the Patient's fiancee is [[GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex looking forward to it]] rather pleases The Enemy.
* ShoutOut: Several, including one to Creator/GeorgeBernardShaw, where Screwtape remembers a comment from Shaw but can't remember how to spell the man's name: "[[TakeThat something like Pshaw]]".
* SoulEating: Demons eat the souls of other demons as well as of humans.
* TheStarscream: Not explicit, but it seems that junior tempters are ''expected'' to scheme against their elders and that a devil who succeeds in overthrowing his supervisor is showing exactly the kind of ambition that Hell rewards.
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial:
** According to Screwtape, [[{{Satan}} the Father Below]] was so disgusted with God's idea of "Love" that he decided to remove himself very suddenly to an infinite distance from heaven-he certainly wasn't [[FallenAngel forcibly cast out]] or anything like that.
** Screwtape's transformation into a giant centipede was totally intentional and most certainly not a BalefulPolymorph.
* TakeThat:
** Surprisingly few for a story set in Hell, but there's one not so subtle example directed at Henry Ford. Although if you know much about Ford's personal life (he supported the Nazis' racial ideology, for one thing), it's hard not to agree with Lewis.
** Thoreau's description of how he prays (silently, unbowed, with vague feelings as opposed to concrete requests to God) is declared to be "exactly the sort of prayer we want". So in other words, it's exactly the ''wrong'' type.
** Evil [[TheFundamentalist religious]] [[KnightTemplar zealots]] are made into wine for demons in hell by being blended in with ''other'' evil religious zealots they hated and opposed in life.
*** Conversely, atheists are mentioned as bland but filling fare in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", and devils work hard to promote atheism as a general state of being before concentrating on "refining" tastes with other sinful encouragement.
** In the play, Screwtape points out how famous people are a "good" influence, since they're always changing their minds... then tilts the book he's reading to reveal that it's a biography of Music/{{Madonna}}. Cue "Material Girl" playing during the next set change.
** Also in "Screwtape Proposes a Toast," Screwtape mentions a few exemplary sinners such as [[TheCasanova Giacomo Casanova]] and UsefulNotes/HenryVIII whom the devils found [[ToServeMan especially tasty.]] Only one contemporary figure makes the list-- naturally enough, it's UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler. And even then, he gets regarded as inferior to most ''real'' sinners.
** In the introduction, Lewis writes that he portrayed {{Hell}} as a VastBureaucracy rather than the more obvious FireAndBrimstoneHell as an intentional jab against {{Corrupt Corporate Executive}}s (see below).
* TallPoppySyndrome: In "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", Screwtape expounds upon this phenomenon in education, drawing attention to the fact that, in the original story that gave the phenomenon its name, it was a ''dictator'' cutting off heads to insure that his ''subjects'' were all equal. Of course, [[VillainProtagonist Screwtape being a demon]], he thinks this tyranny of the masses is one of the best things to happen in decades. His chilling proposal is that in a democracy, there is no need for a dictator to do it. His tyranny of the masses is as follows: an equivocation of the virtue of equality will confound the belief that all people are equal in rights and dignity with the belief that all people are equal in ability and merit. Those who could excel must then be held back, especially in education, lest the value of equality is broken. Likewise, schoolwork must be made to seem equal, whether learning calculus or finger-painting, so there is "parity of esteem." In the end, those who could excel will purposefully obscure or not develop their talents in order to avoid ostracism.
* TermsOfEndangerment: In Screwtape's last few letters, as the Patient slips out of reach, the terms of affection become increasingly effusive. Culminates in this: "My dear, my [[OhCrap very dear]] Wormwood; my poppet, my pigsnie..."
* TooFunnyToBeEvil: One trope that Screwtape advises; Wormwood can get his patient to commit many sins without realizing it by passing them off as jokes.
* ToServeMan: The main reason the devils take an interest in humanity.
* UnitConfusion: Screwtape uses lightyears as a unit of time in Letter XXII-though maybe devils and angels reckon such things differently.
** If read as taking place within the universe of the Space Trilogy, this is entirely possible.
** Lewis himself points out in the preface that the "diabolical method of measuring time" is pretty bizarre and not all that useful from the POV of a human reader, thereby exact dates were (conveniently) left out of the narrative.
* UnreliableNarrator: Screwtape himself, as Lewis himself cautions in the preface ("Readers are advised to remember that the Devil is a liar...There is wishful thinking in Hell as well as on earth.") But what else would you expect from someone whose boss is the Father of Lies? [[FridgeBrilliance Besides]], since Hell is a PoliceState, there are things devils don't say aloud, if they don't want to be sent to correction facilities or to be eaten.
* [[invoked]]ValuesDissonance: Addressed and explained with the concept of "Vogues". According to Screwtape, people from differing time periods have had such different values due to the efforts of the demons in manipulating humans to sin. Specifically, the demons get humans to gravitate towards one type of sin in one era, then get the humans to become repulsed by that sin but edged towards a sin on roughly the opposite end of the spectrum in another era. The ideal is to have the society constantly swinging back and forth between dangerous extremes and avoiding a happy medium at all costs.
* VastBureaucracy: {{Hell}} is portrayed like this. WordOfGod says that this was partly to {{avert|ed Trope}} a Dante-esque FireAndBrimstoneHell, but it also serves as an intentional TakeThat against [[CorruptCorporateExecutive corrupt bureaucrats]]:
--> "The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid 'dens of iniquity' that [[Creator/CharlesDickens Dickens]] loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps...But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice."
** This line, by the way, was quoted by UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan in [[http://youtu.be/do0x-Egc6oA?t=2m30s his "evil empire" speech]].
* VillainProtagonist: Both Screwtape and Wormwood.
* VillainousGlutton:
** Screwtape advises Wormwood on how to tempt the patient to the sin of gluttony. In a bit of an {{aversion}}, Screwtape says that not all gluttony is overeating; what counts is getting the person enslaved to their appetites (even if they only want toast and tea) in such a way that [[{{Jerkass}} they don't care if they inconvenience others]]. Or just as good, they might become {{pride}}ful over their refined tastes. He even gives an example: the Patient's mother, who is so self-satisfied over her refusal to eat too much that she's become ''impossibly'' picky about portion sizes, to the point that the Patient '''hates''' her for it (though he'll never admit it to himself).
** Also, the devils themselves are interested in tempting humans mostly because they get to [[ToServeMan feed on corrupted souls]]. Despair apparently works something like alcohol, and Screwtape is disgruntled to realize that, after WorldWarII starts, his nephew is writing back drunk.
* WarIsHell: Alluded to, but not {{played straight}}. Screwtape admits that war has many "useful" qualities, since the vices are easier to spread when people are frightened and desperate. But on the whole he feels that war is too dangerous a tool: it brings out charity, self-denial and courage in people who would never ordinarily have shown such virtues. It also makes people very aware of their own mortality so they feel the need to [[HeelFaithTurn get right with God]] rather than being complacent.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: Screwtape gloats over how well they succeeded in causing this in the Church despite the fact that God commanded that every faction show Christian charity to the others.
* AWolfInSheepsClothing: The devils are trained to disguise themselves as angels of light, both as "a parade-ground exercise" and to more effectively tempt their patients to be HolierThanThou.
* YouHaveFailedMe: "Either bring back food, or be food yourself." Rather than a one-time happening, this is standard procedure in Hell. The very last chapter is one long declaration of this.
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: {{Hell}} has a Philological Arm, whose job is to redefine words in misleading or ambiguous ways to make it easier to lead people astray with InsaneTrollLogic. Screwtape discusses using several of these words (such as "a religious phase," or contradictory definitions of "real") to tempt the Patient. They're particularly proud of the work they did on "puritanical," which shifted from 'particularly concerned with virtue' to 'hopelessly old-fashioned'.
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15th Jun '17 6:39:50 PM Jeduthun
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* BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad: The whole premise of devils looking at God the way humans would view Satan, as well as the use of words like Lowerarchy. On the other hand, devils find that persons without much moral fiber, while easier to drag to Hell, make tasteless and disappointing meals. Potential saints make the best sinners, but (as Screwtape complains), virtues like courage and patience aren't naturally on Hell's side and must be perverted before they can be useful.

to:

* BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad: BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad:
**
The whole premise of devils looking at God the way humans would view Satan, as well as the use of words like Lowerarchy. On the other hand, devils find that persons without much moral fiber, while easier to drag to Hell, make tasteless and disappointing meals. Potential saints make the best sinners, but (as Screwtape complains), virtues like courage and patience aren't naturally on Hell's side and must be perverted before they can be useful.useful.
** Also seen in the Devils themselves due to the PerspectiveFlip. The Devils have a "lowerarchy" ruled by "[[{{Satan}} Our Father Below]]", regard tempting humans to sin as a job well done, and find anything to do with goodness and love to be insufferable.



* GoodIsBadAndBadIsGood: There are shades of this, due to the PerspectiveFlip. The Devils have a "lowerarchy" ruled by "[[{{Satan}} Our Father Below]]", regard tempting humans to sin as a job well done, and find anything to do with goodness and love to be insufferable.



* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Discussed as the reason Screwtape prefers to tempt people to petty, seemingly insignificant sins. More egregiously evil sins tend to provoke this response, which may lead to a HeelRealization and [[HeelFaithTurn repentance]], which is exactly what Hell does ''not'' want to happen.

to:

* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Discussed as the reason Screwtape prefers to tempt people to petty, [[EvilIsPetty petty]], seemingly insignificant sins. More egregiously evil sins tend to provoke this response, which may lead to a HeelRealization and [[HeelFaithTurn repentance]], which is exactly what Hell does ''not'' want to happen.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Literature.TheScrewtapeLetters