Examination of Theme within Memnoch the Devil Essay

Submitted By preintellectual
Words: 960
Pages: 4

January 20th, 2014
English Period 11

Memnoch the Devil

The possibility of an eternity or an afterlife has puzzled humankind for generations, leading to further endless possibilities through religions and philosophies, alien and ancient. Yet even with these seemingly foolproof, bastion theories, people yearn for confirmation in their creation. In the novel, Memnoch the Devil, by Anne Rice, such theories as religions are examined through the eyes of a vampire called Lestat de Lioncourt, the main character and antihero, as he journeys throughout the depths of areas seldom ventured by those outside of 13th century Florence, Italy. The story begins as a vampiric hunt set mainly in New York City and New Orleans that Lestat initiates for a mobster. However, his plans are complicated as he slowly falls in love with the mobster’s daughter, a beautiful young televangelist called Dora. During his pursuit of the two, he notices he is being stalked by an otherworldly being, who reveals himself to be the Devil, who prefers to be called Memnoch. Memnoch offers Lestat an opportunity to save his soul by ruling over purgatory with him as his first lieutenant. His proposition lures Lestat to take the bait and tour through heaven and hell with him. During which, Memnoch explains to Lestat that he and God have a longstanding bet that if he can convince the souls of humans to love each other purely so that they may ascend to heaven without experiencing pain and suffering, then he may return to heaven also, as the archangel he originally was. However, after traveling through time to witness the creation of mankind, touring through heaven and hell, and even conversing with and drinking the blood of the Almighty God Himself, Lestat realizes he does not want to listen to cacophonous wails of the souls in purgatory and that he does not want to take sides. A struggle ensues between him and Memnoch, but Lestat ultimately escapes hell with the fabled Veronica’s Veil. Once back on Earth, Lestat meets with a few fellow vampires and Dora, who reveals the Veil to the rest of the human population, encouraging a huge religious movement. The story ends when Lestat receives a letter of thanks from Memnoch, which reveals that he had tricked Lestat into helping him win the bet with God, for now that thousands upon thousands of people have converted to Christianity, their souls will be saved without pain and suffering. A major theme within the story is choice and consequence. Throughout the series, Lestat, being a vampire, has had the authority to make all sorts of bad decisions for which he deems himself irresponsible. This theme is made even more eminent in this book, for he must choose between aiding God or the Devil. However, the depth of Memnoch’s proposition is ultimately so poignant and insufferable to the point where Lestat declares, “I will not be part of this, not for you, not for Him, not for them, not for anyone!” (401). Although he discovers eventually, that he never had a choice, so there is also a contradicting theme that has been evolving within the story. Another recurring theme in the story is love. Throughout the whole story, it is emphasized by all characters but most importantly Memnoch, that without love, the evolution of humanity would be pointless. Memnoch appeals to God in his case and defends human souls by saying, “When primates…diverged from the rest of Nature…it was no mere moment of Self Awareness, Lord, when the logic of Life and Death became apparent to them. It was nothing as simple as that. On the contrary, the Self Awareness grew from a new and totally unnatural…