Here we are at the beginning of chapter four, and we have in front of us the most evil character we shall find in all of the Narnia books: The White Witch. In this short essay I shall attempt to show why we believe that CS Lewis wrote her character as the Devil. There shall be a couple of KJV Bible verses pointed out; to show where he might have looked to for guidance on this character, so for this chapter you shall need your copy of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, and The Bible (you can download a KJV as an app).
Without further ado, on we go; into the land of Narnia.
On the very opening page of this chapter we find several reasons already to point to why readers have compared her to Satan. The first are her harsh, cruel words which are spoken to Edmund. For example:
“I see you are an idiot, whatever else you may be.”
Disregarding his confusion and anything else he may have in ways of positive characteristics, she verbally lashes out with an insulting comment on his intelligence, putting him down. This shows murder of character, an attribute not just of the Devil, but of any fallen being.
Secondly, we find out, on the very same page, that she has some form of plan that can be wrecked by Edmund. Later we find out exactly what this plan is. Her words “this may wreck all”show us, coupled with how she then proceeds, that although she may heighten herself to Aslan’s level, it is a lie. The Witch is not omnipotent, omniscient, nor is she omnipresent. This reflects Satan’s bid to level himself with God (as seen in 2 Corinthians 11 verse 14), but, despite his attempts, he falls on all those points also, and it is a height that he knows he shall never achieve.
Finally from just this page, we see
“her eyes flaming; at the same moment she raised her wand.”
In these words we see that there is great intent to harm. Coupled with “he is easily dealt with.” we see the calmness of her majesty when she is about to commit murder. She has moved from a lashing tongue to a lashing sword, and feels no qualms about this. This should remind us of Peter’s warning of The Devil in 1 Peter 5 verse 8.
“just as he gave himself up for lost, she appeared to change her mind.”
Here we should take note of her sudden change of plan concerning Edmund. It is a sly manoeuvre indeed. Threatening to kill him, so showing her strength, but then holding back and offering (as we shall see) a ‘loving’ hand. Slyness has been known to be used by Satan since the Garden: Genesis 3. The Witch continues to speak “My poor child”. A child, we must remember, who one moment ago was an idiot to her. “I will put my mantle round you and we will talk.” An offer of companionship, company, and care. The poor boy then “sat at her feet” as one might do before a great teacher. It is a sign of worship, respect, and attention. He submitted himself to her. Edmund should have refused this offer, but we can’t think too little of him, after all, he was only just threatened with death, so he is rather shaken.
Turning over the pages there are even more instances that we may compare The Witch to The Devil. Here in these few quotes we see offerings of material pleasures that ensnare Edmund “like best to eat” “she knew…that this was enchanted”, a desire by The Witch to glean a much knowledge in any way possible “he never asked himself why the Queen should be so inquisitive”, her forcing information from him “ she got him to tell her”, and (once the information is taken) the falling of the pretence of her monarchic title “forgetting to call her ‘Your Majesty’, but she didn’t seem to mind now”. I shan’t go into detail on these points, because if I did they would treble this writing’s length and I would begin to repeat myself on many a thing.
The wicked words and ways continue till The Witch offers Edmund his heart’s desire: power far above his brother, Peter. First, though, he must bring his siblings to her, so they may be made Duke and Duchesses – which Edmund does not like the sound of, for when you have found something like this and you are selfish you never want to share.
She parts from him with these words almost as her last “you needn’t tell them about me.” She knows they will discover one way or another that she is wicked, so, seeking to hide this, she gives the pretence that it is a game. In a similar way, Satan whispers into minds that this life is just a game, and we should have no other thoughts than that of fun and frivolity. Though there is nothing inherently evil about fun, it is wrong to direct our lives entirely towards selfish ambitions of want and desire for this world.
Edmund then meets Lucy in Narnia! This should have been a wonderful joy to them both, but (as we discover) he is feeling uneasy in his stomach and about the ‘friend’ he has made there. So much so that he puts Lucy down when she talks of the Fawn describing The White Witch as a “perfectly terrible person.” By writing this in CS Lewis has foreshadowed what will happen later in the book with Edmund’s betrayal, because he hates having to admit he is wrong:
“Edmund secretly thought that it would not be as good fun for him as for her.”
So, I hope I have covered the subject matter in this chapter well enough in the short writing I have put before you, that it may be profitable and interesting. Feedback will be read and digested. I’ll be back with Chapter 5 in two weeks time when the two children return to the real world and their elder siblings. Till then: