The Wolves of Midwinter

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Menmoch the Devil Analysis: Spiritual Therapy for the Disillusioned Part 1: Attack of the Conscience


"Menmoch the Devil" is a breathtaking novel that was written by Anne Rice around 1995. The novel truthfully explores some profound spiritual concepts as Lestat envisages some encounter with the famed devil himself who curiously walks as an "ordinary man" At the beginning of the novel, Lestat embarks on his routine hunting for the morally-corrupt victim which will satiate his primal hunger. Normally, when feeding on their blood, images are transmitted from them that threatens to cause Lestat to feel remorse about his actions. Primarily, when animals prey on victims, they do not have moral images visited upon them which may limit their ability to deftly kill their victim.

Lestat's victim calls himself a mundane named "Roger," so we initially believe that he's indistinguishable from any of the other depraved victims whom Lestat killed. Originally, Lestat finds himself being desirous of being intimate with Roger. Since he is unable to exhibit his love in the usual mortal fashion of engaging in sex. He finds himself drinking from Roger to grant him the ecstasy of being intimate with another human being. Commonly, religious believers identify their innate desire towards God as being the motivator for futilely engaging in particular activities to discover that euphoria where a semblance of God can be felt. When we desire to be intimate with another human being, we are displaying our need to feel accepted by a greater intelligence. This does not necessarily translate always to sexual intercourse but some Christian cults in the past have felt that sexual orgasm would grant them a privileged, short-lived experience with the transcendent "God."


In Lestat's case, his blood lust might be believed to be a method of seeking out God through gratification of a person's sensual desires. In reality, Lestat does not truly want the fleeting feel of being gratified; he wants to find a discernible God within the chaotic, meaningless world of the "Savage Garden," where supposedly rapture caused by stimulation with art or pleasure are the only things which offer us meaning. Otherwise, we are meant to live all lives by engaging in pleasurable activities till we reach our natural ends. Then, our conscious existence disappears within the illusion of the meaningful aesthetics present within the Savage Garden.

Does Lestat truly believe these things? When remorse rebounds and materializes into the apparition of Roger, Lestat is faced with the "ghost of his past," similar to the Charles Dicken's tale: "A Christmas Carol. Roger is in a sense, Jacob Marley. Roger foreshadows Lestat's spiritual quest by alluding to his need to protect Dora with all of his ability. Dora represents the individual with spiritual fervor that Lestat has desired ever since envisioning himself as a priest as a lad. Sadly, his own psychological faults have been immortalized and now he only lives to thrive on plenteous amounts of pleasure. He no longer has to worry about the inevitability of death and the possibility that a great morass of nothingness awaits him beyond that point.

When Roger tells about his life, Lestat identifies with Roger who also is a murderer at heart whom also gravitates towards wanting to know God. Yet, they seem to be unable to due to unidentifiable dispositions that make them commit vices. These vices make the idea or concept of God seem impossible because they feel they are too steeped in immorality to be effectively saved as promised by various verses within the Bible. Therefore, they decide it is preferable to  view the world as the "Savage Garden," where temporary experiences of great pleasure offer enough meaning to sustain our lives till we've reached the end.

When Roger leaves, Lestat soon encounters Satan or Memnoch the Devil who tries to cater to Lestat's spiritual needs by offering him a spiritual vision of heaven and hell. Lestat opts to delay it for two nights until he feels confident that he is not delusional and that this visitation by the devil is truly a rational image and not a figment of his demoralized  imagination. 


As with Scrooge, Lestat know must endure the wait till he is ushered into the ineffable dimension of hell and heaven. In the next post, I'll be continuing my analysis of "Memnoch the Devil," with Lestat's vision of heaven.

2 comments:

Celtic-Witch said...

I just recently reread Memnoch the Devil and I find it stays in the back of my mind quite a bit with nagging questions and vivid imagery of the "conflict" or "chess game" between God and Memnoch (also a scenario played out in another book called 'Job').

The disturbing portion is the seemingly "innocence of Memnoch...that he was betrayed by God for having loved mankind and is presenting himself to Lestat as the martyr for mankind in the sense that there has to be some saving grace to make even the worst of sinners affectionate in God's eyes, who by Memnoch's accounts, could careless for mankind in any shape, form or fashion.

I anxiously await you next installment.

Anonymous said...

This book really opened my eyes to a different view on christianity, I think it was a masterpiece. Very well written.