BU Film School

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

FT 540 reading: Paradise Lost

Screenplay info
Written by: ?

Satan and rebels end up in burning lake. Satan gets himself out of lake, pulls out a few, then through speech inspires others to rise out of lake. Speaks of unconquerable will, revenge. Note: his 12 main angels are also aspects of Satan.

Pandemonium constructed out of Mulciber. His creative impulses stifled in Heaven. Angels debate what to do next. Moloch (Satan's warlike aspect) is for outright war. Others are afraid of God's retaliation. Satan instead decides to go to Garden, corrupt those new creations to gain dominion over all of Earth's souls.

Satan and the 12 travel through Hell (hell as aspect of Satan, hell as God's creation, hell of Satan's imagination). They cross great expanses of ice and rock, pass three rivers (Phlegethon, river of rage; Styx, river of hate; Cocytus, river of lamentation). Satan burdened.

Satan and the 12 come to the Gate of Hell, guarded by Sin and Death. Satan and Death fight. Sin presents herself to Satan, who doesn't remember her. Satan convinces both of them to open Gate, promising lovers for Sin and souls for Death.

Satan flies ahead, followed by 12. Satan poses as young angel to get by Uriel, who's watching Earth. Satan lands in Garden. He's intrigued by what he sees (snail shell, falcon's feather, egg). Then angered by Sun coming out, crushes egg (which is viper's egg).

Adam and Eve appear in Garden. He's content with their life, she yearns for more. Her longing is sometimes undefined, sometimes defined as Fruit of the Tree. Raphael pays a visit. He warns Adam about Satan, tells him to stay on straight and narrow, cautions him about loving Eve more than God. Eve's insulted, Adam defends her, professes obedience.

Uriel alerts Gabriel, who sends Ithuriel and Zephon into Garden, and sends Guard on patrol.

Eve dreams of going to Tree. Satan transforms into toad, speaks into Eve's ear, and enters her dream. In dream he takes his own form, encourages Eve to eat Fruit. They rise together into the sky, she sees as he sees.

Ithuriel and Zephon find Adam, Eve and Satan as toad. Ithuriel touches him with his spear, and Satan takes his true form. Ithuriel and Zephon take Satan to Gabriel. Satan and Gabriel chat as one-time friends/peers. Satan promises Gabriel to leave Adam and Eve alone.

Satan leaves, finds the 12. He tells them that they'll have all the souls of Earth ... except for Eve, who'll be their Goddess. They (again as themselves and as part of Satan) object, telling him that love is his weakness, that his love for Sin was reason for revolt and exile from Heaven. (Similar to Adam later on.) He's convinced when they point out that without Eve, there'll be no souls to rule.

As they stop speaking, daylight starts to arrive. The 12 leave, and Satan goes back to Earth (racing daylight). He plunges into the Tigris, is borne underground into Garden (beneath Gabriel's sentries).

Adam and Eve wake up. Adam asks what's troubling Eve. She confronts him about Raphael's visit. Adam tries to reassure her, but has no good answer. They go to work. At noon, Eve admits she dreamed again. Adam confronts her. Again, he has no answer except that there's work to do. They work at separate ends.

Satan watches Eve, may still be swayed from his goal. But when Adam calls, she immediately turns. Satan feels betrayed. He stretches out arm, transforms into serpent. Eve follows serpent, finds herself back in dream landscape. Serpent lures her to Tree, becomes part of Tree, then emerges as himself. He promises life and goddesshood. She eats the Fruit.

Adam realizes Eve is gone, follows tracks to the Tree. Eve is ecstatic, though part of her realizes she's been tricked. Adam rejects her and walks away. Then he returns and, out of love (though he doesn't want to die), eats the Fruit. They both feel ecstatic, have an orgiastic night.

Satan returns to Pandemonium, announces that he's succeeded. The 12 transform themselves into false idols, while others change into hobgoblins, trolls, etc. All head toward Garden, led by SIn and Death.

Adam and Eve wake, both feeling wretched about what they've done. Want to console each other but too distraught/pathetic to do so. Instead they confront each other. They hear God's voice, hide, then reluctantly reveal themselves (hiding behind leaves). God pronounces their exile.

Eve begs God to punish just her. Silence is her response.

Adam fashions weapons out of tools. Michael appears and escorts them out of Garden. As they leave, they unknowingly pass Satan, who directs a triumphant gaze at the camera.

My notes
-- Incredibly rich language, both visual and verbal. Stylized speech on part of angels.
-- Some direction on what we see, but not really "camera" directions. Not a shooting script.
-- Drama, conflict on a grand scale; larger-than-life figures
-- Character of Satan a complex figure. Strong emotions and motives.
-- Parallels between Satan and Eve - both "imperfect", both dissatisfied, stifled.
-- Parallels between Satan and Mulciber -- stifled creative impulse.
-- Parallels between Satan and Adam -- love plays role in disobedience.
-- Striking images (settings, rivers, transformations).
-- Main question: will Satan succeed in corrupting Adam and Eve? Obstacles: getting himself and others out of lake; swaying Angels to his plan rather than outright war; getting through Gate; getting by Uriel; being stopped by Ithuriel and Zephon; having to be convinced by 12 not to give in to love; getting Eve to eat; her getting Adam to eat.
-- incidences that reveal Satan's character: his hurling boulder into river of lamentation, crushing viper's egg.


wow this can make a great theater performance. Did you write this?

Oh no, I wish! This was one of the readings in a class I took -- the professor just handed us copies of the screenplay, and they didn't have a byline. Would make a heck of a special-effects film, too!

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