The Portrayal of Satan in The Passion of the Christ

Jesus’ temptation and struggle to accept his fate serve as a biblical source that doesn’t appear overall in the stating of Jesus’ crucifixion. Although this doesn’t appear in the biblical background, it is important to understand the portrayal of Satan as Jesus’ enemy in order to accurately understand Jesus’ Passion in the Christ. The first scene in which Satan appears is in the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is praying to spare him from the traps set by Satan.

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The movie was made with Mel Gibson’s religious views in mind, representing these two pictures to help depict them. The theme and message of the movie is Jesus defeating Satan, and this scene references that aspect by showing Jesus stomping on the snake. This is significant in a couple of ways, as it is a classic representation of Satan in the form of a snake, referencing the story of the Garden of Eden. Below, the snake that is literally squashed when Jesus stomps on him represents Satan’s presence and Jesus triumphing over him. In the most vulnerable moment of his life and the film, Jesus is represented by a physical presence of Satan, which is then used to represent Satan’s presence in Jesus’ life overall.

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Instead of being a non-human entity, he is actually a man who is known for playing roles that strongly contrast with the image of Satan, such as the character portrayed by Mel Gibson, which is quite intriguing. Furthermore, his nose is depicted as having maggots and bugs in it. This fact represents that he is not a man, but rather an embodiment of Satan, discussing the appearance of Satan in terms of neither feminine nor masculine qualities.

Judas did not possess the same mental fortitude as Jesus. This also enhances Jesus’s resilience and ability to resist temptation, a crucial aspect of the film that highlights Satan’s power to lead individuals astray, as evidenced by Judas succumbing to temptation while Jesus remains unaffected in the initial scene. It is implied that Satan provided Judas with the rationale, the allure, and the means to take his own life. The rope, adorned with maggots and attached to a lifeless donkey, serves as further evidence of Satan’s influence over Judas’s demise, as Satan was previously depicted with maggots in his nostrils. The scene unfolds silently, but it is implied that Judas, tormented by Satan, is compelled to hang himself as a result of his torment. Satan looms in the background, while demonic figures, resembling children, torment and mock Judas. The second appearance of Satan in the film coincides with Judas’s torment at the hands of these demons.

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In the final scene of the film, when discussing the role of Satan, we can see Satan screaming and dying while Jesus is shown conquering him. This scene represents the main theme of the film, which is that Jesus is greater than Satan.