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Bartleby is the secondary antagonist of the 1999 film Dogma.

He is portrayed by Ben Affleck, who also portrayed Fred O'Bannion in Dazed and Confused and Shannon Hamilton in Mallrats.

Biography

Bartleby is a former Grigori (watcher), who, along with fellow angel Loki, were exiled from Heaven to Wisconsin after an inebriated Loki, at Bartleby's encouragement, resigned as God's Angel of Death (which ended with him giving God the middle finger as a sign of disrespect). The angels see salvation when the demon Azrael sent them a newspaper article about a church in Red Bank, New Jersey, celebrating its centennial anniversary with a plenary indulgence. They can have their sins forgiven by entering through the church's doors and get back to Heaven after death. However, they don't realize that this will overrule the word of God, in that He/She cannot be proven wrong, which will undo all existence.

On the way, Azreal warns them that forces from both Heaven and Hell are going to kill them because Lucifer refuses to let them succeed where he has failed (though in reality, according to Metatron, Lucifer has no idea about their intention to reenter heaven, and if he did, he would simply try to stop them because he would have as much to lose by their reentry as God would). The two angels get on a train and unwittingly meet Bethany Sloane, the Last Scion, and most of her party: Jay and Silent Bob, two prophets Metatron said would appear to help her, and Rufus, the thirteenth apostle. (Serendipity, a muse with writer's block, was not present due to interrogating the Golgothan demon, whom Azrael had ordered to kill Bethany prior to the train ride.) Bethany, while drunk, reveals her mission on stopping the angels to Bartleby. This triggers an uneasy change in Bartleby, who threatens to kill her in front of Rufus before a fight begins, and at the climax of the fight, Silent Bob, at Rufus's urging, throws the two angels off the train.

Wake up! These humans have besmirched everything God has bestowed upon them. They were given paradise — they threw it away. They were given this planet — they destroyed it. They were favored best of all His endeavors, and some of them don't even believe that He exists! And in spite of it all, He has shown them infinite fucking patience at every turn. What about us? I asked you once to lay down the sword because I felt sorry for them. And what was the result? Our expulsion from Paradise! Where was His infinite fucking patience then? It's not right! It's not fair! We've paid our debt. Don't you think it's time? Don't you think it's time for us to go home? And to do that, I think we may have to dispatch our would-be dispatchers.
~ Bartleby to Loki after realizing what their plan will do.

When the two angels realize that their plan would destroy all of existence, Loki wants to back out, but Bartleby wants to get revenge at God for giving humans free will while demanding servitude from angels. Loki is horrified at what Bartleby is saying, says that he sounds like Lucifer (much to Bartleby's anger and annoyance), and decides not to help him anymore, but Bartleby forces him to continue their plan.

Ladies and gentlemen, you have been judged guilty of sinning against our almighty God, and I promise you, you shall pay for your trespasses . . . in blood!
~ Bartelby before killing everyone attending the church's centennial anniversary in Red Bank.

When they finally arrive at the church, Bartleby kills everyone attending the ceremony and demands Loki to join him in revealing their wings. The heroes finally arrive before the angels have entered the church, but are all horrified to see the carnage that they have wrought. They find a drunk Loki with his wings cut off (likely by Bartleby). Loki, now human, first fends off an attack from Bethany, who is enraged that they have killed so many innocent people. Then, he explains that learning of Bethany's mission was what caused Bartleby to go mad. Bartleby then flies down, mocks the heroes, and details his plan to end the world: taking Loki into the church, thus absolving them of their sins, and then waiting for a soon-to-be-arriving cadre of police officers to fatally gun them down, which would cause them to go back to heaven, prove God wrong, and erase all of existence. Hearing all of this, a disgusted Loki finally has enough and decides to help the heroes, but Bartleby quickly kills him and says that he lost the faith.

After this, the final battle begins as Bartleby begins fighting off Rufus, Serendipity, and Silent Bob while Jay attempts to seduce Bethany. He mentions John Doe Jersey, who was beaten into a coma near a skee ball arcade by the Stygian Triplets earlier in the film. Remembering that Metatron says that every now and then, God goes to Earth in human form to play skee ball, Bethany and Silent Bob race to the hospital after the former tells Jay to find a way to stall Bartleby from entering the church. Stupidly, he does so by shooting off Bartleby's wings with a submachine gun, turning him human. Knowing that this has done him a favor (as he needs to be human in order to be killed and ascend back to heaven), Bartleby spreads his arms, rears back his upper body, and unleashes an evil, insane laugh.

When Bethany and Silent Bob finally reach John Doe Jersey, Bethany removes his life support in hopes of releasing God, but is inadvertently killed in the process. Nonetheless, in spite of her death, Bethany releases God just in time. Before a now-human Bartleby can run into the church, he is stopped by God, in the form of a woman, and Metatron. He falls down to his knees in remorse, and though God gives him a hug to show Her forgiveness, She nonetheless kills him brutally with the power of Her voice.

Following Bartleby's death, God sends every one of his massacred victims to Heaven with a single breath, likely sends him and Loki to Hell for their sins/crimes, and reverses all of the destruction they caused to normal. Then, after a tearful Silent Bob shows up with Bethany's corpse, God resurrects her out of thanks for saving Her and all of existence and conceives a child inside of her.