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Satan (The Passion of the Christ)

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No one man can carry this burden, I tell you. It is far too heavy. Saving their souls is too costly. No-one. Ever. No. Never.
~ Satan trying to tempt Jesus.

Satan is the central antagonist in the controversial film The Passion of the Christ, which recounts the final days of Jesus Christ prior to His crucifixion. He is depicted as a ghostly genderless force of evil instead of his stereotypical image of a two-horned, red-skinned, winged figure wielding a pitchfork.

Despite his character being masculine in nature, Satan is portrayed by Rosalinda Celentano, a woman, in order to achieve his eerily genderless appearance.

Events

His origins or background are left unknown although it is implied that his origins are similar to the origin story narrated in the Bible: Satan was initially one of God's righteous angels until he and his angelic legion of supporters, who are eventually known as demons, decided to rebel against Him, causing him to be cast onto Earth as punishment. This may explain why Satan's physical appearance in the film is unnervingly ethereal to demonstrate his angelic background.

Satan makes his initial appearance in the film after he catches Jesus Christ praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. Desiring Him to fail God's plan, Satan tries to deceive Him into not carrying out the sacrifice. However, Jesus simply ignores him and continues to pray. Suddenly, a serpent emerges from beneath his cloak and slithers towards Jesus. Jesus notices the serpent in time and crushes it with His foot, causing Satan to disappear.

One night, Satan sends his demons to influence and ultimately possess Judas, one of Jesus's disciples. Possessed, Judas betrays Jesus and decides to hand Him in to the religious authorities from the Temple of Jerusalem after being bribed with 30 pieces of silver. Realising what he has done, Judas tries to return the money to the authorities but they refuse his offer. The next day, Satan and his group of demons, in the form of young children, chase and torment him into the wilderness outside the city. Grabbing a rope from the body of a dead donkey, Judas is driven to commit suicide via hanging.

Meanwhile, after Jesus is handed to the authorities, He is interrogated by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and is later sent to be whipped and tortured by his centurions as demanded by the hostile crowd. Satan enters the scene and proceeds to influence the centurions to brutally whip, mutilate, scourge and mock Jesus Christ before He is forced to drag a cross to the site of His crucifixion. Whilst he sadistically watches the torture inflicted upon Jesus, Satan holds a demonic baby in front of him, to demonstrate how he himself could take care of his own children better than God.

However, Jesus eventually succeeds in sacrificing himself for humanity's sins and is resurrected three days later, hence successfully carrying out God's plan. Meanwhile, Satan is sent to a parched area of Hell, where he screams at his own agonising defeat.

Trivia

  • Satan is implied to be the one who is ultimately responsible for the brutally gruesome tortures and eventual death of Jesus Christ. This is indicated when he appears at irregular moments behind the centurions torturing Jesus.
  • Although it is never shown or hinted at, Satan, along with his demons, has probably influenced other evil men to carry out his sinister bidding throughout history.

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