The Screwtape Letters

Screwtape Character Analysis

The experienced devil whose letters to his nephew, Wormwood, form the bulk of The Screwtape Letters. Screwtape has successfully corrupted thousands of human beings, convincing them to embrace sin and thereby condemning them to eternal punishment in Hell. As a result, he gives Wormwood copious advice on the best way to corrupt a modern man—advice which, in its thoroughness, forms a “negative” of Lewis’s own theory of Christianity. In spite of, or perhaps because of his vast experience, Screwtape struggles to understand God’s love for humanity, and—thanks to a treacherous Wormwood—his suggestion that God loves humans and wants them to love one another briefly places him in danger of being convicted of heresy. Screwtape believes in a doctrine of “realism,” according to which the only goal of life is to compete with other living things for power and resources. Yet at times—at the end of the novel, for instance—Screwtape expresses his desire to understand God’s love, and, implicitly, to embrace Christianity.

Screwtape Quotes in The Screwtape Letters

The The Screwtape Letters quotes below are all either spoken by Screwtape or refer to Screwtape. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Proving Christianity True by Exploring Evil Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Harper edition of The Screwtape Letters published in 2001.
Letter I Quotes

Your man has been accustomed, ever since he was a boy, to have a dozen incompatible philosophies dancing about together inside his head. He doesn't think of doctrines as primarily "true" or "false", but as "academic" or "practical", "outworn" or "contemporary”, "conventional" or "ruthless". Jargon, not argument, is your best ally in keeping him from the Church.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

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If he must dabble in science, keep him on economics and sociology; don't let him get away from that invaluable "real life". But the best of all is to let him read no science but to give him a grand general idea that he knows it all and that everything he happens to have picked up in casual talk and reading is "the results of modem investigation". Do remember you are there to fuddle him. From the way some of you young fiends talk, anyone would suppose it was our job to teach!

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 4
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter II Quotes

He has a curious fantasy of making all these disgusting little human vermin into what He calls His "free" lovers and servants—"sons" is the word He uses, with His inveterate love of degrading the whole spiritual world by unnatural liaisons with the two-legged animals. Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to "do it on their own". And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter V Quotes

But that is where He is so unfair. He often makes prizes of humans who have given their lives for causes He thinks bad on the monstrously sophistical ground that the humans thought them good and were following the best they knew. Consider too what undesirable deaths occur in wartime. Men are killed in places where they knew they might be killed and to which they go, if they are at all of the Enemy's party, prepared. How much better for us if all humans died in costly nursing homes amid doctors who lie, nurses who lie, friends who lie, as we have trained them, promising life to the dying, encouraging the belief that sickness excuses every indulgence, and even, if our workers know their job, withholding all suggestion of a priest lest it should betray to the sick man his true condition!

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter VII Quotes

All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient, God
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter VIII Quotes

He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself—creatures, whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His. We want cattle who can finally become food; He wants servants who can finally become sons. We want to suck in, He wants to give out. We are empty and would be filled; He is full and flows over. Our war aim is a world in which Our Father Below has drawn all other beings into himself: the Enemy wants a world full of beings united to Him but still distinct.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God, Satan
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:

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Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 40
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter IX Quotes

The mere word phase will very likely do the trick. I assume that the creature has been through several of them before—they all have—and that he always feels superior and patronising to the ones he has emerged from, not because he has really criticised them but simply because they are in the past. (You keep him well fed on hazy ideas of Progress and Development and the Historical Point of View, I trust, and give him lots of modern Biographies to read? The people in them are always emerging from Phases, aren't they?)

You see the idea? Keep his mind off the plain antithesis between True and False. Nice shadowy expressions—"It was a phase"—"I've been through all that"—and don't forget the blessed word "Adolescent"…

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XII Quotes

Obviously you are making excellent progress. My only fear is lest in attempting to hurry the patient you awaken him to a sense of his real position. For you and I, who see that position as it really is, must never forget how totally different it ought to appear to him. We know that we have introduced a change of direction in his course which is already carrying him out of his orbit around the Enemy; but he must be made to imagine that all the choices which have effected this change of course are trivial and revocable. He must not be allowed to suspect that he is now, however slowly, heading right away from the sun on a line which will carry him into the cold and dark of utmost space.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XIV Quotes

Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes, but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise threatens to become a virtue. By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 70-71
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XV Quotes

Hence nearly all vices are rooted in the future. Gratitude looks to the past and love to the present; fear, avarice, lust, and ambition look ahead. Do not think lust an exception. When the present pleasure arrives, the sin (which alone interests us) is already over. The pleasure is just the part of the process which we regret and would exclude if we could do so without losing the sin; it is the part contributed by the Enemy, and therefore experienced in a Present. The sin, which is our contribution, looked forward.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 76-77
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XVI Quotes

At the other church we have Fr. Spike. The humans are often puzzled to understand the range of his opinions—why he is one day almost a Communist and the next not far from some kind of theocratic Fascism—one day a scholastic, and the next prepared to deny human reason altogether—one day immersed in politics, and, the day after, declaring that all states of us world are equally "under judgment". We, of course, see the connecting link, which is Hatred.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XVIII Quotes

The whole philosophy of Hell rests on recognition of the axiom that one thing is not another thing, and, specially, that one self is not another self. My good is my good and your good is yours. What one gains another loses.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood
Page Number: 94
Explanation and Analysis:

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For humans must not be allowed to notice that all great moralists are sent by the Enemy not to inform men but to remind them, to restate the primeval moral platitudes against our continual concealment of them.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood
Page Number: 125
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XIX Quotes

I have been thinking very hard about the question in your last letter. If, as I have clearly shown, all selves are by their very nature in competition, and therefore the Enemy's idea of Love is a contradiction in terms, what becomes of my reiterated warning that He really loves the human vermin and really desires their freedom and continued existence? I hope, my dear boy, you have not shown my letters to anyone. Not that it matters of course. Anyone would see that the appearance of heresy into which I have fallen is purely accidental.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 99
Explanation and Analysis:

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You complain that my last letter does not make it clear whether I regard being in love as a desirable state for a human or not. But really, Wormwood, that is the sort of question one expects them to ask! Leave them to discuss whether "Love", or patriotism, or celibacy, or candles on altars, or teetotalism, or education, are "good" or "bad". Can't you see there's no answer? Nothing matters at all except the tendency of a given state of mind, in given circumstances, to move a particular patient at particular moment nearer to the Enemy or nearer to us. Thus it would be quite a good thing to make the patient decide that "love" is "good" or "bad".

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 101
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXI Quotes

He regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. You must therefore zealously guard in his mind the curious assumption "My time is my own". Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of this property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that the total from which these deductions have been made was, in some mysterious sense, his own personal birthright.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXII Quotes

I have looked up this girl's dossier and am horrified at what I find. Not only a Christian but such a Christian—a vile, sneaking, simpering, demure, monosyllabic, mouse-like, watery, insignificant, virginal, bread-and-butter miss. The little brute. She makes me vomit.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 117
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXV Quotes

It is here that the general Evolutionary or Historical character of modern European thought (partly our work) comes in so useful. The Enemy loves platitudes. Of a proposed course of action He wants men, so far as I can see, to ask very simple questions; is it righteous? is it prudent? is it possible? Now if we can keep men asking "Is it in accordance with the general movement of our time? Is it progressive or reactionary? Is this the way that History is going?" they will neglect the relevant questions.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient, God
Page Number: 138-139
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXVII Quotes

To regard the ancient writer as a possible source of knowledge—to anticipate that what he said could possibly modify your thoughts or your behaviour—this would be rejected as unutterably simple-minded. And since we cannot deceive the whole human race all the time, it is most important thus to cut every generation off from all others; for where learning makes a free commerce between the ages there is always the danger that the characteristic errors of one may be corrected by the characteristic truths of another. But thanks be to our Father and the Historical Point of View, great scholars are now as little nourished by the past as the most ignorant mechanic who holds that "history is bunk"…

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, Satan
Page Number: 150-151
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXVIII Quotes

The truth is that the Enemy, having oddly destined these mere animals to life in His own eternal world, has guarded them pretty effectively from the danger of feeling at home anywhere else. That is why we must often wish long life to our patients; seventy years is not a day too much for the difficult task of unravelling their souls from Heaven and building up a firm attachment to the earth. While they are young we find them always shooting off at a tangent.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 155-156
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXIX Quotes

There is here a cruel dilemma before us. If we promoted justice and charity among men, we should be playing directly into the Enemy's hands; but if we guide them to the opposite behaviour, this sooner or later produces (for He permits it to produce) a war or a revolution, and the undisguisable issue of cowardice or courage awakes thousands of men from moral stupor.

This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy's motives for creating a dangerous world—a world in which moral issues really come to the point.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:

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Letter XXXI Quotes

Rest assured, my love for you and your love for me are as like as two peas. I have always desired you, as you (pitiful fool) desired me. The difference is that I am the stronger. I think they will give you to me now; or a bit of you. Love you? Why, yes. As dainty a morsel as ever I grew fat on. You have let a soul slip through your fingers.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, The patient
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:

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If only we could find out what He is really up to! Alas, alas, that knowledge, in itself so hateful and mawkish a thing, should yet be necessary for Power! Sometimes I am almost in despair. All that sustains me is the conviction that our Realism, our rejection (in the face of all temptations) of all silly nonsense and claptrap, must win in the end.

Related Characters: Screwtape (speaker), Wormwood, God
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:

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Get the entire The Screwtape Letters LitChart as a printable PDF.
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Screwtape Character Timeline in The Screwtape Letters

The timeline below shows where the character Screwtape appears in The Screwtape Letters. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Proving Christianity True by Exploring Evil Theme Icon
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...goes on to remind the reader that the devils in his book shouldn’t be trusted. Screwtape (a character who hasn’t yet been introduced) distorts the truth and portrays certain characters inaccurately. (full context)
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...the book is “set.” Although several letters refer to the events of World War II, Screwtape clearly isn’t interested in human history. His letters are dated, but their dates have little... (full context)
Letter I
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...is to confuse the patient, not educate him. He signs the letter, “Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” (full context)
Letter II
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Screwtape’s second letter begins with the news that Wormwood’s patient has become a Christian. Screwtape encourages... (full context)
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Screwtape points out that the devils’ greatest ally is arguably the Church itself. Humans cannot the... (full context)
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Wormwood should try to control where the patient sits when he goes to church, Screwtape advises. The patient is a fool, meaning that he confuses Christianity with the specific Christians... (full context)
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One of Wormwood’s most important weapons is disappointment, Screwtape reminds him. All humans feel disappointment in the moment after they’ve bravely begun a new... (full context)
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...to him that it doesn’t matter what these people look like, or how they behave. Screwtape acknowledges that this is a very obvious thought. Nevertheless, Wormwood must keep the patient from... (full context)
Letter III
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Screwtape references information Wormwood has given him about the patient’s mother. He advises Wormwood to talk... (full context)
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Screwtape lists methods for creating a rift between the patient and his mother. The first method... (full context)
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Screwtape’s second method for creating a rift between the patient and his mother is to render... (full context)
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Screwtape’s third method is to draw the patient’s attention to behaviors of his mother that he... (full context)
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Screwtape asks Wormwood if the patient’s mother is angry or jealous that the patient has adopted... (full context)
Letter IV
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Screwtape notes that Wormwood is still too inexperienced to understand the concept of prayer. He mentions... (full context)
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Screwtape argues that the goal of devils should be to keep humans from serious prayer. Adults... (full context)
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...by encouraging him to think of God in concrete, visual terms. There are many people, Screwtape notes, who get in the habit of praying to a specific place on their wall,... (full context)
Letter V
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In his previous letter, Wormwood has mentioned that the Europeans have begun a new war. Screwtape irritably tells Wormwood to focus on his tempting duties, not the war. (full context)
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Screwtape observes that Wormwood has experienced the thrill of success: the patient is anxious about the... (full context)
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War is very entertaining, Screwtape acknowledges, but nevertheless it’s not always as useful for devils as one might suppose. Although... (full context)
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There are some devils, Screwtape notes, such as Scabtree, who see war as a great opportunity to corrupt humans. While... (full context)
Letter VI
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Screwtape is happy to hear from Wormwood that the patient is eligible for military service. The... (full context)
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Screwtape alerts Wormwood to an important principle. Whenever a human thinks a Christian thought, Wormwood should... (full context)
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By the same logic, Screwtape goes on, Wormwood should convince the patient to feel malice for those nearby and love... (full context)
Letter VII
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Screwtape discusses whether or not Wormwood should reveal the existence of devils to the patient. Devils... (full context)
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Screwtape takes up the problem of whether to make the patient an extreme patriot or pacifist.... (full context)
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If the patient is a physical coward and an uneasy believer in God, as Screwtape guesses he is, then Wormwood should try to make him a pacifist. As a pacifist,... (full context)
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...slowly, Christianity will become incidental or secondary to the patient’s belief in patriotism or pacifism. Screwtape notes wryly that there are plenty of people “down here” who have gone down such... (full context)
Letter VIII
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Screwtape has previously received a letter from Wormwood in which Wormwood expresses his “Great hopes” that... (full context)
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Screwtape acknowledges, grudgingly, that God really does love human beings, and wants to fill the universe... (full context)
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Screwtape concludes that the devils’ cause is most threatened when a human being lives through a... (full context)
Letter IX
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Screwtape fulfills his promise to Wormwood: he will now explain how the “trough periods” of human... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
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Screwtape notes that devils have yet to invent a single form of pleasure. Every pleasure humans... (full context)
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...Christianity, and conclude that Christianity is good, but only “up to a point.” Moderate Christianity, Screwtape notes, is as useful to the devils as no Christianity at all. (full context)
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...to move past it. Popular modern ideas of progress and development support this mistaken belief, Screwtape observes. The concept of progress encourages people to avoid thinking in terms of what is... (full context)
Letter X
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Screwtape has heard from Triptweeze, an associate of Wormwood’s, that the patient has made new acquaintances... (full context)
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Screwtape acknowledges that the patient will quickly realize that his Christianity conflicts with the couple’s skeptical,... (full context)
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Screwtape notes, amusedly, that the patient must not realize that he is being tempted. The patient... (full context)
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Screwtape advises Wormwood to encourage the patient to spend more time with the married couple, thereby... (full context)
Letter XI
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Screwtape has learned from Wormwood that the patient has befriended the married couple’s other friends. In... (full context)
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Screwtape divides the causes of laughter into four groups: happiness, amusement, jokes, and flippancy. Happiness is... (full context)
Letter XII
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Screwtape praises Wormwood for his excellent progress in corrupting the patient, but warns him that if... (full context)
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Screwtape notes that Christians think of God as a being “without whom Nothing is strong.” In... (full context)
Letter XIII
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Screwtape has just received a letter from Wormwood in which Wormwood describes having let the patient... (full context)
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Screwtape lists Wormwood’s errors. He allowed the patient to read a book for the patient’s own... (full context)
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...tastes and pleasures are the basic material with which God encourages them to become Christians, Screwtape says. When he tempts humans, Screwtape always begins by trying to make them forget their... (full context)
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Screwtape encourages Wormwood to continue working on the patient. Wormwood’s most important strategy should be to... (full context)
Letter XIV
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The patient has regained his faith in Christianity, Screwtape has learned from Wormwood, but—very alarmingly for the devils—he has not made any big resolutions.... (full context)
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Screwtape advises Wormwood to influence the patient to forget the true meaning of humility. True humility... (full context)
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In a sense, Screwtape speculates, God wants humans to replace one kind of self-love with a different kind. Humans... (full context)
Letter XV
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Screwtape has learned from Wormwood that there is a lull in the war in Europe. Wormwood... (full context)
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Screwtape explains why an emphasis on the future is dangerous for humans. All human sin is... (full context)
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As a result of his arguments about the future, Screwtape concludes that it is equally good for Wormwood’s patient to be afraid of the future... (full context)
Letter XVI
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Screwtape has learned from Wormwood that the patient only visits a single church. Screwtape is angry... (full context)
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Screwtape discusses the two churches near the patient’s home. One is run by a vicar who... (full context)
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The one common trait of the two churches, Screwtape continues, is that they are “party churches”—churches whose congregations subscribe to their own petty interpretations... (full context)
Letter XVII
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Screwtape has received a letter from Wormwood about the uselessness of gluttony in tempting humans. Screwtape... (full context)
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Screwtape explains the mindset of the patient’s mother. She believes in the principle of “all I... (full context)
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Screwtape encourages Wormwood to use the patient’s gluttony against him. Because he is a man, he... (full context)
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The main use of gluttony as excess, Screwtape concludes, is that it weakens chastity. If the patient tries to repair his chastity, Wormwood... (full context)
Letter XVIII
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Screwtape scolds Wormwood for his “college” education. Even though Wormwood studied under Slubgob, Screwtape insists that... (full context)
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Devils have achieved great victories over mankind through sexuality, Screwtape explains. Their first victory of all, the fall of man, was a sexual victory. Henceforth,... (full context)
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Screwtape explains the fundamental philosophy of Hell: “My good is my good and your good is... (full context)
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Screwtape criticizes God for creating something as absurd as love. Even worse, God associates “innocent” sexual... (full context)
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Screwtape explains how devils manipulate God’s love to tempt humans. Because God has associated love and... (full context)
Letter XIX
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Screwtape uses this letter to answer a question Wormwood has asked recently: if, as Screwtape has... (full context)
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Screwtape revises his opinion of God. God does not really love humans, he now insists. It... (full context)
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Screwtape explains that it was the ambiguity in God’s reasons for creating mankind that first led... (full context)
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Screwtape notes that Wormwood has complained that Screwtape has not explained whether love is a desirable... (full context)
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The patient might decide that love is bad, Screwtape suggests. If this is the case, then he will live a lonely, ascetic lifestyle. If,... (full context)
Letter XX
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Screwtape notes that God has ended Wormwood’s attacks on the patient’s chastity. While this was inevitable,... (full context)
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Screwtape explains that standards of feminine beauty are invented by devils far “lower down in the... (full context)
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Screwtape explains to Wormwood that he should make the patient hunger for women, of which there... (full context)
Letter XXI
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Screwtape is here writing to answer Wormwood’s question about manipulating the patient’s irritability through sexual temptation.... (full context)
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The assumption that the patient’s time belongs to him, Screwtape acknowledges, is absurd. The patient does not own time, any more than he owns the... (full context)
Letter XXII
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Screwtape has learned from Wormwood that the patient is in love. Moreover, he is in “the... (full context)
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Screwtape describes the woman with whom the patient has fallen in love. She is Christian, “simpering”... (full context)
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Based on his description of the patient’s love interest, Screwtape criticizes God for being “a hedonist at heart.” Although God appears to surround himself with... (full context)
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Screwtape knows from Wormwood’s letters that the patient has met his lover’s entire family, and visited... (full context)
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The letter resumes. Screwtape apologizes for his anger—because he is so furious, he has accidentally transformed into a centipede.... (full context)
Letter XXIII
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Screwtape reveals that the patient is meeting more and more Christians every day through his new... (full context)
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Screwtape explains the third strategy that Wormwood can use to manipulate the patient: he can appeal... (full context)
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...that he used to attack the injustices of his time. The problem with this idea, Screwtape explains, is that Jesus’s teachings aren’t any different from the teachings of other famous moral... (full context)
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The historical Jesus, Screwtape continues, is actually ahistorical insofar as the intellectual aspects of Jesus Christ are emphasized over... (full context)
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Screwtape discusses the relationship between Christianity and politics. While devils do not want Society to be... (full context)
Letter XXIV
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Screwtape has been in contact with Slumtrinket, the devil in charge of the patient’s lover. Slumtrinket... (full context)
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Screwtape explains how the new information about the patient’s lover can be used to influence the... (full context)
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Screwtape irritably tells Wormwood to stop mentioning the war in Europe in his letters. While he... (full context)
Letter XXV
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Screwtape points out that the problem with the patient’s new friend group and community is that... (full context)
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...values of progress and evolution, values that hold the truth in relative terms. The truth, Screwtape observes, is that some changes are good and some are bad—there’s nothing inherently good or... (full context)
Letter XXVI
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Screwtape tells Wormwood that courtship is the time during which the “seeds” of resentment are sown.... (full context)
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The great problem of courtship, Screwtape says, is that of charity, which the “Philological Arm” of Hell calls “unselfishness.” Men and... (full context)
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...problem with unselfishness is that it sometimes leads to more resentment and anger than selfishness. Screwtape gives an example: a large family tries to plan an afternoon tea. One member of... (full context)
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As the patient pursues a courtship of his lover, Screwtape advises that Wormwood should try to influence him to be unselfish, rather than selfish. Even... (full context)
Letter XXVII
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Screwtape criticizes Wormwood for doing very little to tempt the patient. Wormwood has tried to distract... (full context)
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Screwtape suggests a new way of tempting the patient: “petitionary” prayers. These are prayers in which... (full context)
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It is strange, Screwtape tells Wormwood, that people don’t have more trust and respect for prayer. While devils and... (full context)
Letter XXVIII
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Screwtape reprimands Wormwood for writing him a letter about the war in Europe, including lots of... (full context)
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Screwtape hopes that the patient will survive the air raids so that he will enter middle... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Fashion, Progress, and Change Theme Icon
Screwtape continues that old age is an even more dangerous time for humanity. Because God created... (full context)
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Fashion, Progress, and Change Theme Icon
Humanity’s desire for Heaven is so enormous, Screwtape suggests, that they spend great energy and effort trying to build Heaven on Earth. This... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Screwtape concludes that devils are only ever able to tempt a minority of human beings. Most... (full context)
Letter XXIX
Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Screwtape has learned that the Germans are certain to bomb the patient’s community, and that the... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Of the sins that Wormwood could instill in the patient, Screwtape encourages Wormwood to avoid pride, because this would involve filling the patient with courage first,... (full context)
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Religion and Reason Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Screwtape considers the possibility that Wormwood could fill the patient with cowardice. Cowardice is one of... (full context)
Proving Christianity True by Exploring Evil Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
...than God to “fall back on,” namely, superstition and elaborate plans and courses of action. Screwtape concludes by reminding Wormwood that convincing the patient to feel fear is entertaining, but not... (full context)
Letter XXX
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Screwtape begins his letter by telling Wormwood that he has heard from the Infernal Police that... (full context)
Religion and Reason Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
...in making the patient extremely tired, meaning that he is more susceptible to vice. Nevertheless, Screwtape reminds Wormwood that tiredness can also make people more gentle and peaceful, meaning that they... (full context)
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...real, while joy and other emotional experience is “subjective” and therefore false. On the contrary, Screwtape notes, happiness is just as real as pain or the physical world. (full context)
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...his job, or his day-to-day life. This will be a huge victory for the devils, Screwtape concludes. (full context)
Letter XXXI
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Love Theme Icon
Screwtape begins his final letter with a different greeting: “My dear, my very dear, Wormwood, my... (full context)
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Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
In the final seconds before he died, the patient saw God. Wormwood, Screwtape guesses, saw God too, and cowered before him. Perhaps Wormwood was amazed that a mere... (full context)
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Screwtape reminds Wormwood that the patient is now in a place where Wormwood can no longer... (full context)
Proving Christianity True by Exploring Evil Theme Icon
Religion and Reason Theme Icon
Love Theme Icon
Freedom, Will, and Sin Theme Icon
Here, Screwtape acknowledges that he can say no more of the patient—he has no idea what fate... (full context)