morning glories & the bible | isaiah 14:14

"How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! You have been cast down to the earth, you who once laid low the nations! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit. Those who see you stare at you, they ponder your fate: ‘Is this the man who shook the earth and made kingdoms tremble, the man who made the world a wilderness, who overthrew its cities and would not let his captives go home?’”

—New International Version, Isaiah 14:12-17

This passage, quoted by Gribbs to Casey in issue 5, is an oracle against a dead Babylonian king. At first glance, interpretation in the context of Morning Glories is pretty straightforward; the king is being rebuked for his hubris and aspirations to godhood. Gribbs is accusing Casey of that same ambition. The passage is also about apotheosis. See also: Irina as a “little girl playing god,” Alicia Wyatt’s “So we created our own gods,” Kseniya referring to Irina as God as she dies, and other scenes that imply our main cast is being made/has been made/will be made into gods.

But this passage is actually way more fascinating than that because the King James Version (and a few versions that take after it) tells a different story. In the KJV, the Hebrew word for “morning star” is translated as “Lucifer,” which was then interpreted as the name of Satan before he fell from heaven. (This is, in fact, the only use of the name Lucifer in the Bible, and most modern versions use “morning star.”) By that reading, the whole passage is not about a Babylonian king but about the Adversary himself, and that gives the scene between Gribbs and Casey new meaning.

Gribbs’ speech is sinister, describing (with increasingly red hues) how Casey’s righteous heroism fuels her ambition to bring the academy down. “The moment you say that—the moment you look in my direction and feel that warmth, that satisfaction in breaking down my ways and supplanting my authority—,” he says, “in that moment I’ve gladly taught you my first lesson.”

Guess what Biblical character is known for breaking down the status quo and supplanting authority. Ding ding ding, SATAN.

So Casey = Satan? I would love to discuss the parallels / legitimacy of the comparison, but for now I’ll just plant that thought in your noggin and move on. (Partially because 90% of my interpretation of Satan comes from Paradise Lost, oops.)

One last thing to consider here is the choice of translations. “I will make myself like the Most High” is from the New International Version (and others). The King James Version translates the same line as “I will be like the most High.” I’ve yet to find a version that uses both “Lucifer” and “I will make myself like the Most High.” The use of NIV could be an intentional distancing from the reading of Isaiah 14:14 as being about Satan, especially since Morning Glories uses KJV elsewhere (e.g., “the sorrows of death compassed me”). Alternately, it could have been chosen to emphasize self-creation; it isn’t the Academy or Gribbs making Casey into a god, it’s Casey herself (or so she thinks (in Gribbs’ characterization of her)).

In any case, we’ve already seen that Casey’s heroism has led her to some dark places, and we’ve seen her dangle over the mouth of hell and climb back out. Do you think that Casey is a Satan analog? Or is she a Babylonian king headed toward a pitiful fate? Is she a god who creates herself? Please discuss.

Feel free to request topics so that I’ll get off my bum and do more. Also correct me if you catch any factual errors because I never actually learned this shit; I just read Wikipedia and Milton.

Reblogged from myvisagewasted