Featured Image: Illustration for John Milton’s “Paradise Lost“ (Adam watches as Eve sleeps) – Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
As David lays down Shaw to sleep there is a visual parallel to Adam watches as Eve sleeps. Since this is a story turned on its head where Satan is victorious the narrative will differ.
In Paradise Lost Satan disguises himself as a toad, he’s found whispering into the ear of Eve as she slept. Similarly, David is Android masquerading as something harmless, an android with his head ripped off. Whispering things to Elizabeth to gain her trust, “You are very kind at heart you know?”
Satan is found by a band of angels sent by Gabriel and order him to explain his reasons for intruding on Paradise. In similar fashion, David is found by the Covenant crew and he explains how he came to be on Planet 4/Paradise.
At first, Satan pretends he is innocent, and the angels can’t prove he meant any harm. Much like David, he lies about the pathogen deploying and that Elizabeth dying in the crash. The crew can’t prove he is lying to them. Then like Satan, the shapeshifter. Takes on an innocent guise to intrude on the USCSS Covenant, Walter.
Though Gabriel knows he is lying to them, threatens to drag him back to Hell. David has everyone fooled except for Walter, but it’s too late.
Just as Satan prepares to fight him, a pair of golden scales appear in the sky as a sign from heaven that Satan cannot win, and he flees. Unfortunately for Walter, there is no such sign.
Ripley: Ash, can you hear me? [slams her hands down on the table]
Ash: [awakens and starts speaking in an electronic and distorted voice] Yes, I can hear you.
Ripley: What was your special order?
Ash: You read it. I thought it was clear.
Ripley: What was it?
Ash: Bring back life form. Priority One. All other priorities rescinded.
Parker: The damn company. What about our lives, you son of a bitch?
Ash: I repeat, all other priorities are rescinded.
Ripley: How do we kill it, Ash? There’s gotta be a way of killing it. How? How do we do it?
Ash: You can’t.
Parker: That’s bullshit.
Ash: You still don’t understand what you’re dealing with, do you? The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility.
Lambert: You admire it.
Ash: I admire its purity. A survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.
Parker: Look, I am… I’ve heard enough of this, and I’m asking you to pull the plug. [Ripley goes to disconnect Ash, who interrupts]
Ash: Last word.
Ash: I can’t lie to you about your chances, but… you have my sympathies.
The admiration Ash has for the Xenomorph is the same that David has for his romantic hero T.E Lawrence.
In the beginning, Lawrence was an island, out of place in the army because he was an educated man. People did not see him as their equal, much like David. His intelligence set him apart from the rest and they often mocked him for showing it off.
“You know, Burke, I don’t know which species is worse. You don’t see them fucking each other over for a goddamn percentage.” – Lt Ellen Ripley, Aliens 1986
Both had to prove their worth by travelling through the desert, and through those trials and tribulations, their beliefs were challenged. In the beginning, Lawrence denounces the murder of his guide and boldly says he would not be friends with a killer, by the end of the movie he was responsible for more than one death directly and lead an army to slaughter many in the name of revenge, doesn’t that sound familiar?
David’s revenge against the Engineers and his judgement of them leaves a trail of destruction. As does his reverse engineered creation, the Xenomorph (I have drawn similarities to in my analysis of the Punishment of Thieves – The Crossing Part VI ). The Xenomorph lifecycle makes a killer out of their friends, the unwitting host. An alien emerges from their comrades and consumes them with violent delight.
David and Lawrence are altered by their experience and observation of mankind and ultimately both of them viewed the human race and as greedy, violent and cruel, just as the Gods did in Das Rheingold.
Lawrence and David are survivors who are unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. They kill their friend and guide, they kill their adoptive ‘children’, they go against any morals to achieve their ultimate goal and will stop at nothing to get the task done.
But for Lawrence his suffering is palpable, he sheds more than a solitary tear when he has to do these awful things, and in all of it, he thinks he is doing the right thing by the Arab people. David, in this case, is different, although we learn he can indeed feel it’s a credit of his programming in which Sir Peter Weyland has allowed him free will, his agency becomes the driving force in his journey from created to the creator. He is aware that he has done unimaginably cruel things, although showing emotion he lacks a soul, a conscience by which a man could judge himself. He is aware that he is doing bad things but like Lawrence, he sees it as a necessity.
David becomes like the Xenomorph and Lawrence, a survivor… unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. Because what they admire, they are also themselves.
Giger’s alien was a reflection of humanity’s darkness, the pure, primordial desires and impulses buried within the deepest pits of our inner selves. Looking at the harsh realities of war, we can see how easily humans succumb to their primal instincts. In the havoc and mayhem, we become animals, predators.
Throughout human history there have been countless travesties, many of them laced with a blatant disregard for human life, with destruction, pillaging, and violent rape, even necrophilia. The xenomorph is an animal, lacking the sentience to understand the destruction it causes.
We, as members of the human race, don’t have that excuse. We do have a conscience, we make judgements on morality. Yet we have committed the same heinous acts as the xenomorph— to each other, billions of times over. If we call the alien a monster because it does not have a choice in how it acts, does that mean that we are more loathsome than it because we understand the choices we make? – Father of the Alien Xenomorph
In which I discuss cave paintings and Zeta Reticuli, and my pop filter decides to let me down for some reason (sorry about that).
Big thank you to my good friend and amazing research assistant, Steph Cullingford for the information on cave paintings. She is also a talented costume designer, check out her website here: http://stephaniecullingfo.wixsite.com/egraphsen
Dante and Virgil enter a burning desert in Canto 14, confronted with souls laying flat, some crouching and some writhing, their punishment is to have fire rain down on them for all eternity.
Some lay upon the ground, flat on their backs; (Milburn)
some huddled in a crouch, and there they sat; (Fifield)
and others moved about incessantly. (Holloway)
These souls are being punished because of their opposition to God, Capaneus a soul who speaks to Dante about his punishment is very proud of sticking to his guns. He says Hell left him unchanged.
Virgil chastises him saying it’s not something he should be proud of, and because of his arrogance his punishment is made worse. Holloway displayed arrogance in the transmission Weyland Industries sent to LV223 prior their departure, saying he wanted to smash all man-made religions. But when he is essentially given physical proof of his creator he is still unsatisfied he cannot directly get answers, then it’s David’s creator and God Weyland that robs Holloway of meeting his maker… At least in the flesh.
Milburn a biologist is sceptical about Shaw’s mission, believing Darwin’s theory of evolution is the only way for life to evolve. Is then killed by a rapidly evolved alien lifeform, something he couldn’t and wouldn’t believe possible.
Fifield is driven only by money and has no interest in pursuing the origins of man, or meeting God. He’s confronted with God and still denies their power and existence.
All of these things in the eyes of God are blasphemy’s against him, the question is… Who’s God. We know Heaven and Hell are of our own making, then by which rules are these people punished?
O Capaneus, for your arrogance
that is not quenched, you’re punished all the more:
no torture other than your own madness
could offer pain enough to match your wrath. – Inf. 14.63-6
In Dante’s Inferno and in The Divine Comedy it is Dante who decides the punishment of those in Hell, they are judged on their Earthly sins by Dante’s moral standards.
LV-223 name of the planet has been linked to the passage in the Bible:
“Say to them: ‘For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the LORD, that person must be cut off from my presence. I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 22:3
Ceremonially unclean is what they all were, and none of them got the chance to meet The Last Engineer.