LOST Theories - DarkUFO

I’m sure someone must have suggested this before, after all, the title f the show may be a clue – Paradise Lost and Lost. I think now we are getting enough information to really identify the important themes and characters in Lost. My theory is based on a lecture called “Milton’s Satan” by Paul Steven, at the University of Toronto. It is available here:

If you are interested in the themes of good and evil, and fate vs. free will, then you may be interested in listening to the 45 minute lecture. Most of the parallels that I found were between what Steven calls “The Romantic Satan” and John Locke/MIB/Smoky.

My thesis is that the show Lost draws heavily from Milton’s Paradise Lost. Perhaps it is even the primary source of inspiration for the show. The character of Smokey is comparable to Satan.

Milton’s Satan is trapped by God or having the audacity to suggest that he is an equal of God and for working to share knowledge with humanity. In Paradise Lost, Satan is transparent and offers many answers to humans. The objective of Paradise Lost is “To Justify the Ways of God to Man.” Perhaps Lost has the same objective. It’s interesting because Satan is also asks God for a justification for his action. Much as Ben Linus asks Jacob “What about me?” and Jacob replies “What about you?” I interpret this exchange as Jacob saying “I don’t owe you any answers, Ben.” The thing that typifies God’s behavior in the Bible and in Paradise Lost is that God does not answer questions. God is not interested in sharing knowledge. However, Satan feels that God should not be so “high and mighty” and should share what it knows with humanity.

In Paradise Lost, Satan is cast into Hell for rebelling against God. Steven observes:
“[Satan decides] Rather than sitting on our ass here in hell, what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna get out of here, we’re gonna cross the ocean of chaos, and we’re gonna colonize this new world which is at the moment inhabited by these puny creatures called human kind.”

I am suggesting that the Island is Hell or, perhaps even Satan’s mind. More on the island later. How this plays out on Lost is that Smoky wants to “go home” (leave Hell) which may mean either to return to heaven, or, more likely, to be let loose upon the world. I think it’s interesting that he wants to cross an ocean to get where he wants to go, since leaving the island means that you have to cross an ocean.

Here I need to point-out that Paradise Lost draws a lot from the “Book of Revelation of John”, aka, “Book of Revelation”, aka “Book of Apocalypse.” Eventually, according to that book Satan does get loose, and brings about the Apocalypse, or end of time.

In W.B. Yeats’s poem “The Second Coming,” based on the book of Revelation, we have this passage:
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

I’d like to highlight two mentions of the desert as the place where the beast, or Satan, appears and begins the Apocalypse. On Lost, we know that the donkey wheel exit is in the desert, perhaps that is how Smokie will cross “the ocean of chaos” and begin the Apocalypse.

In the cave, Smokie suggests to Sawyer that the island doesn’t need protection, that “it’s just an island.” However, Smokie obscures that the island is what’s protecting the rest of the world from Smokie. The island may not need protection, but perhaps the world needs protection from Smokie.

In Milton, we can see a description of one of Satan’s physical forms that is very similar to how Smokie is depicted on Lost. From the lecture:
“The opening image of Satan [In Paradise Lost Book I] is of the chaos monster, the leviathan lying on the burning lake. When you open the poem, Satan is drawn directly from the book of Apocalypse. The chaos monster, that’s the beast --- the 666 guy. The beast is the consolidated image of evil.”

This strikes me as a good description of the smoke monster in its monstrous form. I think Smokie is like a chaos monster, or, in his smoke form, like a leviathan. Steven points out:

“[By showing Satan as Leviathan] You’re being warned – that image of Satan as a leviathan, there’s that odd simile, that [Satan] is like a whale that Norwegian sailors land on it, thinking it’s an island. You are being warned that appears to be the truth is not the truth.”

We have seen the image of the killer whale that Kate and now Claire bought for Aaron, is this whale meant as a warning for us that things are not what they seen. Could it be an allusion to Satan Paradise Lost? Perhaps I am stretching it a bit. How about the image of Satan being like a leviathan so large that it is mistaken for an island? What does it mean when we see the island on the bottom of the ocean. Does this mean that Satan has escaped to bring about the apocalypse, or that he is permanently imprisoned, with no risk that he will be unleashed.

Here is another description from Steven’s lecture of Satan from Paradise Lost as being like a column of insects that can expand and contract:

“Tthe rebel angels are trying to get into pandemonium. They’ve been likened to bees at this stage, so they are like a column of insects. But the door is too narrow, they can’t get in. They are shuffling, and they shrink and whoop – they all get in. But one they’re in, they expand, to what they really are.”

Again, I think this is very similar to what we see with Smokie. He can expand and contract and is like a black column of insects (shout out to nanobot throrists!)

I thought this was also an interesting point about Hell as it is seen in Paradise Lost:
“It’s all illusory. When you enter hell, you enter the mind of Satan – the phantasmagoric mind of Satan -- you’re not seeing things as they really are.”
Could what we’re seeing on the island all be an illusion hosted by Satan? Certainly there are clues t this, like Christain Shepherd, Ben’s Mom, Kate’s Horse, Dave, and other “phantasmagoric” entities that we see.

So to extrapolate from these points, Smokie is Satan, and Milton’s Satan is extremely sympathetic intelligent, sensitive and rational. Milton’s Satan makes a lot of excellent points and asks really good questions about why people suffer, why God shows no mercy at times. Milton’s Satan wants freedom, free-will, self-determination and equality. You could argue that he is on the side of humanity. He suffers from God’s will and two of the fundamental questions on Lost is “Are some people born to suffer?” as Christain Shepherd suggests to Jack about the Red Socks, and are “Some people meant to be alone?” as Sawyer suggests to Kate. Satan wants answers and so do many humans (and so have readers of Paradise Lost and so do many viewers of Lost!).

Milton contrasts Satan with God who acts as an unreasonable taskmaster, the dealer of pain and hardship, "Heav'n's awful Monarch." (Gabriel,Book IV,Line 960)
In this light, Satan's most fundamental motivation is his unwillingness to be an obedient second best (and with the arrival of the Son of God, now a distant third best). All the Devil wants is self-determination, freedom from an, "Eternity so spent in worship paid/ To whom we hate." (II,248-9)

I hope this sounds familiar. This sound very much like the predicament that Smokie finds himself in. He is forced to be obedient to someone he hates. Perhaps that’s why they use the “chained” sound-effect when he moves. He can move around the island, but he is shackled and must drag the chains with him. It is also clear that he hates Jacob, who, I guess, is favoured by God (Room 23 says “God loves you as he loved Jacob”).

------I am not sure is Jacob is meant to represent “The Son of God” or if he is “The False Prophet” – perhaps more on that later.-----

So, in conclusion, I hope that I have shown some parallels between Lost and Paradise Lost and the Book of Apocalypse, particularly in the depiction of Satan. Satan is a sympathetic and compelling character, and it will be interesting to see the result of his “recruiting.”

We welcome relevant, respectful comments.
blog comments powered by Disqus