Essay, Research Paper
Although various biblical allusions appear in many novels, most are not easily
interpreted. In order for a reader to be able to recognize an allusion they must first understand
what an allusion is. An allusion is a comparison to something that goes deeper than
what is just stated. In the novel Out of the Silent Planet there are many references to the Bible.
C.S. Lewis uses various biblical allusions throughout Out of the Silent Planet to portray the
characters and setting on Malacandra.
One of the first biblical allusions in Out of the Silent Planet is the parallel between Maleldil
the Young and Christ. C.S. Lewis illustrates this comparison as he elucidates Ransom?s
knowledge about Malacandra. As Ransom spends several weeks with the hrossa he learns that
everything was created by Maleldil the Young (Magill 213). C.S. Lewis clearly used Maleldil to
represent Christ, knowing that Christ is the creator of all things. Another analogy among Maleldil
the Young and Christ is their intentions with their creations. According to Magill, Ransom
discovered that Maleldil the Young did not create the worlds and races to last forever (215).
Christ?s ultimate plan when he created the universe was to one day have it destroyed. It is to be
understood that Maleldil had the same plans when he was creating the universe. The last
reference between Maleldil and Christ is the meaning of their names. The word Maleldil derived
from Anglo- Saxon means ?Lord of Judgment? (Christopher 93). This obviously means that he
was the supreme judge over Malacandra. As Christ being the supreme judge, one can
see the comparison.
The next allusion that appears in Out of the Silent Planet, is the comparison between the
Old One and God. The Old One was one of the higher spirits that lived with Maleldil. The Old
One was described as having no body or parts (Magill 213). The fact that C.S. Lewis described
him like that is evidently because he is comparing the Old One to God. God is a spirit that has
neither a body or functional parts; God just exsists. The other reference that suggests that God
and the Old One can be compared is where they live. The Old One and Maleldil the Young live
together and rule from Melidorn (Magill 212). This is similar to how Christ and God live and rule
together from heaven.
Furthermore, C.S. Lewis uses allusions for the description and residence of the eldila to
angels. The eldila were lesser spirits that acted as messengers (Magill 212). After Ransom had
on Malacandra for a while, a eldila appeared bringing him a message from Oyarasa. In addition
to, angels sometimes appear on earth bringing messenges from God. The succeeding reason why
eldila are like angles is because of where they live. Magill describes Melidorn as being an island
of great beauty inhabited by many eldila (214). Most of the time the eldila were on Malacandra
delivering messages, but when they finished they returned back to Melidorn. This is the same
with angels; after their work is done, they return to heaven.
The last of allusions concerning the characters is between the Bent One and Satan. The
first way these two figures resemble each other is how they became corrupt. Bleiler describes the
relationship by stating, ?Long ago, after having lost his battle in Heaven against God, Satan – or
the ?Bent One? as he is called in the trilogy – took over the planet Thulcandra…..? (246). This
means that both fought against a superior spirit and lost. Then they were ultimately forced to live
and rule another celestial body. When the Bent One first became bent, he was exiled from
Malacandra and bound to Thulcandra. The same thing happened when Satan became evil. God
banished him from heaven, and sent him to live in hell.
In addition to C.S. Lewis alluding to the characters in Out of the Silent Planet to the
Bible, he uses the setting as another factor. He first uses the setting by means of describing
Melidorn to be compared with heaven. He makes Melidorn the dwelling place of Maleldil the
Young and the Old One. Since these characters symbolize God and Jesus, it can easily be
understood that Melidorn is the equivalent to heaven. Now Melidorn just isn?t the home of those
two spirits. It is additionally the residence of the eldila. As mentioned before, the island of
Melidorn was inhabited by many eldila (Magill 214). This obviously alludes the fact that many
angels reside in heaven.
Finally, C.S. Lewis compares the planet Thulcandra to hell. The way to distinguish this is
by looking at the population of Thulcandra. All the inhabitants are those that once lived on
Malacandra, but became bent or evil and were sent there to live. Hell is similar to this in the fact
that the residents are those whose hearts were evil and were condemned to spend eternity there.
The final reason the two are comparable is because of the lack of communication the two worlds
have. The residents of Malacandra named Thulcandra the Silent Plant because no communication
came from it (Magill 213). This is almost exactly the same as hell?s inhabitants inability to
communicate. The Bible says that once a person is sent to hell, it is impossible for them to
converse with anything outside of hell.
In conclusion, in C.S. Lewis? novel, Out of the Silent Planet, the characters and
setting reflect back to Bible symbolizing the people and places in it. Every character in the novel
somehow relates to a Biblical figure, and every place in the book relates to a place in the Bible.
His use of allusions gives the reader insight into the deeper meanings of the novel.