Black Is the New Devil

by dianaquan

When I first started reading Leviathan, I had to reread the first lines a couple of times because they just went waaaayyyy over my head. Then, I fell into a trance like state and managed to make it through the rest of the text.

I thought Leviathan was difficult to get through because I felt so emotionally unattached without the presence of any characters. It was as if Hobbes’ was giving me a seemingly never-ending lecture on the mechanics of a human being, almost like a manual or dictionary on every single human quality that one could possess.

It wasn’t until quite a few chapters in that I came upon this quote and had a good chuckle,
“there was nothing which a poet could introduce as a person in him poem, which they did not make either a god or a devil.” (pg. 68)

One interpretation that automatically came to my mind was frequent discussion among us english students as to why everything in short stories, novels, poems, etc. always have to have some sort of deeper level of interpretation, or in Hobbes’ argument, everyone must be good (symbolizing god) or bad (symbolizing the devil). Of course, I do understand that sometimes the signs that point to an object or person’s symbolism and they do hold a deeper level of interpretation. But what these authors really just wanted to say that, “the man was wearing a black shirt”, not because he symbolizes the devil, but because he just had nothing to wear that day except for the black shirt.

That’s all for now! Goodnight everybody.