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.
In ‘Paradise Lost’ Satan takes on many forms since his fall from heaven, each form he takes becomes less majestic than the last. And in his final guise, he becomes a very unassuming animal to intercept Eve, a toad. He whispers into the ear of Eve while she sleeps, in an effort to corrupt her.
David also masquerades himself as fragile during his time on the ship, decapitated and helpless, with Elizabeth Shaw. Regaling her with the treatment he suffered under the care of Weyland, whispering “You are very kind at heart you know?” and appealing to her better nature. He gains her trust by placating her with gratitude, treating her as his equal and feining his interest in seeking out their creators.
After Satan’s fall, Gabriel became concerned about his presence in Paradise and sent out a band of angels to go after him. They found Satan whispering into the ear of Eve as she slept, detecting that he had plans to corrupt her they question his intentions. But unable to prove he was trying to cause any harm, they leave him alone. But Gabriel sees through Satan’s lies and threatens to drag him back to Hell. Just as Satan prepares to fight Arch Angel Gabriel, a pair of golden scales appears in the sky. Taking this as a sign from heaven that Satan cannot win, it causes him to flee.
After David encounters the crew of the covenant and they interrogate him about what brought him to Planet 4 and what happened to Dr Elizabeth Shaw. Unable to detect any form of malice they focus on leaving, Walter becomes aware of his deception and says “You know I can’t let you leave this place,” condemning him to live in the Hell of his own making. After that, a fight ensues, and for a brief moment, we think Walter is victorious just as Gabriel was.
But the scales do not tip in Walter’s favour, just as they don’t appear in the sky as a sign from heaven. David is the victor and Walter is condemned to Hell.