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The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

by: C. S. Lewis

Aslan

Aslan is the noble golden lion who epitomizes the goodness and justice of Narnia. When the Pevensie children first hear his name, they immediately feel powerful sensations that they cannot understand. Peter, Susan, and Lucy experience an inexplicable delight. Edmund, who has already betrayed his siblings by siding with the White Witch, is mysteriously horrified. The mysticism that surrounds Aslan's name only grows as the children learn more about him. Mr. Beaver tells the children that Aslan is the king of Narnia and the son of the Emperor-Over-the-Sea. Aslan sets all wrongs to rights, including removing the White Witch from her terrible reign over Narnia. Aslan is awe-inspiring and a little frightening, but unquestionably benevolent and kind. Aslan's power is unmatched and his goodness unlimited.

The children are understandably nervous when they first meet Aslan. With the exception of Edmund, when the children meet Aslan they are powerfully drawn to him. Peter, Susan, and Lucy love Aslan immediately, and believe that he has immense goodness. It does not seem strange to them that they revere Aslan, and would also call him a friend. Aslan always seems one step ahead of the rest. When the Witch brings Aslan the news that he must forfeit Edmund to her or all Narnia will perish, the Witch is clearly expecting to take Aslan by surprise. Aslan, however, is not startled at all, he is just sad. Aslan's amazing love for the Narnia people, even Edmund, a traitor, is demonstrated with painful clarity when Aslan sacrifices his own life to save Edmund. Logically, this sacrifice seems silly, as the Witch triumphantly points out. By losing his life, Aslan seems to be giving the Witch Narnia forever. Aslan is quiet and patient, and he endures torture until he is murdered. Aslan's perspective and foresight contrasts the Witch's myopia. Although the Witch can use magic to gain power, she does not have the vision or the character of Aslan. Aslan is confident that his power is greater than the Witch's strength, but Aslan never shows bravado. Aslan is willing to die to save Narnia. Aslan's ultimate purpose in life is to serve others and to obey the will of the Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea.

Aslan is an allegorical representation of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion. The novel's depiction of Christ's death and resurrection is a clear allusion to the biblical story of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Lewis couches an old, familiar story in a new, vibrant setting in order to help us look at the story from a different angle. Specifically, Lewis wants to capture the attention of children. Lewis seeks to remove children from the oppressive church and Sunday school and to transplant them to a new, fantastic world. There, Lewis can introduce basic concepts of the Christian religion, using an exciting background, with fun characters and talking animals. Aslan the lion lives a similar life as Christ the man, but by using this allegorical device, Lewis can present the story to children with far more immediacy and vividness than could be obtained in any but the most breathtaking reading of the Bible.