Quote 3

By this I perceive thou art one of my subjects; for all that country is mine, and I am the Prince and God of it. How is it then that thou hast run away from thy King?

Apollyon speaks these menacing words to Christian in the Fourth Stage of Part I, when the monster prince threatens to kidnap Christian and thwart his journey. Apollyon’s smooth and courtly speech contradicts his grotesque appearance, which features fish scales and bear-like feet. The disconnection between word and meaning runs throughout the book. Like Apollyon’s words, many utterances by evildoers on Christian’s pilgrimage will sound good but reveal a monstrous origin and an evil intention. Apollyon also uses logic to great effect by addressing Christian with a medieval syllogism, or logical exercise: Christian comes from Destruction, and Apollyon is the prince of Destruction. Therefore Christian is Apollyon’s royal subject. Of course Christian rejects this logic, knowing that truth must come not from rational argument but from divine revelation.

Apollyon refers to himself as not only a prince of the City of Destruction but as “god” of it as well. The bold and grandiose statement foreshadows Madam Bubble’s later reference to herself as a goddess. All such claims of divinity in The Pilgrim’s Progress have a false ring, since any good religious Christian soul knows that there is and can be only one God in the universe. No one falls prey to these false claims in The Pilgrim’s Progress. Moreover, anyone who has to tell a person in a conversation that he or she is a god must be self-conscious. A good pilgrim like Christian does not refer to himself at all, unless it is to reveal his moral condition or the progress of his journey. As a result, self-consciousness itself is linked to evil in this book.