The Screwtape Letters Chapter 1: Summary & Quotes

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  • 0:01 The Letters
  • 0:29 Reason
  • 1:03 Propaganda
  • 1:49 Focus on Now
  • 2:30 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

In Letter One of ''The Screwtape Letters'' by C.S. Lewis, we are introduced to Screwtape, an experienced tempter, who is mentoring his young nephew, Wormwood, on the best ways to secure his patient's place in Hell.

The Letters

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis is a series of letters written by Uncle Screwtape. He's writing to his nephew, Wormwood, who is just learning to guide patients to their place in 'our father's house' (or Hell). Being a young 'fiend', Wormwood makes mistakes and needs to be taught the best way to keep people from Christianity. In Letter One, we learn about the characters and some of the devil's most basic methods to throw people off-track.


Naïve Wormwood has just been assigned his first patient. In this story, a patient is a person receiving special service from the Underworld (or Hell) to persuade him to deny Christianity in an effort to secure a place in Hell. Mistakenly, Wormwood thinks a more direct approach is the best way to accomplish his goal, but his uncle Screwtape sets him straight. Screwtape warns Wormwood not to create a scenario in which the patient has to argue his viewpoint. When people are arguing, they are reasoning through a situation. Reason is dangerous to the devil's mission.

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