This project, which is a combination of historical research, literary analysis, and creative writing, aims to demonstrate the individuality of medieval demons. Rather than appearing as purely evil beings whose only purpose was to further the narrative, demons typically had unique personalities and a range of emotions that differed from one representation to the next. Many works of literature centralize Satan and his demons within their narratives, such as Christ and Satan, Sir Gowther, and Dante’s Inferno. Several informative texts will also be analyzed, including St. Augustine’s De civitate Dei, Caesarius of Heisterbach’s Dialogus miraculorum, and Thomas Aquinas’ Summa theologiae. These and other medieval texts inform my own representation of demons in the central section of my project, an alliterative free-verse poem titled “The Knight and the Demon.” Set in July - October 1187, it focuses on the disguised knight Sir Vulpe and her journey home to Vienna after battling in the crusades. When Vulpe experiences a crisis of faith, a subversive demon named Privet latches on to her, and over time both she and Privet must realize the importance of compassion. Other key concepts that are explored in this project include identity, disguise, gender, and the Other, all of which intersect with medieval perceptions of demons. Demons, often subversive in medieval literature, should be analyzed by literary scholars and historians alike. This can allow us to better understand the contexts in which demons are situated as well as the reasons why medieval writers portrayed them in certain ways.


Hettinger, Madonna

Second Advisor

Prendergast, Thomas


English; History


English Language and Literature | Fiction | Medieval History | Poetry | Religion


demons, Middle Ages, medieval, religion, the Other, Christianity, chivalry, gender, supernatural, identity, disguise, Crusades, poetry, alliterative poetry, fiction, historical fiction

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2021 N Praml