Is Chernabog the devil?

Answered by Robert Flynn

Chernabog, the iconic villain from Disney’s “Night on Bald Mountain” segment in Fantasia, has often been referred to as “the devil himself” by Walt Disney. While it is important to note that Chernabog is not explicitly portrayed as the devil in the film, there are indeed several similarities between Chernabog and the traditional concept of the devil in mythology and folklore.

1. Visual Representation:
Chernabog’s appearance is undeniably dark and menacing. He is depicted as a massive, black demon with glowing eyes, horns, and bat-like wings. This physical portrayal aligns with the popular imagery associated with the devil in various cultures. The devil is often depicted as a horned, winged creature representing evil and darkness.

2. Domain of Darkness:
In “Night on Bald Mountain,” Chernabog is seen ruling over a desolate mountain during the nighttime. He summons various supernatural creatures and torments the souls of the dead. This setting and his control over darkness and the supernatural realm evoke the concept of the devil’s dominion over Hell or the underworld.

3. Temptation and Corruption:
The devil is often associated with temptation and the corruption of souls. Similarly, Chernabog is shown summoning and manipulating various spirits, reveling in their wickedness and chaos. He entices and corrupts those who succumb to their dark desires. This portrayal aligns with the devil’s role as a seducer and tempter.

4. Symbolism of Evil:
Chernabog’s actions in “Night on Bald Mountain” include terrorizing the village below, engaging in demonic rituals, and reveling in destruction. These actions symbolize evil and chaos, mirroring the devil’s role as the embodiment of malevolence and the antithesis of goodness.

Interestingly, Chernabog shares similarities with another Disney villain, the Firebird from “The Firebird Suite” in Fantasia 2000. The Firebird, like Chernabog, is depicted as a powerful and malevolent entity. It is a creature of fire that brings destruction and chaos. While the Firebird is not explicitly referred to as the devil, it embodies similar themes of darkness, temptation, and destruction.

While neither Chernabog nor the Firebird are explicitly portrayed as the devil in their respective segments, they both share characteristics and themes commonly associated with the devil in mythology and folklore. Walt Disney’s description of Chernabog as “the devil himself” highlights the eerie and menacing nature of the character, as well as the parallels drawn between Chernabog and the traditional concept of the devil.