The Temptation of Saint Anthony

by Gustave Flaubert

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

St. Anthony is a hermit who, after spending thirty years in isolation, begins to feel as though his life has been meaningless. He is tempted by all the deadly sins that attempt to make him stray from his belief that isolation is true piety. He is even dragged into the cosmos by Satan himself to face the horror and meaninglessness of infinity. Even this, he overcomes.

Ammonaria is a friend of Anthony's sister, and draws Anthony into a battle against his own lust.

Hilarion, also known as Lucifer, was once Anthony's pupil. He attempts to lure Anthony away from his isolation by tempting him with intellect and science.

Lust and Death appear as two women, one young and one elderly. They try to tempt Anthony to give into his desires and end his own life.

The Queen of Sheba tempts Anthony with riches, representing lust.

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