by Bergman, Ingmar

  • Devil's Eye, The

Genre: Drama

Cast 3 male 1 female

Length Short

Set Interior

Licence World ex. Sweden


The story revolves around a mythic motto invented by Bergman: “A young woman’s chastity is a stye in the eye of the Devil”. Cast in four acts there is an introduction by a speaker in formal attire, who provides Brechtian commentary in the interludes.  The action is set in Hell and in a vicarage in the Swedish countryside. The plot involves Don Juan, who has spent 300 years in Hell.  The Prince of Darkness gets a stye in his eye. The cause is a young girl, Britt-Marie, who, although engaged, steadfastly remains a virgin. The Don, whose punishment in hell is to be eternally sexually aroused and never fulfilled, is ordered by Satan to return to earth, accompanied by his servant, Pablo to cure the problem.

The men emerge from the underworld into an earthly paradise. The pastoral beauty intensifies their agony as they realise the temporary nature of their visit and remember once again what they have forfeited through lecherous living. Arriving at the vicarage they meet Britt-Marie who is the daughter of the parson, a naïve and innocent man, and his frustrated wife Renata.  During a stormy night the Don seduces Britt-Marie and Pablo the mother.

Mission accomplished, he must return to hell. However this time, unlike his earlier escapades, he has fallen in love with the object of his desire, which causes consternation among the hosts of hell as it spells defeat for the infernal principles which govern the abyss.

Another set back for the Devil happens when the parson, contrary to infernal calculations, forgives his wife her infidelity.  However in a final flashback at the wedding of Britt-Marie, Satan learns that the young girl will lie to her husband on their wedding night.  With this minor victory, the stye disappears from the Devil’s eye.

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