In Hamartigenia, Prudentius wrote that the evil and ugly in Nature originates in the devil.
Prudentius is said to have insisted on the place of free will in both the origins and the corrections of evil.
Prudentius' Hamartigenia places the corruption of language, emblematized in the poem by the splitting of Satan's tongue, at the origin of human sin. This article explores how Prudentius associates human sin with the inherently deceptive nature of language. In Hamartigenia, language and its snares, in particular figurative language, are programmatically associated with figures who represent the evils of division and imitation.
Further, figured language, ornament, and rhetoric are conceived of as inherently feminine. The feminine is linked not only with the carnal, but also with language and its deceptive nature. Similarly, the reproductive process, whether sexual or linguistic, is associated not with the transcendent Logos, but with Satan and his split tongue, and with the viper and her endless brood of vicious offspring. The figures of Eve and of Lot's wife embody representation itself, and stand as signs of humanity's fundamental lack of "origin"ality.