Shift is C.S.Lewis' Antichrist or false prophet character from The Last Battle. Some have said that he bears some resemblance to the bishop of Rome, as he lead the donkey in and out of the stable in the lion skin to the foolish beasts, pretending it was Aslan; just as a Roman priest might expose and conceal a wafer from a tabernacle for credulous people, pretending it is Christ. There may be some truth to that interpretation. But I think that Lewis was influenced more by his old friend J.R.R.Tolkien, and by Charles Darwin, than by polemical Puritan teachings about the pope. Shift is an ape that pretends to be a Son of Adam, and lies in his fancy and claims to be hundreds upon hundreds of years old to explain his appearance. Darwin's theory needs no introduction here but it seems to me to be very apposite to have a talking ape in so deceptive and treacherous a character. I don't know what Lewis thought of Darwin's theory but he will no doubt have understood upon first reading Tolkien's meaning in that marvelous poem Mythopoeia, written for him in 1931:
Darwin is not a subject I have often broached on Liturgiae Causa but I should like to know what readers think. Do you believe that Men evolved from extinct apes with obscure Latin names? If so, where does that leave Eden and the flaming sword? Original Sin? Our sense of exile, and the purpose of Christ's Incarnation? The works of Redemption, the operation of Grace, and so on. Ultimately, is Darwin's theory compatible in any way with Christian teaching? Because I don't think it is.I will not walk with your progressive apes,erect and sapient. Before them gapesthe dark abyss to which their progress tendsif by God's mercy progress ever ends,and does not ceaselessly revolve the sameunfruitful course with changing of a name.I will not tread your dusty path and flat,denoting this and that by this and that,your world immutable wherein no partthe little maker has with maker's art.I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,nor cast my own small golden sceptre down.