"Is this the region, this the soil, the clime. . .
this is the seat
That we must exchange for heavn, this mournful gloom
For that celestial light?"
he soon reconciles himself to hell:
"hail horrors, hail
Infernal world, and thou profoundest hell
Receive thy new possessor"
Satan convinces himself of his own potential to rival God: "The mind is its own place, and in itself | Can make a heavn of hell, a hell of heavn". Ultimately, Satan has concluded that it is "Better to reign in hell, than to serve in heavn", from whence "With rallied arms to try what may be yet | Regained in heavn, or what more lost in hell?" Satan rallies the fallen angels behind him in the manner of the classical hero, a leader whose inspiring rhetoric manages to induce unison and optimism: "Princes, Potentates, | Warriors, the flowr of heavn, once yours, now lost, | "Awake, arise, or be for ever falln."
In lines 376-521 Milton adapts the epic device of listing names of famous warriors for his own purposes: to illustrate the existence of evil throughout human history. Milton moves on to describe the rise of the temple in Pandaemonium. Implicit in this is an attack on the pomp and splendour of the Caroline court architecture and its creator Inigo Jones.
A debate is held about whether or not to attempt recovery of heaven. A third proposal is preferred, concerning an ancient prophecy of another world that was to be created, where the devils may seek to enact their revenge. Satan alone undertakes the voyage to find this world. He encounters Sin and Death, his vile and incestuous offspring, guarding hell's gates. Sin unlocks the gate, and Satan embarks on his passage across the great gulf of chaos between heaven and hell, till he sights the new universe floating near the larger globe which is heaven.
God sees Satan flying towards this world and foretells the success of his evil mission to tempt man. God explains his purpose of grace and mercy toward man, but declares that justice must be met nonetheless. His Son, who sits at his right hand, freely offers to sacrifice himself for man's salvation, causing the angels to celebrate in songs of praise.
Meanwhile Satan alights upon the outer shell of the new creation, where he finds an opening to the universe within. He flies down to the sun, upon which an angel, Uriel, stands guard. Disguised as a cherub, Satan pretends he has come to praise God's new creation, and thereby tricks the angel into showing him the way to man's home.
Landing atop Mount Niphates, Satan experiences disillusionment, but soon proceeds on his evil errand. He easily gains secret entrance to the Garden of Paradise. He wonders at its beauty, and soon comes upon Adam and Eve, who excite great envy in him at their happy state. He overhears them speak of God's commandment that they should not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil under penalty of death, and thereby plots to cause them to transgress.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|