1 - 26:
In the first 26 lines of the poem the narrator, in keeping with the tradition of epic poetry, invokes the aid of his “Heav’nly Muse.” More importantly, though, in line 26 the reader is furnished with the poet / narrator’s over-arching purpose: to “justifie the ways of God to men.” It is important to note that the promise is to justify God’s ways not to the inclusive singular "man," but to a subset of humanity identified as men. Arguments over gender inclusion or exclusion can be made, but Milton’s apparent sexism aside, his text is aimed not at all people but only at that “fit audience though few” referred to at line 31 of Book VII. This audience would probably be the Elect, those justified through God’s Grace as accorded with Milton’s highly personal form of Christianity, derived from but not identical to Calvinism, either before or during Milton’s life time.

27 - 33:

In lines 27 - 33 the speaker calls on his muse to first explain the cause of Adam and Eve's ("our Grand Parents") original sin. The speaker characterizes the muse as virtually all-knowing, thanks to heavenly permission. In phrasing the speaker's request, the poet calls attention to the belief that Adam and Eve (and, by implication, subsequently all of humanity) would have ruled the world, subject to only one injunction: the original commandment not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In asking his final question of the muse--"Who first seduced them"--the speaker introduces a cause and effect relationship that might suggest Adam and Eve, and again all humans by implication, are not fully and not initially responsible for their sin(s). What might this imply about the doctrine of original sin, and about the natural state of the human creature?

34 - 83:

The muse seems to respond to the speaker's invocation in lines 34 to 83. In answer to the question "who first seduced" humankind, the muse replies that it was "the infernal serpent," who was himself driven by envy and a desire for revenge against God for having him (the serpent) cast out of heaven. The muse adds the detail, in ll. 35 - 6, that the serpent deceived Eve to achieve his revenge. After his direct answer to the speaker's question, "the muse" prepares the poem's transition to a discussion between the leaders of the rebel angels from their new abode outside of heaven on and around a lake of fire. The most important quality of this passage is the subtle insistence that it was Eve who was first deceived, thus setting her up as the first cause of "death . . . and all our woe" (l.3). While Milton adds much to the Biblical narrative throughout his poem, in assigning blame to Eve he is following the Bible closely (cf. Gen. 3).

84 - 126:

Lines 84-126 in Milton’s Paradise lost depict the character of Lucifer/Satan after he and his host of rebel angels were cast out of heaven and into hell after an unsuccessful revolt. In the lines 80-83 Milton’s Muse is speaking, leading us into the transition into Satan becoming the speaker. The lines 84-124 Satan is speaking to Beelzebub. Satan begins by acknowledging his own differences and has a bit of an identidy crisis, however short lived.“If thou beest he; but O how fallen! How changed/”(83) he says after a long silence after he has awakened in Hell. He then turns to Beelzebub and speaks to him acknowledging that falling has changed him drastically as well. After it is established there has been a change, but they are still who they know themselves to be, or at least have the same desires as they had before, ``to wage by force or guile eternal war,/ Irreconsileable to [their] grand foe.” (122-3). Satan convinces Beelzebub that God is truly a tyrant and that their cause is not lost. By the time we reach the 125th line the Muse is narrating once more and we see Beelzebub “rack’d with despair” (126) for a moment. After this comes the moment we as readers know Beelzebub is ready to follow as he calls Satan “Prince” and “Chief”. Then Beelzebub and Satan address the other angels who were cast into Hell and recruit them for the “cause”. It is painfully obvious Satan is a flawed character who is completely driven by pride, I don’t feel he was wrong in rebelling. Even in Milton’s writing, and he does take sides, Satan clearly does want to rule, but there’s also the desire to no longer be enslaved by God from him as well as the other rebel angels, making him more noble than evil. Does Satan truly believe God is a tyrant who must be over thrown, or is he just a power hungry sore-loser? And either way, is God really a tyrant in this?

127 - 55:

In lines 127- 55 Satan’s second in command becomes the speaker. The speaker characterizes Satan as prince and “Chief of many throned powers, that led the embattled.” He then praises Satan for being fearless and having threatened God’s celestial thrown. As Beelzebub begins to recap the events of their fall from heaven he acknowledges God’s greatness due to the fact no other power but the power Heavenly Father could defeat them. It then comes as a sign and a wonder to Beelzebub that their strength and power was intact in the underworld (hell) and begins to question why. He wonders if God left them their strength to ensure his will be done in hell as the fallen becoming slaves [traditionally through out ancient warfare it was customary for the conquering side take slaves]. The speaker expresses a great sense of fear for not completely understanding the terms of their fate in hell. The speakers asks these questions of Satan as the “Chief” in order to get a better perspective of their eternal fate.

157 - 91:

Lines 157-91 detail Satan`s response to Beelzebub’s claim that God has imprisoned them unscathed in order to make them slaves and force them to do his heavenly bidding. Satan`s response reveals his self-conception as being in direct opposition to that of God`s purpose, chiefly an arbiter of evil, ``Out of our evil seek to bring forth good,/ Our labor must be to pervert that end”. As such Satan strives not only to be God’s opposite but also his equal, channeling his good intentions to malicious ends and preoccupying “His inmost counsels from their destined aim”. He urges his army to make use of the lull in fighting in order to regroup and to make the best of their “seat of desolation”. Finally he cautions that it is of no consequence whether they find solace in the hope of retaking heaven or resolution in the fact that they can sink no further.

192 - 241:

This passage of text on page fifteen of John Milton’s Paradise Lost follows a speech given by Satan. It is describing the demons in hell and what hell looks like; saying that Satan and devils have their heads above the waves and sparkling eyes, with a body that extends to a ‘monstrous size’ while ‘lay floating’, giving the reading an idea that there is a vast of sea everywhere. The description on the body of water than continues on saying how it’s dark and gloomy; a sailor’s worst nightmare, just wanting the sun to rise because out there the sailor knows of the sea monster that is mistaken for land. This sea monster was created by God. Although ‘chained on the burning lake…the will and high permission of all-ruling Heaven left him at large’ letting him create and bring crimes, evil, and darkness to others. In Christian Doctrine I, viii; Works 15, Milton has written about God’s innocence in allowing crimes to be accomplished by the evil. Is God able to be called innocent for creating these evil creatures with knowing that He has given them the freedom to do so?

242 - 70:

In lines 242-270 Satan is concluding to the fact that they have forever left behind the peaceful and tranquil place known as Heaven for this place of damnation and suffering. Lines 247 through 249 take on a very literal meaning: “Farthest from him is best” … those who are least like God are the followers Satan wants, “Whom reason hath equaled” … in reason he is not supreme, “Force hath made supreme above his equals” … through force he became the supreme ruler. In using farewell in line 249 Satan shows no remorse of leaving “happy fields where joy forever dwells” and adds a malevolent mood to the passage by going further in saying “Hail horrors, hail infernal world, and thou profoundest hell”. In the following lines the narrator speaks of psychological “mind over matter” and states that as long as you are the same you can make whatever you would like of the situation and place you find yourself is. “Here at least we shall be free” says the speaker, even though now that they are not under the supremacy of God, they are under the rule of Satan. The fallen angel goes on to question whether to fight for the riches of heaven, even though the consequence of losing is great.

272 - 82:

Lines 272 - 82 reveal Beelzebub’s response to Satan. He first asserts in line 273 that “but the omnipotent none could have foiled” the rebel angels’ attack on Heaven; however, since this can be interpreted as either praising the Devil or admitting that God was clearly the mightier one, one might question Beelzebub’s apparently deliberate vagueness. He goes on to say how Satan’s defeated followers will fully and instantly regain their energy and morale, “if once they hear that voice”, proceeding to describe in great detail how Satan’s voice is the army’s truest beacon of hope in “fears and dangers” and “worst extremes” as written in lines 275 - 76. Since up to now Satan’s physical power has been emphasized (specifically in lines 194 – 209), why is such attention shifted instead to his ability to speak?

283 - 315:

This section directly follows a conversation between Satan and Beelzebub, in which Satan debated which option was better, to reign in Hell or to fight back against God and his form of “justice”. Beelzebub then reassures Satan that the rebel Angels, who are now also stuck in Hell’s fire (280), would surely want to fight back with him against God. Next, Satan begins moving toward the beach by the lake of fire. The speaker’s description of Satan works to show his new found weakness, as his spear, that had been “to equal the tallest pine” was now “but a wand/He walked with to support uneasy steps”. His steps across “the burning marl” (296), as well as his “torrid climb”, (297) are contrasted with his past steps across “Heaven’s azure” (297). This illuminates how much more difficult life is now that he and his followers have been banished to Hell. After completing his trek toward the beach, Satan rises in front of his countless followers, all of whom are unified in their “perfidious hatred” (308) of those who looked down upon their failed rebellion from the safe shores of God’s land. The section seems to almost sympathize with Satan and his minions, and could pose the question is the fate that God handed to Satan and his followers truly justice?

315 - 30:

In lines 315 – 330 of Book I, Satan calls upon the fallen angels, now inhabitants of hell, to assemble. Despite the circumstances, he does not address them as though they are defeated, but as if they still have power, calling them “princes, potentates, warriors” (l. 315-316). He tries to prompt his followers by rebuking them and asking with a sense of sarcasm if they had just come to hell to rest after a hard battle. He also asks them if in their “abject posture” (l. 322), or their unpleasant and degrading condition, they have switched allegiances and now worship God. These lines are notable because it shows that Satan is displaying confidence once again, and has not given up in his fight against God. In the final lines, he warns that if they do not rise again, the “swift pursuers from Heaven” (l. 326) will take advantage of their weakness and defeat them so that they will never leave this hell.

1. 331 - 75:

Satan has roused his troop of fallen angels and they immediately gather around him on the land despite their terrible injuries: “Yet to thir Generals Voyce they soon obeyd” (337). They are great in number and “fill all the plain” (350). They are awesome to behold even in their defeated state: “Godlike shapes and forms/ Excelling human, Princely Dignities/And Powers that earst in Heaven sat on Thrones” (358-360). Most of their names have been erased from the “Books of Life”. Some of the more prominent ones come to be worshipped as Gods later in the time of man: “By falsities and lyes the greatest part/Of Mankind they corrupted to forsake/God thir Creator…” (367-369).

376 - 391:

In lines 376-391 the narrator commands of the muse to name the fallen angels as they rise from the lake of fire. Called by Satan, they ascend in order one-by-one. Milton makes a point to contrast the purpose of their order against the disorganized backdrop of Satan’s followers. The narrator further illustrates how these chief leaders, previously close to God, “altar by his altar”, have fallen from his good grace. They lost their seat next to god as a result of their defiance, and desire to be worshiped on earth, “their darkness durst affront° his light”. The importance of this passage is that it acts as a transition or a prelude to a more in depth description of the ascending chief devils (fallen angels).

392 - 505:

At this point in the poem, Milton introduces some of the fallen angles () and how they attempted to corrupt and disconnect man from God. Most of this disconnect comes from men (particularly kings such as Solomon) worshiping the fallen angels as false idols.

Milton further explains that these fallen angels can take various forms on earth in order to deceive people. This is because, in essence, the demons are sprits and are not bound by the physical confines of men, such as bones, joints and flesh. “Not tied or manacled with joint or limb, / not founded on the brittle strength of bones, / like cumbrous flesh, but in what shape they choose,” (Lines 425-428) As he introduces the various demons, Milton follows a pattern of first naming the fallen angel and their story of corrupting and then, follows with an example, from the bible, of how that demon was defeated or how the people who continued to follow the ways of the false ideal were lead to ruin. The exception to this pattern is Belial.

Belial does not have any alters or temples built for him nor does he have any worshippers, rather Belial, and his sons, seem to be a dark shadow over humans. Belial lures men into acts of violence and corruption against God. What is particularly different about this fallen angel is that Milton asserts that “Belial came last, than whom a sprit more lewd / Fell not from Heaven or more gross to love/ Vice for itself…”(Lines 490-492.) This marks Belial as the most offensive of the fallen. Furthermore, Milton offers no example of victory over this demon. Milton leaves the subject of Belial quite abruptly and offers the reader no comforting example of how Belial was sent back to hell. This, combined with Milton’s statement that the fallen angels can take any form on earth, leaves the reader looking over their shoulder in search of where this demon may be hidden.

1. 506 - 21:

In lines 506 – 21, the speaker continues to list the angels that fell from Heaven with Satan: “The rest were long to tell, though far renowned…” (507). The concept of the fallen angels being what humans would later regard as pagan gods is furthered through the speaker’s narrative of “Th’Ionian gods” (508) who were created by “Heav’n and Earth” (508). The speaker tells of Titan, “Heav’n’s first born” (510) being robbed of his birthright “by younger Saturn” (512). Saturn is in turn usurped by his son Jove who rules Olympus. The speaker notes that these gods would be first known in “Ida” and “Crete” (514-15) and how their presence eventually spread throughout Europe to “th’ Hesperian fields” and “utmost isles” (520-21). Milton, who was extremely religious, easily coordinates the Greco-Roman gods into his Christian universe.

1. 522 - 30:

In lines 522-524, the narrator is describing how the people that God had rejected from Heaven kept coming to Hell, with looks of shame for being rejected. More and more rejects flocked down to Satan's home. But in lines 525-530, the narrator clearly shows that these people stop being ashamed of being rejected, as now they can rejoice as they "have found their chief" (Milton, 29). They also have found their family as more and more rejects enter their new home. The legion feels worthy of something, and feel that they belong. Satan increases their self pride, self worth, as well as their courage and erases all of their fears (Milton, 29). Within the same lines, the narrator continues to display Satan's joy and great pride from now having the army he will soon need to battle those in heaven.

1. 531 - 67:

Lines 531-567 of Milton’s Paradise Lost, describe the construction of Satan’s army after, in lines 527-28 we see “his wonted pride soon recollecting”. He “gently raised their fainting courage and dispelled their fears” (ll. 529-30). This leads to him making “straight commands” and taking control over the other fallen angels. We also see him declaring the angel, Azazel “as his right”. After this, the author describes what seems to be a great celebration in the underworld, with “ten thousand banners...orient colors waving”. When Satan’s army is formed, they are a strong, unified group. “They move in perfect phalanx” and become a “united force with fixéd thought”. This army, great in numbers, is described as “a horrid front of dreadful length and dazzling arms”, “awaiting what command their mighty chief had to impose”. The most important part of this section is that is shows us that Satan isn’t a quitter. He knows that although he no longer sits at the right hand of God, he can still have power. It is evident that he is going to take full advantage of this fact.

1. 567 - 87:

His army being gathered and equipped for war, Satan looks over it and carefully examines each member in the order according to their standing. He finds his warriors’ faces and bodies similar to those of gods and counts them. The impression he gets makes him grow full of pride and exult with triumph because his army is of unprecedented strength in human history. The narrator goes on to list heroic battles and brave soldiers, Christian or not, that have been described in literature ranging from Homer’s Iliad over the story of King Arthur and his knights of the round table to battles fought in the area between Italy, the Middle East and Africa (cf. footnotes 578-585). In the end the narrator concludes that even if all of these single heroes were joined to form a huge army, they would not be comparable with Satan’s battalion.

1. 587 - 621:

“After the fall of the rebel angels, the narrator goes through the events that occur upon their awakening. He also gives a slight description of the some important angels that went through battle.” This Passage focuses on depicting Satan as a leader and a diplomat. The speaker characterizes “Lucifer” as the “dread Commander” his description portrays him as a fallen leader in battle. He characterizes him as “dauntless and considerate”. This gives Satan characteristics that any good leader would have. Milton gives Satan features a leader would need as he becomes passionate when seeing his fellow angels seemed to be full of remorseful and even felt prideful that they followed his command. At this point he uses this passage to emulate the past epic poetry showing the heroic elements of a fallen commander trying to revive and inspire his defeated army. The passage is also the transition to an address to the rebel angels around the lake of fire. Which is his inspiring speech that rekindles their “spirit”.

622 - 62:

In lines 622-662, Satan has a narrative in which he is addressing the rebel angels, and discussing their loss to God’s forces. Satan seems surprised by the outcome, as how could “such united forces of Gods” have been “repulsed” from Heaven. He exaggerates not only the strength of the rebel angels but also the amount of forces that God lost and Hell gained to half of the angels, rather than a third of Heaven’s angels, and states that although they may not be able to win a war in terms of their strength, they will be able to do it through trickery. Through lines 639-640 he goes on to speculate as to why God continues to reign in Heaven. Satan narrows it to three reasons; repute, or fame, consent of the angels and tradition, rather than God’s reason, strength or truth. Satan states that God’s concealment of his power “tempted” the rebel angel’s attempt to take his throne, and ultimately led to their downfall into Hell. He finishes on line 659 by saying “peace is despaired”, which I took to be Satan’s refusal of submission and his acknowledgement of the continuance of war.