2. 1 - 10:
In line 1-10 of book 2 we see Satan has made it through chaos to earth. The narrator depicts Satan as a king sitting on a thrown and at the same time foreshadowing the imminent chaos he would inflict on the world of the living. The narrator describes Satan as exalted because he was elected to bring corruption to the prophesized “new creature”. The narrator bring attention to Satan’s intent to continue his “Vain war with heaven” by later corrupting mankind into transgressing against the most high as seen in Genesis 3 marking the start of mankind’s fall. The narrator also suggest that Because of Satan’s success reaching the living world he has not learned his lesson from losing the battle in heaven.
2. 11 - 42:
Lines 11-42 are Satan opening the debate on their next course of action: whether to attack heaven outright or through “covert guile” weaken them. He begins by reasserting that Heaven can still be attained and as far as they have fallen, the greater will be their rise for it. He then lets his armies know the reason on which his leadership is based: it is his “right” and “fixed law” because he was second in command to God, “free choice” because his followers willed it, and “merit” based on his skills on the battlefield. Satan declares that rather than sap their strength, the tortuous surroundings have made them stronger, and if anything have fortified their resolve. This resolves also springs from the fact that unlike the tyranny of heaven, hell is a democracy (curiously after making clear that he is the undisputed leader) because who would want to be the leader and thus the focus of God’s wrath? This democracy is contrasted with God’s tyranny and portrayed as strength in that there can be little dissension if all are equal, “With this advantage then/ To union and firm faith and firm accord, / More than can be in Heaven”.
2. 43 - 50:
In lines 43-50, the poem introduces a devil named Moloch, who is described as a “sceptered king”, meaning an empowered or authoritative figure. Moloch is said to be the “strongest and the fiercest spirit that fought in Heaven”, and the narrator defines him to be even more powerful due to the loss of war for the rebel angels in Heaven. Moloch believes that Heaven’s forces are equal to that of the rebel angels in Hell, and the narrator goes on to state that Moloch lost his ability to care of the consequences of war upon losing the battle in Heaven, and “with that care lost went all of his fear”. Moloch thus becomes fiercer due to his inability to fear God, hell, or any other dire consequences that may arise from fighting the almighty. The “despair” that he feels causes him to be even more vengeful towards Heaven, and this despair and subsequent loss of fear leads into his speech on what he believes the rebel angel’s next actions should be towards Heaven and in war.
2. 51 - 105:
Moloch responds to Satan’s question and says that they should proceed in war and that there are millions of fallen angels ready to fight at his first command. He suggests that they use the torture they have experienced as an incentive to fight against the torturer, and that the descent was easy, but the ascent will be a struggle. Moloch admits that God is stronger but if they do not fight they will stay in this horrid place forever and he asks why they hesitate when even if they lose God will end their existence which would be better than living amongst inextinguishable fire. In the last few lines he states that through experience they know they can at least disrupt heaven and deliver revenge against God which is a victory in itself.
2. 106 – 18:
In this passage of text it is talking about what happened after the Moloch sceptered King’s speech and how he seems after giving it; which is “frowning and his look denounced”. The speaker then starts to talk about Bedial. Bedial is normally a cheery, graceful, and elegant person, but the text describes his behaviour as “false and hallow…his thoughts were low”. It also says, “A fairer person lost not Heaven”. Does this mean that Bedial has lost Heaven or that Heaven has lost Bedial, or that Bedial is lost, but Heaven is not? After this he goes into a speech.
2. 106 - 18:
After Moloch advocates open war, the muse describes how the fallen angel’s facial expression clearly verifies his intentions—his plan is for “Desperate revenge” more so than victory, since he acknowledges the risk of failure in a “battle dangerous / To less than gods”. Before Belial presents his own argument to counter Moloch’s, the muse once again provides the reader with a description of the speaker. Belial is Moloch’s opposite: attractive and eloquent, but lazy, cowardly, and disposed to lie. His ability to “make the worst appear / The better reason to perplex and dash / Maturest councils” likely alludes to the sophists in Socrates’ time, who were skilful speakers criticized for defending any side of an argument, whether right or wrong. The level of description given to each fallen angel before and after his argument allows the reader to see the relation between the argument and its speaker’s true intentions. The sincerity behind Moloch’s destructive plan, compared to the dishonesty of the peacefully submissive plan Belial eventually offers, seems intended to show that none of the fallen angels are remorseful for their revolt against God.
2. 119 - 225:
In this section, Belial, likened to a lazy con artist, responds to Moloch’s idea to attack God and Heaven repeatedly for revenge. Belial questions how an attack, especially one based on surprise could succeed, as Heaven is surrounded by armed guards and scouts patrol all other locations. Even if they were strong enough to defeat God, which Belial doubts, he is all-knowing and will foresee any incoming attack. He continues by questioning the idea of using Hell’s fire against God, as he created it and would thus likely be immune to its pain. He condemns Moloch’s idea that they should enrage God enough to kill them, as losing life and power isn’t his idea of progress. Belial suggests that God may not kill them even if he could, as God wants them alive to be punished forever for their misdeeds. He states the if they were to attack again, God would simply toss them back into the fire, and that perhaps Hell could even be worsened: “what if all/Her stores were open'd, and this Firmament/Of Hell should spout her Cataracts of Fire/Impendent horrors, threatning hideous fall/One day upon our head” (174-178). Belial continues to dismiss the concept of war, stating that it would only work to annoy God even further and make him more ruthless is his punishments. Instead, Belial suggests “if we can sustain and bear/Our Supream Foe in time may much remit/His anger, and perhaps thus farr remov'd/Not mind us not offending, satisfi'd/With what is punish't; whence these raging fires/Will slack'n.” (209-214) Thus, Belial concludes that enduring punishment will help the flames of God’s rage begin to weaken and ultimately extinguish. One must wonder, though, if Belial and his motives can be trusted, or if he is just continuing his dishonest ways in hopes of tricking his comrades.
2. 229 - 83:
2. 284 - 309:
Mammon has just finished his speech beseeching the fallen angels to be industrious in Hell and make it their own kingdom to rival Heaven. This meets with great applause from the devils and is certainly the most popular idea proposed thus far: “After the Tempest: Such applause was heard/ As Mammon ended, and his Sentence pleas'd” (290-91). The fallen angels were filled with the fear Belial instilled in them when he reminded them of the punishment God could still render them, and of the battle they lost: “They dreaded worse then Hell: so much the fear/Of Thunder and the Sword of Michael/Wrought still within them…” (293-95). Beelzebub then prepares to speak and is once again asserted as Satan’s second in command in Hell. He is described as broad of chest and shoulder and fit to rule any kingdom:
Aspect he rose, and in his rising seem'd
A Pillar of State; deep on his Front engraven
Deliberation sat and public care;
And Princely counsel in his face yet shon,
Majestic though in ruin: sage he stood
With Atlantean shoulders fit to bear
The weight of mightiest Monarchies. (301-07)
His majestic air draws the attention of all the devils and he prepares to address the crowd. The charisma of the more powerful fallen angels seems to easily sway the collective, and demonstrates their fickle natures. They appear to be following the ideas of whoever spoke last, which demonstrates yet another moral flaw in their lack of lasting loyalty.
2. 310 - 378:
In lines 310 to 378, Beelzebub provides his opinion in the debate. He begins by addressing his listeners by their original titles from heaven, but asks if, according to their new majority vote that they should try to create their own empire in hell, their titles should be switched to “Princes of hell” (l. 313). He then condemns the assumption that hell is a place that God has sent them to live outside of “Heaven’s high jurisdiction” (l. 319) where they are free to build their own empire and live free of God’s rule. He argues that although they are far from heaven, they remain very much in the hands of God. He claims that God will reign over hell like he reigns over heaven, the difference being that he will rule hell with an iron scepter (symbolizing enmity) and will rule heaven with a golden one (symbolizing friendship). Beelzebub accepts that God is the “first and the last” (l. 324) and that though the debate thus far has been about peace or war, peace does not exist to them because they are in God’s detention. He goes on to say that the only way they can fight back is to seek revenge by making God as unhappy as possible about the situation. He says that revenge by war is dangerous, and that their revenge can come in an easier form. This is when Beelzebub brings up the new world that Satan spoke of in Book I. He speaks of the new race of man who, rumor has it, are to be created who are not as powerful as the angels but who God favors. He proposes that they learn the different qualities of the new race and then use them in their revenge against God. In line 357, Beelzebub suggests that they discover their weaknesses and “how attempted best”, which means how to best attack them, but this wording also foreshadows the “tempting” of Adam and Eve. He says that although heaven might be safe from their attacks, the new world could be vulnerable and that they could either destroy God’s creation, bring them to their own side so that he might himself destroy them, or have them suffer the same fate as the fallen angels. This would make God unhappy, and thus they would achieve their revenge. He finishes his speech by asking them if they would rather do this plan or sit around in hell trying to create an empire that will never exist. Considering that Satan had alluded to this plan in Book I, was what Beelzebub proposed in his speech Satan’s plan from the beginning, regardless of what happened in the debate?
2. 378 - 89:
2. 390 - 416:
In lines 390-416 Beezlebub precedes to speak to the council. After a well-received speech, he goes on to assure that they have made the correct choice by agreeing to his proposal. He preaches that this is their best opportunity to re-visit heaven or at least become closer to it’s presence (light), and thereby gain greater security and escape the tortures of hell. Beezlebub then asks “Whom shall we send In search of this new world?” He says the chosen one must have the necessary strength, skill, and bravery needed to pass Heavens highly armed sentries, and will also need to be bold enough to take risks. Beezlebub then asserts that whomever they do decide to vote, “The weight of all and our last hope relies”. Milton’s word usage, and expressions of rising up, gaining back what they lost, and healing themselves, tends to have the reader question who the protagonist of the poem really is. Is Satan the real enemy or is it God?
2. 390 - 416:
In lines 390-416, Satan congratulates the council of demons on their choice of strategy. “Well ye have judged, well ended long debate…” (390). He predicts that their course of action will invariably lead to them being restored “nearer [their] ancient seat” (394) of Heaven. He goes on to elaborate the pleasure their success will bring, and how they might be able to “purge off this gloom” (400) and “heal the scar of these corrosive fires” (401). He stops at this point though to ask who will they send “in search of this new world?” (403). Satan, who already has given himself full leadership of Hell and his followers, declares “the weight of all and our last hope relies” (416) on who they select to find God’s new creation. However, it is obvious throughout this passage that Satan already has an outcome in mind. The tone is very persuasive, and indicative of his manipulative nature. He deliberately draws out the perils the volunteer will undertake to heighten his own glory when he himself later accepts the task (404-13).
2. 417 - 29:
In this passage from Paradise Lost, Satan waits, in suspense, for one amongst his host of fallen angels to volunteer and make the dangerous journey in search of the rumored new world. As Satan waits it becomes clear that “None among the choice and prime/ Of those Heaven-warring champions could be found/ So hardy as to proffer or accept/ Alone the dreadful voyage…” (Lines 23-26.) These lines further demean the fallen angels because they are made out to be cowards. While, it was not Milton’s intention to make Satan into a likeable character, the reader cannot help but make comparisons between Satan and the cowardice fallen angles. In subsequent lines Satan appears as a courageous leader by boldly offering himself up as a volunteer when no other fallen angel would.
However, Milton does compare Satan to a monarch and describes him as full of pride which, according to the bible, is an unacceptable quality. “…Satan, whom now transcendent glory raised/ Above his fellows, with monarchal pride…” (Lines 27-28.) As David Kastan’s notes reveal, the connotation of monarch was deplorable to Milton as it suggests a single ruling being which, for Milton, can only be God.
2. 430 - 66:
2. 466 - 505:
In lines 466-505, Satan just finishes presenting his Legion with a speech. When his followers attempted to respond to his speech, he prevented all from speaking. Everyone rose at once, bowing forward to Satan as a sign of respect, as they cherish and idolize him as much as the angels do God. His followers consider Satan to be "equal to the highest in Heaven" (line 479). The narrator goes on to explain how the legion forgets all their fears, and rejoice in the after-glow of Satan's speech that presented them with inspiration. The narrator explains that while the Legion lives in "hatred, enmity and strife. Among themselves and levy cruel wars, wasting the earth, each other to destroy"(lines 500-502), they hope for heavenly grace and proclaiming peace (lines 498-499). Satan lastly waits for the night where he can finish this war and destroy all that he and his legion were rejected from.
2. 506 - 520:
In lines 506-520 of Milton’s “Paradise Lost”, we see “the Stygian council” departing after possible courses of action to be taken against God have been discussed and the final course has been chosen. Now meeting, are all “the grand infernal peers”. Satan joins them and it is described that he “seemed alone the Antagonist of Heaven”. This means that he felt he was the only rival against God. The reason Satan feels this way is because no one volunteered to go on the journey into the unknown. Because of this, the responsibility was given to him. Lines 510-520 describe what seems to be a ceremony of goodbyes being held for Satan. Some of those attending are, “fiery seraphim” and “four speedy cherubim”.
2. 506 - 520:
This passage begins with the ending of the meeting of angels and Satan’s volunteering to make the arduous ascent out of hell. In this counsel Milton refers to them as a “counsel” and “peers” which is noted to mean “lords”. “The stygian Counsel thus dissolv'd; and forth in order came the grand infernal peers / Midst came thir mighty Paramount.”
This could suggest that Milton does not approve of this type of counsel or the hierarchy of lords. This passage also describes Satan as the brave volunteer as he accepts the role of the ascent. He is also decriped as paramount which refers to his superior strength and capabilities. “Than Hells dread Emperour with pomp Supream, And God-like imitated State”. Here Milton portrays him as mighty and full ruler of hell and all of his comrades. Lastly, he is ushered out with a royal celebration with imitation golden trumpets and great shouts. That are usually associated with hero’s and great kings. Milton uses this to cement that Satan is the Prince of heaven with the use of this description and words such as “regal” and “heralds”.
The Stygian Counsel thus dissolv'd; and forth
In order came the grand infernal Peers:
Midst came thir mighty Paramount, and seemd
Alone th' Antagonist of Heav'n, nor less
Than Hells dread Emperour with pomp Supream, [ 510 ]
And God-like imitated State; him round
A Globe of fierie Seraphim inclos'd
With bright imblazonrie, and horrent Arms.
Then of thir Session ended they bid cry
With Trumpets regal sound the great result: [ 515 ]
Toward the four winds four speedy Cherubim
Put to thir mouths the sounding Alchymie
By Haralds voice explain'd: the hollow Abyss
Heard farr and wide, and all the host of Hell
With deafning shout, return'd them loud acclaim. [ 520 ]
2. 521 - 569:
Having agreed upon a plan, the angels disperse in a spirit of hope; each spends the time in his own way while waiting for Satan to return from his journey to the earth. In fact, many of them engage in a huge battle: Angels compete with each other on the ground as well as in the air and while riding on horses they resemble participants of the Greek Olympic Games. Others race across the ground in charioteers similar to those in Roman games. The whole scenario in hell reminds the speaker of war and he therefore sees the conduct of the angels as a foreshadowing of an impending war on earth. The contest is then further described: The angels rush towards each other armed with spears, dash through the air like whirlwind and make the sky appear as if it was enflamed. The speaker compares the scenario with Hercules who has devastated everything around him due to the pain he suffers from because he has been poisoned. The angels’ battle similarly almost gets out of control.
Other angels, however, do not engage in a violent fight and instead pass the time playing the harp and singing along in lamentation of their bad luck in battle. Although their music is harmonious, it captures the audience due to their violent nature as beings in hell.
Another group is even more peaceful: sitting on a hill they are taken in by philosophical thoughts about the determinations and the oppositions of life like fate and free will, good and evil or happiness and misery. The speaker calls their whole conversation “vain wisdom” (l.565), but he acknowledges the fact that they execute some witchcraft that can bury pain and sorrow in oblivion for a while and even raise deceptive hope. Above all, the philosophising makes the angels patient while they are waiting for Satan to come back to hell.
2. 570 - 628:
2. 629 - 80:
2. 681 - 87:
In lines 681-87 Satan has set out on his quest to pass through the gates of hell and is met by a dark menacing figure. Satan at first doesn’t know who or what this figure is, yet decides to challenge it. Satan acknowledges how ghastly the creature is and asks why it has come and placed itself in his path. The figure is described as blocking Satan from side to side obstructing his pursuit towards the gate. Satan then warns the creature that he intends to pass though the gates regardless if the figure has moved or not. Satan boasts he will teach this creature of hell not to contend with creatures of heaven. This passage is metaphoric in the sense that Satan has for the first time confronted a portion of his iniquity. Ezekiel 28:15, “Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day thou wast Created, till iniquity was found in thee” (KJV).
2. 688 - 703:
Lines 688 through 703 in Book II of Milton’s Paradise Lost mark not only Death’s first narrative, however it is also Satan and Deaths first interaction with each other, not as “father and son”, but as enemies attempting to protect their throne in Hell. Death is described as a “goblin, full of wrath” and recognizes Satan has the “traitor angel” who “conjured”, or who conspired to empty Heaven of a third of its angels. Death, as the narrator, then notes how interesting it was for Satan to identify himself as a spirit of Heaven, and accuses Satan of thus scorning Hell. Death identifies himself as the one who reigns king in Hell, and challenges Satan by informing him that he ought to turn around and endure the rest of his sentence of “eternal days in woe and pain” in Hell, or else Death will punish him for threatening his title as king with “strange horror” and “pangs unfelt before.”
2: 704 - 26:
Lines 704-26 relate the stand-off between Satan and Death just before Sin tells Satan that Death is in fact his son. The imagery, of comets, clouds, and constellations suggests that the impending battle would be of cosmic significance and that the two are quite evenly matched. This is confirmed in line 721 when it is remarked that neither would meet so “great a foe” but once more, that is Christ himself. The fight is halted when Sin throws herself between the two to tell them of their kinship.
2. 736 – 45:
A dialogue before this one was a woman speaking and this passage of text contains Satan’s response. He says that what she said was strange. In his response he says, “…Me ‘father’ and that phantasm call’st my son”. The passage, from what I collect, is referring to Satan impregnating a woman; he just found out, and the reader is seeing his response. I think one of the most important parts in this passage is this, “my sudden hand prevented spares” (“my hand, usually quick to strike, was held back and thus refrains from”). This is important because it shows another side of Satan, a nonviolent side; something that he normally would not hesitate to do, he hesitates at. Satan referred to that/himself as “double-formed”. Is this a new side to Satan or was Satan like this before he was cast out of Heaven?
2. 746 - 814:
In lines 746-814 the female gatekeeper of hell’s gate recounts to Satan how she first appeared so fair and bright in heaven springing from the head of Satan. She is known as Sin and the angels and hosts of heaven were afraid of her at first but once they were more familiar with her some were fond of Sin. Satan more so took favour upon her and impregnated her. She speaks first hand of how the war was fought in heaven and how God was the clear victor and all the rebellious angels fell down into the depths of hell. She also fell and during this descent was given the key to the gate of hell ensuring that she is the only one that can open it. She sat by the gate until child birth came with such pain and when she saw her “inbred enemy” (line 785) she realized it was “Death”. Milton is making reference to James 1- “Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown, gives birth to death”. Death then raped Sin and produced offspring. Death is now Sin’s “son and foe” (line 804) whom he would quickly devour if he did not have others to prey upon, even though he would find her disgusting. She then goes on to warn Satan that Death will surely have the better of everyone except God who “reigns above” (line 814).
2. 817 - 44:
After Satan learns that Sin and Death are his offspring—or at the very least, that they regard him as their father—he immediately assures the two that he is on their side. In line 825 he asserts the “just pretences” of the rebellion to imply that God’s way is unjust. This established, Satan tells them of his plan to travel through Chaos to discover God’s new project, Earth. The selective wording in the phrase “from them I go / This uncouth errand sole, and one for all / Myself expose, with lonely steps to tread / The unfounded deep” paints Satan in a noble and self-sacrificing light, seemingly in order to garner Sin’s sympathy. Satan describes Earth, and the “race of upstart creatures”—Man—that will inhabit it. He guesses that God is creating Man to repopulate Heaven after the rebels’ fall. He then incorrectly assumes God is putting Earth on the fringe of Heaven and populating it with beings lesser than angels “Lest Heaven surcharged with potent multitude / Might hap to move new Broils”—in other words, to avoid the risk of future rebellions. Satan is now painting God as a somewhat paranoid tyrant. He offers to take Sin and Death to live on Earth where they may prey on God’s new race and live in freedom, in exchange for their cooperation. This side of Satan’s speech seems particularly aimed at Death, who later in line 847 reacts favorably to the idea that “his famine should be filled”. Overall, the manner in which Satan chooses to present himself raises the question of whether he feels any loyalty to his two offspring, or is merely manipulating them to achieve his own goals.
2. 845 - 849
These lines follow a meeting between Satan, the portress of Hell, Sin, and their son, Death. Sin reveals to Satan that Death is his son, and warns him not to underestimate his power and reach. Satan responds endearingly to his counterparts, and convinces them that he is working to free them from Hell, promising endless pleasures. Satan stops talking, as both Death and Sin seem convinced by his persuasion. Death is completely enamoured with Satan’s ideas, as he “grinned horrible a ghastly smile” (846-7), and his mother is described as “no less rejoiced” (848). Sin then begins responding to Satan, but one must wonder if Satan truly does endeavour to help his counterparts or if he simply needs Sin for her key to Hell.