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Critical Analysis: Paradise Lost

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Critical Analysis: Paradise Lost

In "Book I" of Paradise Lost, John Milton describes Satan's reaction to the realities of Hell after he is banished from Heaven. After Satan and his followers have been thrown to Hell, it quickly becomes apparent the torture and torment they will face.

In this passage, Satan, who is unable to accept his place at the foot of God, unsuccessfully attempts to overtake the throne of God. His view of having "equaled" God and having the "ambitious aim" of becoming greater than Christ causes him to raise an "impious war" against God. Because of his self-righteousness, he is thrown to Hell, a place of eternal punishment. Satan's tone shifts from his original attitude of pride and arrogance when he is "hurled" from the "ethereal sky" into "bottomless perdition". For the first time, we see that Satan, although he was ready to become Hell's new "possessor", will encounter severe punishment for his actions. Satan's punishment in Hell includes "adamantine chains" and "penal fire" that will separate him from the presence of God. When Satan realizes the affliction he will be bound to, thoughts about the "lost happiness" and "lasting pain" that he will face haunt him. As Satan assesses the torment that surrounds him, his persistent pride mixes with hate.

This passage clearly shows a shift in tone from Satan's original pride in taking over Hell to a clear picture of the torment of Hell. Now we realize how much agony and destruction Satan and "his crew" must face in Hell.



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