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Milton purposefully glorifies Satan in order to remind the reader of how easily seduced they are, with the reader a conscious and willing participant in the morally-instructive exercise.


para 1

Milton unwaveringly maintains that Satan is unsympathetic
C.S. Lewis “many of those who say that they dislike Milton’s God only mean that they dislike God”
Inversion- many of those who find Milton’s Satan attractive only mean that they find Milton’s Satan attractive
Miltonic narrator repeatedly undermines and contradicts the rhetoric and allure of the fallen angels
Furthermore declared theodicy of “justify the ways of God to men”


para 2

Milton begins book one by asserting the unattractive nature of the angels- “Who first seduced them to that foul revolt?/ Th’infernal Serpent. He it was”
Q and A form pre-emptively address accusations that Milton sympathises and sets out dogmatic and shared opinion of Satan
Caesura adds emphasis to the evilness


para 3

More examples of Miltonic narrator undercutting attractiveness
Supports C.S Lewis view that this is the “dazzlingly simple” and “great moral which reigns in Milton”
Milton starkly contradicts long passage about the myth of Hephaestos’ casting down from Mount Oympus- “Thus they relate,/ Erring”
Delay of Erring with pause of line highlights the absurdity of the myth
Wider lesson to the reader not to admire the Classical World, despite the slick allure of rhetoric, as it is inherently pagan, despite them both being hugely important in the Renaissance world
Thus Miltonic Narrator warns the reader against admiring Satan as Epic hero


para 4

“Vaunting aloud but racked with deep despair”
Reminds reader of the undesirability of estrangement from God and Satan’s position
Also reminds them of the dangerous sophistry of rhetoric, which cause the audience to trust in false logic


para 5

Miltonic Narrator also takes an emotional tack to turn the reader against Satan
Similarity of the Great Consult with the parliament of Charles I
The debate is “dissolved” by Satan, sitting “High on a throne of royal state”
Obviously kingly imagery of throne
Charles I “dissolved” parliament which led to the English Civil War of 1642-1651


para 6

Stevie Davies goes further to argue that Satan is portrayed as an Eastern-Style despot
Many links made between Satan and the Orient
Explicitly sinister connotations for the reader
Satan’s throne is one “which far/ Outshon the wealth of Ormus and Ind.”
References to Persia and India- both bad for the reader
Or perhaps a reference to the decadence of the Cavalier court
Either interpretation of Satan’s leadership is negative


para 7

Secular modern reader cannot comprehend the fundamentally religious world view of the contemporary reader
Modern reader finding the Fallen Angels attractive is simply anachronistic
A 17th century reader inculcated with both God-fear and understanding of the evil nature of Satan
Thus the MN’s reminders are simply reiterations of the already-held viewpoint


para 8

On the other hand
Satan undeniably and unmistakably attractive
Blake: Milton was “of the Devil’s party without knowing it”
Optimism of making “a Heav’n of Hell”
Resolute confidence in the belief that it is “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”
The tenacity of Satan’s announcement “I give not heaven for lost”
Difficult not join the rallying cry, let alone find the least bit attractive/sympathetic


para 9

Rhetorical skill of Satan enough to woo any reader
Especially a contemporary one- who would have been educated in rhetoric
“a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of ” – antimetabole, parison, alliteration, isocolon – makes the most unfeasible and deplorable concepts simple and appealing
Parison then seen again in the axiom “Better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven” – the balance is able to counterfeit sound logic
God on the other hand is unsympathetically perfect and a “tyrant”
God has an absolute monarchy- anathema to Republican readers


para 10

Not so simple as an unmitigated glorification or vilification
Lines 84-124 Satan’s first speech- persuasive and rousing battle cry, however immediately followed by “So spake th’Apostate Angel though in pain,/ Vaunting aloud but racked with deep despair”
Suggests MN purposely led the reader from God to remind them of the dangerous allure of sin


para 11

Fish: “Not so much a teaching but an entangling”
MN wants to demonstrate to readers the ease with which rhetoric can upturn even the reader’s most fundamental belief, their God-Fear
Again warning the reader of sophistry- potentially corrupting vehicle for evil concept


para 12

Fish’s viewpoint in part corrobates Blake’s- that Milton is “of the Devil’s party”
However consciously, deliberately and conscientiously
Moreover that God is uncharismatic and unattractive is okay
Fowler- “ludicrous” that God, an immaterial and infinite being, would possess Earthly charm and charisma
Moreover the apparent absolute monarchy of Heaven is justifiable, in fact desirable
C.S. Lewis- the “great moral” is that “Obedience to the will of God makes men happy”



Agree with Fish that it is intentionally leading the readers away
However cannot believe that a contemporary reader who had been steeped in the concept of the seductive power of Satan for their entire life would be oblivious that they are taking part in a literary exercise to demonstrate just that
Furthermore I think in the context of the turmoil of fiercely opposed political ideologies vying for power Milton is advising the narrator to careful decisions about whose party to belong to, considering matter over rhetoric