[Milton-L] moloch

John Rumrich rumrich at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Sep 3 14:40:23 EDT 2004

Diane's instincts seem to me characteristically reliable.  Moloch is a 
key figure for understanding Milton's deep and perplexed (not too 
strong a word I hope) reaction to the sacrifice of the Son.

Oh, I'd also point out that Gabriel can be accurately translated as 
"God is my strength."  Moloch by contrast tries to be strong in 
isolation from God.  The rather cartoonish outcome of this particular 
expression of strength without wisdom is reminiscent of the fate of the 
rebel (I forget which) whom the loyal Macbeth of Act I reportedly 


On Sep 3, 2004, at 10:41 AM, diane mccolley wrote:

>  "Gut instinct":  Moloch was propitiated by child sacrifice.  Gabriel 
> announced the coming of the child whose sacrifice would serve as the 
> propitiation of sin.  One represents hate, the other love.
>  ----------
>  From: "Duran, Angelica" <ADuran at sla.purdue.edu>
>  To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>  Subject: [Milton-L] moloch
>  Date: Fri, Sep 3, 2004, 11:55 AM
> Dear scholars,
> I have a question regarding Moloch, who of course appears in PL 
> 1.381ff and other places in Hell.  My question concerns his appearance 
> in PL 6.354ff.  Why is it appropriate that Gabriel fight Moloch? 
>  Milton could have chosen a different rebel angel for Gabriel's 
> combat.  I have looked up the iconographies, footnotes, biblical 
> references, etc.; and I am still left puzzled. References to secondary 
> texts or your gut instinct much appreciated.  
> May you all have a wonderful labor day weekend... even those of you 
> not in the U.S.
> Adios,
> Angelica Duran
> Assistant Professor
> English Department
> Purdue University
> 500 Oval Drive
> West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2048
> (765) 496-3957, phone
> (765) 494-3780, fax
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