[Milton-L] moloch

John Ulreich jcu at email.arizona.edu
Fri Sep 3 13:11:55 EDT 2004

Dear Angela,

Since you've obviously done your homework, I assume you have looked at a 
good Bible dictionary (I like the Harpers). Beyond that, my hunch is that 
PL 1.392-93 sums up Moloch's meaning in the epic: "horrid king, besmeared 
with blood / Of human sacrifice, and parents' tears." Moloch (usually 
Molech in KJB) embodies and fuses 3 crucial themes in PL: idolatry, 
tyranny, & the sacrificial slaying of sons.

But then, why Gabriel rather than Michael? My hunch is: because, though 
associated by most Christians with the Annunciation to Mary, Gabriel (in 
Daniel) Proclaimed & Interpreted the Final Battle between Good & Evil. So I 
would guess that his encounter with Moloch in PL is meant to foreshadow the 
Last Judgment--as, indeed, the whole War in Heaven does (among other things).

Good luck,

At 11:55 AM 9/3/2004 -0500, you wrote:
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>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 
>May you all have a wonderful labor day weekend... even those of you not in 
>the U.S.
>Angelica Duran
>Assistant Professor
>English Department
>Purdue University
>500 Oval Drive
>West Lafayette, Indiana 47907-2048
>(765) 496-3957, phone
>(765) 494-3780, fax
><aduran at sla.purdue.edu>
>Milton-L mailing list
>Milton-L at lists.richmond.edu
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