[Milton-L] The Nature of Evil

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 10 21:48:55 EDT 2006

Mike Selby asked the interesting question:

"Does anyone think Paradise Lost adequately explains
the nature of evil?"

At least two conceptions seem at work in Milton --
evil as absence of being and evil as presence of
malevolent -- which are the two, perhaps contradictory
conceptions at work throughout the Christian

I think that Milton attempts to bridge the gap between
the two by having them stem from Satan's fall into
deep malevolence in line 666 of Book 5 ("Deep malice
thence conceiving..."), which diminishes Satan's being
while turning his spiritual powers toward evil aims.

I don't know if that adequately explains the 'nature'
of evil or not, but it's an interesting way of trying
to reconcile two views of evil.

Jeffery Hodges

University Degrees:

Ph.D., History, U.C. Berkeley
(Doctoral Thesis: "Food as Synecdoche in John's Gospel and Gnostic Texts")
M.A., History of Science, U.C. Berkeley
B.A., English Language and Literature, Baylor University

Email Address:

jefferyhodges at yahoo.com



Office Address:

Assistant Professor Horace Jeffery Hodges
Department of English Language and Literature
Korea University
136-701 Anam-dong, Seongbuk-gu
South Korea

Home Address:

Dr. Sun-Ae Hwang and Dr. Horace Jeffery Hodges
Sehan Apt. 102-2302
Sinnae-dong 795
Seoul 131-770
South Korea

More information about the Milton-L mailing list