[Milton-L] The War in Heaven

bberry at mail1.vcu.edu bberry at mail1.vcu.edu
Tue Jul 11 09:18:41 EDT 2006


And beside, that episode does not occur in PL.

Boyd Berry


-------------------
> Dear Carol,
> 
> Just a word of advice on the Virgin Mary.  See Luke 1:38.
> Mary is informed beforehand and consents.
> 
> Quoting Carol Barton <cbartonphd at earthlink.net>:
> 
> > Re: [Milton-L] The War in HeavenBefore I am pilloried for the
implication
> > that enlightened moderns *don't* anthropomorphize deity, let me
clarify: I
> > think that Milton goes as far as he can to distinguish the
anthropomorphism
> > (human-like shape or form) of God the Father (and the Son),
without making
> > either of them human-like in behavior or response any more than he
absolutely
> > has to do, for dramatic consistency and effect. The Father hurls
no
> > thunderbolts--comes to the deus-ex-machina aid of none of the
combatants--and
> > though one could argue that, Zeus or Jove-like, he rapes a mortal
woman (in
> > that the Virgin Mary did not know before the fact of, and
therefore could not
> > have consented to, the act of her impregnation) that is not a part
of
> > Milton's version of the story. The "wooden bore" who is the Father
(quoting
> > Irene Samuel, I think) mystifies us precisely because he doesn't
behave like
> > an angry human parent whose children have defied his edicts: he
speaks in the
> > cold judicial voice of law and justice, untempered by what will be
the Son's
> > interceded mercy, citing the crime and the statutory punishment.
Attempting
> > to understand the Almighty and his works in terms of human
psychology and the
> > laws of the physical universe is an exercise in futility, and
often results
> > in absurdities (as Empson so clearly demonstrated concerning the
Father's
> > "stacking of the deck"). I think that's part of Milton's point in
Book 6:
> > like an indulgent parent, Raphael attempts to reduce his answers
to Adam's
> > questions to a level that Adam can comprehend, so that he will
understand why
> > Satan and the reprobate angels were cast out of heaven, but a
great deal of
> > substance gets lost in the translation.
> >
> > Best to all,
> >
> > Carol Barton
> >
> 
> 
> 
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