[Milton-L] Satan's repentance

Alan Rudrum rudrum at shaw.ca
Thu Jul 20 07:55:31 EDT 2006

Stackhouse, Amy wrote:
> Harold Shulsky writes:  "The issue for Milton is whether God's failure to love and forgive Satan
> and Co. is evidence of injustice. . . "
> I thought Satan handled that question in his soliloquy in Book 4 where he explains it is not a matter of God's failure to forgive, but his own failure to repent.  Being sorry is a precondition to being forgiven.  Satan goes on in that soliloquy to point out that he would suffer more if God were to forgive him when he is not sorry because he would commit a worse relapse and heavier fall.

But look at Book 5, lines 611-615:

him who disobeys
Me disobeys, breaks union, and that day
Cast out from God and blessed vision, falls
Into utter darkness, deep engulfed, his place
Ordained without redemption, without end.

The words "that day" and "ordained" seem to me important here.   One 
might argue that when Satan, having ignored this warning,  decides "Evil 
be thou my good," he might just as well, since he has nothing further to 

Does Steve Fallon think the word "ordained" is prescriptive, or merely 


Alan Rudrum
Professor Emeritus
Department of English
Simon Fraser University

www.sfu.ca/~rudrum <http://www.sfu.ca/%7Erudrum>

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