[Milton-L] re Fallon & man falls deceived

Stephen Fallon fallon.1 at nd.edu
Thu Jul 20 18:09:42 EDT 2006


I don't have a particularly good answer.  I admit to sharing your 
uneasiness with the patness of the Father's distinction between the 
primal sins of the devils and human beings.

But whether or not it amounts to the kind of categorical difference 
claimed by the Father, there is a difference between Satan's 
temptations of the devils and of Eve (a difference, by the way, that 
resembles the difference the narrator finds between Eve, deceived by 
Satan, and Adam, "not deceived" [9.998]).

When Satan tempts the soon-to-be devils, he does not attempt to 
deceive them by suggesting, as he will to Eve, that God did not 
really command her not to eat.  In Book 9, Satan suggests that the 
prohibition is  an illusion, and that God will praise her "dauntless 
virtue" if, seeing through the illusion, she eats the fruit (9.694). 
To take the prohibition as anything other than a test of her wit and 
courage is, Satan suggests, to ascribe envy to God, and he asks 
rhetorically, "can envy dwell / In heav'nly breasts?" (9.729-30).  In 
Book 5, on the other hand, Satan makes no attempt to suggest to his 
followers that God really wants them to refuse to bend the knee to 
the Son.  He makes a frontal attack on the Father and proposes 
conscious disobedience.


>But, Steve, weren't Satan's followers at least equally deceived? 
>You are assuming that the Father's defense of giving fallen man 
>preference over the fallen angels makes sense.  It doesn't-- not 
>even in its own terms.

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