[Milton-L] Re: Strier and the deception of Satan's followers

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Thu Jul 20 20:13:52 EDT 2006

With reference to Jason Kerr's first point, why should "he [Satan] 
resolv'd / With all his Legions to dislodge" not simply mean "Satan 
resolved to move out and take along the angels under his command" as 
opposed to "Satan and his followers resolved to forsake God"? He has 
Beelzebub tell them this order is from the "Most High" while 
insinuating this and that.   The troops may or may not believe the 
order came from God, may or may not understand that "fit 
entertainment" for Messiah is battle rather than feasting. I think 
Milton does everything he can to muddy up this point.

Michael Gillum

>The question of whether or not Satan's followers were deceived in 
>the same way as Adam and Eve, thereby becoming eligible for the same 
>offer of grace, as suggested by Richard Strier, gets complicated 
>when the temporal framework of the events surrounding Satan's 
>rebellion is taken into account. John S. Tanner does a good job of 
>parsing these temporal difficulties in the chapter entitled "Satan 
>and Sin" in his book _Anxiety in Eden_. The crucial lines are these:
>Deep malice thence conceiving and disdain,
>Soon as midnight brought on the duskie houre
>Friendliest to sleep and silence, he [Satan] resolv'd
>With all his Legions to dislodge, and leave
>Unworshipt, unobey'd the Throne supreme
>Contemptuous, and his next subordinate
>Awak'ning, thus to him in secret spake. (5.666-72)
So, in one sentence we have both Satan and all his legions "resolv'd" 
(finite verb, not progressive) at the fateful hour of midnight, 
seemingly in unity, and then Satan leaning over to Beelzebub to 
"[infuse] / Bad influence" ( 5.694-95) into his "Companion dear" 
(5.673) and command him to assemble "all those Myriads which we lead 
the chief" (5.684). If the second were the only account, then 
Strier's point might have some traction.

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