[Milton-L] Directly

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Sat Jul 29 11:46:23 EDT 2006


I was hoping this point would be retracted, but I guess it's 
necessary to say plainly that the Peter Herman / Jeff Wilson 
objection to the Father's use of "directly" was based on a 
misunderstanding of the narrative, thinking that Satan was "headed 
for heaven" (PCH) to get directions from Uriel or another angel, 
whereas in fact Satan was headed for the "pendent World," inside of 
which he discovers Uriel on the sun -- not at the gate of heaven as 
both PCH and JW seemed to think.  JW mistakenly thought that when 
Satan alighted on the "firm opacious globe" he was landing on Earth, 
when obviously it was the outside of our cosmos. These 
misapprehensions created the impression that Satan is zigzagging 
around when in fact he is moving as directly as possible toward his 
target.

I appreciate Prof. Herman's direct response to Prof. Shulsky's 
challenge, though, and I agree that the Father's lines about Satan 
breaking loose (3.80 ff) are open to question in that they seem to 
complain about something that God could have prevented. Granted, the 
story requires that Satan get to Paradise, but what do people think 
about the Father's statement of the situation? Also, are there other 
responses to Prof. Shulsky's challenge?

Michael Gillum

>God previously said that Satan goes directly to Man. Here, the Muse 
>says that Satan has a wandering flight. The events of the poem - 
>i.e. the progression Michael Gillum has outlined in his post - 
>overwhelmingly support the Muse's analysis rather than God's.
>
>To bend and squeeze the definition of "directly" until it fits with 
>Satan's flight is to, as Richard Rorty is fond of saying, beat the 
>text with a hammer until it says what we want it to say; or, more 
>locally, it is to treat the obviously imperfect narrative abilities 
>of the characters in the text as "when men follow the doctrine too 
>much for the teacher's sake, whom they think almost infallible; and 
>this becomes through infirmity, implicit faith" (Of True Religion).
>
>Jeff Wilson
>
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