[Milton-L] Abdiel and Treason law

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Thu Jun 26 11:07:23 EDT 2008

Thanks to everyone so far for a really stimulating and informative
discussion. More to come, I hope.

Todd Butler notes that the exact situation of Sin's birth is at the assembly
called by Satan on arriving in the North. On reflection, I was wrong to say
that Satan has taken no overt action before Sin's birth. He openly incites
his followers to revolt and reject God's authority (5.785-90). I'd consider
that an action.

Obviously, the discussion of treason law connects here in that Satan is
committing a form of treason. Other threads of the discussion would connect
in that we wonder whether Satan's fall was irrevocable back when (or before)
he woke Beelzebub to start the revolt in motion.

Can Sin's birth be placed exactly in the narrative? Since it isn't mentioned
in the narrative of the assembly in Book 5, it would seem to occur after
Abdiel's departure, but that seems too late to be allegorically appropriate.
Perhaps, since the allegory of Sin is  ontologically different from the epic
narrative, Milton didn't want to mix them and so left the chronology vague.


On 6/25/08 2:15 PM, "butlert at mail.wsu.edu" <butlert at mail.wsu.edu> wrote:

> Regarding "unapproved," I think we might need to be a bit more specific
> about the processes of thought. One's reason might consider--we might say
> "entertain"--images (from the imagination) of any number of desires. The
> question, of course, is whether simply accepting an image or impulse is
> sufficient. In practical terms the matter was problematic--how does one
> make thought legally actionable?
> That Sin springs from Satan's head earlier in the epic is certainly
> relevant here. Though her birth surely indicates the importance of
> thought, it's worth noting that she springs forward
> In Heav'n, when at th' Assembly, and in sight
> Of all the Seraphim with thee combin'd
> In bold conspiracy against Heav'ns King, (2.749-51)
> So the question is, has Satan simply thought rebellion, or is his assembly
> of the angels sufficient to be an act of rebellion?
> Todd Butler
> Buchanan Assistant Professor
> Department of English
> Washington State University

More information about the Milton-L mailing list