[Milton-L] Abdiel and Treason law

Susan McDonald sjm136 at mail.usask.ca
Thu Jun 26 14:23:29 EDT 2008

Well, we might not be able to find her exact birthday, but the text 
does give some suggestion of her conception in Book V's description of 

                                                           he of the 
If not the first Archange. great in power,
In favour and pre-eminence, yet fraught
With envy against the Son of God, that day
Honoured by his great Father, and proclaimed
Messiah King anointed, could not bear
Through pride that sight, and thought himself impaired.
Deep malice then *conceiving*, and disdain,
Soon as midnight brought on the dusky hour
Friendliest to sleep and silence, he resolved
With all his legions to dislodge . . . . (V. 659-69; emphasis mine)

The OED cites both uses of "conceive" (ie. the obstetrical and the 
intellectual) as predating PL.  Plus, the word itself occurs on line 
666 -- a coincidence I've always liked.

Susan McDonald

Michael Gillum wrote:

>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 
>called by Satan on arriving in the North. On reflection, I was wrong to 
>that Satan has taken no overt action before Sin's birth. He openly 
>his followers to revolt and reject God's authority (5.785-90). I'd 
>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 
>in that we wonder whether Satan's fall was irrevocable back when (or 
>he woke Beelzebub to start the revolt in motion.
>Can Sin's birth be placed exactly in the narrative? Since it isn't 
>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 
>Perhaps, since the allegory of Sin is  ontologically different from the 
>narrative, Milton didn't want to mix them and so left the chronology 
>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 
>> "entertain"--images (from the imagination) of any number of desires. 
>> 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 
>> of the angels sufficient to be an act of rebellion?
>> Todd Butler
>> Buchanan Assistant Professor
>> Department of English
>> Washington State University
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Susan McDonald
Department of English
University of Saskatchewan
257.10 ARTS 966-6391
susan.mcdonald at usask.ca

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