[Milton-L] Re: Milton & Lilith

Salwa Khoddam skhoddam at cox.net
Fri Apr 22 00:25:59 EDT 2011

There are two links here between Milton's Sin and Lilith:  Milton compares Sin to a "Night-Hag" who, in the following lines, travels "in secret,. . . Lur'd with the smell of infant blood" (2. 662. 2-4).   In Babylonian mythology and Hebrew tradition Lilith is a female demon who appears at night, on the lookout for children, and she murders new-born babies.  There's something here, maybe not more than an example of Milton's knowledge of Middle Eastern mythology. In the following line, Milton links her with Nordic witches, the "Lapland Witches" (665).  A powerful example of his syncreticism.

Salwa Khoddam, Ph.D.
Professor of English, Emerita
Oklahoma City University
2501 N. Blackwelder
OKC, OK  73106
Phone:  405-208-5127
Email:  skhoddam at cox.net
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Qadir 
  To: milton-l at lists.richmond.edu 
  Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 1:16 PM
  Subject: [Milton-L] Re: Milton & Lilith

  I was reading the passage where Satan meets Sin and Death. Something occurred to me which you also might find interesting. 
  Somewhere (book II, l. 662 ) in Milton's description of Sin and her "cry of Hell-hounds," the night-hag comes up, which we know to be Hecate. Here follows a quotation from Dictionary of Gods, Goddesses, Devils, Demons published by Routledge: "From Palestine, the cult of Lilith spread to Greece where she merged with Hekate." Which is part of the entry on Lilith.
  Now, given that Hekate is accompanied by dogs (though they are not as malicious as Sin's hell-hounds,) the whole thing seems interesting. I mean both Sin and her hell-hounds are likened to Hecate and her dogs.
  I don't know whether this is something new or common knowledge. In any case, no harm in sharing.

  Qadir - Tehran


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