[Milton-L] Satan and Resentment

Terrance Lindall tlindall at gmail.com
Sat Jan 29 13:39:48 EST 2011


perfect

On Sat, Jan 29, 2011 at 1:24 PM, Salwa Khoddam <skhoddam at cox.net> wrote:

>  "The Adversary continues his revolt against Heaven when he has nothing to
> show for it but his dissatisfied *resentment *and greater depths of
> fallenness," from Jeffery's blog.  Also, "large-scale *resentment*motivates Satan. He
> *resents* what he feels as a personal impairment to him in the elevation
> of the Son."
>
> Resentment is certainly the efficient cause for Satan's rebellion, his
> harping on "injur'd merit," and so on.  But what kept him in the act of
> sinning is the false concept that he and the devils can take their
> "revenge" in some way.  However, in my opinion, Milton brings up a Christian
> belief in explaining Satan's sin, that what drives sinners to continue in
> the wrong path is "despair," the antithesis of Christian hope.  See his
> speech on Mount Niphates in Book 4.  Satan spirals into despair and
> therefore sin, as he rationalizes that God "loves thee not" and so gives
> himself the green light to continue in sin:  "Me miserable! which way shall
> I fly / Infinite wrath, and infinite despair" (4.73-74).  Despair, which can
> be associated with the sin of *acedia,* one of the medieval seven deadly
> sins, was a common antithesis of Christian hope in early modern British
> literature.  Faustus goes through the same process of rationalizing his sin
> which leads him to despair, and therefore more sin.
> Best Wishes,
>
> Salwa
>
>
>
> 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:* Horace Jeffery Hodges <jefferyhodges at yahoo.com>
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent:* Friday, January 28, 2011 6:49 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Satan and Resentment
>
>  Interesting ideas, Terrance, but I'm not sure that Anselm's ontological
> argument works for any but the most perfect being. If Satan exists, then as
> a contingent being, he need not exist in all possible worlds, but in
> whatever worlds he has existence, then I would agree that he would have to
> be playing a role in the larger purposes of the most perfect being, i.e.,
> God.
> But that throat-clearing out of the way, I would argue that large-scale
> resentment motivates Satan. He resents what he feels as a
> personal impairment to him in the elevation of the Son.
>
> Interestingly, however -- if my checking is correct -- Milton only one time
> uses the term "resent" (and never uses "resentment"), and only with respect
> to Adam and Eve in their unfallen state early in Book 9. I'm not certain
> what to make of that. One would expect an important theme to be thematized.
>
> Perhaps it's because the terms resent and resentment only came into use in
> English in the 1600s:
>
> http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=resent&searchmode=none
>
> Still, it looks to me that resentment motivates Satan even if the term is
> missing.
>
> Jeffery Hodges
>
> PS My old alma mater, Baylor University is having a King James Bible
> conference April 7-9, 2011, as I just found out.
>
> http://www.isreligion.org/events/400-years-of-the-king-james-bible/
>
>  ------------------------------
> *From:* Terrance Lindall <tlindall at gmail.com>
> *To:* John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> *Sent:* Fri, January 28, 2011 7:52:20 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [Milton-L] Satan and Resentment
>
> I do not think that mere small-minded resentment compels Satan. Nor did it
> guide Captain Ahab and Captain Nemo. It is a larger than life necessary
> madness in fulfilling their destinies as to what they are as great spiritual
> types.  Satan is fulfilling his required task in the scheme of God’s
> creation. Satan was a necessity in God’s creation. Just as St. Anselm’s
> ontological argument proves a priori the necessary existence of God, so it
> also proves the necessary existence of Satan as the perfect antithesis, as a
> perfect idea. All perfect ideas are in the mind of God. I think that Milton
> understands this and embellishes Satan’s character with great attributes of
> nobility, good qualities in and of themselves used ironically in subverting
> the good works of God...a kind f ultimate evil! All this is necessary in the
> permutations and combinations of possibility becoming actuality until this
> universe plays itself out perfectly…in the Mind of God. All quite remarkable
> and inspiring to think about…
>
> On Wed, Jan 26, 2011 at 11:26 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
> jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
>
>>  I posted some thoughts on Satan and resentment on my blog today:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> http://gypsyscholarship.blogspot.com/2011/01/fallen-angels-implacable-resentment-was.html
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> And I wondered if much has been written on the topic. I dd find this:
>>
>>
>>
>> http://www.ctheory.net/articles.aspx?id=619
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> "Recovering Resentment: A Reflection on Disgust, Empathy, and Milton's
>> Satan," by Brad D. Baumgartner
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> I've not yet had time to read it, however.
>>
>>
>>
>> Jeffery Hodges
>>
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>
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