[Milton-L] excising sin and death from book 2

J. Michael Gillum mgillum at ret.unca.edu
Thu Oct 24 11:14:36 EDT 2013


Of course, excising Sin's agency and her operative key directly exposes God
as the negligent jailer who intends/allows Satan's temptation of Eve.

Perhaps Milton created the episode for this reason, although surely he knew
it didn't really shield God from the accusation, any more than the verduous
wall around Paradise offered real protection.

Incidentally, turning the key is a sin of disobedience that anticipates
Eve's and Adam's choices.


On Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 9:43 PM, Gregory Machacek <
Gregory.Machacek at marist.edu> wrote:

> He wanted us to do this.  He made it too easy.  I was preparing first to
> lay out the logistical and technical challenges of the task and pose it as
> a problem to the list and only then start in on trying to solve them
> myself.  There aren't any challenges.  As James Watt suggests, the episode
> comes out so cleanly that one doesn't even get to write a little "so
> charming left his voice" bridge.
>
> Through the first half of 648, then pick up half way through 884:
>
> at last appear
> Hell bounds high reaching to the horrid roof
> And thrice threefold the gates; three folds were brass,
> Three iron, three of Adamantine rock
> Impenetrable, impaled with circling fire
> Yet unconsumed. 648
> The gates wide open stood 884
>
> "Their" in 890 needs to become "his," and the whole thing has just
> vanished.  The already open gates hook up thematically with the later easy
> bounding over all bounds and the "to his wish, beyond his hope": elements
> of the "high permission of [an] all-ruling Heaven" that is perfectly
> willing to allow the temptation.
>
> I'm proposing to add "Surprised but with delight / Satan observed." But
> only because I promised myself the fun of writing some Miltonic blank verse
> to fill the narrative gap that would be left.
>
> I know they still need to be trimmed from book 10, and Chaos and Night
> from book 2 (though Aeneas and the Sibyl walk past some allegorical figures
> on the way into Hades, so maybe, as long as they don't hold operational
> keys, they're not as objectionable).
>
> Anyway, I just wanted to report this first discovery:  You don't like it?
>  It's gone.
>
>
> Greg Machacek
> Professor of English
> Marist College
>
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