[Milton-L] Bk 3

srevard at siue.edu srevard at siue.edu
Sat Oct 26 05:27:35 EDT 2013


But Richard, you seem to have stopped reading Book III at line 202.  Up to that
point God has explained why he through grace will forgive Man; but at line 202
he goes on to say HOWEVER, even though by grace-given penitence he may live
obediently, nevertheless justice demands that he and all his posterity shall
die--UNLESS "for him/ Some other able, and as willing, pay/ The rigid
satisfaction, death for death./ Say, heavenly powers, where shall we find such
love,/ Which of you will be mortal to redeem/ Man's mortal crime, and just the
unjust to save:/ Dwells in all heaven charity so dear?" (lines 210-16)

And here of course is where the Son volunteers to die for Man, saying (241ff):
"On me let Death wreak all his rage;/Under his gloomy power I shall not long/
Lie vanquished..../ But I shall rise victorious, and subdue/ My vanquisher,
spoiled of his vaunted spoil;/ Death his death's wound shall then receive, and
stoop/ Inglorious,/ Of his mortal sting disarmed..../ While by thee raised I
ruin all my foes,/ Death last, and with his carcass glut the grave."

You do notice that Milton here personifies (OOOH, Allegory, that serpent of the
Nile, rears its ghastly head!!!) Death, gives him a "sting" that is the same
one he held in Book Two?  And if you would like to see where Milton found Death
with a sting, and found him and Sin personified, you might want to read Paul's
Epistle to the Romans, especially for instance Chapter 5, verses 12 etc.


Quoting "Richard A. Strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>:

> SUPPOSEDLY KNOCK-DOWN POINT:  "not JUST granting humans "forgiveness" but
> redeeming them from Death."
>
> It's not clear to me that these are different.  What else could divine
> forgiveness mean?
>
>
> ________________________________________
> From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of srevard at siue.edu
> [srevard at siue.edu]
> Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 7:11 PM
> To: John Milton Discussion List
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Bk 3
>
> Aieee!  you not only stepped in it, but as Molly Bloom said of a somewhat
> different activity, "up to the neck almost"!
>
> I think if you go back and READ the dialogue between Father and Son (which I
> have just done), you will see that the issue is not JUST granting humans
> "forgiveness" but redeeming them from Death, which is what the Son steps up
> to
> do by suffering death for them. Let fellow listers correct me if I am wrong,
> but this, I think, is hardly sham Christian; I think it is doctrine shared by
> Puritans and Catholics, Laudians and Calvinists. God does explain this quite
> clearly and the Son echoes and amplifies it (and incidentally, that other
> lion
> named Aslan illustrates how it works, if you want to reread the Narnia
> stories
> where C. S. Lewis invents another female version of Sin). Milton draws here
> on,
> among other narrative traditions, the Harrowing of Hell, a story that quivers
> within the Sin/Death/Satan episode but is not "realized" until God and the
> Son
> explicitly evoke it.
>
>
> Quoting "Richard A. Strier" <rastrier at uchicago.edu>:
>
> > OK, now I'll really step in it.
> >
> > About Book 3:  as far as I can tell, the Son's offer to bear death, etc, is
> > completely unnecessary to Milton's conception (further proof of how far he
> > is/was from traditional, normal Christianity).  It's all a sham, and
> another
> > case (like moments that sound Calvinist) of M trying to appear/sound
> > orthodox.  Here's why it's a sham:  Milton has already, at the very
> beginning
> > of Bk 3, had God the Father (the only real God) explain that He intends to
> > forgive man's fall on purely moral/philosophical grounds -- man was misled
> by
> > another -- and contrasting this with Satan's fall, which He will not
> forgive.
> >  No further mechanism or explanation for man's forgiveness is needed.  And
> > it's all decided  on that basis.  Already.
> >
> > It seems to me that the normal reading of Bks 2 and 3 in this regard has it
> > backwards -- Satan's heroism is real (he really doesn't know what's going
> to
> > happen), while the Son's is totally superfluous.  I'm not saying that Satan
> > doesn't indulge in some manipulation and theatrics, but that he his doing
> > something that, from the point of view of the fallen angels, really
> > can't/won't be done otherwise.  But this is less important than the point
> > above.  And I'm not saying that M doesn't get some of the normal experience
> > of Christianity from the episode, just that it is not actually needed for
> his
> > story and his overall position.
> >
> > Coeur de Lion
> >
> > ________________________________________
> > From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
> > [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] on behalf of srevard at siue.edu
> > [srevard at siue.edu]
> > Sent: Friday, October 25, 2013 3:41 PM
> > To: John Milton Discussion List
> > Subject: Re: [Milton-L] oops, I forgot one
> >
> > Well asked, Alan. For instance, how about Hypocrisy, who shows up when
> Satan
> > is
> > disguising himself as a stripling angel in order to bamboozle Uriel?
> >
> > Does everyone agree that Milton carefully placed the Death/Sin/Satan drama
> > near
> > the end of Book II in order to set up the opening of Book III, the poem's
> > doctrinal center in which the dramatic encounter of God and Son so
> precisely
> > and on so many levels contrastingly parallels that between Satan and Death?
> >
> > Quoting alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com>:
> >
> > > Is all the figurative language to be stripped from the poem or just this
> > > one episode?
> > >
> > > I want to second Jim R’s suggestion to look back at Harold Skulsky’s
> series
> > > of posts from a couple of years ago explaining the genre and function of
> > > the passage in question and citing precedents in classical epic for
> > > Milton’s use of this convention.
> > >
> > > Alan Horn
> > >
> >
> >
> >
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