[Milton-L] Bk 3 and Jeffrey Shoulson's link

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Sun Oct 27 20:38:56 EDT 2013

Alan --

Thank you. I had been intending to dig up Harold Skulsky's old post
sometime soon, so I appreciate that you did, and it does directly answer my
question on this point. Is Satan's hell after he escapes the physical hell
any "deeper"?  Yes, hell does continue psychologically. Satan's escape from
physical hell does not appear to be greater torment. Book 4's added torment
of seeing the sun as reminder of Satan's former glory isn't permanent: the
Satan of PR has grown soft and weak because he has escaped the physical
torments of the physical hell.

One of the boons of escape to one of God's new worlds seems to have been
escape from physical torment:

...perhaps in view
Of those bright confines, whence with neighbouring Arms [ 395 ]
And opportune excursion we may chance
Re-enter Heav'n; or else in some milde Zone
Dwell not unvisited of Heav'ns fair Light
Secure, and at the brightning Orient beam
Purge off this gloom; the soft delicious Air, [ 400 ]
To heal the scarr of these corrosive Fires
Shall breath her balme.

Satan wants to escape the "corrosive Fires" of the physical hell. Whatever
psychological torment he experiences in Bk 4 isn't enough to deter him from
his plan.

That's it for me for tonight -- thank you for the discussion.

Jim R

On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 8:25 PM, alan horn <alanshorn at gmail.com> wrote:

> Jim,
> As I recall, you were the one who initially cited Harold Skulsky’s gloss
> on this passage from a couple of years back. I can’t do any better at this
> point than quote the relevant portion of it. I would not claim it’s
> definitive, and I do not know whether it will satisfy you. But I do think
> this is at least the kind of thing that’s intended:
> *“Assume the following allegorical premise: SIN IS THE DAMNED SINNER’S
> ‘JAILER’ (where ‘sin’ is the moral state [obduratio cordis] that rules
> out the freedom of the reprobate or the damned). (Here, and in what
> follows, the scare quotes set off metaphors.)*
> *“What would an ALLEGORICAL reader expect when the sinner ‘induces’ his
> ‘jailer’ to ‘release’ him from the ‘hell’ he has damned himself to (the
> inner hell that is the locus of allegory)?*
> *“In the usual moral theology, the answer is as follows: an ALLEGORICAL
> *“The irony: That the sinner will be ‘released’ into a deeper immersion
> in the same moral hell he is condemned to by his (by definition
> irreversible). When he faces this irony, escaping from a physical hell will
> be cold comfort at best and torment at worst (see PL 4).”*
> Alan Horn
> *
> *
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Dr. James Rovira
Associate Professor of English
Tiffin University
Blake and Kierkegaard: Creation and Anxiety
Continuum 2010
Text, Identity, Subjectivity
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