[Milton-L] Abdiel yet once more

JD Fleming jfleming at sfu.ca
Sun Apr 13 14:23:59 EDT 2014

One more thing (which I forgot to add before) on Abdiel at PL 5.803-907 and the relationships internal/external, motivation/action: The crucial thing about the scene, in my view, is precisely the moral emphasis it places on the latter term in those binaries. It is not in the deep heart's core that Milton arranges the moral horizon, but on the plain of speech-action. Like Christ at the end of PR, Abdiel says and stands. The antipode is of course Satan, who follows the vector of intention all the way into the mind as its own place (as I have argued). It is striking that M does not actually say the other members of Satan's army disagree with Abdiel: only that they consider his speech "out of season | Or singular and rash." Politesse, here, becomes the handmaid to Satan's hypertrophic Neostoicism. Abdiel, on the other hand, is praised not only because (in Gadamer's phrase) he sees what is questionable, but also--and even more--because he says so. JDF 


J ames Dougal Fleming 
Associate Professor 
Department of English 
Simon Fraser University 

Burnaby -- British Columbia -- Canada. 

And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Rev.22:3. 

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