[Milton-L] the sociable spirit

Hannibal Hamlin hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
Thu Feb 27 17:04:49 EST 2014

Yes, John, you're surely right about these transformations. I was thinking
about Raphael's behavior with Adam and Eve rather than his appearance,
which must, as you say, be fully angelic. It's interesting, though, that
Milton has him "in colors dipt in Heav'n" only when he touches down, since
these would presumably suit his descent from heaven in the mode of Iris the
rainbow. And is the phoenix meant to connect to the angelic ability either
sex to assume or both? The transformation is also puzzling, I think, in
that we read that to the Fowles he "seems" a phoenix, which seems like a
simile. Isn't it only when we get to "to his proper shape returns" that we
realize there has been a physical transformation? And why, one wonders, since
angels have their own wings?

As for the painters, it interesting that they represent Raphael as he does
not appear in the narrative, but then if they represented him in his
disguise, all we would see was a couple of ordinary guys. We'd need a
caption to point out that the subject is Tobias and Raphael.


On Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 4:41 PM, John K Leonard <jleonard at uwo.ca> wrote:

> On 02/27/14, *Hannibal Hamlin *<hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com> wrote:
>  Once he arrives in Eden, though, he seems more like the angel we know
> from Tobit.
> The problem with this statement is that Raphael *resumes *(he does not
> cast off) his glorious shape when he lands on earth ("to his proper shape
> returns", 5.276). He had appeared as a phoenix "to all the fowls" when
> descending through the air, but he becomes a glorious angel again as soon
> as his feet touch the ground. I think the answer to James's question lies
> in the words "But he knew him not" in the book of Tobit. Tobias, being a
> fallen man, sees with clouded eyes (as Adam will see a human Michael, man
> to man, after the Fall). But Adam in book five is as yet unfallen, and so
> can see Raphael in his full glory. The six wings make Raphael even more
> glorious than he is usually depicted in the visual arts:
> https://www.google.ca/search?q=tobit+raphael&rlz=1T4BBKB_enCA508CA508&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=b68PU4C6Es7YyAHasoGIBA&ved=0CAkQ_AUoAQ&biw=2021&bih=919&dpr=0.95#q=tobit+raphael+botticelli&tbm=isch
> Interesting that painters depict Raphael as he "really" is, not as Tobias
> sees him. If the painters remember "he knew him not," it follows that
> Tobias does not see the figure we see in these bright canvases.
> John Leonard
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Hannibal Hamlin
Associate Professor of English
Author of *The Bible in Shakespeare*, now available through all good
bookshops, or direct from Oxford University Press at
Editor, *Reformation*
The Ohio State University
164 West 17th Ave., 421 Denney Hall
Columbus, OH 43210-1340
hamlin.22 at osu.edu/
hamlin.hannibal at gmail.com
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