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Unformatted text preview: Paradise Lost: Book 3 Paradise Lost: Book 3
God A Milton quote that Pullman uses, A Milton quote that Pullman uses, His Dark Materials…from Bk 2.
Into this wild abyss, The womb of Nature, and perhaps her grave, Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire, But all these in their pregnant causes mixed Confusedly, and which must ever fight, Unless the Almighty Maker them ordain His dark materials to create more worlds— Into this wild abyss the wary fiend/Stood on the brink of hell and looked a while…2.918). Hail, Holy Light… Hail, Holy Light…
In direct contrast to Satan’s “Hail, horrors, Hail! Infernal world and thou profoundest hell” (1.250), Milton invokes the beginning of all beginnings in light itself: Hail, holy light, offspring of Heaven firstborn! (3.1). (WordSonLightGod) It is the one point in the poem offering a universal perspective His poetic process is itself inspired…“Taught by the heavenly muse to venture down/And up to reascend,” a descent and rebirth And yet he’s still in the dark Milton’s dependence as a model Milton’s dependence as a model
He feels kinship with other blind visionaries Homer, Tereisias, and Phineas The whole external world has been obliterated to him: it’s a blank book. “Not to me returns/Day or the sweet approach of ev’n or morn/Or sight of vernal bloom/Or summer’s rose” (3.415). Milton’s requests: Milton’s requests:
He recognizes his own frailty, “May I express thee unblamed?” He wants to be able to accommodate his words to the limits of an audience—to represent heaven accurately (a tall order) To do so he will approach the fountain of all knowledge So immediately we have crucial So immediately we have crucial contrasts with Books 12
We’ve considered Satan’s selfdelusion and duplicity, on the one hand, but on the other we have recognized his thinking as very similar to our world’s and our own He’s appealing; we understand him. In reascending out of Hell, though, Milton would have us follow him in his attempt to rely on heavenly authority God’s Panoramic Vision… God’s Panoramic Vision…
He can see everything— In all of space, And in all of time. We’re immediately reminded of Satan’s “who knew?” since Satan has nothing like this power to see The Eye of God The Eye of God Critics on God… Critics on God…
The rhetorical mastery of hell gives way to the Socratic plainness of question and response. Critics have found this space both dull and terrifying. God looks and sees…the Joy of God looks and sees…the Joy of Paradise and Satan on his way there Adam and Eve are “reaping immortal fruits of joy and love,” engaged in productive, fruitful, and satisfying relationships(3.67) Satan is “coasting the wall,” a trespasser, a breaker of boundaries, defining himself by breaking out, breaking free, resisting all authority…3.82 God’s speech…and Direct Address God’s speech…and Direct Address
God addresses the Angels and the Son—and us, too, as readers. God’s speech is clear, unadorned, without poetic referents God is pedagogical, teaching his points meticulously God makes things happen (Dabar: to speak is to do) God constitutes reality God extends Good will with his God extends Good will with his vision…
God acts on and sustains his promises becoming a creative, sustaining Presence operating in all of time Satan, on the other hand, is confined to the present, only. God’s Insight into the Motivation God’s Insight into the Motivation
Of the Angels’ Fall selfraised, selftempted, selfdeprav’d (3.130). Of Man’s Fall (3.93) He is sufficient to have stood though free to fall (3.99) Deceived by “glozing lies” (96). Command as sign Of obedience, more than anything else. Man does not “naturally” privilege a “selforiented” autonomy. He’s misinformed and breaks the divine law. Man Falls Man Falls
He loses a clear view of God. He believes a lie that distorts what’s real, what’s true. He’s corrupted by language. Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have given sincere Of true allegiance, constant faith, or love, Where only what they needs must do appeared, Not what they would? (3.103106). God speaks of predestination and God speaks of predestination and foreknowledge Predestination doesn’t “overrule” human freedom, he asserts; rather God already knows what all will choose, but he never chooses for them. They always make their own choices. “For so I formed them free, and free they must remain…. I else must change their nature, and revoke the high decree/Unchangeable, eternal, which ordained their freedom…3.127) Gracious… Gracious…
“O father, gracious was that Word which closed thy sovereign sentence, that Man should find grace…” But this grace cannot be put in place without a fulfillment of justice— And God asks for a volunteer: Where shall we find such love? Where shall we find such love?
Notice that, for the first time, it isn’t about protecting reputation or glory. It isn’t about winning respect either. “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?” God’s goes over the details three God’s goes over the details three times…
A way of working through all the issues, teaching ever more clearly— But when he asks the question, the heavenly choirs are mute. Silence was in heaven… Milton wants us to hear the quiet—a parallel with the Counsel in Hell and the silence of the fallen angels. The Son speaks: “Father, thy word The Son speaks: “Father, thy word is passed, Man shall find grace, and shall grace not find means…”
Behold me then, me for him, life for life, I offer: On me let thine anger fall. Account me Man. I for his sake will leave… Admiration seized all heaven (3.272), and they wonder… But it’s the Son who gains back a But it’s the Son who gains back a Lost World…(3.308312).
Because thou hast, though throned in highest bliss Equal to God and equally enjoying Godlike fruition, quitted all to save A world from utter loss and hast been found By merit more than birthright son of God Found worthiest to be so by being Good Far more than great or high; because in thee Love hath abounded more than glory abounds Here, it’s the Son’s humiliation Here, it’s the Son’s humiliation
He’s willing to be human, limited, and fragile, to die for human justice— It’ s his love that makes him the model for humanity, not his glory— And though the Son is raised to glory afterwards, It’s not finally about attaining “glory” It’s not finally about attaining “glory” even in the end…
In the New Heaven and Earth that the Son brings forth, There won’t be any scepter or rule any longer: “For then no regal scepter than shall need God shall be all in all.” (3.341). G Milton forgets himself and breaks Milton forgets himself and breaks into Song!
O unexampled Love! Love nowhere to be found less than divine. Hail Son of God, Saviour of men. Thy name Shall be the copious matter of my Song, And never shall my harp thy praise Forget, nor from Thy Father’s praise disjoin. 3.410415. God gives himself, his Son, for a God gives himself, his Son, for a lost world
Well thou know’st how dear To me are all my works, nor Man the least, Though last created, that for him I spare Thee from my bosom and right hand, to save, By losing thee a while, the whole race lost, Thou therefore, whom thou only canst redeem, Their nature also to thy nature join…(3.280). Of virgin seed, By wondrous birth… Alone: how Satan is defined— Alone: how Satan is defined— 3.441
And He feels, when he sees the light of this new world, Wonder—and Envy (3.553). Stars distant, but nighhand seemed other worlds, Or other worlds they seemed, or happy isles, Like those Hesperian gardens famed of old… (3.566). Satan stands in the light of the Sun Satan stands in the light of the Sun
Infinitely filled with creative possibilities Infinitely clear— Yet, Satan is “undazzled,” as he seeks to “command” with his eye He’s looking for paradise— “His journey’s end, and our beginning woe” (3.633). But Satan is lost (in more ways But Satan is lost (in more ways than one!!) He needs directions.
Uriel—an angel who is one of God’s eyes— is standing there, and Satan prepares to encounter him by changing shape. He becomes a cherub. He’s good at “Heavenspeak” (perhaps a little like “churchspeak”: there’s a language for it, and he has it down. Which world is it, he asks? Which world is it, he asks?
Does Man have a world—or can he live in a number of them? In which of all these shining orbs hath Man His fixed seat—or fixed seat hath none, But all these shining orbs his choice to dwell — That I may find him…3.670) (secret gaze, open admiration) And Uriel commends him for his And Uriel commends him for his pursuit of knowledge!
Knowing divine creation is a great thing, he says—to Praise the WorkMaster Because it “leads to no excess that reaches blame, but rather merits praise/The more it seems excess.” And Uriel points him the right direction! Satan bows Satan bows
And because Uriel hasn’t expected this encounter, he’s not suspicious at all: “Goodness thinks no ill. Where no ill seems: which now for once beguiled Uriel, though Regent of the Sun, and held The sharpestsighted Spirit of all in heaven Satan is sneaky enough… Satan is sneaky enough…
To fool one of God’s closest, sharpest sighted angels with his rhetoric and his manner. He’s truly dangerous— And he’s on his way to earth, “Throwing his steep flight in many an aery wheel…” (a kind of playful abandon here, on his way down to where we are). So now we know—what God sees So now we know—what God sees
How He’ll respond to a lost world, even as we know how Satan is making his way there And we recognize two definitions of “glory” in effect — One modeled on the classical ideal of public reputation and conquest One modeled on the divine ideal of selfsacrifice ...
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