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Paradise Lost | Quotes

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1.

The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. ... /Here we may reign secure, and in my choice/To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:/Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.


Satan, Book 1

Satan is the leader of Hell. He would rather be in command of a place full of suffering and misery than to be God's servant in Heaven without his own independence.

2.

So will fall,/He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault?/Whose but his own? Ingrate! He had of me/All he could have; I made him just and right,/Sufficient to have stood though free to fall.


God, Book 3

God wants to make it known that even though he has knowledge of all future events, he has given his creatures free will over their own choices. Man is "free to fall," and God has made it this way so that man's choice to obey God comes from love, not powerlessness.

3.

Though both/Not equal, as their sex not equal seem'd;/For contemplation he, and valor form'd,/For softness she, and sweet attractive Grace,/He for God only, she for God in him.


Narrator, Book 4

Here the narrator compares Adam and Eve in order to show that they are not created as equals in the eyes of God. Eve is depicted as belonging to the inferior sex, weaker and less smart. Adam is seen as closer to God in his creation, while Eve was created out of Adam's rib, and so her connection to God is through Adam.

4.

Be then his Love accursed; since love or hate,/To me alike, it deals eternal woe./Nay cursed be thou; since against his thy will/Chose freely what it now so justly rues./Me miserable!—which way shall I fly/ Infinite wrath and infinite despair?/Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell.


Satan, Book 4

There is no happiness for Satan. The only mode he can operate in is wrath or despair, and whichever way he goes, he brings Hell with him, because Hell is a state of mind he now personifies.

5.

This one, this easy charge, of all the trees/In Paradise that bear delicious fruit/So various, not to taste that only Tree/Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life,/So near grows death to life, whate'er death is,/Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know'st/God hath pronounced it death to taste that Tree.


Adam, Book 4

Adam reveals his innocence before the fall of man. He doesn't even know what death is but intuits that it is bad. The reader also sees his preoccupation with the Tree of Knowledge. Though he knows it is forbidden, he can't help thinking about it, and because death is hard for him to conceptualize, the punishment seems abstract.

6.

Fair angelic Eve,/Partake thou also: happy though thou art,/Happier thou may'st be, worthier canst not be:/Taste this, and be henceforth among the Gods/Thyself a Goddess, not to Earth confined.


Satan, Book 5

Here is Satan at his most corrupt: tempting Eve in a dream to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge by flattering her and promising her knowledge and godliness. He knows her vanity is her weakness and, therefore, the easiest way to manipulate her.

7.

What surmounts the reach/Of human sense, I shall delineate so,/By likening spiritual to corporal forms,/As may express them best, though what if Earth/Be but the shadow of Heav'n, and things therein/Each to other like, more then on earth is thought?


Raphael, Book 5

It is difficult to explain the goings-on of Heaven to someone like Adam, who has never experienced it. Here Raphael is saying that he will do his best to approximate in language that Adam can understand when he describes the battle between God's and Satan's armies in Heaven.

8.

Joy thou/In what He gives to thee, this Paradise/And thy fair Eve; Heav'n is for thee too high/To know what passes there; be lowly wise:/Think only what concerns thee and thy being.


Raphael, Book 8

Raphael is advising Adam that too much knowledge is not necessarily a good thing; God has left some things a mystery to mankind on purpose. This sets up some of the curiosity that leads Adam and Eve to be tempted to eat fruit from the Tree of Knowledge—a curiosity that Milton implies is inherent in man.

9.

Queen of this Universe, do not believe/Those rigid threats of death; ye shall not die:/How should ye? by the fruit? it gives you life/To knowledge; by the Threat'ner? look on me,/Me who have touch'd and tasted, yet both live.


Satan, Book 9

Finally Satan is able to confront Eve, and, having practiced his speech in her dream, he finally convinces her to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. His logic and flattery appeals to her—he calls her "queen of the universe" and tells her that God is testing her independence. Also, Satan claims that he ate the fruit and did not die; therefore, Eve can eat it without dying.

10.

What better can we do, than to the place/Repairing where he judg'd us, prostrate fall/Before him reverent, and there confess/Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears/Watering the ground, and with our sighs the air/Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign/Of sorrow unfeign'd, and humiliation meek.


Adam, Book 10

These lines depict the biggest difference between man and Satan. While Satan is firm in his disobedience and does not wish to repent to God for his mistakes, Adam and Eve realize they must repent so that God will be merciful to them and their offspring. Their assumption is correct—God is just and kind, and, while he still punishes them, he allows them into Heaven eternally after they die.

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