Summary of the Poem
The fallen Archangel Satan said then, “Is this the place, the soil or hot climate that we must have in exchange for Heaven? Should we have this sad darkness of Hell in place of the Region of Heavenly light? Let it be so, God who is the sovereign ruler can decide what is right and wrong and can order us as he wishes to live at great distance from happy fields of Heaven is best for us, for we are His equals in reasoning power but in physical strength. He is far superior to us. Hence we take farewell of the happy fields of heaven where joy dwells for ever, and welcome Hell with all its horrors O deepest hell, receive your new occupant or new King Satan who bring with him a mind not to be affected by place or time. The mind is free and is not affected by external world. It lives within itself and can make a heaven of Hell and Hell of Heaven. It does not, therefore matter, where I do live-in Hell or Heaven, if I am less powerful than God because the use of thunder as weapon has made Him physically stronger than I am -Here in Hell we shall be free and God has not built anything here, for possessing which He may envy us. Therefore He will not expel us from Hell. Here we may rule safely and in my opinion to rule is worthy of ambition, though it may be in Hell. It is better to reign in Hell than to serve God in Heaven.
Why should we then let our loyal friends, companions and partners of our loss lie so stupefied and confounded on this fiery lake that cause them to forget everything ? Why should we not call them to share with us the suffering in this gloomy and unhappy place? We should once again try, with our re-assembled armies, to regain whatever may be given in Hell. Satan spoke in manner, and Beelzebub answered. “Leader of those bright armies of fallen angles which could have been defeated by none but the all powerful God. If once they hear your voice which is their sure promise of hope of success in fearful and dangerous moments, and which they have heard so often in the times of great peril, or on the frontline of battle when the battle was in full swing, and which was the signal of their sure success, they will soon regain new courage and strength. Though, at present, they are lying low in shame and prostrate on the lake of fire there, as in a state of confusion and astonishment a little while ago we lay, no doubt, having fallen from such a fearful height of Heaven.
Explanation of Paradise Lost (Line by Line)
Be it so…………..Above his equals.
Reference to Context- These lines form the part of the third speech of Satan in Book I of Paradise Lost written by John Milton. The main characters of his epic are God, Adam, Eve and Christ.
Explanation- Satan uplifts his bulky from the lake of fire with flames on both the sides, Satan and Beelzebub exult on their escape from the fiery lake. Satan observes the sad dark region of hell and reconciles himself to the change from Heaven to Hell. The dark and miserable Hell is no doubt a worse place than heaven but nothing can be done. God is now supreme since. He has won the battle therefore, he has the power to command them and he can decide what is right and what is wrong.
The fallen angels have no choice but to accept whatever treatment is given to them by God. It is now the best thing for them to be at a great distance from God. Satan claims that he and his companions are the equals of God in respect of wisdom bit is only in respect of His force-or His use of thunder arms that he has supremacy over them and His victory is due to His superior force.
- Satan seems to be compromising with his fate to a very small extent.
- He accepts God’s supremacy though he belittles it by saying that He is superior to him and his companions only by the use of thunder‑ physical strength but not in respect of wisdom or reason.
- He is depressed that he has lost the blissful seat of heaven.
Farewell happy…………….. Hell of Heaven
Reference to Context- These lines are taken from the speech of Satan in Milton’s great epic Paradise Lost, Book I. Satan is shocked that he and his comrades have been thrown in Hell with a lake of burning fire. He says to Beelzebub that he should accept this miserable, unhappy region of Hell in place of heaven because God by his superior physical strength has got victory over him and his companions, and so He can take decisions about their life. Like a wise politician he accepts God’s superiority after His victory and attributes to him arbitrary power over them and he makes the best of the worst situations.
Explanation― Satan bids farewell to the happy region of Heaven with a heavy and painful heart, and welcome Hell with all its horrible torments and the tortures. In Heaven joy lives for even while in Hell it is only misery and horror that reigon, but Satan has to accept this infernal region of Hell out of compulsion. Then he feels, consoled, that, at least, here in hell he is the sole supreme ruler or leader is there is no other power as mighty as God to defeat or equal him. It has ever been his wish to rule and not to submit and surrender and this keen desire of his will be satisfied here in Hell. Satan has been changed in the dimmed outward glory of his body after the fall, but his mind his not changed by his being in Hell, nor it is changed by the change of his time, as in Heaven he had happy days while in Hells he has bad days. He feels that it is the mind or thinking that makes situation happy or unhappy. It is the attitude of mind that matters, neither the place nor the time. The mind is always free from the external circumstances. He means to say that happiness or misery is not conditioned by circumstances in which one lives, but the attitude of one’s mind. The mind has the capacity to make itself supreme over circumstances. The mind has the power to derive happiness from the sorrowful conditions and if the mind is weak it feels miserable even in the happiest circumstances.
- Satan seems to be a tragic hero. He is tortured by the torments of Hell but is not dispirited and maintains his unyielding courage. He shows heroic power of endurance.
- These lines are rhetoric with underlying irony.
- These is an elegiac note in these lines.
Here we may………..………………in Heaven.
Reference to Context- Those lines have been extracted from Satan’s speech in Milton’s Paradise Lost, Book I. Satan, who is very ambitious or too much ambitious like Macbeth, feels a little satisfied that he is the sole ruler of Hell. He realizes that there is escape for from Hell accepts his fate in Hell with the consolation that the mind is free from external circumstances and with such a mind that he possesses, he will make his life happy even in Hell and the miseries of Hell will not affect him.
Explanation- Satan says to Beelzebub that it does not matter where he has to love, and what tortures he has to face, if he retains his unchanged mind full of pride, courage and endurance. Here in Hell Satan will be free and reign safely without any danger from God. Hell is far inferior to Heaven so God will not interfere in Hell and will not throw him and his crew from here. Here they may rule for ever without any fear. According to Satan it is a good ambition to rule, even through one is given a change to rule in Hell. Satan is ambitious of being a ruler and his ambition will be fulfilled here. It is immaterial if he rules in Heaven or Hell, as it is better to rule in Hell than to be employed as a slave to Heaven or Hell, as it is better to rule in hell than to be employed as a slave to do errands or jobs for God in heaven. To be a slave is worse and more miserable than to be a rule― where or on whom to rule is immaterial.
- Satan’s high ambitions are revealed in these lines. For him it is better to rule in Hell -a place full of horrors and pains than to serve God in Heaven which is a region of everlasting happiness.
- He is quite wise known that Hell is such a painful place that God will not envy it and so he will not come here to interfere the sovereignty of Satan in Hell.
- He is there quite safe and secure here.
English Literature― Important Links
- Development of English poetry since the age of Shakespeare
- Important Forms of poetry in English (Narrative, Lyrical, Sonnet etc.)
- Sonnet 29- When, in disgrace with fortune (William Shakespeare)
- SONNET 138- When my love swears (Analysis and Explanation)
- Critical review of Sonnet Writing of William Shakespeare
- “The Canonization” by John Donne- Summary & Line by line Explanation
- Critical appreciation of ‘The Canonisation’ (Poem by John Donne)
- John Donne- As a Poet, Poet of Love, a Metaphysical Poet
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