This amazing track by Two Steps From Hell goes great with these quotes.
This isn’t actually infernal, even though these are all quotes from Satan while he is on his journey to Eden. In fact, this is where he expresses self-doubt about his planned endeavor (corrupting Adam and Eve) and thinks (oh my!) of repentance. Though fleetingly. Let’s start with this:
As Jane Dougherty had mentioned in a comment to a previous post, Milton’s “poetry gushes when he’s writing about the fiend.” It really does. You see how the verses liven up when Satan starts talking, and it’s all Shakespearean and Hamlet-like, full of quaint metaphors and deep philosophizing.
Here’s what Satan says about his revolt against God, who only required love and praise from the angels he created:
How can good prove ill and wring malice? The fact is that God, knowing that his creations living in complete obedience to him would be wrong, created both angel and man free. Freedom plays a large part in Milton’s poem–and in our daily lives.
What does it truly mean though, to be free? Certainly not being limitless and egocentric. Freedom to make your own choices, both good and bad ones, freedom to choose to learn from your mistakes or go on repeating them, freedom to choose one in millions of possible career choices, romantic preferences, places to live in, mottos to live by… that is true freedom, in my opinion. However, there’s a problem–all of that is crammed into one lifetime. That’s a lot of energy we have to use to try and choose the right path. And not to end up in a predicament like once-pure angel Lucifer.
The devil born from Lucifer says this after he recalls the admiration of his demon allies:
“Such joy ambition finds…”
And, returning to freedom, this is what Satan says about the other angel, who proved stronger in terms of willpower and didn’t follow him in his battle against God:
But does it? Maybe, he just didn’t want to accept–and give back–the love? Which leads to:
This connection he feels with hell stems, in my opinion, from the deadly hate he is buried by at this point. He rejected the goodness God had gifted him, and now finds the only way forward is to hell. However, he does attempt this curious thought:
He views repentance as submission/losing/giving up. Then again… God is forgiving. God is love. As the Father says to the Son (quote from Book 3):
Mercy first and last shall brightest shine.
Beautiful wording and so much meaning. If only, Satan had tried going on this path of repentance he thought about. If only, Adam and Eve had been truly remorseful after eating the forbidden fruit, if they had admitted their disobedience instead of pointing to Eve and the serpent respectfully… the story we’ve heard a thousand times and more could have gone very differently.
But the arch-fiend abandons all thoughts of remorse and, with these words, sets out to find Eden and the unsuspecting couple there:
What are your thoughts on these quotes? If you’ve read Paradise Lost, how do your views differ from mine? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!
P.S. I want to create a John Milton fan club. Anyone with me?