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The hallow'd fire: mythical consciousness in Paradise lost Dunn, Robert 1967

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THE HALLOWD FIRE: MYTHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS IN PARADISE LOST by Robert Dunn B.A., Adams State College of Colorado, 1961 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OP Master of Arts i n the Department of English We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard. THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 1967 In presenting this thesis in p a r t i a l fu l f i lment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library sha l l make i t f ree ly avai lab le for reference and Study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholar ly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by hl's representatives. It is understood that copying or publ i ca t ion of this thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain shal l not be allowed without my wri t ten permission. Department of English  The Univers i ty of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8 , Canada Date 31 July 1967 i i ABSTRACT The purpose of this thesis i s to isolate and examine aspects of Paradise lost which identify i t as a myth. The problem involves two matters: how Milton's version of the creation and the f a l l differs from the B i b l i c a l and doctrinal accounts, and how Milton's poem reflects certain traits char-acteristic of mythologizing in general. The introductory f i r s t chapter establishes a working definition of "myth", based primarily upon Greek precedents. It also attempts to define the distinct kind of consciousness reflected by myths and mythic poets, a consciousness based upon an i l l u s i o n of reality which is credited as accurate and factual. Prom this starting point, the four major figures of Paradise  Lost are subsequently examined for evidence of how Milton's poem achieves a similar i l l u s i o n and a clearly Puritan expression of the mysteries of l i f e and death. Since the emphasis w i l l be on Milton's myth and not on the development of mythologies or on Milton's place in Christian and classical traditions in English literature, discussion i s limited to Paradise Lost i t s e l f , with only occasional and selected reference to the chief Greek mythic poets, Homer and Hesiod. In Chapters two through five, each of the four figures is discussed f i r s t from a logical point of view, to indicate in a negative way how they conform to the non-rational aspect typical of mythical thought. Each figure i s then discussed in terms of the definition of myth laid down i n chapter one to i i i indicate how Milton adopts and expands upon non-rational and contradictory elements in order to achieve a new figure and to remake the mystery each figure embodies. The conclusion reached i s that Paradise Lost i s a myth i n i t s own right, remodeled to suit Milton's particular purposes and expressive of Puritan consciousness. It i s suggested that, once the key terms of Milton's myth ("Goodness,";"Evil," "Disobedience," "Pree Will) are understood as mysteries, not philosophical abstractions, and once i t i s understood how they complement and f u l f i l l one another, the story of Paradise Lost becomes more comprehensive, valid, and pertinent. CONTENTS Chapter Page I. MYTHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS 1 I I . SATAN: THE MYSTERY OP EVIL 23 I I I . GOB THE SON: THE MYSTERY OP GOODNESS 40 IV. MAN AND THE MYSTERY OP DISOBEDIENCE 62 V. GOD AND THE UNITY OP CREATION 93 CONCLUSION I l l WORKS CITED 116 i v A Preface This thesis w i l l evaluate the four major figures of Paradise Lost i n terms of a pa r t i c u l a r d e f i n i t i o n of myth. Since Milton would not have c a l l e d his poem a myth, and since i t i s a term only recently applied to l i t e r a t u r e and with widely varying intentions, the sense intended to be used i n t h i s essay w i l l be set f o r t h with some d e t a i l i n chapter one. The object i n applying a d e f i n i t i o n of myth to Paradise Lost i s two-fold: to demonstrate how Milton f u l f i l l s c e r t a i n functions of myth-making and to indicate where Paradise Lost r e f l e c t s the t r a i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a mythical consciousness. The nature of the topic c a l l s f o r a close i n t e r p r e t i v e analysis of the poem; hence the discussion has been de l i b e r a t e l y l i m i t e d to exclude separate treatment of purely h i s t o r i c a l matters or matters of genre, epic t r a d i t i o n , or the study of sources. Yet the discussion presumes a knowledge of the i n -t e l l e c t u a l climate of the seventeenth century and of Milton's background i n the t r a d i t i o n s of English l i t e r a t u r e . It i s f e l t that one way of acknowledging the fusion of Christian and c l a s s i c a l elements i n Milton's poem i s to explore the s i m i l a r i t y of int e r e s t between Homer and Milton, who earn the t i t l e of mythic poet not only because each repeats a myth that had existed long before he wrote, but also because, i n doing so, each reshaped h i s respective story to sui t a current need. The poet i s a pri e s t when he assumes the task both Homer and Milton i n t h e i r times assumed: to give the gods i d e n t i t y and to re l a t e the v i s i b l e world of things and events to a meta-V physical world of s p i r i t and being. Homer l i f t e d Greek thought to a new l e v e l of c l a r i t y and form. Yet, he did not separate—as Plato and A r i s t o t l e did l a t e r — t h e material from the s p i r i t u a l , fact from f i c t i o n , imagination from reason, f e e l i n g from perception. The abstract has body i n Homer's poetry, and matter has s p i r i t . The gods do not dwell on the periphery but i n the center of consciousness. Discussion of Milton's poem properly begins with recog-n i t i o n of the sense of urgency with which he faced his t o p i c . He was dealing with a story that was generally credited as being i n f a l l i b l e t r u t h . Yet, even before Milton wrote, the attitude toward both the content and the poetic expression of Holy Scripture had been changing. The impetus Bacon; gave to s c i e n t i f i c study was growing. The Royal Society was intent upon drawing a cl e a r e r l i n e between "truth" and " f i c t i o n " and, although a s p e c i a l reservation was l a i d down against exploring the two h o l i e s t subjects, God and the Soul, a l l else might be dissected with impunity. In his History of the Royal Society, Thomas Sprat outlined a s p e c i a l e f f o r t to d i s c r e d i t the authority of poets and to discard " a l l forms of poetic utterance as un-desirable 'ornaments of speech'." The church was i n no position to preserve the truth of the Scriptures. In Milton's eyes, i t had obscured the tr u t h by inventing a system of hierarchy and by developing a kind of sophistry of i t s own, Scholasticism. The Anglican church was opposed by those who f e l t the break with Roman Catholicism had not been carried f a r enough; new sects sprang up d a i l y l i k e weeds from the crevices of a stony ediface. But these brought as much confusion as they brought passion. Milton's;.:final r e j e c t i o n of a l l denominations took reformation one step further. Not only has man to deal with God d i r e c t l y , he has to do so without the convenience of an organized church. The true church i s a communion of s p i r i t , a conscious i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of oneself with God. Service must be voluntary and spontaneous, not r i g i d and customary. No separation exists between the holy and the secular; hence, one should lead his l i f e as a poem because the nature of poetry i s to express the truth as a unity of thought and f e e l i n g . The subject of poetry i s the object of r e l i g i o n : a v i s i o n of the beauty and sanctity of l i f e . The t h i r d source of urgency was the condition of p o l i t i c a l unrest i n England at the time. T i l l y a r d has described the atmosphere and shown what a highly excited state revolutionary Englishmen were i n before the Cromwell regime miscarried. A v i s i t of the Holy S p i r i t was expected d a i l y , a sign from God to designate England as the new Jerusalem, wherein t h i s great and warlike nation, instructed and inured to the fervent and continual practice of truth and righteousness, and casting f a r from her the rage of her whole vices, may press on hard to that high and happy emulation to be found the soberest, wisest, and most Ch r i s t i a n people... ( C E . I l l , 78) When reform f a i l e d , when Cromwell f a i l e d , and Milton's hopes f o r i d e a l government were disappointed, the need to express such an i d e a l condition grew stronger. I f the Holy S p i r i t would not v i s i t England, then the Englishman might be made to v i s i t the Holy S p i r i t , which i s probably the same thing af t e r a l l . The time was ripe f o r a myth-maker to rebuild the frame-work of C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n i n a language that would communicate both the l e t t e r and the s p i r i t . The undertaking would be as v i i practical as i t would be noble because the urgent need was to l i f t the superior truth of Christian religion out of the hands of churchmen who had reduced i t to an abstraction and to place i t before Englishmen unadorned. It was not a work to be . . . raised from the heat of youth, or the vapors of wine, like that which flows at waste from the pen of some vulgar amorist, or the trencher fury of a riming parasite, nor to be obtained by the invocation of Dame Memory and her Siren daughters, but by devout prayer to that eternal Spirit who can enrich with a l l utterance and knowledge, and sends out his seraphim with the hallowed f i r e of his altar, to touch and purify the li p s of whom he pleases. ( C E . I l l , 241) The story of creation and of the f a l l was a matter of history with ever current application; the original event might be re-mote but the outcome of that event was never so evident. This paper w i l l not be a comparison of Homer and Milton. It w i l l not be a study of archetypes or of archetypal patterns. It w i l l not be an application of Jungian theory to Paradise Lost. Yet, Homer and Milton w i l l be compared; archetypes w i l l be noted; and i t w i l l be recognized that the discussion in places concerns the "collective unconscious". Terminologies have been avoided as much as possible. The analysis i s centred upon Milton's poem and w i l l attempt to il l u s t r a t e , 1) the kind of thought that l i e s behind myth and myth-making; 2) the particular myth which Milton wrought from a story i n G-enesis. For the poetry, Hughes' edition has been used here, and reference to passages in Paradise Lost i s by book and line, thus: (IV.174). For the prose, the Columbia Edition of the complete works was used and i s cited by volume and page, thus: ( C E . XVI, 301). CHAPTER I MYTHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS It i s not with things that man has to do i n the mythological process, i t i s powers a r i s i n g within consciousness  i t s e l f that move him. — P . ¥. Schelling, Philosophy of Mythology The f i r s t need i s to s e t t l e upon what i s myth, that i s , to formulate from the features Paradise Lost shares with Greek myth a working d e f i n i t i o n . The fable, or narrative thread, i s the common denominator and Milton has drawn i t f o r the most part from Genesis. It contains the creation story, with subordinate provisions f o r the order and dimensions of the universe, and the story of the f a l l , including the f a l l of L u c i f e r from Heaven. The fable embodies numinous theories, that i s , theories of the o r i g i n and nature of the holy, including s p e c i f i c treatment of the T r i n i t y . By way of i l l u s t r a t i o n , the fable demonstrates the existence of higher, or divine truths and the r e l a t i o n these have with mundane knowledge. Milton shares with Dante, V i r g i l , and Homer a pre-occupation unique among not only poets but among men of a l l l e t t e r s , s c i e n t i f i c , h i s t o r i c a l , or philosophical: to i l l u s t r a t e rather than define, to portray rather than to outline the o r i g i n of gods and of men, and the nature of tr u t h . These poets give l i f e to the idea of the divine; they spin "'essential truth" from the shreds of circumstance. A l l four e s t a b l i s h a setting f o r the i n v i s i b l e ; a l l four provide the medium through which to comprehend the u n i n t e l l i g i b l e . This i s the sp e c i a l business and definable province of myth. When Homer c a l l s Oceanos the o r i g i n of the gods ( I l i a d , 14.201) and l a t e r as the o r i g i n of everyone ( I l i a d , 14.246) 2 he gives no a l l u s i o n to anecdote, or mystical legend; he embraces the Greek story of creation quite matter-of-factly. The wily Hera i s deceiving the laughter-loving Aphrodite with a f a l s e reason f o r wishing to borrow her magic g i r d l e : Give me now love and desire, wherewith thou art wont to subdue a l l immortals and mortal men. For I am f a r i n g to v i s i t the l i m i t s of the a l l - n u r t u r i n g earth, and Oceanos, from whom the gods are sprung, and mother Tethys, even them that l o v i n g l y nursed and cherished me i n t h e i r h a l l s , when they had taken me from Rhea, what time Zeus, whose voice i s borne afar, thrust Cronos down to dwell beneath the earth and the unresting sea. ( I l i a d , 14.198-204) 1 With the magic g i r d l e she entices her husband, Zeus, to sleep and whilst he sleeps, the fortunes of bat t l e change. Ajax wounds Hector and the Achaeans slaughter scores of Trojans. A l l t h i s Homer draws into his fable without changing his tone, or lay i n g down reservations; i t i s mythical f a c t . In the same breath, he mingles gods with Achaean and Trojan heroes. Hera's t r i c k upon Aphrodite and Zeus i s given as the pure reason, the divine cause; the slaughter of the Trojans appears as the out-come, as the coincidental repercussion. It i s neither f a i r y t a l e , nor magic, nor his t o r y , nor romance. There i s nothing extraordinary when Poseidon, son of Cronos and god of the seas, joins the Argive forces of Odysseus and Agamemnon to lead them against the Trojans ( I l i a d , 14.378), nor when Poseidon himself f i g h t s the mortal Hector ( I l i a d , 14.390). The scene i s meant to r e c a l l the e a r l i e r i n d i g n i t y Zeus suffered at the hands of his mighty brother and s i s t e r , Poseidon and Hera, when they almost succeeded i n binding him ( I l i a d , 1.399). In Book I, A c h i l l e s reminds his sea-nymph mother, Thetis, i t was she who freed Zeus from those bonds and charges her to use her 3 old influence with the king of the gods that the Achaeans may s u f f e r defeat. Thus A c h i l l e s vents h i s anger upon Aga-memnon f o r having taken from him the l o v e l y B r i s e i s ( I l i a d , 1.345). In such a manner, the entire I l i a d embodies a v i s i o n of divine reason as the o r i g i n and continuing cause of earthly phenomena and of the f a t e f u l acts of men. It embodies a primitive stage of Greek theology before i t had been formulated as philosophy, much les s as r e l i g i o n . What Greeks "believed as to the gods, t h e i r o r i g i n , character, habits, attributes, appearance, was, i n the main, the outcome of l i t e r a t u r e , the work not of the people, nor yet the p r i e s t , but of the poet. Theology was a thing 'composed' advisedly, 'put together,' by a number of epic singers . . . ." 2 Indeed, the Greek fo r mythology, mythologia, "contains the sense not only of 'stories' (mythoi), but also of ' t e l l i n g ' ( l e g e i n ) : a form of narration that o r i g i n a l l y was also echo-awakening, i n that i t awoke the awareness that the story personally concerned the narrator and the audience."^ The s t r i k i n g words here are "personally concerned". It i s the opposite side of the mythic poet's coin; i t marks his select d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s . Neither Milton nor Homer created h i s god(s). But both poets l i v e d at times when the i d e n t i t y of the god(s) was either not yet c e r t a i n or was undergoing change. With his t e l l i n g of the legends that existed beforehand, Homer infused new l i f e into them and gave them a narrative shape which, as Herodotus commented, "composed f o r the Greeks the generations of the gods, and £gave7 to the gods t h e i r t i t l e s and distinguished t h e i r several provinces and s p e c i a l powers and marked t h e i r forms."^ / 4 Milton "borrowed his God from the Old Testament and infused Him with a f e r o c i t y which c r i t i c s have not yet ceased to notice. He made God speak and gave Him a new l i f e , as i t were, with a Puritan s e n s i b i l i t y at a time when the church was r i f e with dissenters and when the B i b l i c a l God was scarcely v i s i b l e under the welter of doctrines. Each did two things, then: the f i r s t was to preclude, or to subsume theology, the systematic explan-ation of the gods and of creation; the second was to involve the audience personally, emotionally, and i n t e l l e c t u a l l y . William James, seeking f o r a r a t i o n a l explanation f o r the power Greek myth had to evoke a kind of r e l i g i o u s experience, notices: "It i s as i f there were i n the human consciousness a sense of r e a l i t y , a f e e l i n g of objective presence, a perception of what we may c a l l ' something there', more deep and more general than any of the sp e c i a l and p a r t i c u l a r 'senses' by which the current psychology supposed existent r e a l i t i e s to be o r i g i n a l l y revealed."5 For proof of the existence of t h i s "undifferentiated sense of r e a l i t y " , he points to the common experience of h a l -l u c i n a t i o n i n which the person affected w i l l f e e l a 'presence' i n the room, d e f i n i t e l y l o c a l i z e d , facing i n one p a r t i c u l a r way, r e a l i n the most emphatic sense of the word, often coming suddenly, and as suddenly gone; and yet neither seen, heard, touched, nor cognized i n any of the usual 'sensible' ways.° This capacity, t h i s non-rational sense of r e a l i t y i s the basis of r e l i g i o u s emotion. It i s the capacity for s p i r i t u a l i l l u s i o n , but whereas r e l i g i o n s may appeal to i t through r i t u a l or r e p e t i t i v e service, the mythic poet appeals to i t by experience, that i s through the t e l l i n g of his story. James' example i s not the 5 most apt, f o r he i s unwilling to cre d i t the v a l i d i t y of such an experience. I f i t were only the sensation of an i l l u s i o n which may or may not he t r u t h f u l , then the response evoked by the myth of Paradise Lost or by the mythical portions of the I l i a d would be l i t t l e more than random fancy, or what i s worse, mysticism. James was an empiricist and a pragmatist, as Rudolf Otto points out, and hence debarred "from coming to a recognition of f a c u l t i e s of knowledge and p o t e n t i a l i t i e s of thought i n the s p i r i t i t s e l f , and he i s therefore obliged to have recourse to somewhat singular and mysterious hypotheses to explain t h i s f a c t . " ^ The most James might say of Raphael's long speech to Adam about the universe i s that i t casts a mystical state, which can wield "no authority" simply because i t i s a mystical state. "The mystic i s , i n short, invulnerable, and must be l e f t , whether we r e l i s h i t or not, i n undisturbed o enjoyment of his creed." Yet, although myth deals with the mysterious, i t i s not mystical, at least not i n the sense James uses the term. The term "mystic" should not be applied to the study of myth, fo r "mysticism" and "mystic" i n v i t e confusion with another state of mind i n which reason i s not only suspended but i n which a b e l i e f i n magic tends to displace the f a c u l t y of judgment. Magic holds no more significance i n Paradise Lost than i t does i n Homer because both poets consider the divine events they depict as matter of common knowledge, and as e n t i r e l y p l a u s i b l e . As Robert Graves put i t , "Greek mythology was no more mysterious i n content than are modern ele c t i o n cartoons • . . ."^ Magic perished along with ancient myth and r i t u a l i s t i c ceremonies 6 surrounding the animal-gods of early Greece: Magic played no inconsiderable part i n the pre h i s t o r i c world-outlook, but i n Homer, except f o r a few traces, i t has been l e f t behind. Almost a l l of i t that remains i s attached to the figure of Hermes, whose position as arch wizard and patron of magic i s of long standing.10 Homer achieved a conception of the gods i n which . . • not happening and capacity are most important, but being. The d i v i n i t i e s become figures of r e a l i t y i n which the manifold being of nature finds i t s perfect and eternal expression. With t h i s step ancient myth i s abolished, magic overcome, and the gods are f i n a l l y separated from the elemental.H When distinguishing Eden from the gardens of the c l a s s i c a l poets, Milton repeatedly i n s i s t s his t a l e i s "not Mystic" (IX.442) but r e a l . Milton comprehends opposing theories of the universe, Ptolemaic (III.555-579) and Galilean (VIII.122) because either w i l l do, because God created the universe and i t i s ; the importance i s not the happening, but the being. His appeal, l i k e Homer's, i s not directed toward our capacity to believe i n magic, but toward our a b i l i t y to see and to experience that which i s , and which i s therefore the best knowledge of the divine cause. Since we cannot behold God's perfection i t s e l f (knowledge of a primary nature), we should observe His works (knowledge of a secondary nature). Then, however miraculous the story of Paradise Lost becomes, i t may be supposed that behind each event l i e s a v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . Paradise Lost i s as accurate a chronicle of creation as can be drawn, yet not because i t follows Christian doctrine, or the B i b l i c a l accounts to c e r t a i n extents, but because Milton i s convinced i t t a l l i e s with the idea of God as God i s manifest i n nature and.in our conscience. The sense behind the angelic 7 j u b i l a t i o n that greets God upon His return from creation of the earth i s that of an echo rebounding harmoniously through-out the universe, which i s one only because i t answers ... his great Idea. Up he rode Follow'd with acclamation and the sound Symphonious of ten thousand Harps that tun'd Angelic harmonies: the Earth, the A i r Resounded, (thou remember'st, fo r thou heard*st) The Heav'ns and a l l the Constellations rung, The Planets i n t h i r station l i s t ' n i n g stood, While the bright Pomp ascended j u b i l a n t . (VII.557-564) Likewise f o r the Greek, The f u l l n e s s of the world and the f u l l n e s s of man are present simultaneously. No answer can be given to the question where the human ceases and the divine begins, because b e l i e f i s rooted i n the experience that one i s encompassed by the other and both coincide. In place of conceptual formulation there stand the images of happenings. 1 2 For Milton, the great "chain of being" i s e c c l e s i a s t i c a l science, not fancy or poetic convention. The universe i s God's Idea made manifest and, r e c i p r o c a l l y , by knowledge of the universe as experience, or as "images of happenings," man knows the gods, but the C h r i s t i a n knows God imperfectly because He was even before the universe, was even from e t e r n i t y . So long as man observes the decorum of nature, then he can not f a i l to know i t i s the handiwork of the gods and that man himself i s the highest part of the natural world, only a l i t t l e lower than the gods. The harmony of a man'srsoul s h a l l blend with the order of-the universe. That God made the world good i s not only an addition to Greek thought l a t e r than Homer and stemming from the Timaeus of Plato, but also marks the transfer of the idea to "conceptual formulation". As we s h a l l see, Milton has h i s own understanding f o r "goodness". In Paradise Lost, the d i r e c t i o n i s reversed, 8 and out of the Christian Doctrine 1^ emerges the idea once more in a condition that is truly mythic. Once more we are to know "this great Argument" (1.24) not as a matter of doctrine hut as knowledge. One might say Milton unpacks creation from i t s theological wrappings. A l l this may work well enough in the Iliad since the main argument i s not myth at a l l but heroic saga and since the majority of figures are mortals and the earthly events have historical equivalents, but how does this "knowledge" work in Paradise Lost where not one figure i s drawn to l i f e seale and where the central argument involves not the wrath of a man, but the ways of the most inscrutable of gods—something that is perfectly unknowable? Which can be said to be more accurate: Paradise Lost is an imaginative elaboration upon certain hypotheses central to Christian religion; or, Paradise Lost was conceived as a repre-sentation of the essentially unknowable in terms that approximate real i t y not as the sum of sensible matter, but reality as the substance of God—He i s the world, and more than the world? The gap between the Christian and his God i s immeasurably greater than that between the Greek and Olympian deities. But of Christian denominations, none emphasizes man's direct relation with God more than the Puritan. Milton i s vehement on the matter. The warfaring or the wayfaring Christian, both w i l l find God not in seclusion, but abroad, among the t r a f f i c of l i f e . Since good and e v i l are inextricably mixed, i t i s not by "cloistered V i r t u e " one comes to know which is which. If God i s one with the world, then for the Christian as well as the Greek, i t w i l l not be . . • through turning inward that man experiences deity but by 9 proceeding outward, se i z i n g , acting. To the man who i s active and enterprising the deity presents i t s e l f with immediacy,.. . whether i t f a c i l i t a t e s or hinders, enlightens or confuses. ^ The "inwardness" Otto accuses C h r i s t i a n i t y of i s l a r g e l y the invention of theologians. It i s the e f f e c t of theological s o p h i s t i c a t i o n that i t "seems quite incongruous to use the name 'God' to s i g n i f y that which we experience immediately, 15 before thought has sundered i t into a world of things." As a r e s u l t , then, C h r i s t i a n dogma combines a mythological story which i s f o r the most part Hebrew, and a group of metaphysical "concepts" which are Greek, and then proceeds to treat both as statements of f a c t — a s information about objective r e a l i t i e s inhabiting (a) the world of history, and (b) the "supernatural" world e x i s t i n g p a r a l l e l to the h i s t o r i c a l , but on a higher plane. In other words, i t talks about mythology and metaphysic i n the language of science. The r e s u l t i n g confusion has been so vast, and has so muddled Western thought, that a l l our current terms, our very language, so partake of the confusion that they can hardly straighten i t out.16 In other words, a semantic quagmire encircles myth. One word here s t r i k e s us as possessing possibly greater si g n i f i c a n c e than the emphasis i t receives from Mr. Watts. It i s "about". The schism created when theologians began to t a l k about C h r i s t i a n myth: i s akin to that created by Plato when he formulated Greek thought. When he took from Homeric myth the ideas that l i e behind the "images of happening" and made of them his discourses, he scorned the value of myth (then set about and created his own). Much as he loved him, Plato expressly objects, i n the Republic, that Homer makes us believe that the speaker i s not Homer but the figures themselves. The schism could not be stated more simply. What, then, was the state of myth before t h i s separation; what i s the condition of true myth? Shelley and Coleridge were probably the f i r s t modern c r i t i c s to recognize the importance of the Prometheus legend, 10 and in his lecture on the Prometheus Bound, Coleridge claims for Greek myth in general and for Aeschylus 1 drama in par-ticular a certain synthesis, a perfect solution of "metaphysics and poetry". At a time . . . while yet poetry remained the union of the sensuous and the philosophic mind;—the efficient presence of the latter in the synthesis of the two, had manifested i t s e l f in the sublime mythus . . . concerning the genesis, or birth of the nous or reason in man.-'-' Coleridge was looking for "proof . . . of any connection between the Greek drama, and either the mysteries, or the philosophy, of Greece," 1 8 and for . . . proof that i t was the office of the tragic poet, under a disguise of the sacerdotal religion, mixed with the legendary or popular belief, to reveal as much of the mysteries interpreted by philosophy as would counter-act the demoralizing effects of the state religion.1 ° In other words, he was attempting to describe the condition of mythical consciousness. As often happened, however, Coleridge turns from his stated purposes into an elaborate interpretation to which he adds ingredients from his own peculiar philosophical schemata. That need not enter here, but his comments interpreting the story provide rare insight to this condition, this "synthesis" which identifies myth as we hope to employ the term. Three levels of meaning emerge, a l l of which must be present to qualify the legend as myth: 1) the fabulous, 2) the allegorical, or "metaphysical allegory", and 3) the mythic. Coleridge enumerates five points in the legend which, taken separately, form the fable: 1) the f i r e was a gi f t to mankind; 2) " i t was super-added or infused"; 3) and stolen from Heaven; 11 4) i t was a "spark"; 5) " i t was stolen by a 'god'". u It i s safe to draw comparisons on the next l e v e l , the philosophical l e v e l as Coleridge c a l l s i t , but they s h a l l have to be put aside on the highest, on the mythic l e v e l . The legend, then, expresses the generation of pure reason i n man as Christ embodies the Logos of the T r i n i t y : "Then, brandishing the st a l k so that the flame should not go out, he ran j o y f u l l y , 2"L as i f f l y i n g , back to mankind." This generation of the f i r e or l i g h t (nous) or reason i n man was made " . . . a supra to mark that i t was no mere evolution grown out of the other f a c u l t i e s of man, his l i f e , sense, understanding, as the flower grows out of the stem, having pre-existed p o t e n t i a l l y i n the seed." Milton must deal with the paradox that knowledge i s e v i l , that knowledge of good and e v i l i s a presumption and an offense against God, but that the Son of God, the Word, the Light, comes as redeeming "right reason". Whatever i t i s that pre-lapserian man possessed i n the way of reason, presumably a kind of i n s t i n c t i v e understanding, Milton c a l l s "th'Omnific 2^ Word" (VII.217). Adam informs Raphael that "By quick i n s t i n c t i v e motion up I sprung" (VIII.259), and, when the l e s s e r animals trooped before him, he "nam'd them, as they pass'd<,! and under-stood / Their Nature, with such knowledge God endu'd / My sudden apprehension" (VIII.352-354). Reason, then, was engendered s p e c i f i c a l l y with man as the express g i f t of the gods. Coleridge's four remaining points are c l a r i f i c a t i o n s of his f i r s t . The f i r e was stolen to "mark i t s allo-geneity, that i s , i t s d i v e r s i t y , i t s difference i n kind, from the f a c u l t i e s 24 which are common to man with the nobler animals." Before the f a l l , Adam can converse with the beasts he has named (VIII.372); but his argument with God f o r a mate rests on the desire to enjoy a companion of equal generation, " f i t to participate / A l l r a t i o n a l delight, wherein the brute / Cannot be human consort" (VIII.390-392). The f i r e was "stolen 'from Heaven',—to mark i t s super-i o r i t y i n kind, as well as i t s essential d i v e r s i t y . " Greek anthropomorphism reached i t s peak with the triumph of the new order of man-like gods i n Apollo and Athena, over the older animal f o r m s I n d e e d , by most accounts, Gaia was mother of both the gods and man and to Prometheus f e l l the " . . . double task of separating mankind from the immortals and of giving completion to mortals . . • Both times, at creation (VII.175) and at Redemption (XII.387), i t i s the Logos of the T r i n i t y which descends to man, from Heaven. Reason, Raphael t e l l s Adam, i s a power found i n angels and man a l i k e , " D i f f e r i n g but i n degree, of kind the same" (V.490)* That i t i s a f i r e , or "spark" indicates. . . . that i t i s not subject to any modifying reaction from that on which i t immediately acts; that i t suffers no change, and receives no accession, from the i n f e r i o r , but multiplies i t s e l f by conversion without being alloyed by, or amalgamated with that which i t potentiates, ennobles, and transmutes. 2' That i n t e l l i g e n c e i s something combustible i s the happiest of notions and i s shared by Greek and C h r i s t i a n counterparts with equal gusto. It i s perhaps t h e i r point of nearest proximity. In both cases, the combustion does not s i g n i f y the expendibility, or mutability of Reason, but rather the nature of Reason as, at once, immaterial and of substance; neither cause nor e f f e c t , 13 but the i g n i t i o n that occurs between cause and effect and illuminates the understanding. When the Chorus ask him, "Do creatures of a day now own the flame-faced f i r e ? " the su f f e r i n g and bound Prometheus boasts of the potency of his g i f t : "They do, and they w i l l learn from i t a l l kinds of arts.-" ( l i n e s 253-254) 2 8 And l a t e r he enumerates the arts and s c i e n c e s — medicine, prophecy, and the elements of judgment, anatomy— which the flame of Reason bestowed upon man. He made " t h e i r eyes" bright that before were dim and dark" ( l i n e 499)• It was t h i s flame that went out " . . . when a man l e t himself be ca r r i e d away into an improper or f a t e f u l course." 2^ The o f f i c e of Reason i s much less than that of the Soul i n angels and man a l i k e , but again appears as a kind of power, a l i g h t within the Soul (V.486) whose import greatly increases a f t e r the f a l l , along with the potency of s i n (XII.80-104). But, Milton makes of Reason two kinds. Satan i s a most reasonable speech-maker both to his fellows i n H e l l and to Eve, but his reason i s s p l i t from himself; i t stems from without, as he confesses when f i r s t seeing the "gentle p a i r " : And should I at your harmless innocence Melt, as I do, yet public reason just, Honor and Empire with revenge enlarg'd, By conquering t h i s new World, compels me now To do what else though damn'd I should abhor. (IV.388-392) He i s himself a H e l l because his reason burns him, l i k e the burning lake; his mind flames incessant, f r u i t l e s s r e a s o n — the scorching reward of pride prized before obedience and Right Reason. But the obedient angels and obedient Adam imbibe Right Reason quite l i t e r a l l y with t h e i r food. Raphael s i t s to dine with Adam and Eve i n Eden: 14 ... So down they sat, And to t h i r viands f e l l , nor seemingly The Angel, nor i n mist, the common gloss Of Theologians, but with keen dispatch Of r e a l hunger, and concoctive heat To transubstantiate; what redounds, transpires Through S p i r i t s with ease; nor wonder; i f by f i r e Of sooty coal the Empiric Alchemist Can turn, or holds i t possible to turn Metals of drossiest Ore to perfet Gold As from the Mine. (V.433-443) (A remarkable p a r a l l e l , not noted by Hughes, i s Prometheus Bound, l i n e s 500-503>) Dr. Johnson was annoyed with t h i s "confusion of s p i r i t and matter" possibly because he was unable or unwilling to take the immediacy of s p i r i t u a l i t y which Milton unceasingly pursues, and f i n d s . With an ingenious stroke of true mythic ins i g h t , Milton exemplifies at once the substance and the im-m a t e r i a l i t y of reason. The l i n e s fuse innumerable and f a m i l i a r B i b l i c a l passages of God's s p i r i t as the Bread of L i f e and a simple, s c i e n t i f i c consideration of food as possessing v i t a l sustenance, without which the f a c u l t y of reason could not, and by the power of which the f a c u l t y of reason does subsist. Yet he oversteps the a l l e g o r i c a l : reason i s i n the food, but i t i s not the food; i t i s the combustion of "concoetive^ heat" which cannot be "subject to any modifying reaction from that on which i t immediately acts."31 The l a s t c l a r i f i c a t i o n Coleridge makes i s that the f i r e " . . . was stolen by a 'god,' and a god of the race before the dynasty of Jove" which marks "the pre-existence . . . of the nous, as s p i r i t u a l , both to the objects of sense, and to t h e i r products, formed as i t were, by the p r e c i p i t a t i o n , or, i f I 15 may dare adopt the bold language of Lei b n i t z , by a coagulation of s p i r i t . " 3 2 j% 1 S ) 0 f course, the concept which Plato f o r -mulated as the theory of idea. But Coleridge has modified i t : Whether t h i s be true philosophy i s not the question. The school of A r i s t o t l e would, of course, deny, the Platonic affirm i t ; f o r i n t h i s consists the difference of the two schools. Both acknowledge ideas as d i s t i n c t from mere generalizations from objects of sense; both would define an idea as ens  rati o n a l e , to which there can be no adequate correspondent i n sensible experience. But according to A r i s t o t l e , ideas are regulative only, and exist only as functions of the mind:— according to Plato, they are constitutive likewise, and one i n essence with the power and l i f e of n a t u r e ; — ( l i f e existed i n the word & l i f e was the l i g h t of human beings). And t h i s I assert, was the philosophy of the mythic poets, who, l i k e AEschylus, adapted the secret doctrines of the mysteries as the (not always safely disguised) antidote to the debasing influences of the r e l i g i o n of the state.33 The evidence that Milton preferred the Platonic theory of idea has been c o l l e c t e d already.34 Di*. Samuel's discussion n a t u r a l l y centres on Milton's appreciation of Platonic d i a l e c t i c . It i s easy to agree how numerous are the possible c i t a t i o n s which r e f l e c t h is adoption of the theory, and to agree that Paradise  Lost were inconceivable had Milton not " . . . entertained the concepts of universal r e a l i t y or arrived at the v i s i o n of human circumstances sub specie a e t e r n i t a t i s " ,35 n a<l Milton not hab i t u a l l y regarded " . . . not the outer appearance, but the inner meaning, the 'Idea' of the thing."36 i n p a r t i c u l a r , two of Dr. Samuel'srpoints bear d i r e c t l y upon the question how, i f at a l l , idea may operate i n Paradise Lost i n the manner prescribed by Coleridge. Platonic Idea expresses " . . . an eternal archetype (e.g., Justice, Beauty, Goodness), remote from t h i s world, yet productive of the whole corresponding class of earthly things, and related to them as a pattern or stamp 16 to i t s reproduction or impress."57 Were this a l l Milton conceived of Idea, Paradise Lost should have "been an allegory. Yet to him " . . . some ideas, apparently of an ethical nature, are so far independent of our thinking them as to be innately impressed upon our minds."^8 Coleridge's wording i s stronger: they pre-exist indifferent to proof by circumstances of sensibility or productivity. Again, had Milton stopped there, Paradise Lost might have been a philosophical fantasy, but "f i n a l l y , and most important for him as a poet, he conceives of the Idea as a pattern in the creative mind, divine or human, according to which a world or treatise or series of events may be shaped."59 i t is the step Coleridge calls a "precipitation" or a "coagulation of s p i r i t . " It is something like a simul-taneous productivity by which the Idea of the poet reaches the Idea of the listener—perception that sidesteps the rational processes. With this consideration, we are brought above the level of fable to the level of philosophy and of philosophy expressed in " . . . an allegory . . . though the noblest and most preg-nant of i t s kind . • . ."^ Other means than myth may be assigned the task of recreating the idea of the unintelligible, but myth may represent the Idea i t s e l f before specific for-mulation, while yet a "union of the sensuous and the philosophic' has not been sundered apart by theory, dogma, or postulation. Dr. Samuel acknowledged this "continuity"^ 1 and that i t made a discussion of dialectics i n Paradise Lost d i f f i c u l t , but she dismissed the matter from her topic. Above a fondness for 17 Platonic d i a l e c t i c l a y Milton's consummate pre-occupation to v i t a l i z e the s p i r i t u a l , to transubstantiate "earthly notion" (YII.179), to release knowledge from the yoke of circumstance, and to give God an immediate presence i n the thought and action of men—a service Milton f e l t the r e l i g i o n of the state did not perform. Beyond the a l l e g o r i c a l , philosophical l e v e l t h i s Coleridgean theory of myth w i l l not abide comparisons; neither with exterior f a c t , nor with s i m i l a r myths may another myth be compared. It i s not s u f f i c i e n t to i d e n t i f y Prometheus as the "Bringer of F i r e " , nor to nominate him the "Friend of Man" f o r comparison with Christ on a l e v e l of mere s i m i l a r i t i e s of function. In-terp r e t i v e comparisons between mythologies w i l l break down at the highest l e v e l because each emanates from a unique scheme and because each cannot be understood to represent less than the whole matter of the synthesis of poetry and metaphysics peculiar to i t s separate generation: For these reasons the significance of myth i s t o t a l l y l o s t when we t r y to approach i t through f a c t u a l analysis—whether as " s c i e n t i f i c " anthropologists or psychologists or as theologians. Above a l l things, then, one must r e f r a i n from approaching the C h r i s t i a n myth h i s t o r i c a l l y . It i s simply not to be explained by reference to i t s Babylonian, Egyptian, Hebrew, and Greek antecedents, because they do not explain anything. The explanation of ten o'clock i s not be found i n nine, eight, seven, six, f i v e , four, three, two, and one; i t i s to be found i n the moving hand upon the d i a l . The other and older myths are c i t e d , not as i f they themselves i n any way explained the C h r i s t i a n myth, but because they illumine i t by showing the work of the same hand—the hand which i s not behind i n time, but the hand which i s , now, behind time. 42 — It i s agreed with Isabel MacCaffery that myth i s unique and universal,45 and that any t r a c i n g of motifs or analogues 18 between mythologies, whether of the archetypal sort by Maud Bodkin, or of the religious, or of the psychological such as Jung's, can go only to set limits. But something stronger and more pliable is called for than her substitute: a "history of the true local Garden".44 A study of the poem as a "paradigm" is helpful, but also limited and Miss MacCaffery's attention is really focussed upon structural patterns as they not only heighten but in a real sense convey the myth of Paradise Lost. The quality of Coleridge's theory i s organic and calls for a fusion of approaches, but a l l of them circumstantially, secondarily to an emphatic reliance upon the Idea behind the "images of happening" and upon the poetic experience involving the establishment of an i l l u s i o n of real i t y . There rests the mythic level, but never there without the fable or the "meta-physical allegory". It i s a kind of productivity, a voluntary participation (not willing suspension of disbelief) of the reader by which he experiences the Idea embodied by the gods. It i s this productivity that goes beyond Platonic theory of Idea, and becomes, sui generis, or rather compels, or coagulates Idea i t s e l f . It i s not the fact that a myth explains nothing that interests us again and again, but the power myth bears to reawaken a sensation of that which i t does not explain. One might c a l l the experience pleasurable frustration—the awe-filling awakening to the fact that we know something that cannot be explained. While we may perceive a phenomenon and gain assistance by observing what i t can t e l l us, yet no particle of the Idea of that phenomenon can be said to proceed ab extra. We say an idea "comes" to us when in fact i t had 19 always been with us, but we had not seen i t . To experience myth compels us, brings together perception and Idea. Coleridge sees this creative process as one of a man's self perpetually retreating from the void into the light of self-realization: As an idea, i t must be interpreted as a striving of the mind to distinguish being from existence,—or potential being, the ground of being containing the possibility of existence, from being actualized. In the language of the mysteries, i t was the esurience, the /desire/ or desideratum, the unfuelled f i r e , the Ceres, the ever-seeking material goddess, the origin and interpretation of whose name i s found in the Hebrew root signifying hunger, and thence capacity.45 By application to our thesis, i t may be said that myth proceeds from the poet as the representation of mystery in symbol, and reciprocally, from the listener as, above a l l else, a knowing of that which was given i n i t i a l l y and resides within him. 20 NOTES Homer, The I l i a d , trans. A. T. Murray (London! William Heinemann Ltd., 1924), (hereafter a l l l i n e references based on t h i s t r a n s l a t i o n ) . 2 J . E. Harrison, The Religion of Ancient Greece (London: Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, 1905), p. 15. ^c. Kerenyi, The Gods of the Greeks (London: Thames and Hudson, 1951), p. 4. ^Herodotus, as quoted i n Harrison, p. 14. ^William James, The Varieti e s of Religious Experience: A Study i n Human Nature (London: liongmans, Green and Co., 1902), p. 58. 6 I b i d . , p. 59. 7Rudolf Otto, The Idea of the Holy (London: Oxford Univ e r s i t y Press, 192577 P» H , note. Q °James, p. 424. ^Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Vol. I (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1955), pTT2. 10W. P. Otto, The Homeric Gods: The S p i r i t u a l Significance  of Greek Religion, trans. Moses Hadas (London: Thames and Hudson, n. d.), p. 106. 1 ] - I b i d . , p. 39. l 2 I b i d . , p. 174. •^Maurice Kelley, This Great Argument (Princeton: Prince-ton University Press, 1941), p. 213. Surely Kelley'sobook ap-proaches the t r u t h by placing the single greatest source f o r Paradise Lost i n the C h r i s t i a n Doctrine and not i n Du Bartas' Divine Weeks, and f o r exhibiting the f a l s e reasoning behind Saurat's M i l t on, Man and Thinker, as well as the anachronistic approach of "certain recent scholars" imputing t h e i r own theories on to Paradise Lost by a "sort of c r i t i c a l mysticism". !4w. P. Otto, p. 174. •^-^Alan W. Watts, Myth and Ritu a l i n C h r i s t i a n i t y (London: Thames and Hudson, 1954), p. 61. 1 6 I b i d . , p. 62. -^Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "On the Prometheus of Aeschy-lus," in his Literary Remains, ed. H. N. Coleridge, Vol. II (London: William Pickering, 1836), p. 335. 1 8 I b i d . , p. 331. 2 0 I b i d . , pp. 336-337. ^Kerenyi, p. 216. 2 2Coleridge, "On the Prometheus," p. 336. ^Hughes interprets Milton's meaning for "Omnific" as "all-creating" (VII.217, footnote). 2^Coleridge, "On the Prometheus," p. 336. 25w. P. Otto, pp. 132-133. 2 6Kerenyi, p. 214. 2?Coleridge, "On the Prometheus," pp. 336-337. 2 8Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, trans. Rex Warner, i n Ten- Greek Plays, ed. L. R. Lind {Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n Company, 1957), (hereafter a l l line references based on this translation). 29W. P. Otto, p. 180. 3°Hughes failed to note the word choice that combines a sense to prepare, or refine by heat, and a sense to prepare by combining different ingredients; to compose. ^Coleridge, "On the Prometheus," p. 336. 3 2lbid., p. 337. 3 5 I b i d . , p. 348. 34lrene Samuel, Plato and Milton (Ithaca: Cornell Uni-versity Press, 1947), pp. 131^147. 5 5 I b i d . , p. 147. 5 6 I b i d . , p. 136. 5 7 I b i d . , p. 131. 3 8 I b i d . , p. 134. 39lbid. 22 4 0Coleridge,"On the Prometheus,w p. 336. 4 1Samuel, p. 146. 4 2Watts, Myth and Ritual, pp. 66-67. 43i Sabel Gamble MacCaffrey, "Paradise Lost" as "Myth," (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1959), P» 17. 4 4 I b i d . , p. 22. ^^Coleridge, HGn the Prometheus," p. 338. 23 CHAPTER II SATAN; THE MYSTERY OP EVIL The primum mobile, therefore, and f i r s t mover of a l l superstition, i s the d e v i l , that great enemy of mankind, the p r i n c i p a l agent, who i n a thousand several shapes, a f t e r divers fashions, with several engines, i l l u s i o n s , and by several names hath deceived the inhabitants of the earth, i n several places and countries, s t i l l r e j o i c i n g at t h e i r f a l l s . —Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy The structure of Paradise Lost rests upon the p r i n c i p a l deeds of God, Satan, and of Adam and Eve. In each case, the action of each party rests upon a single deed. God i s , f i r s t of a l l , creator and the source of a l l power and substance (chapter f i v e w i l l discuss Milton's:;materialistic God). The action of creation underlies His image, even during His most awful appearances. Satan creates Sin and Death and his career i s never disengaged thereafter from the propagation of r u i n . Upon the single act of disobedience, the part of Adam and Eve turns. A l l ..that we see of them before and a f t e r i s extension of the image of that single act. To centre a narrative upon a single deed i s a common epic device, i s a device too common to be merely epic, but i n the narration of myth i t s significance i s expanded beyond a matter of structure. What we see i n Homer as the actions of the gods i s more probably the gods as p a r t i c u l a r actions, or as the action of unknown, unseen forces. Apollo becomes, p o e t i c a l l y and mythically, a figure through the image of his 24 deeds and, conversely, the single character of his deeds i s the composite by which he i s c a l l e d . It i s always Apollo "who shoots from afar", or "swift-footed Hermes", or "laughter loving Aphrodite". Apollo's image " i s the manifestation of a single idea." He i s by h i s actions the image of c l a r i t y and form as a force; i t i s " i n t h i s attitude that Apollo presents himself to the world of man; i n i t his bright unencumbered, luminous, and penetrating d i v i n i t y i s given expression. 1 , 1 As a mythic poet, Homer was l i t e r a l l y l i f e - g i v i n g , f o r so long as his narration continued, the action of Apollo, the per-petuation of c l a r i t y and form had no end. I f the outcome of Paradise Lost was to be man's expulsion from Eden with the promise of opportunity to achieve an even greater paradise, then Milton could do no better than begin with the image of Satan newly expelled from Heaven with the promise of eternal woe. The task was to b u i l d a figure great enough to appear something more than f o o l i s h , something too detestable to p i t y , yet too a t t r a c t i v e to ignore. The story begins at a point where Satan's o r i g i n a l image has been destroyed, and what follows i s , indeed, the reconstruc-t i o n of h i s figure by new acts which w i l l d istinguish him poeti-c a l l y and mythically. Though f a l l e n and momentarily confused about h i s whereabouts and i d e n t i t y (1.78), he soon remembers he i s an angel and e s s e n t i a l l y indestructible (1.117). Though f a l l e n , his strength i s undiminished (1.154) and, though d i s -lodged from heavenly glory, his station i n H e l l i s supreme (1.263). His defeat i s a past matter, but the fact remains that God alone had the power to quell him. His posture quickly changes to s u i t his growing consciousness. At f i r s t f l a t prone and "confounded though immortal" (1.53), hy stages he resumes "His mighty Stature" (1.222). The other devils just as quickly follow s u i t (1.331): Satan i s t h e i r archetype and they, his reduced pattern, innumerable as autumn leaves (1.302). Satan c a l l s them to arms and thousands at his bidding speed to await "what Command t h i r mighty Chief / Had to Impose" (1.566-567). We hear by preview the p a r t i c u l a r deeds they w i l l perform on earth to q u a l i f y as princes of H e l l . The catalogue of devils and t h e i r crimes serves to i n f l a t e the image of Satan; c l e a r l y , he as t h e i r sovereign bears ultimate r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r a l l . Their i n d i v i d u a l crimes are his corporate glory. By the end of Book I, we know Satan's excellent s k i l l as a m i l i t a r y leader; by the end of Book I I , we know his ex-c e l l e n t s k i l l as a p o l i t i c i a n . He had decided before the council sat (1.650) what course of action would be pursued; he manipulates discussion to create the i l l u s i o n of due process while waiting f o r Beelzebub to propose the plan he always intended to adopt. In e f f e c t , he congratulates (11.390) no one's judgment but his own. The irony i s that i t appears Satan has been more open-handed and less a r b i t r a r y than God appears i n Book I I I . I f , once we see i t , we despise Satan'sfcunning, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to despise his motives. The d e v i l s , though he made them such, are his burden• l e f t alone, they would not l i k e l y have raised themselves above the burning marl f o r much more 26 than vain boasting or factious argumentation. In fa c t , we have seen Satan bring agreement from the least promising of parliaments; twice, we have seen the Author of Discord bring concord out of confusion, order out of disorder. A l l t h i s seems f a r from propagating r u i n . So f a r , his actions are noble. Devils or not, one can hardly despise t h e i r attempts to a l l e v i a t e an appalling fate, even i f to do so by i t s nature involves what must be c a l l e d crime. There i s l i t t l e Satan lacks by the end of Book II to qu a l i f y as a tragic hero. His condition i s the resu l t of change from greatness to adversity. The act of hubris has been com-mitted that ascertained his f a t e . The flaw of character that w i l l perpetrate his f i n a l r u i n appears as revenge f o r injured merit. The oath sworn near the start of Book I never to do good but work i l l forever (1.159-160) has been s i g n i f i c a n t l y modified, at least i n his own mind. Satan has convinced himself and h i s fellows that he can and w i l l deliver them from H e l l (11.465); hence, the perversion of Adam and Eve i s to be inc i d e n t a l to an act of salvation, small crime enough to end such t e r r i b l e s u f f e r i n g . We are confronted by what i s , i n f a c t , a d i a b o l i c a l goodness. In t h i s posture, Satan appears r i s i n g to overcome tyranny and, though we know the success of his mission w i l l bring no such salvation to the devils, we have forgotten f o r the moment what C. S. Lewis reminds us of: . . . mere C h r i s t i a n i t y commits every Chr i s t i a n to believing that 'the Devil i s ( i n the long run) an ass.'" The elevation of Satan to an heroic station has created what Maud Bodkin terms a " s p l i t " i n the "type figure". 3 Presumably the ancient story of Satan owes i t s persistence (to use Miss Bodkin's words, though employed with another example) to "expressing or symbolizing, and so r e l i e v i n g , t y p i c a l human emotions."^ But the emotion relieved i s , as we have seen i n thi s case, two-sided. Momentarily Milton has conferred a dignity upon crime. Satan shares what Nietzsche c a l l s . . . . an exalted notion of active s i n as the properly Promethean v i r t u e ; t h i s notion provides us with the e t h i c a l substratum of pessimistic tragedy, which comes to be seen as a j u s t i f i c a t i o n of human i l l s , that i s to say of human g u i l t as well as the suf f e r i n g purchased by that g u i l t . 5 Satan achieves an heroic s t a t i o n because without him the Son i s inconceivable and Right Reason i s indistinguishable. The crime committed by Prometheus against Zeus brought the l i g h t of reason into the Greek world; the crime of Satan against God produced Sin and Death which are the basis of Mosaic Law: that which was . . . a law of s i n and death,—of s i n , because i t i s a provocative to s i n ; of death, because i t produces death, and i s i n opposition to the law of the s p i r i t of l i f e . . ( C E . XVI, 135) But: On the introduction of the gospel, or new covenant through f a i t h i n Christ, the whole of the preceding covenant, i n other words the entire Mosaic law, was abolished. ( C E . XVI, 125) The one came before the other; indeed, had to come before the other. Mythically, p o e t i c a l l y , and theo l o g i c a l l y , Satan provokes God the Son. For a r e l i g i o n whose f i r s t ordinances were so much pre-occupied with the i m p l i c i t worship of e v i l , Milton i s only restoring to Satan a r i g h t f u l p o sition of importance. There i s never any doubt that the Son w i l l overcome Satan; i n Paradise Lost, that matter has been s e t t l e d before the poem begins. The question i s , can the Son do without Satan? I f e e l a word of caution i s needed at t h i s point. None of t h i s e f f o r t to outline Satan's t i t a n i c dimensions i s offered with the intention of d i s t o r t i n g his r e a l role or of i n f l a t i n g his significance unduly. To say that Satan achieves an heroic s t a t i o n i s not necessarily to mean that Satan i s the hero of Paradise Lost. Such an attempt i s probably misguided e f f o r t i n the face of Milton's repeated asides warning of the super-f i c i a l i t y of Satan'sccharacter and i n the face of the structure of the poem i t s e l f . We a l l know how ignominious i s the end of his career. What i s r e a l and what must be examined im p a r t i a l l y to determine how the poem f u l f i l l s c e r t a i n t r a i t s of mytholo-gi z i n g , i s an image, that, when a l l estimates are i n , remains the most a t t r a c t i v e , the most powerful, and the least C h r i s t i a n . Without Satan, then, the Son i s both obsolete and redundant; Satan's f a l l from Heaven i s of much greater s i g n i f i -cance than Adam's f a l l from grace because i t i s the mystery of the o r i g i n of e v i l , not merely the f i r s t act of disobedience. The whole dramatic element of Chri s t i a n myth arises from the schism and i r r e c o n c i l a b l e c o n f l i c t between God and" Satan. The concept that man i s fundamentally corrupt i s but one facet of that larger turmoil. Hence, i f Satan inspires an equal reaction as the Son inspires i n the mind of the reader, there should be no surprise, but, as he inspires a stronger reaction, there i s a l l the more reason tonconsider why. F i r s t , and most obvious, paradise i n t h i s poem i s l o s t ; the c r u c i a l action i s Satan's. Had he not f a l l e n , there had been no e v i l , and no death. Second, as we have seen, his image, already supernatural, i s i n f l a t e d by the poet from baseness to grandeur not only to provide a figure worthy to do combat with God and His angels, but to resemble a super-hero who, i n t h i s case, i s a l l - e v i l . Milton's bid to attr a c t sympathy f o r Satan reaches a peak at the turning point of Satan's career. In the two s o l i l o q u i e s near the f i r s t part of Book IV—the one, Satan's mock-echo of the Invocation to Light and the second, an example of heroic indecision so popular i n Elizabethan tragedy— Milton brings us close to Satan's anguish, to his r e a l l y dreadful dilemma. We notice great changes have taken place since he l e f t H e l l . His glorious appearance i s s t r i k i n g l y altered, " d i s f i g u r ' d " (IV.127) as i f by the change i n scenery when he touches "the Assyrian mount". His resolution i s s i c k l i e d o'er with the pale cast of thought and has l o s t the name of action. His memory of Heaven, worst possible burden, torments him as he now r e a l i z e s how easy was the debt of "endless gratitude". He had not understood: ... that a g r a t e f u l mind By owing owes not, but s t i l pays, at once Indebted and discharg'd<f what burden then? (IV.55-57) Most e f f e c t i v e of a l l , he assumes, l i k e Richard of Gloucester when deceiving Clarence, a most beguiling humility and wishes God had made him an " i n f e r i o r Angel". Satan's guile i s the more touching because we suddenly r e a l i s e i t i s meant se r i o u s l y . He has been deceiving only himself and he has l o s t his nerve. The closer he approaches to f u l f i l l m e n t of his purpose, the more reti c e n t Satan becomes; he journeys now "pensive and slow" (IV.173). Perched i n the "Tree of l i f e / The middle Tree and highest there that grew" (IV.194), his g u i l t - r i d d e n conscience wavers on the brink of repentance. In b i t t e r despair he f o r e t e l l s the ru i n of Adam and Eve i n an address only he hears: Ah gentle pair, yee l i t t l e think how nigh Your change approaches, when a l l these delights W i l l vanish and deliv e r ye to woe, More woe, the more your taste i s now of joy; Happy, but f o r so happy i l l secur'd Long to continue, and t h i s high seat your Heav'n 111 fenc't f o r Heav'n to keep out such a foe As now i s enter'd; yet no purpos'd foe To you whom I could p i t y thus f o r l o r n Though I unpitied: League with you I seek, And mutual amity so s t r a i t , so close, That I withryou must dwell, or you with me Henceforth...! IV.366-378) His strange compulsion i s stronger s t i l l i n Book IX as he i s about to tempt Eve (IX.473). Iago suffers no such profound torment, nor such dramatically potent confusion. Iago never swerves from h i s intention; the deeper his portion of g u i l t grows, the more confirmed i s his g r a t i f i c a t i o n . Macbeth's keen indecisiveness i s prompted by the c o n f l i c t of greed and fear and bears nothing l i k e the weight of Satan's suffering; he shares no part of Satan's immense, i f foreshortened v i s i o n . Like T i r e s i a s or Cassandra, Satan has a god's foresight. However mistaken Satan may be about the ultimate outcome of 31 man's f a l l , we must assume that, at t h i s point, he i s fully-aware of the r u i n he i s about to perpetrate. However, Satan i s not p r i n c i p a l l y a dramatic but a mythical figure and Milton confines his appeal as a hero to the bottom two l e v e l s of the myth—to the fable and the p h i l o -sophical allegory. Once Satan gets on with h i s business, Milton confounds our sympathy with scorn. After t h i s momentary pause and doubtful quandary, Satan leaps down from the tree and appears, abruptly, r i d i c u l o u s , transformed to a quadruped: Down he al i g h t s among the s p o r t f u l Herd Of those fourfooted kinds, himself now one, Now other, as t h i r shape serv'd best h i s end....(IV.396-398) While Raphael is. t e l l i n g Adam and Eve of the mighty battle Satan waged i n Heaven against the good angels, we are aware that Satan i s f l y i n g around the earth, c r u i s i n g i n space l i k e a c e l e s t i a l vagrant and presumably eaves-dropping on the con-versation i n Eden. Hence, his two images—one heroic, one grotesque—are carried before us from Book IV to Book X as a kind of double exposure. By a s t r u c t u r a l device Milton trans-fers the confusion over Satan'sridentity to the reader. Prometheus i s a trag i c hero on a l l three levels of the myth because there i s no s p l i t i n h i s image, no contradiction within himself. Zeus had him bound i n f e t t e r s on the rocky mount because Prometheus interferred with h i s plans to destroy a l l mankind. Milton repeatedly i n s i s t s Satan f e l l by free choice, that i s , he misused his portion of God's divine freedom, Free W i l l ; he abused not only God, but himself, but i n so 32 doing, paved the way for a greater paradise for men. Ultimately his mistake provides man with the opportunity to demonstrate his love of God by an entirely new kind of valour. No matter how much Satan looks tragic in the fable, nor how tragic are the philosophical implications, Satan, in f u l l view of the com-plete myth, is a source of bliss to man. The fullest significance of Satan i s not to be found by considering his dramatic aspects, whether heroic or comical. Satan, like Apollo, is a name for an unknown power; were Milton a mathematician, "X" would do as well. The question is not so much whether he is the victim of an unjust God, but, as he i s e v i l incarnate, how he provides the impetus for "immense" and " i n f i n i t e " goodness. This, to be sure, makes him part of a greater plan. How much he is an instrument of God w i l l be discussed in subsequent chapters. When we remember that the. . . . purpose of the Satanic symbol, as developed in Christianity and as projected by Milton, i s an interpretation of a certain type of l i f e , a type which i s always present as an open alter-native for man then i t i s apparent that;. demonic symbolism.provides not a 'mere mythology', however beautiful or frig h t f u l or impressive or accurate, but a strategy for understanding, and so for dealing with, certain inescapable aspects of the reality l i v i n g men must face. Despite Mr. Frye's contrary understanding, of the term, he has described, in fact, what we understand as the fullest definition of a myth. If man's disobedience brought death into the world, then the world as we know i t i s i n large part the work of Satan—at l e a s t , the woeful part. A l l of creation i s affected hy man's error. When Eve h i t into the apple, Earth f e l t the wound, and Nature from her seat Sighing through a l l her Works gave signs of woe, That a l l was l o s t . (IX.782-784) And, more t e r r i b l y , as Adam eats: Earth trembl'd from her e n t r a i l s , as again In pangs, and Nature gave a second groan, Sky low'r'd, and muttering Thunder, some sad drops Wept at completing of the mortal Sin Original... {IX.1000-1004) Sin and Death, members of Satan's T r i n i t y , set out from H e l l to destroy a l l things by the "Scythe of Time" (X.606-613). Satan's success i n Paradise provokes God to create the seasons, extremes of hot and cold by having the angels t i l t the earth's axis (X.668-678). Eden was a garden of plenty where presum-ably nothing decayed or died; pruning and c u l t i v a t i o n , f o r a l l appearance, were only occasionally necessary. The profuse vegetation was not tangled nor a r t i f i c i a l l y clumped "In Beds or curious Knots" (IV.242) but grew f r e e l y , that i s , i n l i n e with "his great Idea". Indeed, so perfect was the resemblance of order and harmony that the earth "Seem'd l i k e to Heaven" (VII.329). The excesses of natural vegetation we know, rank weeds, bogs, fens, swamps, are the evidence of change, the handiwork of Satan that are ever present and require us to t o i l and sweat f o r what sustenance we can harvest. Where before God's love prevailed among man and beast, 34 ... Discord f i r s t Daughter of Sin, among th'irrational^ Death introduc'd through fierce antipathy: Beast now with Beast gan war....(X.707-710*) Man most of a l l was changed. Our whole present psychology i s the work of Satan. Where before E v i l into the mind of God or Man May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave No spot or blame behind. ...(V. 117-119) now;; ... we know Both Good and E v i l , Good lost, and E v i l got...(IX. 1071-1072 which i s to say that, with the advent of Satan into the world and into our consciousness, the instinctive or divine intuition by which we once understood has been replaced with scientific knowledge (IX.680). It i s this new way of knowing which drives Dr. Paustus to bargain with Mephistophiles, only to discover that new knowledge to be empty of content: doubts leading to questions, and questions leading back to doubts. It i s true Satan's promise of magical powers in the taste of the f r u i t is a l i e , but his successful temptation taught us logic ... not only to discern Things in thi r Causes, but to trace the ways Of highest Agents, deem'd however wise. (IX.681) It i s hardly the devil's fault i f Paustus abuses logic by using i t for unholy purposes. Satan cannot be blamed i f we choose his ways; doubt, question, despair can a l l be used for the good i f we so choose. Satan, then, i s both source of e v i l and the recreator of t h i s world. He i s the cause of man's l i f e of t o i l ; he recast a single-purpose universe into a du a l - r e a l i t y ; he disseminated the either/or dilemma from one tree to a l l creation. It i s only Satan of the fable who returned to H e l l . Mythical Satan remains on earth nominally triumphant, continually o f f e r i n g h i s altern a t i v e s to Adam and his progeny and continually suffering defeat from those who scorn him. Without the opportunity to exercise Free W i l l , Christians, according to Milton, would suffer from moral atrophy. The opportunity existed before Satan arrived, but as B a s i l Willey points out, freedom before the f a l l means Mfreedom-to-lose-freedom, a freedom-to-become-enslaved: r e a l freedom being pr e c i s e l y submission to God . . . ."^ Paradoxically, i t i s Satan who brings freedom to man, freedom to choose freedom: Only a being capable of s i n could know the meaning which Milton r e a l l y attached to the notion of s p i r i t u a l freedom; thus the P a l l was l o g i c a l l y a necessary stage i n the evolution of man.8 E v i l i s i m p l i c i t l y necessary i n Chri s t i a n myth as a s u f f i c i e n t counterpart to the perfection of God. Pear and love, the two extremes of human motivation, are simultaneously engaged as twin s t i m u l i f o r one purpose. In t r a c i n g the attitude of Milton's contemporaries toward Satan, Rajan notes that while we tend to think of him as either an abstract concept or as "someone i n whom e v i l i s mixed with good but who i s doomed to destruction by the flaw of self-love . • . with Milton's contemporaries the response was predominantly one of fear."9 Love and fear are seldom motives noted to produce the sort ©^rational response as i s produced, say, by curiosity or necessity, but they are stronger, and the stronger of the two, by anyone's toss of the coin, i s fear. It i s no small matter that by engaging both in the centre of one myth, Milton seized an advantage Homer did not have. Rajan quotes from a sermon of Jeremy Taylor the following passage to illustrate what the image of Satan meant to the seventeenth-century Englishman: His /&od's7 mercies make contemptible means instrumental to great purposes, and a small herb the remedy of the greatest diseases; he impedes the Devil's rage and infatuates his counsels, he diverts his malice, and defeats his purposes, he bindes him in the chaine of darknesse and gives him no power over the children of light; he suffers him to work in solitary places and yet fetters him that he cannot disturb the sleep of a childe; he hath given him mighty power and yet a young maiden that resists him shall make him flee away; he hath given him a vast knowledge and yet an ignorant man can confute him with the twelve articles of his creed, he gave him power over the winds and made him Prince of the air, and yet the breath of a holy prayer can drive him as far as the utmost sea • . . .i® While such a goodly use for e v i l may be alien to the modern-day Christian, i t should not seem implausible that the same ambivalence, the same polarity, good by way of e v i l , should thrive in myth, in poetry, and in practice as an extraordinarily stimulating power. The importance of the devil began to wane as soon as theologians began defending the Paith with ever more elaborate disquisitions. Milton knew the mind of man better than scientist, theologian, or philosopher when he drew Satan's image. He also knew that 37 the strength of Christian myth lay in preserving the ultimate dualism of good and e v i l and not in attempting to rationalize a story that is not, in the f i r s t place, particularly l o g i c a l . Par from resolving the gap in logic that makes Satan implausible as a heroic figure, Milton widens i t . Milton does not offer to solve "the problem of Satan"; with the certain instinct of a mythic poet, he does not explain the mystery of e v i l , but enlarges the question. Satan, as Basil Willey points out, " . . . i s virt u a l l y rejecting i t s /the f a l l ' s / original meaning and preparing the ground for the rationalisation which he /Milton/ preferred." A purely magical figure from the Bible and legend has been replaced by a new figure whose single act i s the source of a new reality. Perhaps the c r i t i c s provide the best evidence for Satan's provocative powers, for they seem to have taken up where theo-logians l e f t off some time ago. In answer to Rajan's discussion of whether the devil i s an ass, William Empson provides an example in miniature of the c r i t i c a l pandaemonium that has been raised over Satan since the time of Sir Walter Raleigh's seminal comments: "Though conscious we are not always or inescapably conscious" that God i s omnipotent. "The conflict then i s neither Pro-methean nor f a r c i c a l . It i s dramatically real in proportion as you assent to the i l l u s i o n of equality which the poem communicates" (P.96). This i s quite true except that he does not seem to realize what i t means. How could the i l l u s i o n be any more real than i t i s , in a poem? What other con-vincing process was open to the poem beyond convincing our imagination? Christians who read the poem as Mr. Rajan does, I should fancy, are i n greater spiritual danger than they suppose from their aesthetic play; "in proportion as you assent to the i l l u s i o n of equality"- you secretly accept the righteousness of Satan's basic claim. Milton himself I should have thought, was a p a r t i c u l a r l y u n l i k e l y kind of man to have toyed with the Devil i n t h i s way, but i n any case, i f he did, he was doing what Shelley praised him f o r . Indeed. 39 NOTES F. Otto, pp. 79-80. 2C. S. Lewis, A Preface to "Paradise Lost" (New York: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 95. ^Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns i n Poetry: Psychological  Studies of Imagination (London: Oxford University Press, 1963), p. 13. 4 I b i d . 5priedrich Nietzsche, "The B i r t h of Tragedy," i n his The B i r t h of Tragedy and The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Prancis G o l f f i n g (lew York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956), p. 64. ^Roland Prye, God, Man, and Satan (Princeton: Princeton University Press, I960), p. 25. "^Basil Willey, The Seventeenth Century Background (New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1953), p. 250~7 8 I b i d . Rajan, "Paradise Lost" and the Seventeenth Century  Reader (London: Chatto & Windus, 1966), p. 94. 1 0 I b i d . , pp. 97-98. i : L¥illey, p. 252. 1 2 W i l l i a m Empson, Milton's God (London: Chatto & Windus, 1965), pp. 34-35. 40 CHAPTER III GOD THE SON: THE MYSTERY OP GOODNESS Instead of the perpetual sense of the h e l p f u l presence of the Deity, which, through a l l heathen t r a d i t i o n , i s the source of heroic strength, i n a b a t t l e , i n e x i l e , and i n the v a l l e y of the shadow of death, we f i n d only i n the great C h r i s t i a n poet, the consciousness of a moral law, through which "the gods are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to scourge us;" and of the resolved a r b i t r a t i o n of the destinies, that conclude into precision of doom what we feebly and b l i n d l y began; and force us, when our i n d i s c r e t i o n serves us, and our deepest plots do p a l l , to the confession, that "there's a d i v i n i t y that shapes our ends, rough hew them how we w i l l . " Is not t h i s a mystery of l i f e ? — J o h n Ruskin, The Mystery of L i f e and i t s Arts No figure i n Paradise Lost raises more problems f o r l o g i c a l interpretation than the Son. They are more serious than those raised by Satan because the questions involve central points of C h r i s t i a n dogma, the nature of the T r i n i t y , of f a i t h , of redemption. A review of some objections to the Son w i l l help to demonstrate the extent of the l o g i c a l impasse. Once these objections from the r a t i o n a l point of view have been stated, the discussion w i l l proceed to an evaluation of the Son as a mythical f i g u r e . If Satan appears contradictory as a f o o l and as a hero i n one fi g u r e , s p l i t between his role i n the fable and h i s role i n the myth, how much more must the image of the Son seem l i k e an anomaly. On the surface at least the Son i s an absurd figure, more l i k e l y to beget disgust than reverence. The gon pledges 41 Himself to act as a Redeemer (III.236), His speech i s a l l meekness and love during the council i n Heaven; the next time we see Him, He plots with God how to end the war i n Heaven and proclaims "whom thou hat'st, I hate, and can put on / Thy t e r r o r s , as I put thy mildness on" (VI.734). Raphael e x p l i c i t l y states that his reason f o r narrating the war i n Heaven! ± s to demonstrate "By t e r r i b l e Example the reward / Of disobedience" (VI.910). Yet, i f the war i n Heaven i s to be an example not only f o r Adam and Eve but f o r every obedient Christian of how to combat e v i l i n others or waywardness i n himself, then i t appears that physical violence i s not only condoned but pre-ferred p o l i c y . Doing the w i l l of God seems to involve the Son i n contradictory rol e s , one f o r Heaven and another f o r earth. Apparently the Son i s exempt now from what He w i l l practise as a man: forbearance and patience to suffer shame and death i n the name of God. It would have been more seemly i f Satan's attacks had been rebuffed by a gesture of love or grace; choosing to f i g h t looks l i k e a t a c i t admission of the i m p r a c t i c a b i l i t y of C h r i s t i a n v i r t u e . What i s worse, Milton has made the Son appear very l i k e God's handy-man, everyready to second the Omnipotent i n a l l His orders, but incapable of an o r i g i n a l thought. Since He knows He i s exalted above the rest i n the Heavenly council, there i s l i t t l e choice but to volunteer to "redeem / Man's mortal crime" (III.215)—noblesse oblige under the circumstances i s hardly the most admirable motive. Furthermore, that job seems rather superfluous i n the f i r s t place since God w i l l have 42 already chosen, by the time Christ arrives on earth, those "of peculiar grace / Elect above the r e s t " (III.183)• What more needs to be done? Since the greatest glory i s His by r i g h t , earning i t i n b a t t l e looks l i k e a superfluous formality and an u n f l a t t e r i n g spectacle of divine pride. We can admire David's splendid bravery i n facing Goliath, but could we tolerate Goliath de-feating David? A l l odds are on the Son's side during the war i n Heaven; what reaction i s possible but disgust at the sight of Omnipotence subduing a fool? S a t a n * s f L h e r o i c stature has been c a r e f u l l y established, but we know i t i s papier mache, an empty stature, b u i l t from delusions and vainglory. Milton i s r i s k i n g more than appearances by dressing the Son i n a soldier's habit; he i s mixing insoluble ingredients i n a way that appears to do no good either as drama or as epic. By adopting the epic form he obliged himself to deal with the T r i n i t y as epic characters; i n f u l f i l l i n g that obligation, he has made the Son so anthropomorphic that He i s become repugnant because He retains the insuperable omnipotence that makes a l l contest with Satan look l i k e a joke i n poor taste. Yvor Winters expressed the attitude of a whole fa c t i o n of Milton c r i t i c s i n 1957, when he confessed that: It requires more than a w i l l i n g suspension of d i s b e l i e f to read Milton; i t requires a w i l l i n g suspension of i n t e l l i g e n c e . . . . I grow extremely t i r e d of the meaningless i n f l a t i o n , the tedious f a l s i f i c a t i o n of the materials by way of excessive emotion . . . . Milton . . . i s concerned with a deity and with additional supernatural agents who are conceived i n extremely i n t e l l e c t u a l terms; our conceptions of them are the result of more than 2000 years of the most profound and complex i n t e l l e c t u a l a c t i v i t y i n the h i s t o r y cf the human race. Milton's form i s 43 such that he must f i r s t reduce these beings to something much nearer the form of the Homeric gods than t h e i r proper form, and then must t r e a t h i s r i d i c u l o u s l y degraded beings i n h e r o i c language . . . . 2 By c o n t r a s t , we remember Homeric gods are as f r e q u e n t l y j o v i a l as they are serious and seldom f i g h t among themselves: Threats are f r e q u e n t l y u t t e r e d on Olympus, or an e a r l i e r deed of v i o l e n c e i s r e c a l l e d , but nothing crude or unseemly ever takes p l a c e . Indeed i t i s almost as i f the expressions which might seem crude show a l l the more c l e a r l y how seemly and d i g n i f i e d the conduct of gods r e a l l y i s . 3 However v i o l e n t the repercussion f e l t on earth may be from the t r i c k Hera played on Zeus, the gods themselves e x h i b i t , i n Homer's hands, splend i d s e l f - c o n t r o l : When Zeus r e a l i z e s ( I l i a d , 15 .13) that Hera's tender a f f e c t i o n was only a t r i c k to d i s t r a c t him from events on the b a t t l e f i e l d , he g r i m l y reminds her how severely she had been c h a s t i s e d on a previous occasion, and w i t h her a l l the gods who wished to succor her. But when she swears that i t was not she who had insti'gatecl Poseidon to h i s deed, the f a t h e r of the gods smiles and h i s wish shows h i s b e l i e f that h i s w i f e i s at one w i t h him. 4 I t would appear t h a t , when M i l t o n set out to t r e a t the s t o r y of the f a l l , he overlooked the f a c t t h a t , f o r one t h i n g , i t i s not a very pleasant s t o r y and t h a t , f o r another, God the Son would have to act l i k e a t y r a n t . U n f o r t u n a t e l y , M i l t o n had l i t t l e c h o i c e. This i s the s t o r y of the f a l l , and however much M i l t o n may s t r e s s Free W i l l as the d e c i s i v e agent, God the Son has s t i l l the h o r r i f y i n g t a s k of c a s t i n g one t h i r d of Heaven's angels i n t o e t e r n a l s u f f e r i n g — n o t b l e ssed death—and Mi c h a e l , on God's orders, has l i k e w i s e to r e j e c t man from paradise. For a l l t h e i r a t t r a c t i v e n e s s and poetic grandeur, the hexameral passages i n Books V I I and V I I I , designed and l o c a t e d e x p r e s s l y f o r c o n t r a s t , can do l i t t l e t o compete w i t h the v i o l e n t a c t i v i t y of Books I through VI. The stunning f a c t remains that j u s t i -f y i n g G-od'ssways appears to be excusing a clumsy and d e s t r u c t i v e d e i t y by a fe e b l e a b s t r a c t i o n c a l l e d Free W i l l . Reasonable as a l l these objections are, i t i s not l i k e l y they would have occurred to M i l t o n . I f f o r a moment he ever doubted the wisdom of an epic s e t t i n g , ^ a l l that we hear i s the r e s o l u t e c o n f i r m a t i o n i n phrases where M i l t o n i s j u s t i f y i n g h i s own ways by reminding us of the grandeur of h i s s t o r y : "deeds above Heroic". But qu i t e aside from epic o b l i g a t i o n s or M i l t o n ' s p a r t i c u l a r i n t e n t i o n s , the image of the Son i s fundamentally P u r i t a n . I n s o f a r as He i s m i l i t a n t i n the presence of E v i l , and s t e r n i n the presence o f f A d a m — f a l l e n or u n f a l i e n — M i l t o n ' s Son i s g r a t i f y i n g P u r i t a n consciousness. I f those t r a i t s seem needless by d e f i n i t i o n or severe i n degree to us, they were n e i t h e r needless nor severe t o seventeenth-century Englishmen whose reformed view of C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e had l i t t l e room f o r C h r i s t as man's i n t e r c e s s o r w i t h God: The P u r i t a n saga d i d not c h e r i s h the memory of C h r i s t i n the manger or on the c r o s s , that i s , of the lamb of God s a c r i f i c e d i n v i c a r i o u s atonement f o r the s i n s of man.-> The d o c t r i n e of atonement was not abandoned by the P u r i t a n consciousness, but reshaped t o " . . . s i g n i f y the appointment of the e l e c t s o u l to j o i n w i t h C h r i s t i n the war against the eternal enemy . . . ." Milton's God i s mythopoeically reshaping His Son to specifications when we f i r s t see them i n c o u n c i l : 0 Son, i n whom my Soul hath chief delight, Son of my bosom, Son who art alone My word, my wisdom, and effectual might, A l l hast thou spok'n as my thoughts are, a l l As my Eternal purpose hath decreed....(111.168-172) The Son had just pointed out (III.144-166) that, i f God did not provide something to counteract the r u i n Satan i s about to i n i t i a t e on earth—by His permission—everything would be l o s t , including the "glory" the whole project of creation was o r i g i n a l l y conceived to y i e l d Him. No laggard at rhetoric or psychology, the Soncclenches the speech with an appeal to God's ego which must, indeed, be mammoth: So should thy goodness and thy greatness both Be question'd and blasphem'd without defense. (III.165-166) As straight fable, dramatic or epic, these passages are ludicrous. It would appear that, for a l l His omniscience, God was short-sighted; that the Son dare open His mouth to point out such an oversight, enormous as i t i s , i s s u f f i c i e n t ground f o r royal embarrassment. Laughter on the head of the Almighty would hardly do—not when the god i n question i s a jealous god. 7 The passage i s philosophically (theologically) sound i n corresponding to s c r i p t u r a l d e f i n i t i o n of the Son's duties as the Word (Logos) and as the Judgment of God, but we notice i m m e d i a t e l y t h e Son's t h i r d d u t y , as Redeemer, i s m i s s i n g : My word, my wisdom, and e f f e c t u a l might....(III.170) God t h e n proceeds t o d i c t a t e (III.173-216) a d e c i d e d l y P u r i t a n v e r s i o n o f Redemption t h a t o m i t s any mention o f t h e Son w h i l e r e p e a t i n g "me," "mine," o r "I" more t h a n a dozen t i m e s . A f t e r o u t l i n i n g t h i s new j o b , i t o c c u r s t o Him, as an a f t e r t h o u g h t , someone w i t h e x t r a o r d i n a r y power w i l l have t o f u l f i l l i t . God has l o a d e d t h e d i c e f o r H i s Son's e l e c t i o n j u s t as much as Satan had f o r h i s own and M i l t o n i s c o u n t i n g on t h e echo o f t h a t e a r l i e r p a r l i a m e n t . God c e r t a i n l y s t a g e d t h e e f f e c t t h a t He g o t , but what M i l t o n may have i n mind i s t h a t He need not have t r o u b l e d H i m s e l f w i t h s u c h an e l a b o r a t e p r o -d u c t i o n , i n f u l l a u dience o f the a n g e l s : an e x e c u t i v e o r d e r would have s u f f i c e d . B o t h God and Satan had made t h e i r d e c i s i o n s b e f o r e c o u n c i l s a t ; b o t h were c a l c u l a t i n g f o r aggran-d i s e m e n t . B u t , i n the f u l l e r c o n t e x t , we know Satan's b i d i s f o r s e l f - g l o r y . Whoever pays t r i b u t e t o God s h a l l r e c e i v e " g r a c e " — - a word o f t e n h e a r d i n the t e x t but l e f t u n e x p l a i n e d so f a r . M i l t o n provokes us w i t h apparent l i k e n e s s e s . The Son as Redeemer i s t o be t h e i n s t r u m e n t f o r g r a c e , n o t a d e l i v e r y boy. The means, o f s a l v a t i o n s h a l l be o f f e r e d , n o t g i v e n ; t h e godhead r e t a i n s u l t i m a t e d e c i s i o n . The scene o f t h i s proposed a c t i v i t y i s , f i r s t o f a l l , i n t h e mind where, e v e r h e l p f u l , He ... w i l l p l a c e w i t h i n them as a guide My Umpire Oonscience, whom i f t h e y w i l l h e a r , L i g h t a f t e r l i g h t , w e l l us'd t h e y s h a l l a t t a i n And t o the end p e r s i s t i n g , s a f e a r r i v e . (III.194-197) Conscience i s c o n s t a n t l y equated w i t h reason and i n d i v i d u a l judgment i n the C h r i s t i a n D o ctrine. When the Son becomes C h r i s t , a k i n d of metamorphosis by extension, the Word becomes Right Reason. M i l t o n ' s s p e c i a l v e r s i o n of p r e d e s t i n a t i o n i s b r i e f l y s t a t e d as: "Some I have chosen of p e c u l i a r grace / E l e c t above the r e s t ; so i s my w i l l " (III.183-184) and seems to be more grammatical legerdemain than anything e l s e . The question i s , when does e l e c t i o n occur? The beginning of Chapter IV i n the C h r i s t i a n Doctrine s t a t e s : The P r i n c i p a l SPECIAL DECREE of Cod RELATING TO MAN i s termed PREDESTINATION, whereby God IN PITY TO MANKIND, THROUGH PORE-SEEING THAT THEY WOULD PALL OP THEIR OWN ACCORD, PREDESTINATED TO ETERNAL SALVATION BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD THOSE WHO SHOULD BELIEVE AND CONTINUE IN THE FAITH: f o r A MANIFESTA-TION OF THE GLORY OF HIS MERCY, GRACE, AND WISDOM, ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE IN CHRIST. ( C E . XIV, 91) M i l t o n i s p a r t i c u l a r l y e x p l i c i t that he means, u n l i k e C a l v i n , nothing condemnatory: "Reprobation, t h e r e f o r e , could not be included under the t i t l e of p r e d e s t i n a t i o n . " ( C E . XIV, 97) The whole chapter i s e s s e n t i a l l y a challenge to C a l v i n i s t i c p r e d e s t i n a t i o n : " E l e c t i o n . . . i s not a part of p r e d e s t i n a -t i o n . . . ." ( C E . XIV, 99) The onus i s placed squarely on those who "SHOULD BELIEVE AND CONTINUE IN THE FAITH"—that i s , those i n whom not only the knowledge of good and e v i l i s present ( a l l men), but i n whom Right Reason i s present ( b e l i e f i n God through C h r i s t ) a l s o . E l e c t i o n from a d i v i n e point of view i s an u n f u l f i l l e d i d e a and an accomplished f a c t at one time, but the e l e c t are to be only those who f r e e l y choose to seek God. 48 Use of the p r e s e n t - p e r f e c t tense—"Some I have chosen" ( I I I . 1 8 3 ) — i s not a s l i p of God's tongue but His omnipresence speaking at no p a r t i c u l a r p o i n t i n time. The b l u r r e d sense of time occurs because v/e have j u s t seen Satan s o a r i n g toward e a r t h ; hence, the f a l l has not o c c u r r e d . The whole f i r s t p art of Book I I I i s one e x c e l l e n t i n s t a n c e where M i l t o n achieves t h a t -^peculiar s e n s a t i o n of t i m e l e s s n e s s which E r n s t C a s s i r e r has denoted as t y p i c a l of myth-making: And by v i r t u e of t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p /time and space/ a par-t i c u l a r m y t h i c a l - r e l i g i o u s " c h a r a c t e r , " a s p e c i a l accent of " h o l i n e s s , " i s g i v e n to time as a whole and to every phase of time i n p a r t i c u l a r . As we have seen, m y t h i c a l f e e l i n g l o o k s on p o s i t i o n and d i r e c t i o n i n space not as the e x p r e s s i o n of a mere r e l a t i o n but as a p a r t i c u l a r b e i n g , a god or demon, and the same i s t r u e of time and i t s s u b d i v i s i o n s . . . .® In responding to d i v i n e c a l l , the Son o u t l i n e s a v i g o r o u s programme as C h r i s t , Son of God and Son of Man, which, however, g i v e s l i t t l e emphasis to His own N a t i v i t y or the P a s s i o n (III.2 3 6 - 2 4 3 ) and l e s s to His death, a matter almost d i s m i s s e d w i t h an a s i d e : Though now to Death I y i e l d , and am h i s due A l l t h a t of me can die....(III.245-246) The emphasis f a l l s upon the r e s u r r e c t i o n , but i t would seem C h r i s t l i n g e r s on e a r t h f o r q u i t e some time b e f o r e r e t u r n i n g t o Heaven: But I s h a l l r i s e V i c t o r i o u s , and subdue My vanquisher, s p o i l ' d of h i s vaunted s p o i l ; Death h i s death's wound s h a l l then r e c e i v e , and stoop I n g l o r i o u s , of h i s mortal s t i n g disarm*d. I through the ample A i r i n Triumph h i g h S h a l l l e a d H e l l Captive maugre H e l l , and show The powers of darkness bound. Thou at the s i g h t P l e a s ' d , out of Heaven s h a l t look down and s m i l e , While by thee r a i s ' d I r u i n a l l my Foes, Death l a s t , and w i t h h i s Carcass g l u t the G r a v e — (III.2 5 0 - 2 5 9 ) w h i c h i s e s s e n t i a l l y a v i s i o n o f t h e L a s t Lay. Then, i n two l i n e s : Then w i t h t h e m u l t i t u d e o f my redeem'd S h a l l e n t e r Heav'n l o n g absent....(III.260-261) There i s v i r t u a l l y no d e p a r t u r e i n the e n t i r e speech from t r a d i t i o n a l d o c t r i n e s , but t h e emphases a r e r a d i c a l l y M i l t o n ' F o r c o m p a r i s o n , h e r e i s a passage from a minor A n g l i c a n t h e o -l o g i a n , John P e a r s o n (1612-1686): F o r t h e Son o f man came t o g i v e H i s l i f e a ransom f o r many; and as He came t o g i v e , so He gave H i m s e l f a ransom f o r a l l . So t h a t i n Him we have r e d e m p t i o n t h r o u g h H i s b l o o d , the f o r g i v e n e s s o f s i n s . For we a r e bought w i t h a p r i c e ; f o r we a r e redeemed, n o t w i t h c o r r u p t i b l e t h i n g s , as s i l v e r and g o l d , but w i t h t h e p r e c i o u s b l o o d o f C h r i s t , as o f a lamb w i t h o u t b l e m i s h and w i t h o u t s p o t . He t h e n Which h a t h ob-t a i n e d f o r us r e m i s s i o n o f s i n s , He Who t h r o u g h H i m s e l f h a t h r e c o n c i l e d us unto God, He Who h a t h g i v e n H i m s e l f as a random t o redeem u s , He Who h a t h t h u s wrought out t h e way of s a l v a t i o n f o r u s , must n e c e s s a r i l y have a second and a f a r h i g h e r r i g h t u n t o the name o f J e s u s , unto the t i t l e o f S a v i o u r . 9 ft V - - , A p p a r e n t l y one n e e d n ' t t l i f t a f i n g e r . One s t r o n g impetus b e h i n d t h e r e f o r m movement i n En g l a n d was an emphatic r e b u t t a l t o t h e i d e a t h a t t h e body o f C h r i s t i s an o r g a n i z e d c h u r c h w i t h b i s h o p s and p r i e s t s as i t s p u r v e y o r s . These we meet b r i e f l y when S a t a n , f l y i n g toward t h e e a r t h , passes t h r o u g h Limbo: ...then might ye see Cowls, Hoods and H a b i t s w i t h t h i r wearers t o s t And f l u t t e r ' d i n t o Rags, t h e n R e l i q u e s , Beads, I n d u l g e n c e s , D i s p e n s e s , Pardons, B u l l s , The s p o r t o f Winds: a l l t h e s e u p w h i r l ' d a l o f t P l y o'er t h e b a c k s i d e of t h e World f a r o f f I n t o a Limbo l a r g e and b r o a d , s i n c e c a l l ' d The P a r a d i s e o f F o o l s ( I I I . 4 8 9 - 4 9 6 ) 50 Rather, Christ's kingdom i s s p i r i t u a l , and governed "CHIEFLY BY AN INWARD LAW" ( C E . XV, 299): "Hence external force ought never to he employed i n the administration of the kingdom of Christ, which i s the church . . . ." ( C E . XV, 301) When Michael repeats Christ's story to Adam as part of the much larger narration that includes the millenium and beyond, the Ascension appears to take place almost immediately: Nor af t e r resurrection s h a l l he stay Longer on Earth than certain times to appear To his Disciples....(XII.436-438) This i s probably l i p - s e r v i c e to s c r i p t u r a l insistence that the physical body was transported to Heaven. The passage continues, af t e r a survey of the work of the d i s c i p l e s : Then to the Heav'n of Heav'ns he s h a l l ascend With v i c t o r y , triumphing through the air. Over his foes and thing; there s h a l l surprise The Serpent, Prince of a i r , and drag i n Chains Through a l l h i s Realm, and there confounded leave; Then enter into glory, and resume His Seat at God's right hand, exalted high Above a l l names i n Heav'n; and thence s h a l l come, When t h i s world's dissol u t i o n s h a l l be r i p e , With glory and power to judge both quick and dead...-(XII.451-460) This i s r e a l l y a case where Milton has either grammatically l o s t his way or has, a second time, inserted a passage which del i b e r a t e l y makes i t appear that Christ remains on earth f a r longer than dogma allows. I t sounds as i f He no sooner got back to Heaven aft e r the resurrection than i t was time for Judgment Day. The matter i s a problem only i f one i s seeking to extract a precise theological statement from these passages. Our interest i s merely to notice that, where the Church versions dispatch Christ hack to Heaven as quickly as possible and hand His mediative duties to priests and bishops, Milton's Christ appears to remain on earth, s p i r i t u a l l y a part of men, not as a Guiding Light, but as a predominantly aggressive force. A l l discussions of the Atonement i n Paradise Lost have the composite value of a promissory note. The only time we see the Son acting i n any way l i k e a mediator i s at the beginning of Book XI as he intercedes to convey the prayers of penitent Adam and Eve to the Father. By then, the Son's image has faded into l i t t l e more than a metaphorical expression of Holy Scripture and the whole poem i s bent, i n i t s s o l i t a r y way, on a swift review of future events. Thereafter, nothing happens; Adam never needs a mediator because-he never does anything. He s i t s and l i s t e n s to Michael, and dreams of the horror his disobedience w i l l bring; he hears news of a Messiah and rej o i c e s at the idea of another paradise on earth. Once the Son has thrust Satan out of Heaven, there simply i s nothing f o r Him to do, i n the t r a d i t i o n a l sense of epic action. His role i n creation, giving " e f f e c t " (VII.175) to what God Himself does, seems more decorative than anything else. Later, He cannot descend bodily to earth to d e l i v e r God's judgment. He descends as a "voice . . . / Now walking i n the Garden" (X.97-98). However t e r r i b l e the words sound, the Son i s nonetheless dramatically a void. Milton's Puritan Son, then, i s a warrior by profession, mythopoeically reshaped from a la r g e l y passive ancestor, i n order to do combat with an acknowledged enemy. His duties as Saviour, though e s s e n t i a l l y retained, have been c u r t a i l e d by the introduction of two matters: Free W i l l and Elect i o n , both of which transfer a great portion of that job to men and both of which form an elementary stage of Christian warfare. For the Puritan consciousness, the Son took the shape of man so that He might do ba t t l e on earth. To worship God through Christ i s not to repeat sacerdotal r i t u a l s nor submit to human mediators. To worship God i s to choose His divine grace above a l l temptation to the contrary. This choice i s perpetually present because we know good only by way of e v i l ; hence, a cle a r v i s i o n sees " . . . a l l existence and every human l i f e as a phase of c o n f l i c t between Christ and Satan. " ^ This dualism, as we noted i n the preceding chapter, requires both forces to be present to be e f f e c t u a l : The ordeal of the f l e s h was the v i c t o r y of the s p i r i t . So long as s i n vexed him, he might know that God was with him. A l l he had to do was to continue to be vexed, and he was sure -GO triumph, because a l l existence i s the con-f l i c t of Christ against Satan, the foreordained outcome of which i s the triumph of the e l e c t . . . . Christ was man recreated i n s p i r i t . His war upon Satan i n heaven and i n the wilderness was the image of the war he waged upon Satan i n the human breast . 1 1 In the preceding chapter, i t was stated that Satan provokes C h r i s t . That now seems l i k e only h a l f of the story. I f Satan provokes the Son to do b a t t l e , Milton provides him with ample motivation. There i s too much truth i n hi s com-pl a i n t to Beelzebub, the night af t e r God "begets" His "only Son" (V.603). Satan creeps to the bedside of his "next s u b o r d i n a t e " and speaks " i n s e c r e t " t h e f o l l o w i n g : ... new Laws thou s e e ' s t impos'd; Hew Laws from him who r e i g n s , new minds may r a i s e I n us who s e r v e , new C o u n s e l s , t o debate What d o u b t f u l may ensue; more i n t h i s p l a c e To u t t e r i s n o t s a f e . (V.679-683) And l a t e r , t h e r e i s t o o much t r u t h i n h i s d e c l a r a t i o n t o t h e t h i r d p a r t of Heaven drawn t o s e c r e t c o u n c i l : W i l l ye submit your n e c k s , and choose t o bend The s u p p l e knee? ye w i l l n o t , i f I t r u s t To know ye r i g h t , o r i f ye know y o u r s e l v e s N a t i v e s and Sons of Heav'n p o s s e s t b e f o r e By none, and i f not e q u a l a l l , y e t f r e e , E q u a l l y f r e e ; f o r Orders and Degrees J a r not w i t h l i b e r t y , but w e l l c o n s i s t . Who can i n r e a s o n t h e n o r r i g h t assume Monarchy over such as l i v e by r i g h t H i s e q u a l s , i f i n power and s p l e n d o r l e s s , I n freedom e q u a l ? o r can i n t r o d u c e Law and E d i c t on u s , who w i t h o u t law E r r n o t ? much l e s s f o r t h i s t o be our L o r d , And l o o k f o r a d o r a t i o n t o th'abuse Of t h o s e I m p e r i a l T i t l e s w h i c h a s s e r t Our b e i n g o r d a i n ' d t o g o v e r n , not t o s e r v e ? (V.787-802) L e t us o v e r l o o k , f o r a moment, Satan's d e c e i t s and c o n s i d e r h i s s u b s t a n t i a l r e a s o n s . I f he i s a " s u p e r i o r E i e n d " (1.283) i n H e l l , as v/e have met him a l r e a d y , l i k e w i s e , he was t h e most b r i l l i a n t o f a n g e l s i n Heaven, L u c i f e r by name: "(So c a l l him, b r i g h t e r once amidst t h e Host / Of A n g e l s , t h a n t h a t S t a r t h e S t a r among)" ( V I I . 1 3 2 - 1 3 3 ) • He has p a r t i c u l a r cause f o r i n s u l t . But more g e n e r a l l y , Goo's sudden and un-p r e c e d e n t e d e l e v a t i o n o f t h e Son above t h e o t h e r a n g e l s (V.600-615) appears t o be a s p e c i f i c t e s t o f a n g e l i c a l l e -g i a n c e . O n l y a moment b e f o r e , we h e a r d o f t h e c r e a t i o n o f 54 the Heavenly hosts: ... by Imperial summons c a l l ' d , Innumerable before th'Almighty's Throne Forthwith from a l l the ends of Heav'n appear'd Under t h i r Hierarchs i n orders bright; Ten thousand thousand Ensigns high advanc'd, Standards and Gonfalons, twixt Van and Rear Stream i n the A i r , and for d i s t i n c t i o n serve Of Hierarchies, of Orders, and Degrees....(V.584-591) Why a l l t h i s b a t t l e gear before any hint of rebellion? "The d i f f i c u l t y i s that the whole notion of God as universal monarch, King of Kings, i s of i t s e l f provocative and almost 12 calculated to s t i r up trouble." Abdiel's retort to Satan (V.803-848) begins with a rather clear admission that freedom of speech i s not to be found i n Heaven: 0 argument blasphemous, f a l s e and proud 1 - Words which no ear ever to hear i n Heav'n Expected, least of a i l from thee, ingrate, In place thyself so high above thy Peers. (V.809-812) Abdiel's bravery we a l l admire, but his argument has the r i n g of o f f i c i a l propaganda. He cannot imagine what a b i t i n g sting to L u c i f e r must be the loss of f i r s t place among the angels. Had he sympathized f o r a moment and pointed out diplomatically that insurrection was not the solution, that, instead perhaps a sensible p e t i t i o n to the Almighty might correct a grievous s i t u a t i o n , then Abdiel's bravery might have had greater appeal. It seems p a r t i c u l a r l y rash on his part to s t r i k e the f i r s t blow (VI.189); we are accustomed to seeing goodness i n the defensive p o s i t i o n . Pronounced enemy that Satan i s by now, his cause can only gain sympathy from an impartial eye i n 55 s u f f e r i n g the f i r s t attack. Since i t i s clear only the Son has sufi'icient power to end the s t r i f e (VI.702), why does God prolong the b a t t l e twice? The delay does enable the angels to demonstrate t h e i r devotion and put t h e i r a t h l e t i c t r a i n i n g (IV.551) to m i l i t a r y use, but a display of angelic devotion seems needless by d e f i n i t i o n ; that, presumably, i s t h e i r f u l l - t i m e job. Either an angel i s devout, or else he i s f a l l e n . It seems l i k e anooffensive device to stage Satan's miserable defeat. He w i l l have eternity to regret r e b e l l i o n ; there i s no l o g i c a l reason to draw out his delusion i n long b a t t l e . These are minor objections i n themselves; they point, however, to a larger question concerned with the whole idea of God the Son: why has Milton gone to such p a r t i c u l a r lengths to accent the c a t a l y t i c e f f e c t the apostate angel and the "Only begotten Son" have on one another? It cannot be f o r simple dramatic reasons. One fee l s even less suspense over the war i n heaven than a Grecian might have f e l t over hearing of the bat t l e s i n the I l i a d . Their outcomes are accomplished f a c t s ; the s t o r i e s are too f a m i l i a r . Putting aside Satan's self-deluding l i e s , he has one substantial reason f o r envy and despair: his subordination— r e a l and imagined by h i m s e l f — i s the natural, and spontaneous outcome of the Son's elevation. They are twin offspring of one conception. Milton's poem magnifies t h i s paradox. God's own speech prescribes the s p l i t (V.600-615), which He c e r t a i n l y foresees. Before discussing Paradise Lost further, i t may be helpful to compare another account of the f a l l . In his book, Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzberg gives the following account of the f a l l of Lucifer: In particular, Satan was jealous of the f i r s t man, and his e v i l thoughts f i n a l l y led to his f a l l . After Adam had been endowed with a soul, God invited a l l the angels to come and pay him reverence and homage. Satan, the greatest of the angels in heaven, with twelve wings, instead of six like a l l the others, refused to pay heed to the behest of God . . . . 1 3 Satan balks and asks for a t r i a l of wit, which God grants, while stipulating that, should Satan lose the contest, he shall thereafter be "subject to Adam". The contest between Adam and Satan is to name the animals in the garden. Satan tries f i r s t , and fumbles. Then God turned to Adam, and questioned him regarding the names of the same animals, framing His questions in such wise that the f i r s t letter of the f i r s t word was the same as the f i r s t l e t t e r of the name of the animal standing before him. Thus Adam divined the proper name, and Satan was forced to acknow-ledge the superiority of the f i r s t man.14 This is interesting for several reasons. The f i r s t is that Satan's image is almost entirely comical. His vanity i s like that of a prima donna who i s needlessly jealous of a far i n -ferior performer. Why should such a token gesture of obedience prompt him to jealousy when there i s no explicit possibility that Adam w i l l ever provide competition? His impetuous attempt, a l i t t l e later on, to establish a godhead greater than God's has no tragic weight to i t . The second reason is that the Lord God acts treacherously; Satan loses by deceit. That the 57 L o r d God d e i g n s t o p l a y games a t a l l i s a c u r i o u s m i x t u r e o f whimsy and o u t r a g e . I n C h r i s t i a n myth, t h e o b j e c t o f Satan's j e a l o u s y i s p r o p e r l y t h e Son. As Hughes p o i n t s o u t , M i l t o n ' s source i s from t h e f i r s t and second c h a p t e r s o f Hebrews. The book i s an anonymous t r e a t i s e a ddressed t o a group who " . . . were on th e p o i n t o f g i v i n g up t h e i r C h r i s t i a n f a i t h and r e t u r n i n g t o t h e J e w i s h b e l i e f s and p r a c t i c e s o f t h e i r a n c e s t o r s . To w i n them back t o a f i r m adherence t o C h r i s t i a n i t y , t h e a u t h o r emphasizes . . . t h e s u p e r i o r i t y of Jesus C h r i s t t o the p r o p h e t s , 15 t o the a n g e l s , and t o Moses h i m s e l f . . . ." Hughes a l s o p o i n t s out (V.603, n o t e ) M i l t o n was s t r o n g l y i n f l u e n c e d by th e second Psalm w h i c h he t r a n s l a t e d f r om t h e Hebrew i n 1653. The p a r e n t h e t i c a l comment i s M i l t o n ' s i n t e r p o l a t i o n : ... he who i n Heaven d o t h d w e l l S h a l l l a u g h , t h e L o r d s h a l l s c o f f them, t h e n s e v e r e Speak t o them i n h i s w r a t h , and i n h i s f e l l And f i e r c e i r e t r o u b l e them; but I , s a i t h hee, A n o i n t e d have my K i n g (though ye r e b e l ) On S i o n my h o l i ' h i l l . A f i r m decree I w i l l d e c l a r e ; the L o r d t o me h a t h s a i d , Thou a r t my Son, I have b e g o t t e n thee T h i s day; ask o f me, and t h e g r a n t i s made; As t h y p o s s e s s i o n I on thee bestow Th'Heathen, and as t h y conquest t o be sv/ay'd E a r t h ' s utmost bounds: them s h a l t t h o u b r i n g f u l l low W i t h I r o n S c e p t e r b r u i s ' d y and them d i s p e r s e L i k e t o a p o t t e r ' s v e s s e l s h i v e r ' d s o . ( l i n e s 8-21) There i s l i t t l e doubt M i l t o n has the Son i n mind, e s p e c i a l l y when we remember h i s p o l i c y on i n t e r p o l a t i n g t h e O l d Testament: "Almost e v e r y t h i n g advanced i n t h e New Testament i s proved by c i t a t i o n s from t h e O l d . " ( C E . XVI, 253) S a t a n provokes C h r i s t because Christ i s his temptation; they are inseparable com-plements i n Milton's mind. The continuous p a r a l l e l s i n Paradise Lost gain f u l l e s t significance i n the l i g h t of t h e i r p o l a r i t y ; the s t r i f e i s self-perpetuating. Only the Son can subdue Satan and his band because only His goodness i s s u f f i c i e n t l y t e r r i b l e . They are rendered power-le s s with astonishment (VI.838) i n much the same way that Satan f e l t suddenly weak when Zephon discovered him and rebuked him: So spake the Cherub, and his grave rebuke Severe i n youthful beauty, added grace Invincible; abasht the Devil stood, And f e l t how awful goodness i s , and saw Virtue i n her shape howj:lovely, saw, and pin'd His l o s s ; but c h i e f l y to f i n d here observ'd His l u s t r e v i s i b l y impair'd; yet seem'd Undaunted. (IV.844-851) With i n f i n i t e l y greater force, the Son's eyes melt a l l the devi l ' s strength: Nor less on either side tempestuous f e l l His arrows, from the fourfold-visag'd Pour, D i s t i n c t with eyes, and from the l i v i n g Wheels, D i s t i n c t alike with multitude of eyes; One S p i r i t i n them rul ' d , and every eye Glar'd l i g h t n i n g . . . And of t h i r wonted vigor l e f t them drain'd, Exhausted, s p i r i t l e s s , a f f l i c t e d , f a l l ' n . (VI.844) Satan's defeat i s his loss of fearfulness, or, as Arnold Stein has put i t , his exposure to laughter, by the Son, and again i n Book Satan's perversity i s his uncontrollable a t t r a c t i o n to the force of goodness. His envy of the Son i s l i k e the moth's a t t r a c t i o n to a candle's flame. Presumably i t i s some r e f l e c t i o n of the same goodness that fascinates him and stuns him at the f i r s t sight of Eve: 59 That space the E v i l one abstracted stood Prom h i s own e v i l , and f o r the time remain'd Stupidly good, of enmity disarm'd...(IX.463-465) It i s the same force Adam f e e l s enter his s p i r i t , as, pre-sumably, he begins to elect the ways of God, by Free W i l l : "0 goodness i n f i n i t e , goodness immense!" (XII.469). I f the atonement s i g n i f i e s , not s p i r i t u a l resignation to the ways of the church, but "the appointment of the elect soul to j o i n with Christ i n the war against the eternal enemy . . . . "17 then no pathetic image of a defeated Christ on the cross would do to lead that struggle, nor any image of a resurrected Christ, remote i n Heaven, s i t t i n g at the r i g h t hand. I n f i n i t e goodness, f o r Puritans and e s p e c i a l l y for Milton, required a s o l d i e r . 60 NOTES x I n treating Paradise Lost as myth, i t i s f e l t there i s no reason f o r considering the war i n Heaven as less r e a l or less f a c t u a l than any other part of the poem. As Hughes notes (VII.880, note), attempts to prove Milton's meaning as symbolic only have been answered by others arguing Milton "intended the war i n heaven as a physical b a t t l e " . Raphael i s recounting divine t r u t h . He accommodates only the terms to human understanding "measuring things i n Heav'n by things on E a r t h " — t h a t i s , he has reduced the dimensions without a l t e r i n g the f a c t s . 2Yvor Winters, as quoted i n Empson, p. 91. (Empson has rearranged the o r i g i n a l passage i n Winters; Empson's r e -arrangement i s used here because i t i s both f a i t h f u l to the o r i g i n a l and i s clearer i n sense.) 5W. P. Otto, pp. 250-251. 4Ibid., p. 251. ^William Haller, The Rise of Puritanism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958), p. 151. 6 I b i d . , pp. 150-151. ^ I t seems possible, however, that Milton intended some degree of humour. There i s no reason why the Christian deity should be completely s t o l i d when i t s primary intention, which Milton r e a l l y advocates, i s love. As a poet and as a myth-maker Milton i s p a r t i c u l a r l y free to introduce new colours and, as we a l l know, he i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y fond of mixing opposites. Milton has too. high a notion of God's ways to exclude the p o s s i b i l i t y of ineffable mirth, even during a passage of dread-f u l premonitions. 8 E r n s t Cassirer, Mythical Thought, Vol. II i n The Philo- sophy of Symbolic Forms, trans. Ralph Manheim (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1955)» p. 107. 9john Pearson, as quoted i n Anglicanism, compiled & ed. Paul E. More and P . L. Cross (London: S. P. C. K., 1962), p. 285. 1 0 H a l l e r , p. 151. i : L I b i d . , p. 154. 1 2 A l a n W. Watts, The Two Hands of God (New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1963), p. 155. 13Ibid., pp. 150-151. 14ibid. •^ The Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, ed. Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger (New York: Oxford Uni-v e r s i t y Press, 1965), p. 1453. ^ A r n o l d s t e i n , "Milton's War i n Heaven," i n Milton: Modern Essays i n C r i t i c i s m , ed. Arthur Barker (New York: Oxford University Press, 1965), p. 271. 1 7 H a l l e r , pp. 150-151 62 CHAPTER IV MAN AND THE MYSTERY OP DISOBEDIENCE The whole Creation is a Mystery, and particularly that of Man. —Thomas Browne, Religio Medici In chapter two i t was noticed that the three-part struc-ture of Paradise Lost rests upon the principal deeds of Satan, God, and man. It was subsequently discussed how, as with the gods of Homer, the figures of Satan and God the Son are from a mythical point of view the images of forces; Satan embodies the mystery of e v i l , the Son, the mystery of Good, It was also discussed how those images complement and provoke one another and how Milton, as a mythic poet, encourages rather than explains or dispels the mysteries inherent in those images. The purpose of this chapter w i l l be to explore what larger significance the act of disobedience holds when viewed in the same terms. Because of the nature of the enquiry, Adam and Eve w i l l be treated corporately as "man"• Not less but more criticism has been launched against Adam and Eve than against the Son, but for the same reason: incre d i b i l i t y . Yvor V/inters' complaint of "meaningless i n f l a -tion" might well be directed especially at Adam-and Eve. Before beginning with an evaluation of them as mythical figures, some space should be given to demonstrating what happens when the c r i t i c s approach Adam and Eve seeking logical characters in a reasonable situation. E. M. ¥. T i l l y a r d has written that Milton could not have believed i n h i s own paradise because of the sheer pre-posterousness of the s i t u a t i o n , that he "would very soon have eaten the apple on his own r e s p o n s i b i l i t y and immediately j u s t i f i e d the act i n a polemical pamphlet."l The paradise of Book IV r e f l e c t s " . . . Milton's yearning f o r a better state of things than t h i s world provides . . . " but once he peoples the garden, "he can be no more successful than any other human being i n an attempt to imagine a state of existence at p variance with the primal requirements of the human mind." Considering T i l l y a r d ' s approach to Milton, long-matured and centred upon h i s t o r i c a l and biographical data, he i s probably understating his objection. Attempting to correct modern notions of them, C. S. Lewis has pointed out the "naked Majestie" of Adam and Eve and i n s i s t s they are not primitive or n a i f . Lewis quotes St. Augustine to remind us that Adam's "'mental powers . . . surpassed those of the most b r i l l i a n t philosopher as much as the speed of a b i r d surpassed that of a t o r t o i s e . ' " ^ Eve, likewise, i s l i k e a "Queen of earth", a v i r g i n " i n majesty" not " i n body, and never v i r g i n a l i n the sense of being im--mature. Maidenly ignorance had never existed i n Eve . . . . " 4 Before the f a l l , they were, to be sure, dndowed with a kind of i n t u i t i v e knowledge unknown to us. It d i f f e r e d only i n degree, not i n kind from the angelic i n t e l l i g e n c e of Raphael (V.490). It came instantaneously and f u l l y to Adam at creation (VIII.259). Whatever deficiencies he may have had, they were supplied by God Himself who appeared as a "Presence Divine" and instructed Adam on what he might and what he might not do (VIII.314). Both Adam and Eve were vibrant and sensitive people "before the f a l l ; they uttered poetry as a commonplace (V.150). Their d a i l y prayers at day-break were not the product of r i t u a l or r i g i d service, but the spontaneous out-pouring of highly i n t e l l i g e n t s p i r i t s . Yet, f o r a l l th i s / n a t u r a l wisdom, they are both not merely indiscreet but suddenly and t o t a l l y b l i n d when the test comes. They were warned numerous times to beware of the Tree of Knowledge, f i r s t by God (VIII.323), by Raphael twice (VII.900 and VIII.634). Indeed, Raphael was sent to narrate the story of the war i n heaven as an example of Satan's corruptive and beguiling power. What were they thinking about during the t e l l i n g of that enormous homily? Such f o r -getfulness i s not l i k e l y ; cultured i l l i t e r a t e s are noted f o r strength of memory. Eveiireeeived a special reminder just before departing alone f o r work that morning (IX.251). Moreover, Eve's dream (V.30-93) was a point-for-point r e p l i c a of the r e a l temptation. Her surprise at speech from a snake (IX.553) seems weak. Adam could t a l k with the animals i n t h e i r language (VIII.373); one more such extraordinary phenomenon as a snake using human speech snould hardly s t a r t l e her. Even i f suspicion had no part i n her natural wisdom, the sudden appearance of such a strange creature should have aroused here-intuition: here, surely was an a l i e n . But i t would appear that natural wisdom included no a b i l i t y to doubt or to interpret the incongruous. 65 Adam admits that thinking perplexes him ( T i l l . 1 8 3 ) , hut then, there i s l i t t l e wonder; the a r b i t r a r y l i m i t set by God upon man's knowledge seems calculated to b a f f l e . It i s obvious by the attention Raphael receives that Adam and Eve have been equipped with sizeable c u r i o s i t y . That seems to be a p a r t i c u l a r l y malicious endowment under t h e i r circum-stances, something l i k e placing a candle i n an explosives factory. Raphael v i r t u a l l y promises them that, by some kind of tra n s f i g u r a t i o n , the ...time may come when men With Angels may participate, and f i n d No inconvenient Diet, nor too l i g h t Pare: And from these corporal nutriments perhaps Your bodies may at l a s t turn a l l to s p i r i t , Improv'd by tr a c t of time, and wing'd ascend Ethereal, as wee, or may at choice Here or i n Heav'nly Paradises dwelL...(V.493-500) The l e a s t he could have done was outline what might speed up that ascension. There seems to be nothing they can do but stand, wait, and "be found obedient" (V.501). The dearth of a c t i v i t y i s a problem not only f o r Adam and Eve but likewise f o r Milton and the reader. With the furious and magnificent scenes of H e l l and Heaven s t i l l i n the reader's imagination, he i s now brought down to close inspection of a farmer and hi s wife. The s h i f t i s not sudden, hence not a flaw i n structure, but the change i s so extra-vagant that i t does seem l i k e a serious flaw i n the conception. In place of wars and b a t t l e s , we s h a l l hear of patience and heroic martyrdom, yet neither Adam nor Eve has a chance to demonstrate any such t h i n g . Eve a c t s r a s h l y from b o t h p o i n t s of v i e w . Adam's d e c i s i o n t o eat and share h e r g u i l t i s n o b l e o n l y from t h e human p o i n t o f v i e w . They both d e s e c r a t e t h e m s e l v e s . One can agree w i t h C. S. Lewis t h a t b e i n g t h e mother and f a t h e r o f mankind i s an e x a l t e d t h i n g i n i t s e l f , but i t i s a n o t h e r m a t t e r t o imagine u n f a l l e n Adam as b e i n g . . . what Salomon and Charlemagne and H a r o u n - a l - R a s c h i d and L o u i s XIV l a m e l y and u n s u c c e s s f u l l y s t r o v e t o i m i t a t e on t h r o n e s o f i v o r y between l a n e s o f drawn swords and under j e w e l e d b a l d a c h i n s . 5 At l e a s t t h e y s t r o v e . G r e a t n e s s was t h r u s t upon Adam and Eve. Adam h i m s e l f admits t h e i r most onerous burden i s b u t "One easy p r o h i b i t i o n " (IV.433). T h e i r c o n d i t i o n might be k i n g l y but t h e i r d o m i n i o n over t h e b i r d s o f t h e a i r and over t h e b e a s t s o f t h e f i e l d c o u l d r e q u i r e l i t t l e a d m i n i s t r a t i v e t a l e n t s i n c e t h e a n i m a l s were a l l n a t u r a l l y g e n t l e and o b e d i e n t . I n t r u t h , Eden resembles S l e e p y H o l l o w more t h a n i t resembles a r o y a l c o u r t . These are a few o f the problems r a i s e d when t r e a t i n g Adam and Eve as p r i m a r i l y d r a m a t i c c h a r a c t e r s or as a l l e g o r i c a l f i g u r e s . The rem a i n d e r o f t h i s c h a p t e r w i l l be devoted t o a d i s c u s s i o n o f man's image as embodied i n t h e my s t e r y o f d i s -o b e d i e n c e . The i n t e n t i o n w i l l be t o demonstrate how M i l t o n ' s Adam and Eve f u l f i l l t h e terms o f myth as s e t f o r t h i n c h a p t e r one. I n so d o i n g , i t i s hoped t h a t t h e f o r e g o i n g b r i e f l y s t a t e d o b j e c t i o n s w i l l be s u b s t a n t i a l l y answered. Whether t h e r e a d e r p r e f e r s Satan o r Adam as a h e r o , he 67 has t o admit t h a t e v e r y t h i n g i n the poem s i n c e t h e f i r s t l i n e has been p o i n t i n g t o man's f a l l . L i k e i t o r n o t , Adam has t h e c e n t r e o f a t t e n t i o n , i f not t h e b e s t p o e t r y . I f any-t h i n g , M i l t o n i s prompting us t o f i n d man l e s s a t t r a c t i v e t h a n t h e d e v i l and p a r a d i s e r a t h e r a drowsy p l a c e . I n t h e same manner, he a r r a n g e d t h e p a r a l l e l s between H e l l and Heaven. A l l o f Book IV i s o r c h e s t r a t e d t o a l t e r n a t e t h e f u r i o u s l y e n e r g e t i c images o f S a t a n w i t h the r u s t i c calm o f Adam and Eve; the c h a l l e n g e M i l t o n l a y s b e f o r e us i s t y p i c a l and un-m i s t a k e a b l e . The p r o g r e s s o f the whole poem i s from t h e s u p e r n a t u r a l t o t h e n a t u r a l , f r om t h e h e l l i s h and c e l e s t i a l t o t h e mundane. Edgar S t b l l has e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y n o t e d t h i s t r a n s i t i o n as a " f e l i c i t o u s approach and descent t o t h e c l o s e . " As w i t h Homer, M i l t o n ' s f i n a l emphasis i s p l a c e d upon man. S i n c e m y t h i c a l Adam and Eve a r e not r e a l l y c h a r a c t e r s i n a drama but t h e embodiment o f a m y s t e r y , as Sata n i s of e v i l , t h e n t h e e a t i n g o f t h e a p p l e i s t h e mystery o f s i n f u l man. But d i s o b e d i e n c e i m p l i e s p r e v i o u s obedience; f a l l e n man i m p l i e s u n f a l i e n man. Hence, on e i t h e r s i d e of t h a t one a c t extend two q u i t e d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e images, one p e r f e c t and god-l i k e , t h e o t h e r i m p e r f e c t and s u s c e p t i b l e t o d e a t h . L e t us t r e a t them i n o r d e r . There a re p o s s i b l y t h r e e s o u r c e s f o r t h e i d e a l i s m found i n u n f a l i e n man. T i l l y a r d , as quoted above, a t t r i b u t e d t o M i l t o n ' s " y e a r n i n g f o r a b e t t e r s t a t e of t h i n g s " t h e passages o f Adam and Eve i n p a r a d i s e . Ho doubt p a r a d i s e r e f l e c t s M i l t o n ' s U t o p i a n f e r v o r t h a t was so much a p a r t o f t h e P u r i t a n dream. 68 H i s pamphlets and t r a c t s r e v e a l how s t r o n g and c u r r e n t was t h a t s o u r c e o f energy: A g a i n and a g a i n i n t h e s e pages / o f p o l e m i c a l pamphlets j t h e p o e t - p r o p h e t t a k e s t h e f l o o r from the p a r t i s a n , and t h e e p i c f o r t h e J e r u s a l e m w h i c h he b e l i e v e s i s about t o a r i s e b r e a k s a g a i n and a g a i n t h r o u g h t h e d i a t r i b e s o f t h e pamphleteer. P u r i t a n f e r v o r j o i n e d w i t h and f e d M i l t o n ' s much o l d e r s o u r c e o f P l a t o n i c i d e a l i s m s e d u l o u s l y a t t a i n e d d u r i n g h i s s t u d y o f Greek and L a t i n l i t e r a t u r e a t S t . P a u l ' s S c h o o l . B o t h o f t h e s e s o u r c e s o f energy s t r e n g t h e n e d M i l t o n ' s i n s t i n c t i v e m y t h o l o g i z i n g . But t h e d e s i r e t o see t h e d i v i n e n a t u r e o f man i s o l d e r and more prof o u n d t h a n j u v e n i l e i d e a l i s m o r the U t o p i a n dreams of a P u r i t a n E n g l i s h m a n . The Adam and Eve we meet i n Book IV and r e t u r n t o i n Books V I I and V I I I a r e M i l t o n ' s e x p a n s i o n o f a f u n d a m e n t a l l y m y t h i c a l c o n c e p t : Man, G e n e s i s p r o u d l y a s s e r t s , was c r e a t e d i n t h e image of God. The same n o t i o n i s p r e s e n t e d i n t h e Greek account o f t h e c r e a t i o n : "The e a r t h , newly f a s h i o n e d and but l a t e l y drawn away from l o f t y e t h e r , s t i l l r e t a i n e d seeds o f i t s k i n d r e d heaven; t h e s e Prometheus tempered w i t h f r e s h r u n n i n g w a t e r and moulded a f t e r t h e image o f the gods who govern a l l — f i n x i t i n e f f i g i e m moderantum c u n c t a deorum . " 8 S i n c e G e n e s i s d i d l i t t l e more t h a n a s s e r t , M i l t o n had t o t u r n t o t h e Greeks and t o h i s own i m a g i n a t i o n t o f i l l i n t h e i r f e a t u r e s . I t i s p r o b a b l y more t h a n a c c i d e n t o f t h e n a r r a t i o n t h a t we i f i i i F S t see man and woman t h r o u g h the eyes o f S a t a n . E i t h e r U r i e l o r G a b r i e l , who are a l r e a d y p o s t e d a t t h e i r s t a t i o n s n e a r P a r a d i s e , c o u l d have been used, but t h e y would not have been a s t o n i s h e d a t such new and r a v i s h i n g b e a u t y : 69 ...the F i e n d Saw u n d e l i g h t e d a l l d e l i g h t , a l l k i n d Of l i v i n g C r e a t u r e s new t o s i g h t and s t r a n g e : Two of f a r n o b l e r shape e r e c t and t a l l , G o d l i k e e r e c t , w i t h n a t i v e Honor c l a d I n naked M a j e s t y seem'd L o r d s o f a l l , And worthy seem'd, f o r i n t h i r l o o k s D i v i n e The image of t h i r g l o r i o u s Maker shone, T r u t h , Wisdom, S a n c t i t u d e severe and pure, S e v e r e , but i n t r u e f i l i a l freedom p l a c ' t ; Whence t r u e a u t o r i t y i n men; though b o t h Not e q u a l , as t h i r sex not e q u a l seem'd; F o r c o n t e m p l a t i o n hee and v a l o r form'd, F o r s o f t n e s s shee and sweet a t t r a c t i v e Grace, Hee f o r God o n l y shee f o r God i n him: H i s f a i r . l a r g e F r o n t and Eye s u b l i m e d e c l a r ' d A b s o l u t e r u l e ; and Hyacinthine. Locks Round from h i s p a r t e d f o r e l o c k manly hung C l u s t ' r i n g , but not b e n e a t h h i s s h o u l d e r s broad.... (IV.285-303) Hughes p o i n t e d out t h e s i m i l a r i t y w i t h a passage i n the Odyssey T where Athene gave Odysseus superhuman b e a u t y : . . . t h e n Athene, the daughter of Zeus, made him t a l l e r t o l o o k upon and m i g h t i e r , and from h i s head she made the l o c k s t o f l o w i n c u r l s l i k e unto th e h y a c i n t h f l o w e r . And as when a man o v e r l a y s s i l v e r w i t h g o l d , a c u n n i n g workman whom Hephaestus and P a l l a s Athene have t a u g h t a l l manner o f c r a f t , and f u l l o f g r a c e i s t h e work he produces, even so t h e goddess shed gra c e upon h i s head and s h o u l d e r s . (Odyssey, 6.229-235)9 I n n e i t h e r c a s e , Greek o r E n g l i s h , s h o u l d i t be thought t h a t t h e poet was i n d u l g i n g o n l y h i s fondness f o r p o e t i c e m b e l l i s h -ment. F o r m u l a i c d e s c r i p t i o n s i n Homer conveyed e x p l i c i t r e f e r e n c e t o a g i v e n and u n i v e r s a l l y u n d e r s t o o d meaning. I f man was c r e a t e d by God i n H i s own image, t h e n when we gaze upon u n f a l l e n Adam, we see a h i g h l y t e l l - t a l e specimen: The n a t u r a l g r andeur o f man's p r i m a l image i s a t t h e same tim e an image o f d i v i n i t y . To c o n s i d e r t h i s a d e p r e c i a t i o n o f t h e d i v i n e i m p l i e s want o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g , f o r i t i s p r e -c i s e l y t h e q u e s t i o n a b l e t r a i t s o f humanity t h a t a r e e l i m i n a t e d . The image i s not o n l y f r e e o f t h e f a u l t s w h i c h may degrade an i n d i v i d u a l human but i t i s a l s o f r e e — a n d t h i s i s f a r more s i g n i f i c a n t — o f any jealous constraint and straitness . . . . ± y j Otto i s suggesting, of course, that the desire to uphold the majesty of the human form, to preserve and to praise i t s perfection expresses the profound longing, basic to both C h r i s t i a n and Greek r e l i g i o n s , the longing f o r immortality. What Goethe remarked of the Greeks i s true of Christian myth: "The purpose and goal of the Greeks i s to deify man, not to humanize de i t y . This i s not anthropomorphism but theomorphism. It was c h i e f l y theology that translated that longing into a disdain f o r l i f e and a desire f o r "the other world". Wherever we read i n Milton we f i n d no such disdain, but ever new ex-pression of that longing: Methinks I see i n my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing h e r s e l f l i k e a strong man af t e r sleep, and shaking her i n -v i n c i b l e locks. ( C E . IV, 34-1) In Adam Milton must have found p a r t i c u l a r delight f o r i n no previous poem had he created a figure equal to the f u l l grandeur of his i d e a l man. Eve's ready and easy subordination to her l o r d i s often understood as Milton's petulant a n t i -feminism. So i t may be, but i t i s so f i r s t of a l l because there i s no counter-image f o r Eve i n Heaven, hence Adam's divine resemblance i s a l l the more exalted: He f o r God only, shee fo r God i n him....(IV.299) The deference with which Adam tr e a t s Eve before the f a l l i s , i n t h i s sense, prescribed; he i s her only mediator and her advocate. Adam nobly confesses to Raphael that he understands that o f f i c e (VIII.540) but that too often the greatness of hi s love f o r Eve turns deference to leniency and leniency to passion (VIII.530). Milton's angels possess a similar, i f higher divine shapeliness. V/e have already noticed Zephon's youthful comeliness that s t a r t l e d Satan (IV.845). The older and higher archangel U r i e l bears "a golden t i a r " and has "Locks behind / I l l u s t r i u s on his Shoulders" (III.626-627). But Adam and Eve see only two angels. Of these, Raphael appears as; A Seraph wing'd; s i x wings he wore, to shade His lineaments Divine; the pair that clad Each shoulder broad, came mantling o'er his breast With regal Ornament; the middle pair Girt l i k e a Starry Zone his waist, and round Skirted his l o i n s and thighs with downy Gold And colors dipt i n Heav'n; the t h i r d his feet Shadow'd from either heel With feather'd mail Sky-tinctur'd grain. (V.277-2850' Later, when Adam and Eve have disgraced themselves, the angels seem to share i n the loss of form. Nothing p a r t i c u l a r i s said of Michael's shape as he descends to deliv e r judgment; the verse seems to convey the sense of void (XI.126-140 and 209-225). The cherubim that accompany Michael on the t r i p from Heaven are grotesque: ... four faces each Had, l i k e a double Janus, a l l t h i r shape Spangl'd with eyes more numerous than those Of Argus....(XI.128-151) Milton preserves the god-like stature of Adam and Eve as long as he can. What we see of them i s always t h e i r smooth, decorous, dance-like movement, performed with e f f o r t l e s s grace. Their epic address, forgotten after the f a l l , conveys the sense of their proportions and the sense of their unhurried com-posure. Had Adam had, l ike Paris, to do battle, we feel that Raphael or Gabriel would have intervened, as Aphrodite did to revive that Trojan warrior's splendor. She conveyed him from the b a t t l e f i e l d and placed him . . . on his i n l a i d couch, gleaming with beauty and f a i r raiment. Thou wouldest not deem that he had come thither from warring with a foe, but rather that he was going to the dance, or sat there as one that had but newly ceased from the dance. ( I l iad, 3.391-394) It is true we are never as aware of Adam and Eve physically as v/e are of Achilles or the splendid Odysseus because their movement i s never so much, nor so vigorous. But we are always aware of an extraordinary reserve of strength and of their smooth, supple limbs, eternally youthful. Such naked majesty, such Apollonian c l a r i t y of form i s accompanied by divine simplici ty , indeed is the exaltation of simplicity over a r t i f i c e or sophistication, which the poet inst inct ively scorns. In an aside, Milton laments man's present condition which lacks the simplicity of Adam and Eve, and has, instead, "shows" of innocence, because: ...dishonest shame Of Nature's works, honor dishonorable, Sin-bred, how have ye troubl'd a l l mankind With shows instead, mere shows of seeming pure, And banisht from man's l i f e his happiest l i f e , Simplicity and spotless innocence. (IV.313-318) C. S. Lewis i s w i l f u l l y ignoring the evidence when he insists "No useful cr i t ic ism of the Miltonic Adam is possible u n t i l 73 the last trace of the n&if, simple childlike Adam has "been removed from our imaginations."-'-2 He seems to have forgotten the frequent scriptural exhortation that a man shall have to be reborn, made again like unto a child before he enter the kingdom of Heaven. It appears to me that Mr. Lewis was vexed by an either/or frame of mind: either Adam and Eve had to be sophisticated, or else Milton was f i l l i n g his pages with meaninglessly inflated characters. Not so at a l l . However manifold are the implications, however various and refined are the sources of Greek and Christian mythology, what rises to the surface i s a profoundly simple frame, a precise and unmistakeable gesture, a voice of singular meaning. Adam and Eve are sublime precisely because they are naif. Paradise is paradise because a l l the faults and deformities have been laboriously removed by a severe contemplation of the idea: It should have become apparent by now that the harmony with nature which we late-comers regard with such nostalgia, and for which Schiller has coined the cant term naive, is by no means a simple and inevitable condition to be found at the gateway to every culture, a kind of paradise. Such a belief could have been endorsed only by a period for which Rousseau's Emile was an artist and Homer just such an artist nurtured in the bosom of nature. Whenever we encounter "naivete" in art, we are face to face with the ripest f r u i t of Apollonian culture . . . . The naivete of Homer must be viewed as a complete victory of Apollonian illusion.13 Milton takes us on fa i t h as understanding man's primitive nature. As Tillyard pointed out while discussing "primitive feeling" in Milton, " . . . he i s content with the large outline." One should not, therefore, expect to find Shakespearian detail 74 or Donne's subtle d i a l e c t i c . It remains to say how appropriate a l l t h i s Apollonian gracefulness was to unfalien man. The fact remains that, since Milton has f i l l e d i n t h e i r features, there seems to be no r e a l business f o r the superhuman stature of Adam and Eve. They appear ready f o r a beauty contest f o r which there i s neither judge, nor audience, nor competition. The image of Paris restored to his t y p i c a l l e i s u r e l y splendor by Aphrodite i s moving because he had just f a l l e n i n b a t t l e . The sense i s of a loving and benevolent deity which intervenes to return men to t h e i r natural grandeur, to remind them of t h e i r divine shape. Adam has no t r i a l of strength or momentary loss of figure; the absence of contrast connotes the absence of any reason f o r his valorous form and prompts us to doubt Milton's s i n c e r i t y . Had they l i v e d much longer i n Eden, one feels they would c e r t a i n l y have lapsed into dowdy old age pensioners, as T i l l y a r d suggests. E a r l i e r i t was stated that paradise i s paradise because the flaws have been removed. To understand t h i s , one has to put himself i n the p o s i t i o n of a pre-Homeric Greek or of a Roman at the time of the decline, or i n the position of having no idea of what a "paradise" or "heaven" might be. Once one senses the utter voide such an absence creates i n the human breast, the matter becomes clea r e r . Most of us share Nietzsche's s l i g h t l y amused disdain f o r the very word "paradise". It has come to mean, commonly, a f i c t i t i o u s land of milk and honey. If one "believes" i n "paradise" at a l l , the b e l i e f i s usually 75 e i t h e r b l i n d o r h a l f - i r o n i c . I t i s d i f f i c u l t , but e s s e n t i a l t o t h e t h e o r y o f myth employed f o r t h i s paper, t o imagine a ti m e when men had no " p a r a d i s e " i n mind. The whole body o f Greek mythology can be seen as e v o l v i n g out o f such a v o i d . We can see i n s t a g e s by what e x t r a o r d i n a r y e f f o r t t h e Greeks managed t o l i f t t h e i r eyes above t h e e a r t h and e n v i s i o n t h e i d e a l l i f e , t h e heaven, t h e p a r a d i s e . The m y t h i c poet H e s i o d s e i z e d t h e v i s i o n and t o l d o f a time when: . . . a l l t h e d e a t h l e s s gods who d w e l l on Olympus made a g o l d e n r a c e o f m o r t a l men who l i v e d i n the t i m e o f Cronos when he was r e i g n i n g i n heaven. And t h e y l i v e d l i k e gods w i t h o u t sorrow o f h e a r t , remote and f r e e f rom t o i l and g r i e f : m i s e r a b l e age r e s t e d n o t on them; but w i t h l e g s and arms n e v e r f a i l i n g t h e y made merry w i t h f e a s t i n g beyond t h e r e a c h o f a l l e v i l s . When t h e y d i e d , i t was as though t h e y were overcome w i t h s l e e p , and t h e y had a l l good t h i n g s ; f o r t h e f r u i t f u l e a r t h u n f o r c e d bare them f r u i t a b u n d a n t l y and w i t h o u t s t i n t . They dwelt i n ease and peace upon t h e i r l a n d s w i t h many good t h i n g s , r i c h i n f l o c k s and l o v e d by t h e b l e s s e d gods. (Works and Days, H O - 1 2 0 ) 1 ^ Such a v i s i o n i s not t h e pr o d u c t o f mere w i s h f u l t h i n k i n g o r of p o e t i c e m b r o i d e r y . I t was a t r i u m p h o f t h e f i r s t o r d e r , a b r e a k i n g o f bondage when t h e Greek s p i r i t embraced a v i s i o n ntft o f t h i n g s as we see them but o f t h e i r i d e a l p r o j e c t i o n . H e s i o d ' s v i s i o n i s almost e n t i r e l y r e t r o s p e c t i v e — U b i  s u n t — t h e m e l a n c h o l i c r e g r e t o f a l o s t t i m e . The n e x t s t e p , w h i c h Homer and M i l t o n i n t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e times a c h i e v e d , i s t o b r i n g t h a t v i s i o n o f p a r t p e r f e c t i o n i n t o some immediate and w o r k a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the p r e s e n t . To r e c a l l C o l e r i d g e ' s p h r a s i n g , such a v i s i o n as Homer and M i l t o n h o l d i s a p p e r f e c t s o l u t i o n o f m e t a p h y s i c s and p o e t r y . The easy answer t o why Adam and Eve are g o d - l i k e i s t h a t 76 t h e y were t h e F i r s t P a r e n t s . I t i s n o t l i k e l y , however, t h a t M i l t o n t h o u g h t o f them i n t e r m s o f a r c h e t y p e s . To M i l t o n , u n f a l i e n Adam and Eve had no c o m p a r i s o n . S i n c e t h e i r l a b o r s i n t h e g a r d e n a r e a d e l i g h t f u l t a s k (IV.437) and b r i n g them no t o i l n o r sweat, s u c h l a b o r c o u l d h a r d l y be t h e s o u r c e o f t h e i r m y t h i c a l m u s c l e s . I n d e e d , t h e y seem t o n e e d an u n u s u a l amount o f t i m e f o r " r e s t " (V.368) and Eve h a p p i l y c o n t e m p l a t e s t h e t i m e when t h e r e w i l l be e x t r a h e l p . The "One e a s y p r o -h i b i t i o n " a s e e m s t o o f f e r them no t e s t o f s t r e n g t h and t h e y s p end t h e b u l k o f t h e i r t i m e e n j o y i n g F r e e l e a v e so l a r g e t o a l l t h i n g s e l s e , and c h o i c e U n l i m i t e d o f m a n i f o l d d e l i g h t s : B u t l e t us e v e r p r a i s e him, and e x t o l H i s b o u n t y , f o l l o w i n g o u r d e l i g h t f u l task....(IV.434-437) S i n c e M i l t o n i n c l u d e s s e x u a l i n t e r c o u r s e among man's u n f a l i e n p l e a s u r e s (IV.741), we c a n be r e a s o n a b l y s u r e o f how u n l i m i t e d " U n l i m i t e d " was. B u t m y t h i c a l t h o u g h t a l w a y s b e g i n s w i t h n e c e s s i t i e s and b u i l d s o u t w a r d . Adam and Eve have h e r o i c s t a t u r e n o t i n o r d e r t o m a t c h t h e i r s u r r o u n d i n g s o r d e c o r a t e t h e v e r s e , b u t b e c a u s e t o l i v e i n M i l t o n ' s p a r a d i s e r e q u i r e d enormous s t r e n g t h and s e l f - c o n t r o l . The e f f o r t i n v o l v e d i n wars and " t e d i o u s h a v o c " i s t r i v i a l compared t o t h e f o r t i t u d e i n v o l v e d i n s u s t a i n i n g p e r f e c t i o n . Adam and E v e were n o t t o t a k e t h e i r p l e a s u r e s i n -d i f f e r e n t l y , o r f o r r e l i e f . T h e i r t a s k s a r e t h e i r p l e a s u r e , f o r a l l t h e i r t a s k s i n v o l v e d a k i n d o f t o t a l and p e r p e t u a l a d o r a t i o n . The o b j e c t o f a l l t a s k s was t h e s o u r c e o f t h e i r s t r e n g t h ; l i k e l e a v e s o f g r a s s i n t h e s u n s h i n e , t h e c o n s t a n t a d o r a t i o n o f God involved constant replenishment of t h e i r energies. L i f e i n Milton's paradise was not endless s a t i e t y , but something l i k e endless i n v i g o r a t i o n . Like Satan, they were free to f i n d these tasks an immense and burdensome debt. Eating the i n t e r -dicted f r u i t was by no means the only way they could have offended. At any time they were free to quit t h i s peculiar and mysteriously rewarding service. The equipoise required f o r tightrope walking tends to b u i l d great strength; that strength magnified a dozen times might resemble Adam's. The change brought about by disobedience upon the figures of Adam and Eve presents us with some new problems that may seem to undermine the main contention of t h i s thesis? that the dramatic aspects of Satan, God, and man are sub-ordinate to t h e i r overriding mythical q u a l i t y . When Adam and Eve lose t h e i r immortality, they are i n danger of becoming Mr. and Mrs. Everyman. By the same token, t h e i r domestic c r i s i s appears to us as a l l too human to be mythical. The sudden acceleration of t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l dilemma and in d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s seems to displace the greatness of the mystery of disobedience. The discussion of f a l l e n Adam and Eve w i l l be centred on demonstrating how Milton maintains t h e i r mythical q u a l i t i e s even a f t e r t h e i r transformation. T i l l y a r d was quoted e a r l i e r as expressing doubt over the s i n c e r i t y of Milton's paradise. I f there i s doubt of Milton's s i n c e r i t y to be raised, i t might be better raised over the image of f a l l e n man. Milton had to consider the f a l l of 78 man as a disastrous event while knowing f u l l well that i t leads to a "happier paradise". Yet, the space given to the act of disobedience and the lamentations of Adam and Eve does seem disproportionate. The matters of Free W i l l and E l e c t i o n were not only dearer to Milton, but central to the new kind of valor he boasts of at the start of Book IX. Yet, Adam i s never made f u l l y aware of those matters u n t i l near the end of Book XII. Hence, they never have a change to demonstrate "the better f o r t i t u d e / Of Patience and Heroic Martyrdom." (IX.31) In his study of the English epic, T i l l y a r d seems to avoid t h i s ambiguity while seeking to convince us that f a l l e n Adam and Eve are true epic f i g u r e s . He notes that " . . . Milton's other revolutionary act / f i r s t was to drop rhyme7 was to domes-t i c a t e his c r i s i s . " ^ This leads him into a defense of the "dramatic action" of the late books which, he maintains, i s e f f i c i e n t l y repeated i n "abstract form" by Adam near the end of the poem when he " . . . has at l a s t learnt wisdom" Henceforth I learn, that to obey i s best, And love with fear the only God, to walk As i n his presence, ever to observe His providence, and on him sole depend, Merciful over a l l his works, with good S t i l l overcoming e v i l , and by small Accomplishing great things, by things deem'd weak Subverting worldly strong, and worldly wise By simply meek (XII.561-569) !f ^ T i l l y a r d i s confident that by ext r i c a t i n g themselves from " . . . the slough of i n e r t i a and despair", Adam and Eve f u l -f i l l "Milton's version of the patience which i n the opening of Book Nine he declared was more heroic than the t r a d i t i o n a l epic deeds of martial prowess." X D This approach overlooks several important points. For one thing, the action of the poem comes to a s t a n d - s t i l l when Michael leads Adam to the h i l l t o p . True, Raphael narrates the war i n Heaven and the creation story, hut there was no stand-s t i l l then. It was a flash-hack that involved members of the story s p e c i f i c a l l y . Moreover, Eve i s asleep at the bottom of the h i l l (XI.368) throughout the remainder of Book XI and most of Book XII. Adam himself has been drugged (XI.420) and remains i n a trance f o r the same space of time. The "wisdom" T i l l y a r d speaks of has been v i r t u a l l y poured into Adam with the three drops from the Well of L i f e : So deep the power of these Ingredients pierc'd, Ev'n to the inmost seat of mental sight. (XI.417-418) What ex t r i c a t i n g they do themselves occurs between the time Adam and Eve eat the f r u i t and the time when Michael a r r i v e s . T i l l y a r d recognized that, by regarding the domestic c r i s i s of Adam and Eve during Books IX and X as epic material, an u n r e a l i s t i c burden i s placed upon the eating of an apple. He advises us consequently to read the books as a unit which, i f so done, w i l l reveal " . . . one of the most moving dramatic episodes i n l i t e r a t u r e ; i t can bear a very heavy weight."^ It i s not denied that the passages T i l l y a r d had i n mind have great dramatic appeal. But i t does appear to be a problem what sort i t i s and whether the drama i s the primary i n t e r e s t . It i s d i f f i c u l t , i f not impossible f o r some, to regard Adam and Eve as tr a g i c characters when i t i s known-from the beginning 80 everything w i l l be a l l r i g h t eventually. The closer one focusses on t h e i r quarrels, the less t r a g i c they seem. The more they are regarded as i n d i v i d u a l s , the less worthy they become of epic setting, and the closer they resemble a l l e -g o r i c a l f i g u r e s . As was the destiny of Satan, the f a l l of man i s a foregone conclusion before the poem begins. It i s a matter we are a l l personally f a m i l i a r with. The absence of suspense appeared f a u l t y to Dr. Johnson, but he noted Milton i s content to accept the matter. What possibly annoyed Dr. Johnson more than his Anglican p a r t i a l i t y could abide i s Milton's enthus-iasm f o r the f a l l : Whoever considers the few r a d i c a l positions which the Scriptures afforded him, w i l l wonder by what energetick operation he expanded them to such extent, and ramified them to so much variety, restrained as he was by r e l i g i o u s reverence from l i c e n -tiousness of f i c t i o n . 2 0 It i s to be expected that Dr. Johnson's interest i n the redemp-t i v e q u a l i t i e s of C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n might c o l l i d e with Milton's expansive inte r e s t i n the f a l l as i t provides the better chance f o r C h r i s t i a n f o r t i t u d e and Rigorous opposition. John Donne was closer to Milton's point of view i n a sermon dated 1618. Indeed, Donne's enthusiasm f o r the f a l l e n condition almost precludes the p o s s i b i l i t y that man was ever perfect: I f man had been made impeccable, that he could not have sinned, he had not been so happy; f o r then, he could onely have en-joyed that state, i n which he was created, and not have r i s e n to any better; because that better estate, i s a reward of our w i l l i n g obedience to God, i n such things, as we might have disobeyed him in.21 81 In other words, p e r f e c t a b i l i t y i s preferable to perfection. While s i n and death are not to be preferred i n themselves, yet they have mysteriously provided man with the opportunity f o r demonstrating greater love of God than was possible before the f a l l , and the means to achieve a happier paradise. It should appear then that, although God did not for e -ordain man's f a l l , He was not necessarily displeased at the prospective happiness i t would bring to obedient men and the better glory to Himself. The major part of j u s t i f y i n g God's ways i s , a f t e r a l l , to demonstrate how an all-powerful and all-good deity managed to provide men with e v i l whilst claiming He had nothing to do with i t . This i s the "simple irony" that underlies a l l of Paradise Lost and applies especially to God, " . . . f o r irony i s one of the q u a l i t i e s Milton gives to God 22 the Father himself." The same irony places the poet i n a highly ambiguous re l a t i o n s h i p with his material. If Milton was dealing with an i r o n i c God, he did l i t t l e to hide the f a c t . God's apparently callous attitude toward f a l l e n Satan and unf a l l e n man at the beginning of Book III i s measurably softened i n t h i s l i g h t , at l e a s t softened toward man. God's double entendre comes to a point while He i s describing what the difference between the two f a l l s w i l l be: The f i r s t sort by t h i r own suggestion f e l l , Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man f a l l s deceiv'd By th'other f i r s t : Man therefore s h a l l f i n d grace, The other none....(lII.129-132) Then, r e a l i z i n g that not even the angels know as yet how the whole matter w i l l come to good, He concludes; ...in Mercy and Justice both, Through Heav'n and Earth, so s h a l l my glory excel, But Mercy f i r s t and l a s t s h a l l brightest shine. (III.132-134) The t r u t h i s , man i s deceived twice: once by Satan and ultimately by God, but God's " . . . i r o n i c a l modes of speech are not falsehoods, inasmuch as t h e i r object i s not deception, but i n s t r u c t i o n . . . ." (C.E. XVII, 301) Empson i s probably right i n pointing out how d e l i b e r a t e l y God plans and places the snares that lead to the f a l l . Placing a forbidden object i n t h e i r midst was a deliberate provocation to Adam and Eve; under the terms of "voluntary services" Milton's garden needed no i n t e r d i c t e d tree to test obedience. Moreover, . . . A father may reasonably impose a random prohibition to test the character of his children, but anyone would agree that he should then judge an act of disobedience i n the l i g h t of i t s i n t e n t i o n . 2 3 If Eve's motive f o r eating the f r u i t was to become god-like, she had ample reason to think such a desire was not only l e g a l but encouraged by a good source. As Empson suggests, Raphael's conversation before the f a l l echoed Satan on several matters. 2^ The most s t r i k i n g of these echoes concerns t h e i r two plans f o r getting to Heaven. Raphael's b r i e f and rather vague des-c r i p t i o n , already noted i n t h i s chapter, of a time " when men / With Angels may p a r t i c i p a t e " (V.493-494) i s bound to prompt Eve's desire to aspire to Heaven; her naivete was c e r t a i n l y i n s u f f i c i e n t insurance against Satan's g u i l e . As f a r as she might discern, the t a l k a t i v e r e p t i l e ' s promises of godliness were part of the programme Raphael talked of. The similarity-i s a l l the greater since both Raphael's (V.495) and Satan's (IX.705-710) i n v i t a t i o n s required her to eat something. Empson's point^of view leaves him l i t t l e room to regard such matters as anything but evidence against a d e c e i t f u l and wicked God. It seems f a i r , however, to employ his evidence without embracing his t h e s i s . The evidence i s strong enough to indicate that Milton i n t e n t i o n a l l y augments the irony i n God's motives, yet such irony i s surely malicious only i f one chooses to think so. Milton's attitude toward the f a l l compelled him to regard the suf f e r i n g i t involves f o r most of mankind as somehow part of a greater happiness. Inbb.uIIding the image of f a l l e n man, Milton confronts us with an ambiguous and contradictory s i t u a t i o n as we found i n Satan's image. Satan i s s p l i t between a highly a t t r a c t i v e , t r a g i c figure on the one hand, and a self-deluding f o o l on the other. F a l l e n Adam and Eve have a s i m i l a r l y s p l i t image. Prom one point of view, they are victims of a monstrous design; t h e i r dilemma i s p i t i f u l l y t ragic and t h e i r punishment i s unjustly harsh. Their personal drama provokes us to sympathize with them and to be repelled by God's tyranny. On the mythic l e v e l , t h e i r agony i s offset by prospective joy and assurances that a l l i s not l o s t . Milton widens the gap as f a r as he can and extends the mystery of how s i n f u l man i s i n a position to obtain a happier happiness than the one we have just seen i n paradise. The deeper Milton draws us into the personal tragedy, the more strained i s our sense of God's impersonal j u s t i c e , the more wasteful i t seems that God made man perfect i n the f i r s t place. Adam himself suddenly awakens to sense the p o s s i b i l i t y that they are but puppets of clay created f o r God's amusement: ... G f l e e t i n g joys Of Paradise, dear bought with l a s t i n g woes! Did I request thee, Maker, from my Clay To mould me Man, did I s o l i c i t thee Prom darkness to promote me, or here place In t h i s delicious Garden? (X.741-746) This punctuates the strategems Milton has been suggesting God i s g u i l t y of; i t r e f l e c t s the ess e n t i a l complaint voiced by a l l antagonists of an absolute and a l l - i n c l u s i v e god. The whole bout he has with his conscience—an Adam Ag o n i s t e s — i s profoundly dis t r e s s i n g to us. A l l the f u t i l i t i e s of the l i f e we know are summoned to one speech (X.720-844), wherein the Conscience God placed i n Adam "as a Guide" and "Umpire" (III.194) i s now the well-spring of his torture. Its function has changed from a h e l p f u l moderator to a doubt-produeing hindrance. Prom despair of his creation, Adam passes to contempla-t i o n of death. No sooner has he thought of t h i s prospective repose than i t springs back upon him: ... Yet one doubt Pursues me s t i l l , l e s t a l l I cannot die, Lest that pure breath of L i f e , the S p i r i t of Man Which God i n s p i r ' d , cannot together perish With t h i s corporeal Clod; then i n the Grave, Or i n some other dismal place, who knows But I s h a l l die a l i v i n g Death? 0 thought Horrid, i f true! yet why? (X.782-789) 85 like Satan, Mam has become himself a h e l l of burning doubts; vain reasoning scorches him f o r want of Right Reason which he has not yet refound. He cannot, as we cannot when focussed on man alone, see the whole design: ... How can he exercise Wrath without end on Man whom Death must end? Can he make deathless Death? that were to make Strange contradiction, which to God himself Impossible i s held, as Argument Of weakness, not of Power. (X.796-801) The despair of Adam's soliloquy i s h i s sense of void, the lack of contact with the God whose strength he f e l t so intimately before. It i s not so much that man has " f a l l e n " , as Satan had from Heaven to H e l l , but that God has p a r t i a l l y withdrawn Himself from man's world. His withdrawal has caused the loss of perfect harmony, the one accord, and t o t a l com-munion of a l l creation. Likewise, Hesiod t e l l s of an age of e v i l days when Aidos, " . . . that f e e l i n g of reverence or shame which restrains men from wrong," and Nemesis, "the f e e l i n g of righteous indignation aroused especially by the sight of the wicked i n undeserved prosperity . . . ."^Prare withdrawn from men and " . . . go from the wide-pathed earth and forsake mankind to j o i n the company of the gods: and b i t t e r sorrows w i l l be l e f t f o r mortal men, and there w i l l be no help against e v i l . " (Works and Days, 198-201) Milton i s probably punning on the L a t i n derivation for "contradiction" i n the passage quoted above. Adam has f e l t the loss of that harmony so deeply that he suspects a contra-d i c t i o n within God Himself; God seems to be speaking against the Word—contra d i c e r e — w i t h which he created the universe. We follow Adam's desperate probing: How can his punishment be endless i f Death i s the punishment? Was the destruction he sees about him part of that creation? Then, i s his punish ment his boon? Adam i s perhaps unconsciously echoing Raphael who t o l d him he had been sent to guard the Gates of H e l l To see that none thence issu'd f o r t h a spy, Or enemy, while God was i n his work, Lest hee incenst at such eruption bold, Destruction with Creation might have mixt. (VIII.233-236) Hector prospers i n b a t t l e so long as Apollo i s with him, not intervening magically, but drawing nigh " . . . to rouse his strength and make swift his knees" ( I l i a d , 22.205). When h i s time has come, " . . . down sank the day of doom of Hector, and departed into Hades; and Phoebus Apollo l e f t him." ( I l i a d , 22.210) The void created by the absence of d i v i n i t y i s loss of strength and loss of aim; And Hector waxed wroth f o r that the swift shaft had flown v a i n l y from h i s hand, and he stood confounded . . . . And Hector knew a l l i n his heart, and spake, saying: "Out upon i t , i n good sooth have the gods c a l l e d me to my death . . . . ( I l i a d , 22.291-297) Otto traces the changes Homer made i n the role of Moira, or f a t e . 2 6 Generally speaking, the Moira's importance was reduced. For Homer, the Moira was not a deity, nor even a person. While the gods must step aside when the day of doom arrives f o r a Grecian, they may intervene " . . . whenever there i s reason to fear some catastrophe not decreed by Moira" would bring an untimely death. ' The t r a n s i t i o n from Hesiod to Homer i s never so clear as on the matter of death. For Hesiod, i t was always a dir e c t and inscrutable act of the gods: And Zeus w i l l destroy t h i s race of mortal men also when they come to have grey hair on the temples at t h e i r b i r t h . (Works  and Days, 180-181) And again, at another time, the son of Cronos either destroys t h e i r wide army, or t h e i r walls, or else makes an end of t h e i r ships on the sea. (Works and Days, 245-247) It i s Hesiod's more primitive consciousness that assigns the bol t s of fate e n t i r e l y to the gods. For Homer, i t i s man who assigns h i s own f a t e . The gods have foreknowledge of a man's fate and " . . . i t i s the gods who 'execute' the w i l l of M o i r a , 1 , 2 8 but man f i x e s his own doom by free choice: The gods wish to preserve man from f a t e f u l decisions by giving him too an insight into the i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the causal nexus. I f he nevertheless enters upon a path which must lead to des-t r u c t i o n , then he has fashioned his own misfortune "beyond fa t e " (hyper moron). 29 Milton makes us r e c o i l by the bluntness of God's utterance i n a speech that i s e s s e n t i a l l y one of disowning His own creation. The passage i s one of the most horrib l e i n Paradise Lost, and i s commonly c a l l e d "a b i t of j u s t i f y i n g the ways". Sin and Death have just made t h e i r triumphal entry (by God's permissive w i l l ) onto earth: See with what heat these Dogs of H e l l advance To waste and havoc yonder World, which I So f a i r and good created, and had s t i l l Kept i n that state, had not the f o l l y of Man Let i n these wasteful Furies, who impute 88 Polly to mee, so doth the Prince of Hell And his Adherents, that with so much ease I suffer them to enter and possess A place so heav'nly... .(X. 616-624) It is God who is recoiling to make way for Sin and Death. Hughes failed to notice a particularly close parallel for this passage in the Odyssey. Zeus is speaking meditatively on the fate of Aegisthus: Perverse mankindJ whose wills, created free, Charge a l l their woes on absolute decree: A l l to the dooming gods their guilt translate, And f o l l i e s are miscall'd the crimes of fate. (Odyssey, 1.32-35) The parallel i s a l l the more valuable because Milton includes i t in the Christian Doctrine to conclude the chapter on pre-destination. (This translation, above, i s taken from C E . XIV, 1750 On a central point of Protestant dogma, Milton f e l t himself to be more kith with Homer than kin with Calvin. Where Milton and Homer show greatest agreement is in the nature of man's l i f e on earth and i n the role the gods play in man's earthly l i f e . Greek faith in an a f t e r l i f e never received much attention from the poets. Whether, like Heracles, the hero went to live with the gods on Olympus, or like mortal Hector, he went to the underworld, the hero contented himself with f u l f i l l i n g his l i f e on earth in accordance with divine guidance. When Hector feels that guidance has brought him to his day of doom, he feels no regret, nor bitterness, nor resignation: Now of a surety is e v i l death nigh at hand, and no more afar 89 from me, neither i s there way of escape. So I ween from of old was the good pleasure of Zeus, and of the son of Zeus, the god that smiteth from afar . . . but vnot without a struggle let me die, neither ingloriously, but in the working of some great deed for the hearing of men that are yet to be. (Iliad, 22.299-305) The fame Hector seeks is not the bubble reputation in the cannon's mouth; the example he wishes to set for men is not for his own glory, but for the glory of the gods who have lived i n him, Zeus and Apollo, and who now ordain his death. The sense i s not that Hector has laboured in the service of the gods, but that Hector has lent the gods honour by f u l -f i l l i n g his own l i f e with divine glory. Adam's personal journey de profundis ends when he accepts conviction of his crime (X.832). He symbolically accepts f u l l responsibility for a l l the evils and plagues of mankind as Satan assumes ultimate responsibility (11.450) for a l l the princes of Hell. Books XI and XII are Milton's version of ecclesiastical history, but they also serve to expand Adam's "original crime" (XI.424) as the catalogue of devils served to inflate Satan's stature. The fable stands s t i l l , but Adam's mythical figure expands as we hear Michael relate the f u l l dimension of Disobedience. What Adam wills to his progeny along with death i s the means to overcome death. The four steps in regeneration— "conviction of sin, contrition, confession, departure from e v i l and conversion to good" (C E . XV, 384)—are the abstract terms for Christian warfare, according to Puritan interpretation, the not for benign resignation of orthodox doctrine. In the image of Adam and Eve, fallen and unfalien, Milton reproduces the mystery of perfection lost and of perfectability gained. We may feel discomfort about the emphasis Milton places upon the sinfulness of men in the later books, but i t should be understood that Milton's em-phasis i s not for condemnation but for conviction. One way of knowing how perfect Adam and Everwere originally is to measure how corrupt man has grown since. Man's regeneration ia never completed in this l i f e , but his effort to regain perfection, to restore total communion with God i s both his burden and his glory. Since man possesses, like the angels and God, a knowledge of good and e v i l , he i s equipped to choose freely the ways of God. The proof of such a vision does not l i e in the special preference of the Christian point of view, but in the authenticity and comprehensiveness of the myth. Prank Kermode's advice i s the best preparation for a receptive frame of mind: The modern reader has to agree not to indulge a special dis-respect for Milton's myth; he should not despise i t more than any other that accounts for the origin of death; but he must not be asked, on the other hand, to have a special respect for i t , or for Milton's theology or his epic style. He owes them no more than he owes the story or the Hindu theology of A Passage to India, though of course he owes them no less.^u 91 NOTES X E . M. W. Tillyard, Milton (London: Chatto & Windus, 1966), p. 239. 2 I b i d . 3AS quoted in C. S. Lewis, p. 117. 4lbid., p. 121. 5Ibid., p. 118. ^Elmer Edgar S t o i l , "From the Superhuman to the Human in Paradise Lost," in Milton Criticism: Selections from Pour  Centuries, ed. James Thorpe (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd., 1965), p. 211. 7Haller, p. 346. 8W. P. Otto, p. 231. ^Horner, The Odyssey, trans. A. T. Murray (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1919), ^hereafter a l l line references based on this translation, unless other indication i s given). 10W. P. Otto, p. 234. 1 : LIbid., p. 236. 1 2 C . S. Lewis, p. 118. •^Nietzsche, p. 31. 1 4 E . M. W. Tillyard, The Miltonio Setting Past and Present (London: Chatto and Windus, 1961), p. A-Tl •^Hesiod, r p n e Homeric Hymns and Homeric a, trans. Hugh G. Evelyn-White (London! William Heinemann, Ltd., 1914), (here-after a l l line references based on this translation). 1 6 E . M. W. Tillyard, The English Epic and Its Background (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), p. 435. 1 7 I b i d . , p. 437. 1 8 I b i d . 1 9 I b i d . 2^Samuel Johnson, "Milton," i n Milton Criticism: Selections, ed. Thorpe, p. 81. 2 1 J o h n Donne, Sermons, Vol. II, ed. George R. Potter and Evelyn M. Simpson (Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1955), p. 123. 2 2 T i l l y a r d , English Epic, p. 435. ^Empson, p. 161. 24-Ibid., p. 155. 2!5Hugh. G. Evelyn-White, ed.. The Homeric Hymns and  Homerica, by Hesiod (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1914), p. 17, note. 26W. P. Otto, pp 2 7 l b i d . , p. 273. 2 8 I b i d . , p. 277. 2 9 l b i d . , p. 272. 50prank Kermode, "Adam Unparadised," i n The Liv i n g  Milton, Essays by Various Hands, ed. P. Kermode (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, i960), p. 87. 93 CHAPTER V GOD AND THE UNITY OP CREATION A l l i n a l l , i t i s not only more advan-tageous but more "correct" psychologically to explain as the " w i l l of God" the natural forces that appear in us as impulses. In this way we find ourselves l i v i n g in harmony with the habitus of our ancestral psychic l i f e ; that i s , we func-tion as man has functioned at a l l times and in a l l places. — C a r l Gustav Jung, Aion If Milton's God were not so all-inclusive, the present chapter might be the previous one and the previous one, the present—which would put Satan, God the Son, and God the Father in a f i t t i n g sequence. But, as Milton's God comprehends a l l things, and i s i n a l l things, and i s a l l things, so i t would seem better to put Him last, for what has gone before i s , i n some measure, part of Him. The object of this chapter is to see how Milton translates his God out of dogma into poetry and to indicate by selected comparisons with Homer how Milton, thereby, infuses God with a mythical v i t a l i t y which is dis-tinctively Puritan. Many of the logical objections to God's ways have been raised already in previous chapters. The more one scrutinizes God's ways for logic, the more the "simple irony" grows into a mammoth fraud; the more one searches for cause and effect, the more everyone—Adam, Eve, Satan, the angels, and even the Son— appears li k e a pawn in a monstrous game. Herbert Grierson voiced, and Empson eagerly seconded the criticism that common sense should t e l l us something is fundamentally wrong when one third of any organization defects. 1 The f i r s t thing we hear from God is a speech disowning responsibility for one calamity that has already taken place and for another that is about to take place. What i s meant to convey contempt has a strong after-taste of the apologetic. The truth i s , the God of perfect goodness seems singularly inept at some of the more delicate administrative chores. He is permissive to a fault. Any parent willing to allow his child such freedom as God allows Satan may expect to raise a brat. We can pity the child and excuse the parent as being ignorant; but God's "permissive w i l l " has no such light consequence for He always acts with intention. Since God knew He would allow Satan to break loose, i t was a waste of someone's energy to have him chained on the burning lake in the f i r s t place (1.210). It i s understandable that Sin and Death might be swayed by Satan's influence to open Hell's door; he i s father of both and husband of Sin. Por that matter, Sin and Death are not l i k e l y to turn any of their Hellish friends away, though they might conceivably bar intruders to Hell. Furthermore, they are on the i n s i d e — a curious place for them to be, to be effective. Since i t must have been God who put them in charge of the door, His choice of caretakers was no blunder but a calculated flaw in the defense system. Such a tr i c k i s nothing less than high treason. Empson put the matter briskly: "Surely the explanation i s very simple: God always intended them to let Satan out." 2 Satan's progress i s aided at every turn by tne same permissiveness. God thwarts the good angels' efforts to stop Satan when they uncover him lurking in Eden. Had they been allowed to continue fighting, they might collectively h&ve vanquished Satan who fought alone. Surprise was on their side. The only reason given for intervention is a vague suggestion that the conflict would have created an uncomfortable dis-turbance (IV.994). The sense i s very weak and Milton quickly resorts to an evasive tactic whereby we are led to stare at the golden scales of fate (IV.997) suddenly dangled from Heaven. God as a conjurer i s interesting but not very convincing; i t feels like a cover-up for having insulted His own troops on the one hand and wi l f u l l y aided the enemy on the other. Worst of a l l , God i s lying i n His teeth to the council by misrepresenting the facts. He makes no mention of the "high permission" (1.212) by which Satan broke loose nor of the "treble confusion" (I.22G) we have been told he w i l l bring upon himself by seeking revenge on earth. Instead, he paints the direst possible picture of coming events before hinting that "man shall find grace" (lIT.13l), after a l l . Thoroughly brainwashed, the angels never question the wastefulness of such a round-about programme, but unanimously diffuse a "Sense of new joy" (III.137). It seems like cheap theatrics to disquiet the peace of Heaven thus, and villainous to withhold information that concerns loyal partisans. If the angels really are higher beings, surely they are intelligent enough to be told frankly what i s about to happen and told frankly that their mission to guard Eden i s designed to f a i l . God's lack of confidence speaks l i t t l e for Himself and makes the good angels appear both witless and untrustworthy. In this connection, there i s an extra layer of truth when God mentions "Humiliation" (III.313) w i l l be part of Christ's work. Empson suggests one reason why the Son mentions so l i t t l e about His own death during the council i s because God had not told Him how horrible i t w i l l be—the torture and the agony. But, . . . i f we suppose the Father to have told him this beforehand we must s t i l l picture them . . . hammering out in private the scene of propaganda dialogue which they w i l l present to the assembled angels.3 Milton may have a sublime interpretation in mind—that the Crucifixion i s too t r i v i a l a matter for the Son to dwell on— but we do not know how much the Son knows. The sum of criticism of Milton's God might be found in Basil Willey's comment that His very portrayal " . . . as a 'person' causes most of the d i f f i c u l t i e s of the story." 4 Giving Him speech, action, and a dramatic identity raises vast contradictions to the conceptual notion in which theology holds Him captive. Milton was oertainly aware of the contradictions he was dealing with for he makes them loom before us with glaring boldness. If anything, Milton f e l t these very contra-dictions as the strongest evidence for God's existence. God i s , in this sense, the most "real" personage in Paradise Lost. He may be the least convincing dramatically, but He baffles us the most; His puzzle i s l e a s t decipherable, yet the most prevalent. He may be i n f e r i o r p o e t i c a l l y and morally to Satan, as Shelley suggested; He may appear to do less than Satan and to do i t with no e f f o r t and no danger of f a i l u r e , but i n the long run, He exerts the strongest force (a t t r a c t i v e or r e -pellent) upon the reader's s e n s i b i l i t y . When God speaks i n Paradise Lost, i t i s always dogma we hear; i t i s when we begin to see how He i s present i n other ways that we see Milton's c r a f t . For the remainder of t h i s chapter, discussion w i l l attempt to evaluate how Milton translates an abstract concept into a mythical f i g u r e . I f discussion i t s e l f i s more abstract than i n previous chapters, the intention warrants the difference concern i s not so much to delineate God's character, but to indicate how Milton conveys a sense of the mystery of God. There i s a need, f i r s t of a l l , therefore, to review the sources of Milton's v i s i o n and to note i t s kinship with the fundamental desire of a l l myths to envision a likeness of god. The proof of God's existence, says Milton, i s known i n three ways: through the b e a u t i f u l orderliness of nature (C.E. XIV, 27), through the " f e e l i n g " we term "conscience, or right reason" (C.E. XIV, 29), and by His "word, or message" (C.E. XIV, 31). Milton's allegiance to a l l three sources i s as un-f a i l i n g as i t i s passionate, but there i s evidence Milton s h i f t e d h i s emphasis away from a s t r i c t interpretation of s c r i p -ture. Here i s a passage from the second chapter, "Of God", i n the C h r i s t i a n Doctrine. The safest way f o r men to understand . . . i s to form i n our minds such a conception of God, as s h a l l correspond with his own delineation and representation of 98 himself in the sacred writings. For granting that both in the l i t e r a l and figurative descriptions of God, he is ex-hibited not as he really i s but in such a manner as may be within the scope of our comprehensions, yet we ought to entertain such a conception of him, as he, in condescending to accommodate himself to our capacities, has shown that he desires we should conceive. For i t i s on this very account that he has lowered himself to our level, lest in our flights above the reach of human understanding, and beyond the written word of Scripture, we should be tempted to indulge in cogitations and subtleties. (CE. XIV, 31 and 33) Maurice Kelley points out that Milton's concept of God in the early part of the Christian Doctrine i s not only vague and subtle but "incomprehensible".^ The early chapters of the Christian Doctrine were almost unquestionably written before Paradise Lost was begun and reflect anpainstaking attention to scriptural detail. In later chapters, " . . . Milton resorts to an almost l i t e r a l anthropomorphism—a concept of a God who labors l i k e a man and requires his rest on the seventh day . . • ."^ This i s to say, the poet shifted some-what from the letter to the s p i r i t of the scriptures. The mythic poet's impulse to give the gods the recog-nizable form of man i s too natural to be resisted. Whether the poet, like Homer, inherit his material from legend, or, like Milton, his material be dogma, the urge to give the gode li v i n g form and countenance i s instinctive. The profound con-viction that nothing exists but what is of god and by his w i l l , the poet's heightened sense that the heavenly presence i s everywhere and i s the cause of a l l movement, lead him to observe the same truth in himself. The mythic poet's vision of god i s the obverse side of human psychology. 99 . . . And here we discover the reason why God has to be con-ceived i n the human image-—or rather, in the image of the human mind. It i s not simply that we know of nothing higher than the human mind in the scale of evolution, so that every other image of God would be inferior to our own. The deeper reason i s that the mind, in its-unknown depths, i s our point of contact with that real "world" which escapes a l l definition. Elsewhere we behold that world superficially, from the outside, through our senses. But in the mind we are, and feel from the inside, the reality which elsewhere seems only a foreign "object". Through our senses reality appears as a known, but in the mind i t i s a knowing. Upon the outside, reality can be plastered with labels giving us the i l l u s i o n that we know what i t i s . But the mind, the source and origin of consciousness, always escapes the label. It i s too close to be accessible, and thus can never be made into an object or thing. 7 Since Hebraic myth conceived of God as being at once knowable and unknowable, as being one absolute and unoriginal Cause, i t was always d i f f i c u l t for Him to appear very friendly or to consort with men, yet not impossible. To fear the Lord meant to be possessed by the mysterium tremendum, the feeling of which " . . . may at times come sweeping like a gentle tide, pervading the mind with a tranquil mood of deepest worship • . o . ." such as the "wonted calm" (V.210) of the daily prayers in Eden. His name was secret and unutterable, "YHVH", the Hebrew tetragammaton meaning "I AM",9 but i t was common for men to experience the divine presence: Cain has the nerve to argue with the Lord, and the Lord i s not yet so bereft of humor as to strike him dead or cast him forthwith into h e l l . For in his mythological form the Lord God i s s t i l l human. It i s only when the image of God becomes abstract, that i s to say theological and ethical, that he begins to turn into a monster. From the human standpoint, the purely good i s as monstrous as the purely evil.1® Milton's theology preserves God as an abstraction. His attributes are enumerated in chapter two of the Christian Doc-100 trine thus: Truth, Immensity, Infinity, Eternity, Immuta-b i l i t y , Incorruptibility, Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and before and because of a l l these, Unity. The essential mystery— and logical impasse—is that God, at one and the same time, i s abstract and concrete; has no l o c a l i t y and i s everywhere; is envisioned as having the shape of man and i s unapproachably metaphysical. Such an absolute and immutable concept i s bound to have s t i f l e d the kind of conglomerate growth we see in Greek mytho-logy. It lacks the easy f l e x i b i l i t y that invited, indeed required Greek poets to keep moulding and remoulding. It fixes too many matters under too few headings. The very face of God seems turned away as i f in disdain from the creature He claims to love. Quite aside from God's ways, God's identity i s essentially unknowable. Such absolutism was bound to stim-ulate the growth of doctrines and doctrinal exegesis. But the mythie poet knows God cannot be fixed in dogma, knows that the language of philosophy is not the language with which God can speak to the heart and to the mind. The mythic poet discerns " . . . that feeling i s the deeper source of religion, and that philosophic and theological formulas are secondary pro-ducts, l i k e translations of a text into another tongue." x x Milton's preference for poetry as being "more simple, sensuous and passionate" means, as Rajan has interpreted i t , " . . . that i t s transforming intelligence permeates even the frontiers 12 of rea l i t y . . . ." What the language of philosophy lacks the language of poetry provides; in their synthesis, the perfect 101 solution of the sensuous and the philosophic, is the best possible medium to express the least utterable of gods. Kelley's observations that Milton was not so abstract a thinker (as Denis Saurat makes him out to be i n Milton, Man  and Thinker)I 3 and that Milton's concept of God i s less vague i n later chapters of the Christian Doctrinel4 are more under-standable i n light of the above. Milton's God i s too immediate and too v i t a l to rest comfortably in static terms of "Eternity 1' and "Omnipresence" or "Immutability". However accurately the terms f i t Him, they direct the mind to a fixed point and stop there. (One could imagine a Miltonic joke: the sight of Dame Philosophy searching in the wrong spot, whilst God gazed down upon her expectant but empty hubbub.) God, on the contrary, i s i n no fixed spot, i s moving (and sitting s t i l l at the same time) outward profusely, as the unoriginal cause of a l l things and a l l being. It i s in chapter seven, when God does something, acts, that Milton defines Him more clearly. Two excerpts can possibly summarize the essential matters. Fi r s t , i t i s "inconceivable" that anything of matter or s p i r i t , v i s i b l e or invisible should exist that is not from God and of God: "There remains, therefore but one solution for the d i f f i c u l t y for which moreover we have the authority of Scrip-ture, namely that a l l things are of God." (C.E. XV, 21) Creation was an historical event, but being and l i f e processes are the continuous proof of that act: Secondly, i t i s an argument of supreme power and goodness, that such diversified, multiform, and inexhaustible virtue should exist and be substantially inherent in God (for that virtue cannot be accidental which admits of degrees, and of augmen-102 tation or remission, according to his pleasure) and that this diversified and substantial virtue should not remain dormant within the Deity, but should be diffused and propagated and extended as far and in such manner as he himself may w i l l . ( C E . XV, 21 and 23) God, then, embodies a l l force and a l l things; his image is at one and the same time f i n i t e and i n f i n i t e . When we see Him clearest i s when He acts and the act by which we know Him is the act of creation. The creation was at one time and ex-tends continuously to now, and w i l l continue so into the future without interruption u n t i l the conflagration. (Beyond that we need not concern ourselves here. It i s too remote a matter and too remote from the poem.) The partial destruction brought by Adam and Eve upon the earth and upon themselves and their progeny caused the partial withdrawal of God from this world. Fallen man w i l l best know God i n acting, electing, to r e f i l l the void created by that withdrawal. Thereby man joins with God who is within him, as well as around him. This partial renewal (or, "Imperfect G l o r i f i c a t i o n " — C E . XVI, 65) i s a state in which " . . . we are f i l l e d with a consciousness of present Grace and Excellency" ( C E . XVI, 65). It i s a condition of heightened physical and spiritual activity. This i s a brief survey of extremely divers matters. It may help, however, to indicate two salient features of Milton's God: unity and intimacy. There was no chance that, once put in an epic setting and made to speak, God could be very amenable. This i s not so much because He i s a tyrant15 or because the story is of the F a l l . His tyranny has a benevolent end in view and the F a l l i s for the better. It is more because God 103 accounts for too many things. Since He w i l l have no other gods before Him, He i s l e f t holding the bag, so to speak. Zeus i s omnipotent in heaven and on earth, but the presence of other deities frequently relieves him of immediate responsibility for fateful acts. He i s omniscient but not always attentive or awake. He has no omnipresence and i s apparently off in Ethiopia (Iliad, 1.423) when war breaks out at Troy. To put i t briefly, contradictions and conflicts of interest exist among the deities but not within Zeus himself. Such conflicts and contradictions are readily understandable because they . . . are basically analogous to the tensions which exist among the elements of the world, and their /the godsjJ7 personalities were not disposed to accentuate these tensions. The mythic conception of a family under the leadership of a royal father permits the tensions to persist and yet at the same time pro-vides a symbolic image of harmony.1® One, lone godhead i s not sufficient to handle the ten-sions and conflicts of l i f e without appearing to be the cause of them; indeed, i t i s inescapable that an absolute godhead be their ultimate cause. When such i s the case, contradictions appear within the godhead i t s e l f . This tends to embarrass theology and to produce elaborate exegeses, as, for instance, when Milton asserts that "no created thing can be f i n a l l y annihilated" (C.E. XV, 27). Contradictions thrive within the framework of myth, for myth can deal with them in the simplest of strokes, asj E v i l into the mind of God or Man May come and go, so unapprov'd and leave No spot or blame behind....(V.117-119) Contradiction within a lone godhead is no contradiction, hut part of the unity of that godhead. One way of putting i t might be to say i t represents a tension within a greater calm. In either case, conflict between deities or within one deity, can properly appear as the source, or the reflection—according to viewpoint—of the real phenomenon. The question is not whom to blame for the tensions of l i f e , but to see them as part of a greater picture. Adam rightly senses this "Strange contradiction" within the godhead he had but lately known so well. It seems to him he has a l l the facts: Since God produced a l l things from His own substance and by His own w i l l unsolicited, i t would seem better to destroy or unproduce this creation which has proved a failure than to remodel i t as a source of "lasting woes". It was not Adam's body that sinned, "but breath / Of Life that sinn'd" ( X . 7 8 9 - 7 9 0 ) . Why punish only the body with death? If Adam i s to die, then so w i l l his s p i r i t ; i f both die, then ... How can he exercise Wrath without end on Man whom Death must end? Can he make deathless Death? (X.796-798) The contradictions are certainly there and Milton brings them to the centre of Adam's argument. But Adam is in no position at the moment to see a context greater than his own woe and the future his woe w i l l bring to his children. He has lost the perfect relationship with God and with i t the intuitive under-standing of His w i l l . Adam has not yet perceived that a new framework i s to replace the perfect one; a l l he can see is the 105 contradiction within and not the godhead i t s e l f . He ends his speech symbolically prone, like Satan on the burning marl, devoid of reason and calling for a quick death. Then, pro-phetically, he recalls what i t was like to know God before. Crying aloud for swift justice, his vision suddenly widens: It i s a hollow sound and an empty vision for i t i s retrospective. Not u n t i l he has heard f u l l y of the ways of men from Michael in Books XI and XII w i l l he perceive the extent of the new world and of regeneration. Then w i l l he behold the strange contra-diction as no contradiction. The unity of God i s more than numerical solitude. The reverse side of the matter i s His diversity. When God creates the universe in Book VII, out of His own substance, He i s bringing a portion of Himself into a given shape. This mani-festation of both the matter and the orderliness of the world i s one means by which we know Him: . . . everything in the world, by the beauty of i t s order, and the evidence of a determinate and beneficial purpose which per-vades i t , t e s t i f i e s that some supreme efficient Power must have pre-existed, by which the whole was ordained for a specific end. (CE. XIV, 27) The act of creation i s , in one sense, an act of aggression against the force of disorder. God personally wrests a bit of Himself out of the realm of Chaos, who, apparently forewarned of the loss of territory, comes to watch (VII.221). Had God 0 Woods, 0 Fountains, Hillocks, Dales and Bow'rs, With other echo late I taught your Shades To answer, and resound far other Song. (X.860-862) withdrawn altogether, after the f a l l , presumably everything would have returned to Chaos, who, we know (11.1008) welcomes that possibility. Two passages contain the crucial matters. In the f i r s t , God speakst Meanwhile inhabit lax, ye Powers of Heav'n; And thou my Word, begotten Son, by thee This I perform, speak thou, and be i t done: My overshadowing Spirit and might with thee I send along, ride forth, and bid the-Deep Within appointed bounds be Heav'n and Earth, Boundless the Deep, because I am who f i l l Infinitude, nor vacuous the space. Though I uncircumscrib'd myself retire, And put not forth my goodness, which i s free To act or not, Necessity and Chance Approach not mee, and what I w i l l is Pate. (VII.162-173) The Son, as Word, gives effect, but God alone creates: ... Thus far extend, thus far thy bounds, This be thy just Circumference, 0^ 7 World. Thus God the Heav'n created, thus the Earth, Matter unform'd and void: Darkness profound Cover'd th'Abyss: but on the wat'ry calm His brooding wings the Spirit of God outspread, And v i t a l virtue infus'd, and v i t a l warmth Throughout the f l u i d Mass, but downward purg'd The black tartareous cold Infernal dregs Adverse to l i f e ; then founded, then conglob'd Like things to l i k e , the rest to several place Disparted, and between spun out the Air, And Earth self-balanc't on her Centre hung. (VII.230-242) Kelley has already analyzed these intricate passages. His particular interest was to refute Saurat's assertion that Milton's God ie "non-manifested" and that God creates the uni verse by "retracting" from space. Rather than cite the many and scattered passages from the Christian Doctrine, here i s 107 Kelley's precis! Matter, according to Milton, proceeded directly from God, undigested and unadorned; and God's f i r s t encroachment on this Chaos was his creation of the invisible universe—an act whereby God put forth his goodness by giving this materia  prima order and form. After this action, which digested only a limited part of chaos, the Father returned to his natural state of rest and thus l e f t the remainder of the matter in i t s confused, primeval state u n t i l he again chose to extend his dormant goodness and create the visible universe. Paradise  Lost, VII.168-173, accordingly, i s God's explanation for the chaotic, uncreated state of matter from which the Son i s to form the te r r e s t r i a l universe. It i s matter because God f i l l s i t . It i s boundless because God i s i n f i n i t e . It i s confused because from i t God has chosen to r e t i r e — t o withdraw into his normal state of rest—rather than put forth his goodness and give i t form and order. And f i n a l l y , this dormancy of God results not from the compulsion of necessity, fate, or chance, but from the w i l l of the Father himself.18 Kelley's analysis demonstrates, by noting the fai t h f u l corres-pondence between doctrine and poem, that Milton intends the universe to be God's manifestation. The details of the event amount to that. But, in myth the event is relatively unimportant. The event i t s e l f i s static and hi s t o r i c a l . Adam and Eve do not look back to perceive the event, but look around themselves. What Adam and Eve worship near the beginning of Book V is God, but God in the universe, as a divine "Power" that energizes a l l matter, infuses i t with motion u n t i l the earth join the "five other wand'ring Fires" or planets in a "mystic Dance not without Song" (V.177-178). Their spontaneous prayer i t s e l f stems from that energy which echoes throughout creation. The four invocations recognize and request the same power to inspire and to direct the poet. The Invocation to Light (Book III) i s especially moving. With enormous humility, Milton calls 108 for the "Bright effluence" of God to warm his v i t a l senses that, blind, he may see God more clearly. It is an example of Milton choosing to let goodness overcome adversity. It i s also a directive, a kind of memorandum on the business at hand which is to reduce the gap between God and man. If we are willing to grant the validity of the Coleridgean poetic theory, then we agree that Milton does, indeed, bring the whole soul of man into activity. The ideal poet " . . . diffuses a tone and s p i r i t of unity that blends, and (as i t were) fuses, each into each, by that synthetic and magical . power, to which fee have exclusively appropriated the name of imagination." 1 9 It should not seem rash to trace certain aspects of Milton's prosody to the same desire to give God a new immediacy. The swirling syntax and the latinate words push the mind beyond rational limits. C. S. Lewis notes that "Nearly every sentence in Milton has that power which physicists some-times think we shall have to attribute to matter—the power of action at a distance." c w Perhaps one might say Milton gives God a kind of syntactic biceps, with flexors at either end of the poem. Milton i s doing everything he can to overcome God's distance. He seeks to return Him as rightful proprietor of the universe and to cast off the absentee-landlord image He acquires through our customary services and fixed r i t u a l . In doing so, Milton infuses Him with a sensuosity absent in theological terminology. Cassirer has put the difference this way: For the highly developed metaphysical consciousness the certainty 109 of immortality rests above a l l on a sharp analytical dis-tinction between body and soul, between the physical natural world and the spiritual world. But the original mythical consciousness knows nothing of such a division or dualism. 2 1 Nothing i s and nothing happens for which God is not the refer-ence or starting point. Perhaps the greatest achievement of Paradise Lost i s this feeling of constant Presence. God seldom speaks and i s not actually present in more than a handful of scenes. When He does speak, i t i s usually B i b l i c a l paraphrase. Nevertheless, he virtua l l y dominates a l l books. He is the "something there" sensation behind the words and the thought, behind the architecture, behind the versification. One possible comparison, though a greatly inadequate one, is i n James1 The  Ambassadors. Though we never see her and though she never speaks herself, Mrs. Newsome i s always there. The unity and intimacy of God, f e l t more than understood, strongly resembles that effect achieved in Homeric myth, the fusion of primeval matter and spiritual being, of which the gods are the highest spokesmen. Otto has put i t very concisely: The sanctity of nature was assumed in the essence of the bright divinities and now appears i n them as enlarged meaning and spiritual grandeur. 2 2 Nietzsche has put i t more passionately, as almost personal testimony: The more I have come to realize in nature those omnipotent for-mative tendencies and, with them, an intense longing for i l l u s i o n , the more I feel inclined to the hypothesis that the original Oneness, the ground of Being, ever-suffering and contradictory, time and again has need of rapt vision and delightful i l l u s i o n to redeem i t s e l f . Since we ourselves are the very stuff of such illusions, we must view ourselves as the truly non-existent, 110 that i s to say, as a perpetual unfolding in time, space, and causality—what we label "empiric real i t y " . But i f , for the moment, we abstract from our own reality, viewing our empiric existence, as well as the existence of the world at large, as the idea of the original Oneness, produced anew each instant, then our dreams w i l l appear to us as illusions of illusions, hence as a s t i l l higher form of satisfaction of the original desire for i l l u s i o n . . . . "With august gesture the god shows us there i s need for a whole world of torment in order for the individual to produce the redemptive vision and to s i t quietly in his rocking rowboat in mid-sea, absorbed in con-templation. 23 I l l CONCLUSION It has heen maintained that Paradise Lost is more than a poetic setting for a B i b l i c a l story, that i t i s a myth in i t s own right, rebuilt from an earlier one to f i t Puritan idealism. The myth i s ultimately Milton's own successful fusion of classical and Christian traditions. It has been noted how Paradise Lost shares certain traits common to myth-making, which when assembled reflect what may be properly called "mythical consciousness"—a consciousness based primarily not upon reason or logic, but upon perception of unity. Mythical "explanation" differs from scientific "explanation" in hot seeking to separate fact from f i c t i o n , reason from emotion, feeling from thought. Myth explains nothing in the rational sense of the word. It may be said to gratify a more primitive level of human psychology by supplying what reason, logic, science, philogophy and theology are unable or less apt to supply: an i l l u s i o n of harmony over and above contradiction and discord. L i t t l e or no separation exists in mythical consciousness between the human and the divine, between the spiritual and the material; effect i s linked with cause so closely as to make them virt u a l l y one. Happening i s thereby imperceptibly transformed and mixed with being. The profound assumption behind mythical consciousness i s that no thing exists and nothing happens alone. In Milton's case, a l l things proceed from God and have existence in common. Hence, truth w i l l be perceived insofar as one senses 112 the harmony of the universe of which everyone i s a part. God, Satan, and Adam and Eve have no history because they are. They are seen mythically as the composite images of forces; each i s known for an act performed at one time, the "effect" of which i s yet present and v i s i b l y perceptible. Conversely, as long as the "effect" is perceptible, the cause lives, for mythical consciousness translates happening into being and makes no clear-cut distinction between past and present. Christ and Satan are born of one conception in Puritan con-sciousness and.in Paradise Lost, they form inseparable com-plements of God's total plan. The acts by which they are known are creation of good and creation of e v i l . The effects of both are ever present in our conscience and in our world; their s t r i f e i s self-perpetuating. Adam and Eve embody the image of disobedience, an act accounting for the present condition of man and suggesting a previous. Disobedience accounts for perfection lost and per-f e c t i b i l i t y gained. In Paradise Lost, Milton invests the Hebrew myth of the f a l l with a new meaning that fuses Christian and classical humanistic interests: the f a l l i s the surrender of reason to upstart passion. Hence, the historical event has a psychological counterpart perpetually present in a l l men. The mystery of the f a l l i s that i t leads to a new and greater happiness for man i f he chooses the ways of Right Reason above the ways of e v i l . Paradoxically, e v i l must therefore be present before this happier happiness i s possible, for i t enables man to exercise Free Will to a greater extent than a state of 113 perfection had allowed. Milton's God is essentially incomprehensible, yet everywhere present and knowable. He is material insofar as a l l that i s i s of Him, yet He i s unapproachably metaphysical. Man cannot know Him perfectly, not because He is hiding or because He has no substance but because He is a l l things and more than a l l things. Such a scope of knowledge is beyond human understanding. After the f a l l , God partially withdrew from the world; this allowed for the discord and harshness men know. Had He withdrawn altogether, creation would have dis-solved. Contradictions exist within God as part of a greater harmony; likewise the diseord and partial chaos on earth may be seen as part of a greater plan. Once Adam is aware, as the obedient Christian i s aware, of the greater order, these contradictions are resolved in a new i l l u s i o n of harmony. Milton's myth needs no apology or defense. While i t may f a l l from fashion at times, i t s valid i t y i s safe so long as good and e v i l can be perceived. It i s possible to deny that any such: duality exists. For instance, good and e v i l exist in Greek myth, but not as a duality, not as the only stimuli available. Yet, while number and variety may be lacking, a certain strength i s present i n Milton's myth by virtue of fusing the two strongest human motivations into one purpose. To fear the Lord i s to sense His strength and presence; to love Him i s to aot in concord with His goodness. Milton has allowed and encouraged the broadest possible interpretations for "goodness", "right reason", and "free w i l l " . Once these are understood, once the kind of discipline Milton has in mind is understood, i t should be possible to acknowledge Milton* myth i s not only valid, but timelessly pertinent. 115 NOTES xEmpson, p. 95. 2Ibid., pp. 117-118. 3Ibid., p. 129. 4Willey, p. 248. 5Kelley, p. 212, note. 6 I b i d . 7¥atts, Myth and Ritual, p. 67. 8Rudolf Otto, p. 12. 9Watts, Myth and Ritual, p. 28. 1 0Watts, Two Hands, p. 139# x xJames, p. 431. 12 B. Rajan, "Simple, Sensuous and Passionate," i n Milton; Modem Essays, ed. Barker, p. 9. 13Kelley, p. 212. 1 4 I b i d . , p. 212, note. 15g>iie broader sense of the terms "tyrant" and "tyranny" should be understood here: an absolute ruler. 16W. P. Otto, pp. 170-171. x 7 I have found no c r i t i c a l notice of i t , but this may well be a divine pun. Milton would gladly take advantage of such a jubilant occasion. 1 8 K e l l e y , p. 211. x 9Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Biographia Literaria, ed. J . Shawcross (London: Oxford University Press, 1962J, Vol. II, p. 12, 2 0C. S. Lewis, p. 42. 21cassirer, p. 189. 2 2 ¥ . P. Otto, p. 160. 2 3Nietzsche, pp. 33-34. 116 WORKS CITED Aeschylus. Prometheus Bound, trans. Rex Warner, in Ten Greek  Plays, ed. 1. R. Lind. Boston: Houghton M i f f l i n Com-pany, 1957. Barker, Arthur E., ed. Milton: Modern Essays in Criticism. New York: Oxford University Press, 1965. Bodkin, Maud. Archetypal Patterns in Poetry: Psychological  Studies of Imagination. London! Oxford University Press, 19o"3. Cassirer, Ernst. Mythical Thought, Vol. II of The Philosophy of Symbolic forms 7~trans .Efalph Manheim. ITew Haven: Yale University Press, 1955. Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Biographia Literaria,- ed. J . Shaw-cross. 2 vols. London: Oxford University Press, 1962. . "On the Prometheus of Aeschylus," in his Literary Remains, ed. H. N. Coleridge. London: William Pickering, 1836 • Donne, John. Sermons, ed. George R. Potter and Evelyn M. Simpson. 10 vols. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1955. Empson, William. Milton's God. London: Chatto & Windus, 1965. Evelyn-White, Hugh G., ed. The Homeric Hymns and Homerica. See entry under "Hesiod." Prye, Roland Mushat. God, Man, and Satan. Princeton: Princeton University Press, I960. Graves, Robert. The Greek Myths. 2 vols. Harmondsworth: Penguin BooTEs, 1955. Haller, William. The Rise of Puritanism. New York: Columbia University Press, 1938. Harrison, Jane Ellen. The Religion of Ancient Greece. London: Archibald Constable & Co Ltd, 1905. Hesiod. The Homeric Hymns and Homerica, trans. & ed. Hugh G. Evelyn-White. London: William Heinemann, Ltd., 1914. 117 Homer. The Iliad, trans. & ed. A. T. Murray. 2 vols. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1924. • The Odyssey, trans. & ed. A. T. Murray. 2 vols. London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1919. James, William. The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 190"2. Johnson, Samuel. "Milton, w in Milton Criticism. See entry under "Thorpe, James, ed." Kelley, Maurice. This Great Argument. Princeton: Princeton University Press-, 1941. Kerenyi, C. The Gods of the Greeks. London: Thames and Hudson, 195lT~ Kermode, Prank. "Adam Unparadised," in The Living Milton. Essays by Various Hands, ed. Prank Kermode. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, I960. Lewis, C. S. A Preface to "Paradise Lost." New York: Oxford University Press,~T94^ MacCaffrey, Isabel Gamble. "Paradise Lost" as "Myth." Cam-bridge: Harvard University Press, 195^. Milton, John. Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. Merritt Y. Hughes. New York": Tne Odyssey Press, 1957. . The Works of . . . , ed. Prank Allen Patterson and others. zl vols. New York: Columbia University Press, 1931-1938. More, Paul E. and P. L. Cross, compilers & ed. Anglicanism. London: S. P.. C. K., 1962. Nietzsche, Priedrick. "The Birth of Tragedy.11 in his "The Birth of Tragedy" and "The Genealogy of Morals, M compiled & ed. & trans. Francis Golffing. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1956. Otto, Rudolf. The Idea of the Holy, trans. John W. Harvey. London: Oxford University Press, 1923. Otto, W. ;P. The Homeric Gods: The Spiritual Significance of  Greek Religion, trans. Moses Hadas. London: Thames and Hudson,£n. d^J The Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, ed. Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger. Few York: Oxford University Press, 1965. 118 Rajan, B. "Paradise Lost" and the Seventeenth Century Reader. London! Chat to & Windus, 1966. . "Simple, Sensuous and Passionate," in Milton: Modern  Essays* See entry under "Barker, Arthur E., ed." Samuel, Irene. Plato and Milton. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 19471 S t o i l , Elmer Edgar. "Prom the Superhuman to the Human in Paradise Lost." in Milton Criticism. See entry under "Thorpe, James, ed."" Stein, Arnold. "Milton's War in Heaven," in Milton: Modern Essays. See entry under "Barker, Arthur E., edT" Thorpe, James, ed. Milton Criticism: Selections from Pour Centuries. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1951. Tillyard, E. M. W. The English Epic and Its Background. New York: Oxford University Press7~T96"oT . Milton. London; Chatto & Windus, 1966. . The Miltonic Setting Past and Present. London: Chatto & Windus, id6"i. Watts, Alan W. Myth and Ritual in Christianity. London: Thames and Hudson, 1954. . The Two Hands of Sod. New York: George.Braziller, 196T: • Willey, Basil. The Seventeenth Century Background. New York: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1953. 

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