Monday, January 18, 2010

New points of view

The Council scene in Book II leaves the impression that all the "rational options" have been presented, discussed, and decided upon. The joint decision is to suspend any final decision while Satan makes a solo voyage from hell through Chaos and old Night to the backside of the new, pendant world, and on to the Sun.

Each stop in his journey brings new characters who raise questions about tone and perspective, and pose interpretive difficulties. How does Sin, the dual figure, woman and serpent, complete with barking hellhounds, relate to what is fundamentally a theological concept? How are we to take the new elements (and back-story) of the plot, e.g. the encounter between Satan, Sin, and Death? What do the placement of Chaos and Satan's scene there say about the universe, the setting in which this whole drama unfolds, and about Satan himself? Why does the fate of the demons appear to hang upon the outcome of Satan's "success?"

After reading Book II's narrative of Satan's odyssey, it's worth taking a look at the Devil's own account of the same in Book X as he regales the demons upon his return.

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