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Re: Milton Sigismund

Posted by raisinb on April 29, 2009, at 20:48:14

In reply to Milton, posted by Sigismund on April 13, 2009, at 2:26:20

I'm a Milton junkie!

Have you read Paradise Lost? Many argue that Satan's the hero, even though Milton started out to "justify God's ways to man." The problem literarily speaking is that a remote authority is much less compelling than a guy who's the underdog and keeps on fighting despite unconquerable odds. I always liked that combination. And I like to believe that Milton, a devout Puritan, liked his antihero despite himself.

During WWII, in the midst of the London bombings, when English morale was at its lowest, Churchill read a piece of Paradise Lost over the radio to his people. It wasn't God's or Christ's speech--it was Satan's. Because when you tell the story, fortunately or unfortunately, Satan is the guy who has the courage and the compelling story to tell.

When he's sitting in hell with his fallen angels, Satan says, "What though the field be lost? All is not lost. The unconquerable will, and hate, and the courage never to submit or bow, and sue for grace, with suppliant knee..that is an ignominy and shame worse..." than what we've been through already. He's deciding on a course of evil, but the poetry is beautiful.

So, he's the Prince of Darkness, so what? I still like to think of those lines when I'm being attacked by judgmental people and when things look bleak, because they testify to the power of the individual spirit in the face of an unconquerable enemy.




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