4 Answers | Add Yours
One example of how Milton supports the idea of hierarchy comes in Book 12, when he has Adam criticize Nimrod for challenging the proper order God has established.
Milton refers the concept of the "Great Chain of Being" continuously throughout the epic. For example, the Son creates the world starting from the bottom of the chain: first the earth, then plants, then beasts, and finally man. Of course, angels and God are then above man. The concept of hierarchy is reinforced by the actions of Satan, the obvious evil-doer of the epic. Because Satan undermines the inherent hierarchy of the universe, he is acting against God. He aspires to be equal to God (taking himself out of place), and convinces Eve to likewise aspire. His displacing of authority is again highlighted by his leading of Seraphim and Cherubim, while he is a (relatively) lowly archangel. And in another instance, Satan inhabits the snake, and speaks the tongue of man; this again voilates the order of things by making the snake higher than it should be.
Numerous critics have commented on this. Theo Hobson claimed recently in his book on Milton's vision that Miltions aim in his presentation of God was "the total relocation of Kingly authority in God". Clearly if Satan would have rebelled against any other sort of tyrannical leader than Milton himslef would have had sympathies with him, and we as readers more so, however in the context of Christianity and the "creator wise" we are expected to see Satan's actions as heretical and pathetic.
Hope this helps
In line 272-3, Satan says "Leader of those armies bright, Which but th' Omnipotent none could have foiled." He is suggesting that no one could have defeated his army, except for one and only one: The Almighty god.
We’ve answered 318,946 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question