Paradise Lost Questions and Answers
by John Milton

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Description Of Hell In Paradise Lost Book 1

Write a note on the description of hell in Milton's Paradise Lost.

In book 1 of Paradise Lost, Milton describes hell as a dark, desolate wildness lit by never-ending fires. Satan awakens chained in a sea of molten flame. In this place that smells of sulfur, Satan and his minions mine ore and build a city that is a parody of God's celestial city in heaven.

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When John Milton describes hell in book 1 of Paradise Lost, he seems to be portraying a terrifying yet paradoxical place.

At first, he tells us hell is a world where torment and affliction know no limits. He tells of us "bottomless perdition":

Regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell.

Hell is not a place to relax, take or break, or unwind. It's a place of constant cruelty and "torture without end." It's so nefarious that Milton can't quantify it.

Yet Milton does quantify it by assigning it concrete properties. He refers to hell as a "dungeon horrible" and a "prison ordained / In utter darkness." Dungeons and prisons have specific boundaries. Yet maybe what separates the dungeon/prison of hell from an ordinary dungeon/prison is that the dungeon/prison of hell offers unlimited capacity.

As for light, there's not lots of that in Milton's hell. As we already know, hell is consumed by "utter darkness." Although, perhaps when Milton says "darkness," he doesn't mean...

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