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 sulphur, 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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Milton describes Hell as a fiery pit: "A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round / As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames / No light, but rather darkness visible / Serv’d only to discover sights of woe...." This place is the opposite of heaven -- in an apparent paradox , the fires of Hell only illuminate pain and suffering. More specifically, Satan finds himself in a burning lake; when he rouses himself and calls his troop of fallen angels to him, he discovers a hill: "There stood a Hill not far whose griesly top / Belch’d fire and rowling smoak; the rest entire / Shon with a glossie scurff, undoubted sign / That in his womb was hid metallic Ore, / The work of Sulphur." This hill, hellish though it is, contains treasure: "Soon had his crew / Op’nd into the Hill a spacious wound / And dig’d out ribs of Gold." This "pretious [precious] bane" with other molten ores found inside the hill is molded and used to build a massive city, built like a temple. This is...

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