Paradise Lost "The Hell Within Him"

John Milton

"The Hell Within Him"

Context: Satan and other angels, unsuccessful in their attempt to snatch from God the control of Heaven, are cast into the burning lake of Hell. The fallen angels meet in council to discuss making another attempt to gain Heaven, but decide instead to explore an alternate course of vengeance. Since they have heard of the creation of the Earth, Satan's offer to attempt revenge in this sphere is agreed upon, but as Satan approaches the Garden of Eden and envisions the corruption of the innocence of Adam and Eve, he is torn by doubt and despair:

. . . horror and doubt distract
His troubl'd thoughts, and from the bottom stirr
The Hell within him, for within him Hell
He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell
One step no more then from himself can fly
By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair
That slumbered, wakes the bitter memorie
Of what he was, what is, and what must be
Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue.
Sometimes towards Eden which now in his view
Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad,
Sometimes towards Heav'n and the full-blazing Sun,
Which now sat high in his Meridian Towre:
Then much revolving, thus in sighs began.