"Long Is The Way And Hard, That Out Of Hell Leads Up To Light"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 168

Context: At the end of the grand council at Pandemonium, in Hell, the rebel angels vote to try to spite the Divine Will by seducing the new creation, man, to their party, as Beelzebub has advised. None of the fallen angels is willing, however, to risk the journey to find out if the prophecy of Heaven has been fulfilled: that a new universe with man as its famed inhabitant has been brought into existence. Satan alone dares the task, and he arises to take it upon himself to try to escape Hell in order to investigate the matter for his followers. He knows that what he will attempt will not be easy, and he says:

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"O progeny of heaven, empyreal thrones,
With reason hath deep silence and demur
Seized us, though undismayed: long is the way
And hard, that out of hell leads up to light;
Our prison strong, this huge convex of fire,
Outrageous to devour, immures us round
Ninefold, and gates of burning adamant
Barred over us prohibit all egress."

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