"The Mind Is Its Own Place"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 161

Context: These lines appear in one of Satan's first speeches, just after he and the other rebel angels have been hurled into Hell. Satan is temporarily defeated, but still unrepentant of his pride in opposing himself to God and His will. Satan's words here are reminiscent of a statement by Sir Thomas Browne in Religio Medici (1642), "The heart of man is the place the devils dwell in: I feel sometimes a hell within myself." In Book IV, line 75, of Paradise Lost, Milton also has Satan say, in similar vein, "Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell." Satan is made to recognize his own nature, despite his vaunt:

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Hail, horrors, hail,
Infernal world, and thou, profoundest hell,
Receive thy new possessor: One who brings
A mind not to be changed by place or time.
The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.
What matter where, if I be still the same. . . .

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