Uploaded by JarJarBinks on Jul 05, 2004
Looking at John Milton’s Paradise Lost, we can see that there are the two ideas of damnation and salvation through reconciliation present in the characters of Satan and Adam & Eve, respectively. It is Satan’s sin of pride that first causes him to fall from God’s grace and into the bowels of hell. This same pride is also what keeps him from being able to be reconciled to God, and instead, leads him to buy into his own idea of saving himself. With Adam & Eve, we see that although they too, disobeyed God, they repented of their sin, and were reconciled to the Divinity through the saving judgement of the Son. It is their ability to admit their wrongdoings to God that allow them to have the promise of returning to Paradise (Heaven); something that Satan was not able to do.
In the fourth book in Paradise Lost, we see Satan wrestling with himself over what has happened (his fall), and what it is he is about to do (his completely setting himself against God). He is able to recognize that God’s forgiving nature extends even to himself, "I could repent and could obtain By Act of Grace, my former state", and is if only for a moment, unsure as to "which way I shall fly"? However, Satan knowingly chooses to cling to his foolish pride, and is unwilling to ask and receive the forgiveness of God, "is there no place left for repentance… none left… disdain forbids me". It is important to understand that Satan fully comprehends the sin he is about to commit as he is well aware of the consequences for his actions. He allows his pride to completely remove him from ever regaining his "former state", and so damns himself and the other fallen angels to the hell set aside for them. This idea of his last and lost chance to reconcile himself to the Divinity is seen when he declares "So farewell Hope… Farewell Remorse: all Good to me is lost". This demonstrates his complete sense of despair, and thereby, his complete rejection of both God and His love.
When we look at Adam & Eve, we see what might be considered tragic "heroes" in the sense that they also knowingly doom themselves to be removed from Paradise, and subjected to the harsh, new world as well as death, and yet persevere with the hope for...