/ Me miserable! which way shall I fly, infinite wrath and infinite despair? /
An epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton. The first version, published in 1667, consisted of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse. A second edition followed in 1674, arranged into twelve books (in the manner of Virgil’s Aeneid) with minor revisions throughout and a note on the versification. It is considered by critics to be Milton’s major work, and it helped solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time. The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton’s purpose, stated in Book I, is to “justify the ways of God to men“. The poem is separated into twelve “books” or sections, the lengths of which vary greatly (the longest is Book IX, with 1,189 lines, and the shortest Book VII, with 640).
The Arguments at the head of each book were added in subsequent imprints of the first edition. Originally published in ten books, a fully “Revised and Augmented” edition reorganized into twelve books was issued in 1674, and this is the edition generally used today. The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being recounted later.
Me miserable! which way shall I fly, infinite wrath and infinite despair?
Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell; And in the lowest deep a lower deep.
Still threat’ning to devour me, opens wide, to which the hell I suffer seems a heaven.
Milton was an English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem ”Paradise Lost” (1667), written in blank verse. Milton’s poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day.
Writing in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica (1644) — written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship — is among history’s most influential and impassioned defences of free speech and freedom of the press.
* All art in this series was carved by the
beautifully talented Gustave Doré
The Fall of Angels
Our tale begins in the fiery pit of Hell, drifting in the stellar nothingness to which our poet calls Chaos. Milton describes a universe that consists of a sphere of Heaven and a sphere of Hell floating on opposite ends of Chaos. Creation and all it’s planet/ stars hang by a golden chain to Heaven sitting inside Heaven’s sphere. Lucifer is in Hell, confused and angry. The shamed Angel has only just fallen from grace. He finds himself malformed and lying in a blazing inferno. He takes a moment to try to acclimatise to the new environment. All around him, he sees darkness as a physical presence, weaving in and around the fabric of his new home.
Lucifer is larger than any of the mythical Giants, in the poem. The fallen angel is armed with a shield and spear to match his immense size. As testament to his size, Milton suggests that were a sailor to happen by him, he might confuse Lucifer for an island and try to moor on his back. Nearby to Lucifer lies Beelzebub, Lucifers second in command. The fallen comrade proclaims that Lucifer looks different to the Angel that he once did. Surrounding them were more disgraced and disoriented Angels. All those that fought against God had been cast out. Beelzebub is saddened by the state of affairs and tells Lucifer that he’s upset that he’s still alive. He says that they are now merely showcased examples of God’s vengeful wrath. Lucifer turns to Beelzebub and proclaims that from this point on, they will do no more good for God. Lucifer says that they should try to corrupt anything God tries to do from this point on.
After a few moments contemplation, Lucifer tells his comrade that they are to move to a nearby fiery plain and draw up a plan to wage their new war with God. They should also use this valuable opportunity to repair their losses. Lucifer flies to the plain and rejoices that he is as far from God as he could possibly be. Once landed on the plain, he wanders to the edge of a burning lake and beckons all of the fallen Angels to him.
The Fallen Army Rebuilds
As the still winged fallen arrive to the plain and sit on it, Lucifer begins with lamenting how unbelievable it is that they lost the war. He tells the angels to rise up or be disgraced forever in a rousing speech. The huge mass of Angels stand up with surprising haste at the speech of their commander. They arrange themselves into squadrons, each with a leader that steps out to join Lucifer. Chemos, Moloch, Baalim, Ashtaroth, Thammuz, Dagon, Rimmnon and Belial are all some of the named leaders that stand with Lucifer in front of the new army. As more Angels arrive to they are filled with great despair, but find hope in seeing Lucifer alive and unfazed. Lucifer continues his inspiring speech and then demands that his banner be unfurled. It shines brightly like a meteor and encourages others to raise their spears and wave their flags.
The army roar as one and to the sound of Hellish pipes assemble proper in front of their commander. Lucifer towers over the other Angels and what is now the largest army ever assembled. The Angels await his orders. After falling so far, Lucifer still seems to be incredibly powerful and passionate. He is a strong leader to them. Lucifer tries to speak to his army three times but is held back by emotion. When he finally musters his strength he says how brave they are as soldiers and how nobody could have ever foreseen their loss to God. He tells them not to fear, that they will rise greater than ever before, but only if they change their tactics to guile and fraud.
He tells them to raise a great sanctuary in Hell to debate a plan to fight Heaven. The legions of fallen raise their blades in approval.
The Council in Hell – Part 1
A group of Angels led by Mammon head out to a nearby volcano that they sense is rich with Metallic ores. Once there, they vigorously mine plentiful gold from it. After obtaining a significant quantity, they pass the ore to a second group of Angels. These angels refine the ore using the liquid fire of a burning lake. Finally once refined, a third group pours the molten gold into brick like moulds. After quite some time, an enormous shining temple from the golden bricks has been built. A Hellish monument to the craftsmanship of Angels. The temple, named Pandemonium, is adorned with statues, pillars and a large sweeping golden roof. It is more magnificent than anything ever created on Earth.
The Council in Hell – Part 2
Many of the fallen Angels enter the building much like bees entering a beehive. To fit everyone they shrink to a size smaller than a human man. It is time to have a great political debate in hell. Lucifer sits on his throne and begins by saying he believes that they will one day retake Heaven. He says that now is the time to debate whether to defeat God through all-out war or subtlety and espionage. Moloch speaks first, stating that they should attack the throne of God with all they have, as they cannot be punished worse than what they are now. Belial retorts that open war will be difficult as the border of Heaven is well protected, they would be repelled easily. Belial then intelligently announces that no matter the course, God will inevitably discover them. He suggests holding back and doing nothing in the hope God will relax his punishment. Mammon, the next speaker says he believes that God cannot be defeated and that even if forgiveness is possible, they will all remain slaves to his will.
They should remain in Hell and try to forge a new empire. Mammon is greeted with rapturous applause at the thought of building a kingdom to rival God. They also appreciate the absence of more war. Beelzebub stands up next. He says that it is folly to believe they can create an Empire in Hell, as God will undoubtedly claim it as his dominion. He says that there can be no peace, but rumours suggest that God is building a new world. He suggests destroying the inhabitants of this new plain or pulling them to their side. After deliberating, the Angels vote in favour of Beelzebub.
The next debate begins with the selection on whom the task must fall to. Nobody volunteers as the task is dangerous and important. Lucifer, remarkably quiet through all of this, rises and addresses them all. He states that whomever takes up the task must brave the ‘unessential night’, Chaos. He tells them that as their leader he must ask no more from them than he is unwilling to do himself and says that he will look for the new creation himself. He asks that the Angels build a better Hell whilst he is absent. The Angels respect Lucifer and treat him with worship to the level of God himself.
Lucifer leaves Pandemonium with a group of higher ranked Angels surrounded by heavily armed units. Fake-gold horns are blown as the rest of the Angels outside are informed of the decision. Lucifer immediately heads towards the gates of Hell. The leaders step aside to take a rest awaiting Lucifer’s return.
The Gates of Hell
Lucifer approaches the three gates of hell, one made of iron, another of brass and the final of diamond rock. Beside the gates are two figures. One of them is a female, serpent from waist down with tiny barking hell hounds strapped to her. The other figure is a dark male form, almost shapeless, wearing a crown on his head (he is also introduced at line 666). Lucifer tells them he is going through the gates no matter what. The male form tells him that even if he is the great fallen angel, Lucifer is not in charge here. Lucifer and the male share a duelling stare. The female suddenly pipes in asking why Lucifer wishes to slay his own son. She says that during the revolt in Heaven she sprung from Lucifer’s head and the other Angels named her Sin. Unbeknownst to Lucifer, he and Sin then shared a sexual relationship which birthed Death, the Male figure. Death then raped Sin, spawning the hellhounds around her waist. Lucifer tells her that he is searching for God’s new world and that he will let them both roam free if he takes it for himself. Sin tells Lucifer that although God instructed her to keep the gates locked, he is not her father, Lucifer is. A thundering quake is heard as Sin opens the gates and on the other side is an infinite and boundless blackness. A void without dimension. Lucifer observes it as cold, hot, wet and dry all at once. It also echoes an incalculably loud noise. He enters the gates into Chaos.
The Throne of Chaos
The texture of Chaos is bizarre and without reason. Lucifer finds himself swimming, flying, running and crawling in every which way possible towards the noise he can hear. Eventually he reaches the throne of Chaos. Sat on the throne is Chaos personified, whom tells Lucifer that he watched the Angel and his brethren fall through his domain. Lucifer asks Chaos the location of God’s new creation and Chaos happily points him onwards in the correct direction. Lucifer, filled with fiery passion, heads towards the new universe. As Lucifer nears Heaven, he sees its heavenly lights as well as the universe chained to it. He sweeps directly for Earth with a heart full of revenge.
A Cure for Sin
Our story moves to Heaven and God sitting with his son (not Jesus yet). They are both watching over God’s new creation. They see Adam, Eve, Eden and Lucifer arriving. He explains to his son that he believes Lucifer will succeed in temping the new race of humanity to evil. He tells his son that nobody controls predestination, not even he. He gave everyone free will to do as they choose. It was the Angels that chose to revolt, not him.
He goes on to say that because humanity will be deceived, they will eventually find salvation through truth. He will implant conscience in them so they can find grace through the calling of it. The pair begin planning the salvation of humanity if they do succumb to Lucifer. God calls for someone to enter Earth as a mortal and die for the sins that Adam and Eve are about to perform. All of the Angels fall silent, nobody wants to make the sacrifice. The Son of God then stands up and says he will do it. He says to them that he will not die anyway, as he is immortal and will render Satan and Death mute on Earth. Then he will return to Heaven after routing hell.
God and the other Angels rejoice him. God goes on to name his Son the ruler of the universe after his deed is done for saving humanity. Long after that there will be a day of judgement, says God, where his Son will send souls to Hell and others to Heaven. Then the doors of Heaven will be sealed permanently, the Earth will be burned, and a new Heaven and Earth created. The Angels begin playing music out of praise for God and his son.
Lucifer Arrives on Earth
Lucifer emerges from the outer edge of Chaos into the circle of Heaven. From his position he can see the Gates of Heaven made of Golden bars encrusted in jewels. He sees a set of stairs conjoining Heaven to the newly created Universe and a portal connecting to the physical realm. Lucifer flies through the portal and lands on the Sun. It is bright beyond expression, colourful beyond calculation. Lucifer looks around the universe and sees endless light, there is no shade (yet). He peers into the Sun and spots the Angel Uriel, one of God’s most trusted, turned the other way and meditating. Before being spotted, Lucifer changes himself into a Cherub (lower-order Angel) and asks Uriel where God’s most beloved creation is. He want’s to see it. Uriel tells the in-disguise Lucifer that there is nothing wrong with witnessing God’s creativity and so happily directs him to Earth and mankind. Lucifer lands on Mt. Niphates in Eden, the Earthly paradise.
As he looks around this new realm he curses the Sun as the beams remind him of what he once was. Lucifer can never truly escape Hell as the true Hell is within him. He hates God for subjecting and enslaving him. He carries Hell with him in his hate. He says to himself that even if God forgave him, he knows he will only try to overthrow his rule again.
Lucifer Enters Paradise
Lucifer says “Evil be thou my Good,” and that he and God will rule a “Divided Empire.” He becomes so angry that his form changes colours multiple times. Uriel notices this from within the Sun. Lucifer approaches the edge of Paradise (Eden) sitting on the top of a overgrown hill. Right at the top can be seen a great steeping wall surrounding Paradise. Aromas of fruit, figs and other delights sift away from it. Lucifer cannot climb the hill due to it being completely covered in bushes and trees, so he decides to simply jump over to it. The fallen Angel lands on the Tree of Life and surveys Paradise. Right beside this tree is the Tree of Knowledge. Paradise is as beautiful as anything can possibly be, abundant with life and nourished by the love and protection of Heaven. Lucifer notices two creatures standing more nobler and erect than the rest. He pays careful attention to their different genders seeing them unequal. He recognises that one is built for strength and valour, the other for grace and beauty.
Adam & Eve
The pair are naked and the female appears subservient to the male, but not in a way of slavery, but more in a way of love. They sit and eat nectarines surrounded by playing animals. Lions and Elephants are care-free in this wonderful land. Lucifer says to himself that they have no idea what is about to happen to them. Soon he shall drag them to Hell, he mutters. The Angel changes himself into a Lion and then a Tiger so that he can listen in on the pair talking. Adam says to Eve that God must be infinitely good, he gives them everything they could ever need only under the condition they never eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve agrees with him, and begins recounting that when she was born she was shocked by her own reflection in the water. It was Adam’s voice that drew her to him and she was repelled by Adams less fair beauty.
Adam said to her back then that it was from his side that she was created, she is his other half. For this she initially followed him. Lucifer is incredibly jealous and says that the pair are sickening. They have Paradise as well as each other and he has to languish in Hell. He can’t understand why God will deny them knowledge and decides to excite their desire to know. He’s going to trick them into disobeying God’s one command.
Lucifer Encounters Gabriel
The Sun is setting in the west. On the eastern gate sits Gabriel, watching over Paradise. Uriel approaches Gabriel on a sunbeam like a shooting star. He tells Gabriel that a strange Angel approached him earlier and he has now recognised him as one of the fallen from the war in Heaven. Twilight begins and Gabriel promises to find the intruder by nightfall. Uriel departs, trusting Gabriel. Adam tells Eve that they need to rest for the night. God has ordained periods of labour and rest, after all. He tells Eve about the gardening labours of the next day and Eve obeys. She loves Adam so much that she would feel alone without him. Adam tells Eve about the stars and shine of heaven. He says that celestial voices speak about the night. The pair of them head for their bower, a lodge covered in flowers and walled with trees.
They praise God’s creations as they enter, make love and then fall asleep. Gabriel tells his lieutenant, Uzziel, to check the south of Paradise with a squadron of Angels. He orders two others, Ithuriel and Zephon to search for the fallen Angel in Paradise. Ithuriel and Zephon find Satan in the form of a toad, whispering evil thoughts into Eve’s ear. Ithurial touches Satan with his spear and asks which fallen Angel he is. Turning back into his normal form, Satan insults them, saying that if they do not recognise him they really must be small-fry Angels. Zephon says that Satan looks different than before, he now looks like his new home in Hell.
They instruct the intruder that he must answer to Gabriel. Gabriel recognises Satan and tells his squadrons to prepare for a fight. Gabriel asks the fallen Angel why he has left Hell. Satan insults Gabriel, asking if he has lost his wisdom. Who wouldn’t want to leave hell? Gabriel responds sarcastically saying how Heaven lost an excellent judge of wisdom. Gabriel inquires to the whereabouts of the other fallen Angels, if Hell is so bad, they must be here. Satan replies that he chose his leaders duty and endured the pains necessary to arrive, something Gabriel would never understand. Gabriel calls Satan a liar. First he is an explorer, then a leader on a mission? He orders Satan back to Hell.
Satan says that Gabriel will have to chain him first and the pair begin preparing for a showdown. Suddenly, God drops a set of scales between them which will indicate the success of battle beforehand. Satan decides to leave as the scales indicate he will be greatly outnumbered.
Raphael Arrives in Paradise
Eve awakens fairly roughly and tells Adam that he is perfect. She continues that she has not dreamt about him as she usually does but of someone whispering in her ear telling her to come forth. In her dream, she says, she approached the Tree of Knowledge and saw an Angel-looking creature asking why knowledge is forbidden. The creature declared that it’s a stupid rule before taking a bite of one of the Tree’s fruit. The being then offered the fruit to Eve, telling her she will then be among the Gods if she eats it. In her dream she ate the fruit and flew up to Heaven with the creature. Adam thinks nothing of it.
He says it was merely a dream and that he knew she would never do such a thing. They have work to do, so he tells her they should get moving. They leave their bower and offer prayers to God, and praise everything they can to compliment their creator. God watches the two of them work and pities them. He calls upon Raphael. He tells Raphael that Satan is causing havoc in Paradise and orders him to tell Adam about it. Raphael immediately heads for Earth and lands on the Eastern cliff of Paradise. The other Angels nearby recognise him. Raphael has six wings, which he shakes when he lands. Adam is sitting by the door to his bower and Eve is inside preparing fruit. Adam sees Raphael approaching and tells Eve to gather all their food for their guest.
Adam says that Raphael as so bright that he is a second sunrise. Adam goes to meet Raphael whilst Eve picks fruits in their garden. He offers the Angel hospitality in his bower until the “meridian heat” is over. Eve awaits them both inside, now with all fruit prepared. Adam offer the food to the Angel if he eats. Raphael replies that Angels eat just like humans do. Adam uses the excuse to ask Raphael questions about Heaven. Firstly he questions whether the food is different. Raphael says that the food is the same, just made in different combinations. For instance, God is entirely spiritual and not physical. Earth is mostly physical and not spiritual. Raphael tells the pair that if they follow God’s rules, perhaps they will one day become completely spiritual and be able to enter Heaven. Adam asks what obedience is and whether its even possible for them to disobey God. Raphael says to Adam that Paradise was created for the two of them and that they must work hard to take care of it.
He continues by saying the two of them are free to choose what they want. If they did not praise God voluntarily, it would be meaningless to him. The same applies to Angels, any Angel that disobeys God is forced into Hell. Adam is intrigued and asks for more and Raphael cautiously agrees to recount the War in Heaven.
The War In Heaven – Part 1
Before the Universe, God calls a great council in Heaven. Once in place he names his Son as the new ruler of Heaven and most of the Angels rejoice. An Angel named Lucifer feels slighted by God as he is almost the highest of God’s ranks. The fact he was never even considered feels like an offence to him. It is the next day and Lucifer has somehow managed to convert almost 1/3 of the Angels to his side. God tells his Son to prepare for battle. Lucifer sits on his throne on top of a mountain and calls all Angels to him. He does this under the ruse of explaining how they should treat their new lord, God’s son. Lucifer asks the Angels how they can serve two masters and names it as vile slavery. It’s an insult to his liberty and freedom, Lucifer claims. An angel named Abdiel, unquestioning in his loyalty to God, names Lucifer as a blasphemer and asks whether Lucifer wishes to pass laws on God and dispute with him what the definition of liberty is? God exists to encourage happiness, not deny it. He tells Lucifer to apologize to God whilst it’s still possible. Nobody else is listening to Abdiel and Lucifer is amused.
Lucifer begins to question God’s role in creation. He says that none of the Angels remember their birth and that he believes they were self created. Lucifer tells Abdiel to inform God’s son these words. Abdiel is unswayed by those against him. He tells Lucifer that he and his compatriots will soon know the truth of their creation and then regret their actions. He turns his back to Lucifer and leaves.
The War In Heaven – Part 2
By morning, Abdiel walks among Heaven and sees battlements of chariots and fiery steeds ready for war. God appears behind him and thanks him for making the hard but right decision. God then orders Michael and Gabriel to wage war on the dissenters against him and banish them to Hell. Clouds darken over Heaven, trumpets sound and God’s loyal Angels march north to meet Lucifer’s army of traitors. Abdiel remarks that he cannot believe that Lucifer still appears as an Angel after doing what he did. Abdiel shouts to Lucifer across the plain that he is crazy for attempting to battle God, his creator. Lucifer remarks that Abdiel will be the first to feel his sting, that Abdiel is only choosing loyalty to be on God’s good side. All of the Angels are choosing servitude over freedom, Lucifer shouts. Abdiel replies that servitude is serving an unwise leader like Lucifer. Abdiel attacks without provocation so quickly that Lucifer has no time to repel it. His army is enraged by the surprise attack against their leader. Michael gives the order for the trumpets to sound and the battle commences. “now storming fury rose […] Arms on armor clashing brayed/ Horrible discord, and the madding wheels/ of brazen chariots raged”
The War in Heaven – Part 3
The War in heaven is brutally horrific. The battles are fought on land and in the air. All of the Angels participate. Satan sees Michael on the battlefield and raises his shield. Michael sees an opportunity to capture the Angel and end the civil war. Michael tells Satan that he has brought evil to a realm of peace and that Satan must descend to Hell. Satan responds in kind, saying that his forces will win heaven and that they will all be free. As the two begin to fight, Milton describes it as two planets clashing together. They try to kill each other with a single stroke. Michael crashes Satan’s sword in half before slashing his side. A substance begins spewing from Satan’s wound and he feels pain for the first time. Some of Satan’s soldiers arrive and cart him off to safety. He is furious that he is not as unmatched as he believed himself to be.
Elsewhere in the battle Gabriel utterly decimates Molloch whilst Raphael, Uriel and Abdiel all participate in their own battles. The battlefield is full of wounded soldiers and bloody wrecks of chariots and steeds. Many of the Angels are feeling fear and pain for the first time. Night falls and during an interlude of no fighting, Satan calls a council. He feeds his troops a message of glory and tells them God must be fallible if they have survived this long. Sure they’re wounded, but they can’t really die, so no problems really. Nisroc responds that pain is not a pleasant thing and asks someone to form a better strategy. Satan tells them all to build cannons and the Angels set out digging up materials to do so.
The War in Heaven – Part 4
On the loyal side, the scout Zophiel informs his comrades that Satan is again on the warpath. Satan’s forces form a cube like structure that is hollow, concealing the cannons. The soldiers on Satan’s end flank both sides and the cannons are revealed and fired. Thousands of Angels are immediately destroyed in “chained thunderbolts and a hail of Iron globes”. The Angels still loyal are confused and don’t know what to do. Satan notices that they are beginning to retreat and laughs heartily at them with his soldiers. Belial sarcastically continues the berating of the loyal Angels. Just as they assume victory is theirs, they witness the rage and fury of the loyal Angels.
Those still on God’s side fly over to nearby mountains and rip them up from the ground. They start throwing the mountains at Satan and his army. God turns to his son, having been watching the battle for two days, and tells him that he no longer wants his children to feud. He instructs his son to rid into battle himself and banish Satan and his followers to Hell. He gives his son his own chariot, his sword and his ‘thunder’ to do so. The chariot pulls forth with God’s son in battle position. It is pulled by 4 cherub-like figures all blazing with starlight. The chariot is covered in wings and eyes.
The son is sapphire throned and raises his bow and quiver. Michael pulls his forces away from God’s son to make way for him. The rebel Angels pull in for another attack, revitalised by the appearance of one of their great enemies. God’s son turns to Michael and says “to me their doom God hath assigned” and sends his Angels away. He rides at the rebels with a terrible anger. All of Heaven shakes apart from the throne of God. The rebel angels become terrified at the sight and drop their weapons in fear. God’s son begins firing his bow at the Angels whilst his cherubs shoot lighting and thunder at them. God’s son herds the rebel angels up and forces them to the wall of Heaven. A gap opens up in the wall and he pushes them all through.
They fall for nine days until “the house of woe and pain,”, Hell, greets them. The wall closes up and the other Angels rejoice God’s son. Raphel ends his recount by saying to Adam that it is as best as he can translate into human terms. He informs Adam that Satan is still trying to undo God’s work, so beware.
The Creation of the Universe
Adam asks how and why the world was created, wanting to know more from Raphael. Raphael tells him that he will try, but it will be tough again. He asks Adam not to become too curious, as knowledge is like food and must be rationed or else sickness will follow. God sees Satan fall, says Raphael, and tells his son he will now create a new world. He doesn’t want Satan to boast about how many Angels were turned against him or misjudge his power to create any more. He says there will be one man on this new world who will give birth to an entirely new race. God informs his son that he will be giving him power to create this new place.
The gates of Heaven open and God’s son rides off into the abyss of chaos, telling its troubled waves to remain still. The Angels rejoice and some of them follow him to watch. God’s son uses a golden compass to measure the bounds of the Universe. He pushes the lifeless matter of Chaos away and infuses warmth and virtue into this new realm. He then groups substances together in globes and forms things like the Earth and other planets. God says “let there be light” and he divides night from day. The first day comes to an end. On the second day, the firmament is created. It acts as a buffer between the Universe and the realm of heaven. On the third day, dry land is formed from the lifeless oceans of Earh, and mountains appear on the horizons of the blossoming planet. Streams and seas emerge as a result. On the fourth day, the Sun the Moon and the stars are defined to make the seasons and division between night and day abundantly clear. On the fifth day, reptiles, birds and mammals are created. God tells them to “be fruitful and multiply”. The animals go off and breed all over the world.
On the sixth day, beasts like Lions and cattle are created. All of the ‘little’ creatures are also built this day, things like insects. On this day, God says to his son that they will now create Man in their image. After doing so, he also creates Eve to be mans companion. He tells them to go forth and multiply to ‘fill the Earth’. He places them both in Paradise, gives them dominion over all of the new universe and tells them they can do anything except eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Now that the universe has been created, God’s son returns to heaven. On the seventh day he rests. Music and rejoicing can be heard all throughout Heaven. Raphael finishes and asks Adam if there is anything else he wishes to know.
The Birth of Adam
Eve leaves the two of them to talk. She prefers to hear the stories from Adam as he will give them more affectionately, usually with kisses. Adam asks why the stars and planets move around the Earth and Raphael states that it doesn’t really matter. Some things only God understands, he says. He asks that Adam not wonder about such things and that to trust God knows what he’s doing. Adam asks Raphael if he wishes to hear about his earliest memories. Raphael is happy to listen as he was busy watching the Gate of Hell at that particular time. Adam recounts that when he first existed he looked up at Heaven and then around him.
He walked from here to there and realised soon after that he could talk and name things. He had no idea who he was or where he came from but determined he must have been created. After this he sat down, fell asleep and dreamt. In his dream a ghostly figure appeared and led him to the garden of Paradise. Once he awoke he found he had actually been moved there. The apparition appears to Adam awake and tells him that it is he who created him. He then informs Adam that everything is his, except for the Tree of Knowledge. If he eats from the Tree, he will become mortal and have to leave the Garden. Suddenly all of the animals come before Adam in pairs to be named, but Adam does not see what he wants to see.
He asks God how he is supposed to be happy without a companion of his own. God says that all of the animals will be is company, and Adam responds that he cannot talk to these creatures. None of them are his equal. God asks Adam why he himself is ok without a companion and Adam responds with “because you’re perfect”. He doesn’t need anybody, he’s God. God is happy with the answer and tells Adam that he was merely testing him to see how he would handle being alone. God puts Adam to sleep. Adam has an out-of-body experience and watches God create Eve from one of his ribs. He wakes up and goes looking for this beautiful new creature. He sees her approaching him led by God’s voice and then thanks God for her. He marries her immediately.
Raphael tells Adam not to be to enamoured by Eve’s beauty. She deserves his love but not his subjection. Adam says he understands that Eve is inferior to him and asks the Angel if his kind make love. Raphael blushes and responds that all Angels are happy and there can be no happiness without love. With that, Raphael tells Adam to keep praising God and avoiding temptation. Heaven has high hopes for his kind. The Angel leaves.
The Original Sin – Part 1
Milton’s final invocation to the muses saying he must now change his tone to tragedy. The Sun has set and Lucifer has returned to Paradise absolutely hellbent on the destruction of humanity. It’s been about a week since he was last here. He uses a river which flows from outside of the Garden inwards to sneak into Paradise. Once inside he decides to impersonate a serpent. Lucifer says that Earth is very beautiful and would have been content just to walk around it.
However, in truth, he cannot truly be happy as the place also makes him enraged. He is not hoping for happiness to come from his corruption of the humans, but simply to make everyone as sad and angry as he is. At dawn Eve suggests to Adam that they divide their labor. When working together they often don’t accomplish anything. Adam responds that there is no reason they can’t just take it easy, but if Eve wants to be alone for a while, that’s ok. Adam says to Eve that they may be better off sticking together because of the warning about Satan. Eve scolds him for doubting her.
Adam responds that he is not doubting her, just that making her suffer temptation alone is dishonourable of him. Temptation, Eve says, will only demonstrate the strength of them both. Adam tells her he’s not going to make her work with him against her will. Eve wanders off stating that proud foe Satan will never attempt to corrupt the weaker sex. His punishment will be more shameful otherwise. Lucifer has been waiting in the bushes for Eve, hoping to find her alone. His wish is granted.
The Original Sin – Part 2
Satan is surprised at how gorgeous Eve actually is. For a moment he forgets his hate. He snaps himself out of it and tells himself how simple the mission will be by just focusing on Eve. He approaches Eve from the side, as if not trying to disturb her, and walking upright (not on his belly). Satan tries to get Eve’s attention by making loud noises but Eve doesn’t bat an eye. He makes even more pronounced gestures (even licking the floor she walks on). She notices him. Satan addresses Eve, he tells her not to question him, only understand that her beauty should be shared by all; not just Adam.
Eve is surprised that the Serpent can talk. She asks it how that is possible. Satan answers that originally he could not speak, but after eating fruit from a delicious looking tree he could talk and think and reason. It is wonderful, he says. Eve asks which tree and happily follows in-disguise Satan to the Tree of Knowledge. Eve tells him that she cannot eat from this particular tree and makes a pun that it is “fruitless” to attempt such a thing, regardless of how abundant the fruit are. Satan replies that it caused no damage to him, and asks why Eve cannot eat the food of the beasts. God will admire her boldness to achieve intelligence, he says. God will not kill her, he continues, for that would be unjust. If she eats the fruit then she will become like God, Satan claims. Eve cannot stop staring at the fruit, it is near lunch time and she is very hungry. She says that the fruit is very powerful in being able to give a Serpent speech.
The fact that it is forbidden simply makes it more desirable. She asks herself, why should mankind be denied knowledge? Was death made just for man? Eve eats a lot of the fruit and nature shudders. She addresses the tree as sacred and promises to sing to it until she grows wise. She decides to tell Adam what she has done, so that he may learn of her new knowledge. Adam has been weaving a garland for Eve and goes looking for her. He finds her near the tree. Eve sprints up to him and tells him that the Tree is nothing like they have heard. It has opened her eyes to the world and that Adam should eat some immediately. Adam is thoroughly shocked. He drops the garland and says “How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost”.
Adam cannot stand to be without Eve, her being tempted means that he has also been doomed. Eve is now mortal, so Adam must also take the plunge down with her. Eve encourages Adam to eat the fruit using a similar dialog to that which Satan uses. Adam takes some of the fruit and eats it himself. Thunder begins to howl and the Earth groans. Rain falls on them. The two humans feel lust for the first time and spend the rest of the night having sex.
The Judgment of Humanity
The pair wake up hungover from the fruit and immediately notice that they are naked. They have lost their innocence. They suggest covering up their private parts with fig leaves and then cry. They feel anger and hate for the first time. Adam says to Eve that if she had only stayed home then none of this would have happened. Eve defends herself saying that the Serpent would have corrupted them eventually. They spend the rest of the morning blaming each other.
God has seen the whole thing. Milton, the poet, says that they deserve to fall because they had the free will to resist temptation but did not. Sadness fills Heaven and the Angels that once stood guard over Paradise return. They have failed. God tells all the Angels to not feel sad, he will send his son to dole out fair justice on Adam and Eve. He says that the Serpent which Satan used to transform himself is innocent. God’s son enters Paradise. Adam and Eve are hiding from him. The deity shouts for Adam and the two appear crying. Adam says that they were hiding because they were scared and also naked. God’s son notices this and asks how they know that they are naked, did they eat from the Tree of Knowledge? Adam admits that Eve brought the fruit and he ate it. God’s son scolds Adam, telling him that it was he that was given dominion over all, not Eve. He addresses Eve, who admits her actions. God’s son curses the Serpent (in contradiction with God’s word) to always walk on his belly. The punishment is selected.
To Eve, God’s son says that childbirth will now be very painful and that she should now submit to her husband. To Adam, he tells him the ground will no longer be as fertile as before, making his labours more difficult. He then makes the pair some clothes and dresses them like a father dressing his children. God’s son returns to Heaven.
At the gate of Hell, Sin turns to Death and tells him that she feels a new power in her. She believes that Lucifer must have completed his task. She suggests building a bridge from Hell to Earth in case her father cannot find his way back. Death feels fresh prey on Earth, a strange new sensation, like he is a vulture waiting to pounce. Both of them enter Chaos and begins pushing the blackness away. The Earth is now ‘fenceless’, so they have no trouble connecting to the walls of the Universe. They see Lucifer approaching from the other direction in the form of an Angel.
He had stuck around to see the ramifications of his actions. Sin says to him that she can feel he has succeeded. He has enabled Sin and Death to be liberated from Hell. She informs Lucifer that he is now the lord of the Earth. Lucifer feels proud of his daughter and grandson, telling them they are worthy to be part of his satanic race. He tells them to go ahead to Paradise and start disrupting the place; he is going back to Hell to inform the other fallen Angels of his victory Lucifer enters the gates of Hell, turns invisible and then enters the halls of Pandemonium. Inside he sees some fallen Angels debating and talking. He sneaks up to his throne, sits on it, and makes himself visible. His soldiers are surprised but ecstatic to see their leader. He tells his legions that he’s come to lead them to the new world that he has conquered. He tells his troops the tale of his journey. Lucifer expects to hear applause and praise but instead hears hissing.
He suddenly finds himself turning into a Serpent. The rest of the Angels are turning too. It is a punishment for their crimes. The Serpents leave Pandemonium and all of the fallen Angels that see them then become Serpents themselves. A grove of trees suddenly appear with fruit that resembles that of the Tree of Knowledge. The Serpents eat the fruit, suddenly having a thirst for it. The fruit turns to ash in their mouths and they resume their original forms. Some of the Angels must undergo this change every year from this point on.
Punishment for the Original Sin
Sin and Death arrive in Paradise and begin wreaking havoc. God blames Adam and says that one day his son will remove Sin and Death from Earth entirely. God fixes the seasons and resets the orbit of the 5 (the amount known at the time) planets. The animals in Paradise no longer get along. They kill one another for food and flee before mankind. Adam witnesses this and asks that God end it all now. His children will be cursed forever. He tells God that he never asked to be created, all of his progeny will look back on him with anger and disgust. He asks to be turned back to dust. Adam realises that he knew the terms of his existence from the beginning. He ponders whether he will still feel punishment after dying. He wonders what dying even is. Adam eventually agrees that his punishment is just and Eve walks over to comfort him.
He pushes her away and calls her a Serpent. He tells her that it was a stupid idea to create a woman. Eve falls to Adam’s feet in fear. She asks him not to abandon her. She wants there to be peace and love between them. Adam tells her to get up. They’ve passed blame around enough at this point. Eve tells Adam that they should cheat Death by not having children. In fact, she says, why not just seek Death out now. Adam tells her there is a reason God kept them alive. How else will they bruise Satan if they don’t have children. He says they should both pray to God and water the ground with tears. The son of God hears their prayers and asks his father to forgive mankind. God agrees and tells his son that they still have to leave Paradise and feel the sting of Death. He tells Michael to go down to Earth and banish Adam and Eve from heaven, but in a nice way. He should also tell them about the future. The humans finish praying and Eve believes that their transgressions have been forgiven. They think everything is back to normal.
Suddenly, whist tilling Paradise, they see Eagles and Lions battling for prey. Michael appears and they recognise that he is much sterner than Raphael. Michael tells the pair that they must leave Paradise. Adam and Eve are struck with immense shock and stand up feeling cold. Eve is very upset and Michael tells her that she lost Paradise fairly. It is fortunate for her that Adam chose not to abandon her and eat the fruit himself. Adam tells the Angel he delivered the message quite calmly and suddenly becomes worried about leaving God behind. Michael reassures him by saying that God fills the entire Earth, he will always find signs of God’s presence. Michael tells Adam he will now show him the future and puts Eve to sleep. He raises Adam up and around them both the scene changes.
Cain & Abel
First, Michael shows him two men in a field with sacrifices. One of the sacrifices is rejected and the man it belongs to kills the other man. It is the story of Cain and Abel. Adam is shocked and asks if this is what death is. Michael responds that it is one form of death, yes. Michael shows Adam a Lazar house (kind of like a hospital) full of disease and people crying for help. Death refuses to take them and watches them suffer. Adam laments that if this is death, then what is the point of living. The scene changes again to some tents with women singing and dancing around a group of men. Adam is happy to see it until Michael says that these are evil men. They are descendants of Cain, the murderer he just saw, filled with wickedness and lust. This is a marriage ceremony. Next Adam sees another scene with a city of fighting, bloodlust and war. A man stands out for justice and peace and a cloud wisps him away. Adam cannot believe the slaughter and Michael tells him they are the result of the marriages he just saw. The man whom refuses to fight is lifted to Heaven to enjoy eternal life.
Next, after the fighting, there is nothing but lust and adultery. A man is wandering through the city imploring people to return to the right path. The men in the tents do not listen, so he moves his own tent away from the city. Once outside the city, he builds an Ark and fills it with animals of all kinds. He has three sons and their wives join the Ark before a gigantic flood levels the entire world. Adam cries and falls over. Is this how mankind ends, he asks. Michael says to Adam to keep watching. Noah and his family emerge from the Ark after the flood and see a rainbow. Michael tells Adam that God will never again destroy the race of mankind, until the time of the destruction of Earth. Adam feels relief for the destruction of all his wicked sons.
Abraham will leave everything he knows and loves and trust himself to God. God leads him to the promised land and he has many descendants. The children find their way to Egypt where the local Pharaoh will fear their numbers and enslave them. Eventually two brothers, Moses and Aaron will lead these people back to the promised land. God will angrily send 10 plagues to get the Pharaoh to release his people. Even after this, the Pharaoh will pursue them. Moses, imbued with God’s power, parts the sea so that his people can cross. The Pharaoh drowns trying to recapture them. Moses then acts as God’s intermediary as God is too powerful for human understanding. He passes a set of laws through Moses to his people. On these set of laws can be found 10 commandments.
Nimrod & The Tower of Babel
Michael lets Adam take a breath before continuing. He continues by informing the man that there will be peace for a long while, then Nimrod will appear and decide to build an empire. Adam watches as Nimrod uses fear and war to subject all to his will. He forces his new slave force to build a tower to rival that of Heaven itself. The Tower of Babel. God get’s angry at this and forces all of mankind to speak different languages so that they can no longer understand each other. Humanity becomes fractured. Adam says that Nimrod must be crazy, man does not have dominion over other men. Michael approves of Adam’s sentiment and tells him that his race will always succumb to the will of tyrants due to the sin Eve committed. God will eventually become so sick of mankind’s evil that he will select a group to be his and disregard all others.
After settling in the promised land, there will be wars between God’s people. God commissions specific men to become kings for his people. The second of these is David, a direct descendant of Abraham. His line ends at Jesus, from which Jesus’s reign will be endless. Between David and Jesus is Solomon. Solomon builds a temple to house the Ark containing the 10 commandments passed down to Moses. Solomon makes a dear mistake and the Israelites, as they are now known, become imprisoned by the Babylonians for 70 years. After imprisonment, the Israelites will allow a Roman stranger to become their king. Adam is fairly happy at this point and asks Michael when the eternal Jesus will battle with Satan. Michael says that it will not be a battle in the traditional sense.
Michael tells Adam that God’s son will become a man named Jesus. Jesus will die a terrible death for the sins of mankind and then rise from the dead after three days. This act will bruise the head of Satan and crush his power on Earth. After this Jesus will return one day to judge the living and the dead. Adam is overjoyed and asks Michael what will become of Jesus’s disciples. Michael replies that they will be persecuted for their belief but that Jesus will give them courage in the form of the spirit of God. Michael says the future of God’s children will be very complicated until the return of Jesus. Bad people will pretend to be good people and vice versa.
Banishment from Paradise
Adam states that he understands entirely that to obey God is best. Michael replies to him it is time to leave Paradise. He awakens Eve, whom had been given pleasant dreams. Eve says to Adam that she knows that good will one day come of their mistake. The pair are escorted down the overgrown mountains by the Angel and are then left alone. They look back up at Paradise and see a flaming sword obscuring their view to it. They shed tears as they make their way onwards. With this, Milton’s tale ends.