Essay on Milton's Fallen Angels

Submitted By johnnytwoeyes
Words: 1083
Pages: 5

Analysis: Milton’s Fallen Angles, Moloch Mammon and Belial
Paradise Lost is considered as one of the most influential works from the early modern year. Milton’s use of Satan’s point of view captures a different position to the classic epic, the “Creation of Man.” Satan is a character of great power and emotion, Milton has created a beast that holds none of the redeeming qualities one would expect from a rational person. After Satan’s fall, most reactions would be for him to keep the consequences of his actions; yet Satan is not able to do so. Using the fallen angels as an out for normal emotions, Milton is able to showcase Satan’s nonhuman characteristics. In book II of Paradise Lost, John Milton illustrates what might be felt by human beings after the fall through the speeches of Moloch, Mammon and Belial, with each of the fallen angels representing different human emotions, arrogance, acceptance and slothfulness. Milton illustrates arrogance through Moloch’s speech. Moloch derives from the Hebrew word “king” (UCADIA Books 1) and rightly so Moloch seeks to wage war on God’s army as soon as Satan is defeated. Moloch is portrayed as a fierce warrior: “the strongest and fiercest spirit that fought in heaven; now fiercer by despair,” (Milton II: 44). Before speaking Moloch is characterized as brawn over brain (Zeng 1). When he first speaks, he states that he would rather wage war then sit and plot a new strategy. “My sentence is for open Warr… let those contrive who need, or when they need, not now,” (Milton II: 51). Moloch’s character demonstrates how arrogance can be an emotion someone or something feels after defeat. Moloch would rather die than be defeated, and survive as he says “More destroy'd then thus we should be quite abolisht and expire,”(Milton II: 92). However, towards the end of his speech there is a loss of arrogance as he would rather sacrifice himself then to be stuck in Hell. He acknowledges the battle cannot be won and would rather continuously attack Heaven or be killed by God as he says, “Which if not Victory is yet Revenge,” (Milton II: 105). This act of pride depicts Moloch’s arrogance and pride filled rage; very common human like traits. As Moloch preaches arrogance, the other angle Belial has an opposing opinion. Milton represents the human emotion of slothfulness through Belial’s words and charm. The first depiction of Belial creates an image of a con artist: good looking, well mannered but sharp-tongued. As Milton says: “A fairer person lost not Heav'n; he seemd for dignity compos'd and high exploit: But all was false and hollow,” (line 110). Belial’s description compliments his name, as in Hebrew Belial means ‘worthless’ (Behind the Name 1). Throughout his speech Belial’s words are pleasing to hear but lack conviction. Compared this to when Satan is able to convince Eve to eat the forbidden fruit with great success (Zeng 1). Belial’s speech goes against the plans of Moloch and shows that Belial would much rather do nothing. All throughout Belial’s speech, he advocates not to take up arms but rather be lethargic. For example, at line 119 Belial says:
“I should be much for open Warr, O Peers,
As not behind in hate; if what was urg'd
Main reason to persuade immediate Warr,
Did not disswade me most, and seem to cast
Ominous conjecture on the whole success:”

This passage shows his true nature of slothfulness. At first he tries to convince the other devils that he is for war, yet he proceeds to say how it would be a useless war based on death and revenge. Later on in his speech, he conveys the message that God would not “give his Enemies thir wish and en them in his anger,” (Milton II: 157). Therefore, it would be easier not to partake, according to Belial. This reaction to the situation of the Fall is one expressed by a pessimist, only looking at defeat as an option. By having Satan go against slothfulness, Milton shows the reader how different and proud Satan truly is in his character.…