Before we look into the passage, it is better to understand the poem of Paradise Lost. The passage is taken from the first book of the poem. Paradise Lost was written by John Milton in 1665. It was written in ten books and then revised where two other books were added into the poem. The twelve books are a division of the poem and they have thousands of lines.
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The passage has an overview of Satan and his followers in a burning lake of fire. He was a rebel of God plus his followers who were angels of God. They had also rebelled against God. God drove them out, Satan and his angels from Heaven where they had inhabited. They were thrown into the lake of fire. After being thrown, the passage now explains what followed. It shows Satan and his followers having fallen in the lake of fire.
Here, the lake of fire is referred to as the hell. Hell is described as a place full of darkness and chaos. Hell was described as a large area with equality of day and night. The writer further explained that hell was a horrible place with every side of it. He compared hell with a dungeon and a furnace which was fierce.
The furnace had sulfur which continued to burn without being consumed. It was prepared to give justice to the rebellious angels of God like Satan and his followers. It was a prison set aside far from heaven and God. Although in the hell there were flames, only darkness dwelled. There was no light. Hell was depicted as a place where there will never be peace and comfort.
Satan and his followers were described as sights of sorrow. They were “doleful shades.” Milton explained that Satan and his followers will never have hope but unending torture. Again, Satan and his followers were shown to be lying in the lake. They seemed to be thunder-struck and astonished at their situation.
Here the writer showed Satan as “vanquisht and rowling” while in the lake of fire. Satan was told to be experiencing the wrath of God. Milton explained that Satan experienced lasting pain and lost his happiness which he had with his followers while in heaven. This thought tormented him because the writer explained that Satan threw eyes constantly to where his followers were afflicted.
I think the important phrase is where the writer explained that hell was a horrible dungeon, a great furnace full of darkness. This phrase seems important due it is the climax of the plot of the passage. Almost all the lines of the passage revolve around hell. They describe hell as fierce, a place with a lot of darkness and chaos, a place that will never have peace and comfort and a prison too.
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Also, Satan and his followers are shown to be agonizing in the great furnace. They are sights of sorrow. They are “doleful shades” and they will never have hope but torture that has no ends. They seemed to be thunder-struck at their situation and experienced lasting pain.
One of the difficult phrases is “vanquisht and rowling”. These are the situations that were experienced by Satan and his followers in the lake of fire. They experienced the wrath of God and agony in the great furnace. They were sights of sorrow. They also seemed thunderstruck and astonished at their situation.
After the passage, Satan and his followers recovered from the astonishment. Afterwards, Satan called all his followers who were with him in the lake of fire. He gave them a speech of hope.