Paradise Lost


Book 10

Book 10 Summary

In Heaven, God speaks to the angels about the fall of Adam and Eve. He reiterates that he was aware that the humans would fall, but that they did so of their own free will. He assures the angels that they are not responsible for man falling into temptation. Now, he transfers the power of judgment to the Son, whom he sends to deal with Adam and Eve. The Son assures God that he “shall temper so/Justice with mercy” (10.77-78). In Eden, the Son delivers his sentence. First, he condemns the serpent to crawl on its belly forever because it allowed Satan to enter its body. The children of Adam and Eve, furthermore, will forever be at odds with the serpent: Their children will crush the serpent’s head, and the serpent will bite the children’s heels. Women are condemned to suffer painfully in childbirth, and men are condemned to spend their lives laboring for food. All mortals will suffer death henceforward. Out of love and pity, the Son clothes Adam and Eve in the skins of animals.

In Hell, Sin and Death delight in what they assume to be their father’s victory. Sin suggests that they finish building the bridge that connects Hell to Earth, and Death agrees, stating that he can now smell “the savor of death from all things there that live” (10.269). When they encounter Satan near the mouth of Hell, Satan is pleased at their completion of the bridge. He tells them of his triumph in Eden. Sin praises Satan for his success and supposes that Satan now rules mankind. She also believes that she and Death are no longer bound to Hell, but have free rein of Earth. Satan sends them off to Earth to strengthen his hold on his “new kingdom.”

Satan finds his minions all gathered in Pandemonium, where he arrogantly relates the ease with which he brought about the fall of man. He decrees that his demons can now take possession of Eden for themselves. Suddenly, Pandemonium is overrun with serpents. Satan and his minions are all transformed into snakes. Copies of the Tree of Knowledge spring up...

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Essays About Paradise Lost