Paradise Lost


Book 4

Book 4 Summary

Perched on a mountaintop and gazing down on the beauties of Earth, Satan engages in a reflective soliloquy. With sadness, he speaks of how he has fallen from his former glorious state because his pride would not allow him to remain subservient to God. Although Satan expresses grief at what he has lost, he does not repent. His natural ambition is too great for him to think of asking for God’s pardon. He concludes, therefore, that the only path available to him now is that of ruling Hell and dividing this new kingdom of God’s by corrupting man. Satan bids farewell to any hope of redemption and announces “Evil be thou my good” (4.110). From his vantage point on the sun, Uriel observes Satan—who is still disguised as a cherub—engaged in these meditations. Because of Satan’s gesturing and “mad demeanor,” Uriel knows that this must be another kind of creature in disguise, for angels always have a calm expression. Uriel goes in search of Gabriel to inform the Archangel of an intruder in Paradise.

Satan observes Eden from above. The Garden is situated in a remote place and is difficult to enter, but Satan assumes the form of a four-legged animal to jump over the wall. In the shape of a bird, he perches atop a tree and observes Adam and Eve, whose beauty and perfection inspire his envy. His determination to destroy man and Paradise is strengthened. Satan eavesdrops on a conversation between Adam and Eve in which Adam reminds Eve of their responsibility to tend the Garden and God’s sole prohibition not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve responds with words of devotion, describing how she was created to be Adam’s companion and to obey him. Satan rejoices in the information he has gained, seeing his opportunity to corrupt Adam and Eve by using the Tree of Knowledge.

At the gates of the Garden, Uriel informs Eden’s guard, the Archangel Gabriel, about the presence of an intruder. Gabriel is confident that the intruder will be discovered by morning. Adam and...

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Essays About Paradise Lost