What Is Heaven Without Hell? Essay

1595 words - 7 pages

Paradise Lost by John Milton thrives off the implicit and explicit aspects of Hell offered by the narrator and the physical and psychological descriptions offered by various characters. Their separate perspectives coincide to expose the intentions of Milton and the purpose Hell serves in this epic poem. Each character adds a new element to the physical and psychological development of this alternative world. The narrator and Satan provide the greatest insight into the dynamics of this underworld by attempting to redress the issues of accommodation.
The similarities and differences between Heaven and Hell give meaning to Hell physical and emotional presence. As the audience analyzes the physical descriptions of Hell given in Book I and Book II, similarities between Heaven and Hell begin to surface. In total, Satan‘s council consists of twelve of his closest fallen angel comrades. These twelve fallen angels mimic Christ’s twelve apostles. Satan builds a castle entitled “Pandemonium” in Hell using the same architect that assembled God’s palace in Heaven. Within each exquisite shelter, a council is called; however, their discussions and debates vary greatly. Their viewpoints are differentiated in the physical description of each world. Hell’s most dominant feature is its perpetual darkness; whereas, Heaven constantly revolves around the presence of luminous light. This light ceases to shine on Satan and his fallen angels, making each appear defaced and foul. The inhabitants of Heaven live within this glorious light, beautiful and pure. These reverse parallels increase the impending doom of Hell. Without knowing the blessings of Heaven, the characters and the audience cannot fully understand the callous curses of Hell. As Satan falls to Hell, he becomes more and more distant from God’s light. Therefore, it becomes evident that, without God’s presence, misery ensues. This is the plot-driving comparison between the two worlds. Satan does not value his life in Heaven until he experiences the tragedy of Hell. If he did not experience the darkness of Hell, he would have never appreciated the light of Heaven.
Initially, the narrator only offers physical descriptions of hell. The narrator portrays hell as “A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round / As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames / No light, but rather darkness visible / Serv’d only to discover sights of woe, / Regions of sorrow, doleful shades,” (Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 61-5). The audience is introduced to a new land that evokes misery from every angle. Yet, in order to comprehend why the narrator fosters such a specific, horrid description of Hell, it is imperative to understand who the narrator truly is. The epic poem is told through a third person omniscient perspective. Therefore, the narrator severs as an external observer who is able to give us the thoughts and feeling of each character present in the epic poem. This is crucial to the audience because it allows...

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