Short Summary of Paradise Lost Book II: "Paradise Lost" by John Milton critical summary



The book begins while the council meeting of fallen angels is on and they are having an open debate on whether to continue their war with God or to halt it and wait for a suitable time to come. First of all to speak is Moloc. He is all for war against God open or disclosed. He wants revenge at all costs. He considers that immediate war against God may put him in a rather more anger, He may raise the level of woe in hell for them. They should wait for God's anger to rather cool down. This may put them in a position to go for open war with God.

After him, Mammon rose to speak. He considers that they must war to win heaven's lost seat they once had but it is not possible without overthrowing the rule of God; this they cannot. So, aspiring to heaven is possible only if God permits them under certain conditions. This will humble them down and they cannot bear this. He proposes of living by themselves and to "Thrive under evil":

"Free, and to none accountable, preferring
Hard liberty before the easie yoke
Of servile Pomp."

He also advises no war with God rather make a living of their own, a new world:

"Of what we are and where, dismissing quite
All thoughts of Warr: ye have what I advise."

Beelzebub considers the slogans of war and peace futile because war has already determined them and peace they cannot have in hell because if God ruled them in heaven, He can do so in hell:

"For he, be sure,
In highth or depth, still first and last will Reign
Sole King, and of his Kingdom loose no part
By our revolt, but over Hell extend
His Empire, and with Iron Scepter rule
Us here, as with his Golden those in Heav'n."

He proposes "to find some easier enterprize" rather than thinking to avenge God which is beyond their powers. He tells them of a new world to be created by God; this is the place they need to attack and corrupt to avenge their grudges against God.

He proposes to invade man and "To waste his whole Creation, or possess" and corrupt this new creation of God so that He may "abolish his own works"(man).After resolving to "seduce" the newly created race, man, they wonder whom to send for finding the abode of mankind in the vastness of this abyss. And none else but Satan rose for this task. The council meeting was dismissed with deafening sounds of heralds of what had just been decided by the fallen angels.

Later, Satan reaches the gates of hell and conspires with Death and Sin to find his way out. Once out of hell, he is utterly lost in the realm of chaos and seeks guidance from Night and it tells Satan the way to humankind.


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