Detailed Summary Paradise Lost Book II Part I, Paradise Lost Book II Summary by John Milton




Milton tells us of the meeting of devils inside the newly built Pandaemonium. Here Satan is the first to address the host of devils. He says that though hell cannot be a replacement of heaven, yet rising from this fall they shall seem "More glorious" because there is no fear of fall because they can "trust themselves to fear no second fate". He also cites the seat of hell as a "safe unenvied Throne" which has been "yielded with full consent". None can envy their present state. Then Satan gives open invitation to anyone that wishes to advice on their claim of "just inheritance of old" and whether they go by "open war or covert guile".

Moloc is the first to stand up, all in favour of "open war: Of wiles". He further repeats what they enjoyed in heaven and compares it with the tortures of hell. He relates that since no more fall is beyond hell; hence, no more to fear God. Though they cannot out power God, yet they can go for revenge.

Then rose Belial to speak with a sweeter tongue. He is all up for "open war of peers". However, admits that even if they raise all heaven and overpower the pure light of heaven with the impurities of hell, God, "all incorruptible would on his Throne sit unpolluted". This would prove them that their "final hope is flat despair". So, open war is not possible with God, the supreme. He even fears that this time God may even end them. But at the same time he also says that if God ends them, God cannot torment them forever then. 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."


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