Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 330-331 - Explanation

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Line. 330-331: War hatch.....with loss irreparable.

      Beelzebub, rising next after Mammon, in the debate on war in Hell's conclave, urged the absolute futility of the proposals of his predecessors. Surprised that Mammon's scheme of founding an Empire in Hell has found general approval he proceeds to quash his arguments. He tells the assembly that it is vain to expect that the jealous God would keep quite while they are busy building an Empire. Ever wakeful, and anxious that his rule should prevail everywhere, even in Hell, He would never allow them to proceed with their plan. What then should they do? Let them first consider the plight in which they are. They have not the strength and the steadfastness to renew war with Heaven as Moloch had proposed. The first war in which they had engaged had circumscribed their power, reduced them to feebleness. They had been hurled down into Hell after their defeat, and they could n’ver hope in their enfeebled condition to regain what they had lost, viz., Heaven. It was best, therefore, that they should think of other plans.

      Beelzebub in these lines describes the condition in which they are at the moment The plan is really Satan's plan, but Beelzebub, as his trusted lieutenant, is made to propose it, so that it might not appear that everything is dictated by Satan himself. The two are in such perfect league that Beelzebub has consented to be his willing instrument in the present instance.

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