Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 30-33 - Explanation

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Line. 30-33: Where Hell Precedence.

      Addressing the assembly of the rebel angels, in the hall of Pandemonium, after their recovery from the lake of fire, Satan congratulates himself on his being still their leader, and his being thus acknowledged by them. He feels gratified that none would cover his position, and consoles himself with the thought that it is better by far to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. For, in Heaven, higher position are always open to envy, while in Hell because of the risk involved in climbing to such high place (being more exposed as they are to the wrath of God), there would be neither jealously, nor envy. Hell is a place of torment, and he who aspires to the highest place therein is nearer by virtue of his station to the Tormentor. Therefore Satan feels secure on his throne, which he is certain none among the chief of the rebel angels would claim.

      From this he generalises and says that here, in Hell, there is no benefit for which they could strive, and openly or surreptituously contend. No quarrel could therefore break out merely from party jealosy and envy. In Hell no one will strive for superiority, and claim the highest place.

      These lines reveal Satan’s insatiable greed for power and his self complacency when he has realised it.

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