Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 672-673 - Explanation

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Line. 672-673: What had on.

      Satan having undertaken to make the perilous journey to the newly created world with the object of seducing man from God, arrives at the three-folded gate of Hell, where he is confronted by two horrible Shapes. One of them is Sin, but the though called a Shape, yet had no form, for it had no limb, nor joint. If there is any shadow which might merit the name of substance, it was this creature. He stood black as night, looked fierce as ten furies, was as terrible as Hell itself, and he shook a deadly dart in his hand. If his head could be distinguished at all from the enveloping darkness, it might be seen to wear what appeared like a crown. In this vague manner Milton describes the Shape of Death which confronted Satan.

      Milton keeps the embodiment of Death intentionally vague, so as to make it correspond with our own dim conceptions of that terror. We may notice how he emphasizes this vagueness by the words "seemed" and "likeness."

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