Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 721-722 - Explanation

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Line. 721-722: For never great a foe.

      Describing the threatening looks of Satan and Death when they met in moral combat at the gates of Hell, when Satan’s way was effectively barred by his opponent, Milton comments and says that neither of them was likely to encounter a great foe, till much later, i.e., in the person of Jesus Christ, when they were vanquished by him.

      Milton thus emphasises the idea that the only mighty person who could overcome them was Jesus Christ. He refers here to Jesus overcoming Satan when he tempted him in the desert of Judea, and to his overcoming death on the Cross.

      Satan and Death then were unconquerable except by such a mighty victor as the Son of God.

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