Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 758-761 - Explanation

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Line. 758-761: amazement.....sezied Portentious held me.

      Satan bent on ruining man made his way out of hell, when at the gates he was confronted by death. The latter drew him into a combat and they would have fought and killed each other, but for the intervention of Sin. Sin claimed Satan for her father, and began narrating her history. Since she was ugly and deformed Satan could not recognise her; but she recalled to his mind how as he sat in heaven before his fall, plotting the conspiracy against God, he was seized with a sudden pain, and she had come out of his head on the left side to the amazement of all. His companions on beholding her had recoiled at first, but recovering themselves had called her Sin and from that moment had looked upon her as a portentous sign.

      In these lines Milton explains how Sin came into existence. Sin is the offspring of Satan, and appropriately to its wickedness it sprang out of the left side of the author of all evil. The very word, from its derivation in Latin, implies evil. The conduct of the angels when they beheld her is suggestive of man's own reaction to what he holds as sinful.

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