Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 806-809 - Explanation

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Line. 806-809: but that he.....that shall be.

      When Satan desired to get out of Hell, intent on bringing man to his ruin, he was confronted at the gate by death, with whom he would have fought a mortal combat and perished in it, had not Sin intervened. Addressing him as father, she began to explain her history to him, since Satan had been unable to recognise her in her deformity. She told him how she had sprung out of his head, when he was in heaven, and then being enamoured of her, how he had made her conceive by him. When they fell after their revolt against God, she too had come down to hell, and there she had given birth to Death, the formless and grim shape who stood before them. As soon as he was born, he began to pursue, her, as if to destroy her, but he was really in love with her, and of him she conceived and brought forth all that hell brood of fierce houds which were gnawing at her very vitals. Seated before her, Death, their father, sets them on to feed on her bowels, and he would have them destroy her, but that he knows that with her extinction he also would cease to be.

      Milton here allegorically explains the relation between Sin and Death. They are related as cause and effect. The wages of sin is death, so that when sin becomes extinct in the world, death also will cease to be. When man overcomes sin and leads a life of pure virtue, he shall come into the deathless kingdom of God.

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