Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 81-82 - Explanation

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Line. 81-82: The ascent feared.

      Moloch giving his counsel to the assembly of rebel angels in Pandemonium anticipates objections to his proposal, viz. war and answers them beforehand. He had just finished answering one such question, whether the flight upward would not be difficult for them. He had shown how the proper motion of the angels is upward, and had appealed to their recent experience of the difficulty of the downward motion when they had to fall precipitately from Heaven after their defeat therein. Now he anticipates another objection. Perhaps the angels fear that their enterprise would not succeed, and the results of their failure from what they are now experiencing would be worse. He answers them by saying that the worst they can fear is extinction, and that would be happier by far than all the excruciating torture they are now going through. In this way he cajoles them to vote for his proposal.

      Moloch is powerful in his argument; he is a mighty antagonist both in word and deed. Notice the clever way he argues by anticipating objections and meeting them before they are raised.

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