Paradise Lost Book 2: Line 99-101 - Explanation

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Line. 99-101: If our substance.....side nothing.

      Moloch addressing Hell's conclave advises war. His arguments are fierce, and he is impatient with their lethargy. He is strong on the point that they should lose no moment in reclaiming their natural inheritance in Heaven. He is bold and reckless, and would not allow the possibility of another defeat from risking a second invasion. He tells them that, if they should be defeated again, they have to fear nothing. At worst they may be annihilated by the anger of God: but annihilation is happier far than miserable to have eternal being. Further he has heard, though he has his own doubts on the matter, that angels being made of divine substance, are imperishable. They cannot cease to be. If so, if there is no fear of their becoming completely extinct, let them remember that in Hell, on this side of the Empyrean, their condition is worst in itself, since they have already been reduced to that state when they are no longer objects of dread to the Almighty. So the fear of anything further worse befalling them is absolutely untenable. On the other hand, in spite of the torments they are undergoing, they must feel that have power enough to disturb Heaven, if not to vanqish God; let them, therefore, rise up in arms against the Almighty.

      These lines show Moloch as sceptical of the divine nature of the constitution of the angels. It is in keeping with character as an apostate of God. He is the image of brute force in its despair, in its blind anger, in its hatred of pain and its weakness to endure it.

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