Paradise Lost Book 9: Line 103-113 - Summary

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TERRESTRIAL HEAVEN......IN MAN (LINES 103-113)

      Thus, Satan expresses his admiration for the Earth, in an apostrophe—or rhetorical address-to it, on his return to the confines of Eden after his extensive seven-night survey of the Earth.

      His main point is that our Earth is a favored spot in the scheme of God’s created universe; so that the Earth might have light and every other advantage, all the other orbs rotating round it carry with them certain luminous bulbs called the planets, the sun, and the stars.

      The astronomical arrangement implied in this passage and elsewhere in the poem - with the Earth as the center of the solar system is the Ptolemaic system. By Milton's time the modern theory of Copernicus was already known but Milton has assumed the reality of the older Ptolemaic system for poetic reasons.

      Satan found the Earth very much like Heaven, rather a better place of dwelling than even Gods could aspire for, for it was created in the second instance after the experience of creating heaven, with improvement, for how could God create anything worse than he had already created as Heaven. Here Satan expresses the belief that all other heavely bodies are created for the sake of Earth. As God is at the center of heaven, yet extending his glory all around, so the Earth occupying the central place amidst the heavenly bodies receives benign influence from them all. The benign influence of all the planets reveals itself in the form of productivity in herbs and plants and also the nobler emergence of creatures animated with gradual life of growth, sense and reason, all culminating in Man.

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