Paradise Lost: Milton's Approach To Lust, Sex, And Violence

There is no reason to apply modern theories to Milton if we do not care whether
Milton remains alive. However, if we wish him to be more than a historical
artifact, we must do more than just study him against the background of his time.
We must reinterpret him in light of the germane thought of our own age.
-James Driscoll
The Unfolding God Of Jung and Milton

Images and allusions to sex and death are intermingled throughout John Milton's
Paradise Lost . The character of Satan serves as not only an embodiment of
death and sin, but also insatiated sexual lust. The combination of sex and lust
has significant philosophical implications, especially in relation ...

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others; but
also makes comic and grandiose reasons for his evil behavior. Yet, despite his
reasoning to seek revenge against God, "his true motivation for escaping from
hell and perverting paradise is, at least partly, something more basic: Satan
needs sex" (Daniel 26).

In the opening books of the poem, Satan is cast into a fiery hell that is not
only is miserable, but devoid of sex. As Satan describes when he has escaped to
Eden, in hell: "neigh joy nor love, but fierce desire, / Among our other
torments not the least, / Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pine" (Book IV,
509-11). The phallic implications of "pain of longing pine" is quite clear. In
this metaphor, Milton expresses that sex itself is not a sin; to be without it
is a "hellish" punishment. However, Milton rejects the morality of lusting for
sex, equating it with: death, sin, violence and Satan. Milton elucidates the
lustful desires of Satan throughout the first few books. For example, liquid, a
common symbol ...

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Satan blames his
sexual despair on the Son of God, who is his arch-rival for the favor of God. In
Satan's eyes, it is "as if it were a sexual assault by the triumphant
Son."(Daniels 27).

Satan lusts for sex, as does his rebels; sexual tensions saturate the images in
the first few books. To elucidate, Satan's consult begins amidst: a plethora of
phallic symbols: standards, staffs, ensigns, "a Forest huge of spears," pipes,
flutes, and, amidst the uproar there is the "painful steps over the burnt soil"
of phallic feet . (Daniel, 30).

Even when Satan views his consult of demons, the images used by Milton conjure
images of a potential erection: "his heart / Distends with pride, and ...

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Paradise Lost: Milton's Approach To Lust, Sex, And Violence. (2004, June 9). Retrieved January 19, 2019, from
"Paradise Lost: Milton's Approach To Lust, Sex, And Violence.", 9 Jun. 2004. Web. 19 Jan. 2019. <>
"Paradise Lost: Milton's Approach To Lust, Sex, And Violence." June 9, 2004. Accessed January 19, 2019.
"Paradise Lost: Milton's Approach To Lust, Sex, And Violence." June 9, 2004. Accessed January 19, 2019.
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Added: 6/9/2004 08:44:45 PM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2796
Pages: 11

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