The Fall of Satan from 'Paradise Lost': Summary Essay

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‘Paradise Lost’, first published in 1667 and republished in 1674, is considered to be one of the best, if not the greatest epic poem that was ever written in English. The plot is taken from the Bible – precisely from Book Genesis, as it tells the story of Adam and Eve who lost their place in Eden (also known as ‘Paradise’) because of their disobedience to God. In opposition to the original, Milton’s version includes also the story of Satan, originally named Lucifer. The book commences with Satan, freshly expelled from Heaven, and other fallen angels who wake up, after nine days, near a boiling lake in Hell. Wanting revenge, Lucifer organizes a conference in Pandemonium, on which the topic is being discussed. Beelzebub, his lieutenant (his right-hand man) informed all the present angels that God created a new world called Earth, and its habitants – humans.

There is a place

(If ancient and prophetic fame in Heav’n

Err not) another World, the happy seat

Of some new Race called MAN, about this time

To be created like us, though less

In power and excellence, but favored more

Of him who rules above; so was his will1

Together they decide that the best way to hurt God is through his creation. As God is omnipresent, and has knowledge about all events – he already knows what Satan is planning. He knows that humans - Adam and Eve will eat the forbidden fruit and will die. The only solution to it is if someone from Heaven will take their place. He talks about it with his Son and other angels. God’s Son volunteers to sacrifice himself so that mankind can survive. Meanwhile, Satan starts his plan by sneaking into Eden and whispering into Eve’s ear when she is asleep, leaving to grow the seed of curiosity about the Forbidden Tree – the only prohibited thing in Eden:

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fair angelic Eve,

Partake thou also! Happy though thou art,

Happier thou mayest be, worthier canst not be.

Taste this, and be henceforth among the gods

Thyself a goddess, not to Earth confined 2

God sends the angel Gabriel to warn the couple about the enemy, and Gabriel ends up relating the story of the fall of Lucifer to them. After dining with Adam and Eve, the angel departs. The next day, when Eve is walking through the Garden, Satan – in the form of a snake – approaches her. He convinces her to eat the forbidden fruit. When Adam finds out what she has done, he is petrified but decides to eat the fruit as well, as he would rather share her faith than live without her. After both of them eat the fruit, they became aware of the fact that they are naked, and tried to cover themselves with leaves. The Son of God, after guardian angels came back to Heaven, goes to earth to judge the sinners. He delays their death and, in pity, gives them clothes. Meanwhile, Satan comes back to Hell, where Death and Sin – two fallen angels – built a hallway to Earth. Lucifer takes pride in his success and awaits the applause of the assembly. They can not do that as they received their punishment from the above – including Satan. All of them have been turned into snakes. God decides that the world’s state has to change after the commitment of sin, and he informs about it his angels. Meanwhile, in Eden, Eve tries to console her husband, who bemoans the fall of mankind, but he rejects her. Michael and other angels are sent to Earth to expel the pair of sinners from Paradise, and to show Adam the consequences of their actions. He takes him to the high hill, and shows him visions of the future, explaining their faith. The book ends with Adam and Eve being sent away from Eden:

The World was all before them, where to choose

Thir place of rest, and Providence their guide:

They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow,

Through EDEN took their solitary way.

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The Fall of Satan from ‘Paradise Lost’: Summary Essay. (2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
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