Abstract

The allusions surrounding the serpent in Paradise Lost foreshadow certain classical values that were denounced by Christian apologists such as Lactantius. The serpent tempts Eve to self-deification, while allusions to Roman tradition presage a pagan view of heroism and divine wrath. The acrostic spelling Satan's name, imitating that of Mars in the Aeneid, is headed by the name Scipio, whose martial exploits Lactantius deplored. Thus Milton appropriates the rhetoric directed by the early church against imperial Rome, deepening the historical dimension of an epic vitally concerned with cultural origins.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 161-177
Launched on MUSE
2007-02-19
Open Access
N

Copyright

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