Abstract

Paradise Lost, much more successfully than has been recognized, meets the challenge to make understandable the curse upon the Serpent while navigating tough theological terrain. As Milton was well aware, an inexplicable and special punishment inflicted upon an innocent animal threatens to impugn God’s goodness. The text goes beyond locating accommodated meaning in the curse to depict its pronouncement as an act of accommodation to Adam and Eve’s fallen consciousness, and in particular their now-tainted view of the Serpent. Milton presents the most troubling aspects of the Serpent’s role and punishment as key elements of God’s beneficent strategy of accommodation.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1522-9270
Print ISSN
0039-3657
Pages
pp. 173-195
Launched on MUSE
2009-02-13
Open Access
No
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