by John Milton
Paradise Lost Lies and Deceit Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Book Number, Line Number
"in hollow cube
Training his dev'lish engin'ry, impaled
On every side with shadowing squadrons deep,
To hide the fraud" (6.552-5)
Satan's behavior in battle is the perfect example of what kind of character he is. He organizes his legions in such a way so as to conceal the "fraud," i.e., the canon. Note the recurrence of words associated with deception here: "hollow," "devilish," "fraud," and "hide," words that can be used to describe Satan more generally.
"his final sentence chose
Fit vessel, fittest imp of fraud in whom
To enter and his dark suggestions hide
From sharpest sight" (9.88-91)
The serpent is the proper "vessel," the "fittest imp" for Satan. It's not totally clear why, especially since Milton is at pains to point out how everything is innocent. Is the serpent already a deceptive animal? Notice the contrast between "dark suggestions" and "sharpest sight," a dichotomy which plays on the contrast through the poem between darkness (Hell, Satan, etc.) and light (Heaven, good angels, etc.).
"He ended, and his words replete with guile
Into her heart too easy entrance won" (9.733-4)
Satan's words are full ("replete") of "guile," and yet, ironically, they find an "easy entrance" into Eve's "heart." We see this throughout the poem, and as readers we are not exempt; often, Satan's most deceptive or problematic speeches are the most effective. There is something about his "guile" that appeals to Eve, and to us.