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Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost


by John Milton

Paradise Lost Pride Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Book Number, Line Number

Quote #4

"for they weened
That selfsame day by fight, or by surprise
To win the Mount of God, and on His throne
To set the envier of His State, the proud
Aspirer" (6.686-90)

Part of the problem with Satan's pride is that it makes him an "aspirer" to God's throne; he's not just dissatisfied with God's Son, but, it seems, with God as well. Otherwise, his legions wouldn't attempt to place him on God's "throne." As in many other passages, pride is associated with an inappropriate movement upwards or an attempt to gain control of something that is supposed to be out of reach (God's throne, knowledge, etc.).

Quote #5

"Joy thou
In what He gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; Heav'n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee and thy being" (8.170-4)

Raphael essentially tells Adam not to get too proud. He tells him that Heaven is "too high" for him to 'know what passes there." In other words, Adam shouldn't try to learn more than he already knows. The dichotomy of high and low ("too high," "lowly wise") underlines the difference between pride and humility (recall that pride is often associated with superiority, trying to reach too high, etc.).

Quote #6

"look on me!
Me who have touched and tasted yet both live
And life more perfect have attained than fate
Meant me, by vent'ring higher than my Lot" (9.687-90).

Pride is associated with a sense of superiority, and Satan – here disguised as the serpent – deceives Eve with the ridiculous idea that one can have a "more perfect" life. How can there be something beyond perfection? The very fact that "more perfect" occurs alongside the idea of attaining more than "fate/ Meant" suggests quite clearly both Satan's illogic and the dangers of pride.

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