From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
by John Milton
Satan Timeline and Summary
Satan wakes up on a burning lake, and looks around bewildered. He sees his first mate Beelzebub, and they have a conversation where Satan talks about his strong will and sense of pride. He also hates God. Satan moves off the lake towards a burning plain. Satan calls his legions from the burning lake; the most senior fallen angels assemble before him. He gives a rousing speech to his angels, and demands that his flag be unfurled. His legions march close towards him, and he gives another speech. All is not lost, he tells them; there is still hope. He addresses a council of his peers in Pandemonium, saying they must debate the best way to war against Heaven. He speaks last, saying he will risk his own life and venture to earth to see what he can do to fight god there. He leaves Pandemonium, and heads towards the gates of Hell, where he meets his son, Death, and his daughter/wife Sin. After a conversation with Sin, she lets him through the gates; he travels through Chaos – it's really hard-going. He arrives at Chaos' throne and asks for directions to Heaven and earth. He approaches Heaven and sees the universe hanging by a golden chain from Heaven. He moves towards it intent on mischief. He peers into the universe before flying towards the sun, where he changes his shape and tricks Uriel into showing him the way to Paradise. He lands on Mt. Niphates, near Paradise, and delivers a soliloquy. He approaches Paradise and leaps over the wall, like a wolf. He lands on the top of the Tree of Life and observes Paradise, including Adam and Eve. He jumps down, changes his shape into a lion, then a tiger; then he listens to Adam and Eve conversing, before he resolves to trick them into a desire for knowledge. Ithuriel and Zephon discover him in the shape of a toad, whispering poisonous thoughts into Eve's ear. He's taken before Gabriel; they argue for a while, before Satan flees, realizing he doesn't stand a chance in a fight. Satan sees God's Son appointed lord (narrated in Book 5 of the poem but this happened chronologically earlier than everything else) and gets really angry. He wakes up his first in command and tells him to get the squadrons ready in the north. He tells the assembled angels that this whole business about the Son is a joke. It's an attempt to impose restraints on liberty. He descends from his chariot to the battle field and argues with Abdiel before the battle begins. He fights with Michael and is badly wounded; he recovers immediately, but his minions cart him off the field anyway. He calls a council during the night and describes his plan to build a canon. The next day he uses his canons, but is eventually defeated. He and his minions throw themselves out of the gates of Heaven down to Hell. He returns, fearless, to Eden after nightfall. He enters the garden through a river, and searches all night for the serpent. He finds him, and enters through his mouth. Eventually, he persuades Eve to eat the Forbidden Fruit by claiming it has wondrous powers. He meets Sin and Death while disguised as an angel. After he tempts Eve, he slinks away and watches the outcome. He tells Sin and Death to head to Paradise and wreak havoc while he returns to Hell to share the good news with his legions. He shares the good news with his legions, but is then changed into a serpent.