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Paradise Lost Sin Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Book Number, Line Number

Quote #1

"Farewell happy fields
Where Joy for ever dwells: hail horrors, hail
Infernal world" (1.249-51).

As a punishment for his sin, Satan must exchange the "happy fields" of Heaven for the "horrors" of Hell. As a result of their sins, both Adam and Eve and Satan must say "farewell" to their respective paradises, as if some notion of exile from one's "home" were intimately bound up with the idea of sin. Note also the alliteration in this line ("h" and "f" sounds), a sonorous effect that contrasts with the bleakness of the picture.

Quote #2

"a Goddess armed
Out of thy head I sprung! Amazement seized
All the' Host of Heav'n. Back they recoiled afraid
At first and called me Sin, and for a sign
Portentous held me" (2.757-61).

What's a poem without a character named Sin? Sin springs out of Satan's head – a strange birth indeed. Milton alludes here to a mythological story where Athena (ancient Greek goddess of wisdom, victory, and other things) sprung from Zeus' head. Who better than Satan to give birth to something as far from wisdom as sin? The passage says as much about Sin as it does about Satan and about Milton's relationship to ancient myth.

Quote #3

"Apostate, still thou err'st, nor end wilt find
Of erring, from the path of truth remote!" (6.172-3)

The word "err" is used twice in this passage. "Err" and its cognates were once associated with wandering or going astray, a notion emphasized here in the idea of being "remote" from the "path" (i.e., the road, the path of uprightness, etc.). Satan's, Adam's, and Eve's falls all involve notions of error and wandering from the right path.

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