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Paradise Lost by John Milton - Barron's Booknotes
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LINES 522-669. SATAN REVIEWS THE FALLEN ANGELS

Satan shows us again just how inspiring a leader he can be. He first "gently raised / Their fainting courage and dispelled their fears." Then he orders a military review with a brass band ("Sonorous metal blowing marital sounds") and a parade of all the divisions with their banners flying.

He proudly surveys the numberless army, by the side of which any other army would look like the pygmies fighting the cranes (line 575). A group of epic similes stresses the army's size: it is greater than the forces on both sides in the Trojan War, greater than any forces King Arthur or Charlemagne could command.

As he looks at the army (the similes have made it seem a cause for pride), Satan chokes with tears. His first few words express his affection and sympathy for his followers. How could such a "united force of gods" be defeated?



He soon talks himself out of weakness as he inspires his followers with hopes of regaining Heaven. They can't do it directly, since they obviously underestimated God's forces before. Instead he hints that a new world with beings equal to the angels is about to be created. There may be the chance to continue the fight through guerilla warfare.

The speech is so successful that the fallen angels flourish their swords and bang them against their shields as they hurl defiance at Heaven.

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Paradise Lost by John Milton - Barron's Booknotes
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