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A resource for studying Milton's Paradise Lost



Sin and Death

           Sin assists her father with the key to Hell's Gate

Sin and Death



Sin is an allegorical character, met by Satan at the gates of Hell in Book II of Paradise Lost. She holds the key to Hell's gate and opens the gate so that Satan (her father) can pass through on his way up to heaven. Sin has no mother but was born out of Satan himself at his rebellious assembly in heaven, both an allegorical representation of his sin against God and a parody of God's creation of the Son. Sin is 'woman to the waist' (II.650) and has a fish's tail, but she shifts shape and is constantly re-forming and breeding, giving birth to dog-like young. She has no control over these changes but is held captive by cruel pregnancies in a body in perpetual labour, cursed by her own fertility. Satan raped his daughter in heaven, and she gave birth to Death.

Death is unleashed into the world

Death is unleashed into the world






Death is a shadow-like character who appears in Book II of Paradise Lost, but is only mentioned briefly and fleetingly. Allegorically, he is the consequence of Satan's sin. He is not as sad a figure as Sin because he is empowered and in control of his condition. However, Death is malicious and armed, an aggressive character, carrying arrows and darts. Rather than suffering himself, Death takes pleasure in human pain and also in inflicting this pain. The only thing he fears is the Son who is fated to destroy him.







The Fallen Angels

Chaos and Night



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