Paradise Lost

The Hellish Trinity in Paradise Lost

“After judgement done, mercy shown and redemption promised, the depiction of the hellish trinity- Satan, Sin and Death- appears grotesque.” Discuss.

In opposition to the Holy Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost), Paradise Lost explores the eerie relationship of Satan, Sin and Death.

Milton’s revisiting of the “hellish trinity” in Book X casts a dark shadow over the recently established sense of hope for mankind. The grim representation of Death, in particular, indicates how grave a mistake Adam and Eve have made. But in contrast to the explicitly “grotesque” depiction of Sin and Death in Book II, Milton here seeks to create a far more disturbing atmosphere through the adulations which Sin heaps upon Satan. Furthermore, Satan’s setting himself up as a ‘heroic’ figure for inducing the Fall of Man, gives the poem a distinctly ominous edge.

The punishments which Adam and Eve receive for their disobedience of God are certainly not trivial. Eve is forced to always submit to her husband and bear the pains of childbirth, while Adam is told he must “eat the herb of the field” and tirelessly work the land. But in a characteristically Christian way, the Son then shows some compassion for the wretched couple. He takes...

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