Paradise Lost

The debate in hell

During the debate in Hell, the various devils suggest several options for avenging their fallen state. List two of these options and name the devils that suggest them.

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Moloch stands up and suggests open warfare on the battlefield. They have nothing to lose, he says, there is no hell worse than this that God can send them if defeated. Even if God kills them, surely this would be better than living in hell forever. Finally, he says, even if they are defeated, "... if not victory is yet revenge."

Belial stands and disagrees. Even if God could kill them, he said, he never would. And there just might be worse hells than where they are now. It is a useless action anyway, he says, because God sees everything and would know exactly what they are doing. Belial suggests that they stay in hell and hope that God either relents on the punishment, or that they will, over time, grow used to the obnoxious fumes and pain.

Mammon stands up and says that neither idea is really acceptable. Open warfare would be an exercise in futility and, even if they were allowed back in heaven, is that a place where they want to spend eternity serving? It is better to live in hell where God's light never interferes. Mammon suggest no war at all, just build a kingdom where they are, and maybe someday they will have a kingdom that will be equal to heaven's .

The crowd cheers at Mammon's speech.

Beelzebub stands and tells the crowd that this will not do either. There is no place where God does not reign, he reigns even here in hell though his presence is not seen as easily. So it is silly, he says, to talk about war and peace when they will be eternally opposed to God and his kingdom, whether they like it or not. "War hath determined us."

Beelzebub then tells them of a new race that God has created called "Man." Man is not as powerful as the angels, but he is God's chosen favorite among creations. Beelzebub suggests that they seek revenge against God by seducing Man to their side.