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Paradise Lost: The Debate in Hell

The debate starts with Satan speaking and flattering the Devils and saying “Powers and dominions”. He talks about how someone will have to take charge and lead the group to victory, and to do this they will need someone who can take pain, stress and strife. He addresses the idea of getting back into Heaven, and the ways to do this, whether they should attack and have a war or they should be devious and regain the kingdom that way. Satan also defends himself against revolt and convinces them that they will win. He did exactly the same last time and they lost, but he still thinks he can convince them.

Moloch speaks second, the “strongest and the fiercest spirit that fought in Heaven ; now fiercer by despair”. He tells the devils that they should have open war, for he is a person possessed with the lust for violence and someone who just wants revenge on God. As his speech goes on he get more worked up and irate. He whips up emotion by talking of the pain they are suffering and although he knows there will be no victory – they cannot beat God – they will at least have had some revenge. Moloch is seen as a towering pillar of strength but only by despair.

Moloch is seen as an extremist. “which if not victory is yet revenge. ” The next person to speak is Belial, a fair person but all that he says comes to nothing, the speech is “false and hollow”, it sounds impressive but means nothing. Mammon gets up next to present his speech. Mammon is against war because he knows that war against God is impossible, “let us not then pursue by force impossible. ” He knows that they would lose. Mammon tells the Devils that they should set up a place here in hell and make it into a great place, the same as or even better than Heaven.

If they did manage to get back to Heaven they would have to worship God which they hate doing. Satan’s right hand man, Beelzebub, gets up to make a speech saying how, if they make a second Heaven as Mammon said, God would notice and punish them even more. There is no point in keeping on fighting, so they should attack the new world which God has created. Once again the speech tries to flatter the Devils. Beelzebub tells them how they need a great leader but before anyone else can stand up to face the danger, Satan stands up quickly accepting the challenge.

The speech has already been prepared by Satan and Beelzebub, “thus Beelzebub pleaded his devilish council, first devised by Satan, and in part proposed. ” Satan gets up to make his final speech and again he flatters the Devils. he tells them how he will have to make a great effort to lead them into battle and how he will suffer, just making it sound a lot worse that it is. He leaves quickly so as no one can say any thing or challenge him. Satan works the debate out so he would have the first and last word.

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