Nothing Says Dysfunction Quite Like This Family
Sin is an allegorical character, met by Satan at the gates of Hell. She holds the key to Hell’s gate and opens the gate so that Satan 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’ 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. A more pathetic creature you’d be hard pressed to find in any other work of fiction. You could almost feel empathy for her and that’s thanks to the brilliance of Milton.
Allegorically, Death 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. Death is a chilling creature, as was intended. He’s terrifying and far more terrifying than even Satan himself. Whether this is intentional or whether it is the way my brain works, who knows. However, I find him by far the most terrifying of the entire epic so far.
I find it intriguing that pious John Milton was able to make Satan so attractive. Truly, he’s a character you can almost sympathize with. It’s terrifying that evil would seem so attractive and I suspect that Milton will be changing that here soon. However, for the time being, I will just say that Satan doesn’t seem so evil to me. Besides the whole incestuous romance with his own daughter than sprang from his head, now there’s a Jerry Springer episode if I ever saw one.
Challenge Chapter: Book 3