John Milton – “Paradise Lost” Book 10 (ctd.)

A dramatic turn of events! Satan expects applause, but instead hears hissing. Surprised, he gets up, but he finds his legs giving way under him and he changes into a serpent, just like all of his comrades. They crawl out of the palace, meeting other devils, waiting for them outside, who are also turned into serpents and other creepy-crawlies, mythological and real ones. In order to punish them even more, God produces a grove of trees with the fruit pretty much like the fruit of knowledge and makes the snakes feels hunger and thirst. But when they climb the trees, they find the fruit is like Sodom apples, beautiful to behold but it turns to ashes when you bite into it. Still, they keep on eating and spitting out, proving themselves more stupid than Adam and Eve, who tried the fruit only once. They are going to be punished like that every year, although Milton suggests that a garbled version of the story which devils sold to pagans may have led to the Greek myth of Ophion, the ruler of Olympus before Zeus. Meanwhile, Sin and Death reach Paradise. “How do you like it here? Much better than at the gates of Hell, eh?”, asks Sin.

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