Sister Sin: the Incestuous Seed of the Insidious Satan
Fallen, wretched, doomed to perpetual agony and suffering; this is the state of Sin when we first meet her in Hell. Dreadfully deformed by the birth of her first child, Death, raped by the latter, and further abused by the fruit of that rape, the Hell-Hounds, whose ordeal repeats itself in never-ending cycles. Few images in Paradise Lost are so horrifyingly striking, and one wonders whether any of the fallen angels, Satan included, were befallen by comparable torments. The lover of her own father, the mother and sexual victim of her incestuous offspring (who also happens to be her brother), the violated and cannibalised prey of her more than inbred Cerberean beastly children, Sin, the God-appointed guardian of the gates of Hell, does not have it easy. It is hard to find another character who suffers this much, the Son included, and even in her condition of guardian, she is within the very prison whose doors she keeps shut: she is, after all, still in Hell.
Sin and Death are two quite interesting characters in that they form the first order of creatures born not directly of God; indeed, Sin is the first entity that can call God her grandfather, for she is the very first being born from one of God’s creatures, namely Satan. As to Death, he is the first Hell-born character and, the Hell-Hounds excluded, the only one. Every further visitor of Hell will have been born on earth, and all those who have been sent to Hell were born in Heaven prior to their Fall. The hellish pair has that in common that their very creations were not usual and a complete first on all aspects. While Sin is the first creature made not directly by God, Death is the first to be conceived by two parents, the way Adam and Eve will procreate mortal children.
Moreover, the strictly visual aspect of the two keepers is by itself worthy of much interest. Sin is a monster in the traditional sense of being a crossing from two orders (in this case animal and angelic) much like a siren or a centaur. Death, for his part, lives in the no-man’s-land of definition; a shapeless shape, his appearance can only be guessed at. All of this contributes to make of Sin and Death special characters on more than one count; whereas the angels and our general parents have rather classical shapes and appearances, Sin and Death strike us as the first two monstrosities of the poem. They are indeed a creation of Milton, imagined from his own initiative, and the status of these two oddities has been much discussed in literary debates. Some think them mere allegories, and not good ones at that, others barely pay attention to them. Be it my own faulty research or the lack of criticism on Sin and Death, I have not found much material on them, and I did not find any work solely dedicated to their study. For all these reasons, I decided to choose them as the topic of this essay. To begin, I will focus on the aspects of each of the Hell-Gate keepers and on their possible origins and reasons of being. Although the potentially seminal line that gave Milton material to create Sin and Death is to be found in James 1, 15: “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”, I will show that Milton used other references as well.
As I explained just above, Sin is a monster. She is endowed with serpentine features (which motivated the hissiness of this essay’s title) even before Satan chooses the snake to deceive Eve and before God turns the devils into reptiles. I suppose this fact alone could provide some valuable argument to say that God had it all planned, but that is not the object of the current essay, so I will not go further into this. The serpentine features are traditionally given to evil creatures: sirens, dragons, etc. And Sin is indeed compared to Scylla, (II, 660), who at once had her lower body turned into barking dogs and then preyed on sailors, the usual activity of sirens in the Hellenistic tradition. Another figure of famous snake-like creatures I can think of is the Mélusine of both Jean D’Arras and Coudrette. Whether Milton knew of these works I do not claim to know, and the following lines may be sheer digression, but I think it is worth mentioning. Mélusine is a cursed fairy who turns into a half snake every Saturday. She is the child of a human king and of a full-blooded fairy (which makes her a hybrid, a crossing of the orders just like Sin is too) and she herself marries a human to whom she will give a whole empire and countless sons of great value. Her husband triggers the fall of himself and his empire the day he calls her a serpent (there was a pact between him and Mélusine: he was to never inquire about her on Saturdays and never to seek to know why she wanted to hide away) and that brings to mind Adam’s sentence to Eve: “Out of my sight, thou serpent”, (X, 867). This alone of course does not make for a sufficient connection and I therefore will not endeavour to make much more out of the Mélusine parallel; but on the possibility that Milton knew of her, I venture a few comments. Mélusine starts off as a doomed creature too, and she ends up even more doomed, condemned to wait until Judgement Day to terminate her fairy life (she is otherwise immortal). Milton did not make Sin out of the blue, though she is among his most creative figures in Paradise Lost. There are several models he could refer to, and did refer to; among them are sirens, Scylla, and possibly Mélusine.
Much closer to the text, Sin seems to share some of Hell’s own features. Only a few lines away, Hell is said to be “thrice threefold”, (II, 645), like Dante’s Inferno, and Sin “… end[s] foul in many a scaly fold”, (II, 651). The word “fold” occurs in either line and the description of Hell is put side by side with that of Sin. Whether there is a wish to connect the two in such a way as to make us assimilate them, I am not sure since I am running short of arguments for it. But there certainly is a connection to sin as being “fair” at first sight and then “foul” on further examination; this may be far-fetched, but Sin could be said to be a representation of venereal disease and how sinful sexual behaviour leads to “foulness”, shall I say. This two-face aspect is a most important feature in Sin’s visual appearance. For one, it breaks unity, and thus steps away from God, I would argue, because the division from order to chaos comes in great part because of the uprising of a second will (and individuality), namely that of Satan. In other words, when all are one with God everything works out fine, but when a differentiation comes to be, problems begin. Sin embodies duality that way, and although she was not born like this, she is the first example of when one became two, as Satan gave birth to her by himself. So even if she did not start off as a two-natured monster, the beginning of her existence is tightly connected to duality nonetheless. I am usually wary of the use of numbers in analysis, so I hope I am not making too much of the dualities involved here. After all, the schism in Heaven was also a case of “when one became two”. And this can further be applied to Adam desiring a companion of his own kind, and the following catastrophe. Duality is always made better by the addition of a third party: Hell and Heaven are then completed by the creation of Eden, Adam and Eve are to be redeemed by the Son. If duality is intrinsically evil, trinity always saves the day.
Let us turn to Death. The aspect of Death is mostly one of absence (his evasive ontology I tried to reflect in the title of this essay, as he is the only character to whom Sin is a sister). Indeed, Milton first mentions this creature as a shape, “If shape it might be called that shape had none”, (II, 667). Death is black, or rather, he is not of any colour, since that is what black is. Fearful uncertainty characterises Death, and rightly so as it embodies one of the greatest mysteries of life. Other features of Death are his crown and his dart, to which I will come back in the following paragraph. This here paragraph is indeed quite short, but that is because Death’s aspect is a negative. Yet, there is more to say on Death’s appearance; especially his having a crown and a dart.
Death has a weapon, and not just any weapon: his is the instrument that will kill all that lives. But why did Milton choose a “dart”? My suggestion is the following: Milton may have used elements from the Book of Revelation to constitute Death. In 9, 10 of that book, we find these words: “And they [locusts] had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months.” That alone would not be enough, but there is more to support my suggestion that Milton refers to the Apocalypse of John in the making of Sin and Death. According to B. Rajan, “Usually … it is a tenth, not a third, of the heavenly host which rebels.”, he tells us in his comment on the hexaemeron. In Paradise Lost, a third of the angels rebel and consequently fall. This, I think, may originate in the Book of Revelation as well. See 12, 4:
And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
These words do not refer to actual angels (at least I do not think so, though it could very well be according to one’s interpretation) but it would not be unusual to compare angels to stars. Satan is traditionally the morning star, and more to our point, he is compared to a comet in the very passage I discuss here: “Unterrified, and like a comet burned”, (II, 708). A few lines lower, “pestilence and war”, (II, 711), are mentioned in relation to the hair of the comet, and these two are half of the four horsemen to be found in Revelation. Moreover, 12, 4 also has interesting things to say about a woman and her ready to be devoured child. Should we see a connection to Death as the ready-to-be-slain son of Sin when Satan gets ready to fight him? I am aware of the rather rich images provided by the Book of Revelation, likely one could find there anything he wanted to fit his theories, but as the coincidences pile up, the case seems to be a more and more valid one. For instance, the locusts described by John are not only armed with deadly stings like Death owns, but they also have crowns too:
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. (Revelation 9, 7, italics mine)
The only two identifiable features of Death can be found together in the locusts of the Apocalypse. Both locusts and Death have for main mission to do harm to men, to torture them or to kill them. Death’s purpose in life is a little more varied than that, but essentially they share the same common objective: to deal with humans. The fact that Death is first mentioned on line 666 of the book may not be a coincidence at all, as the infamous number is only to be found in the Apocalypse.
Still in the Book of Revelation one can find these rather interesting words:
… and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. (Revelation, 9, 1, italics mine)
In view of the passage that concerns Sin and Death, it is difficult not to think of Sin’s key, especially as her key opens onto an “illimitable Ocean without bound/ Without dimension, where length, breadth, and heighth,/ And time and places are lost” (II, 892-4). Any of these elements taken separately may be revoked as purely coincidental, but taken all together they tend to trace a coherent set of references to the Apocalypse. Given the roles attributed to Sin and Death, the references to the Apocalypse are not mismatched; Death’s similarity to the locusts sent to torture men perfectly fits with his future mission to appease his famine by feeding on human life. While the Book of Revelation looks a lot like a bad drug trip for the most part, it is not impossible, indeed arguable, that Milton used the imagery there to constitute Death in his aspect, as well as other elements in the poem, though I cannot say that there is a very strict coherent pattern in the borrowing of certain features. Possibly some of those features entered the poem half-unconsciously as Milton knew his Bible. However, coherence is achieved by the apocalyptical purpose of the hellish pair of gate-keepers, the Sin and Death squad of God.
The references to be found in Sin and Death do not stop there. There is a whole range of elements that clearly put Sin and Death in parallel with their Heavenly counterparts. B. Rajan, like many others, considers Sin, Death, and Satan, to be part of an “Infernal Trinity”. Exactly what roles would the three Hell-Hosts have is not clear, but one can assume that it would be something like the Mother, the Son, and the Unholy Ghost. Unlike the set of references drawn from Revelation, the elements that call for a comparison to traditional Christian doctrine seem to have a more clearly defined purpose. Sin refers to Death as Satan’s “only son”, (II, 728), she further describes him as his “own begotten”, (II, 782); also, she tells him she will reign “At thy right hand”, (II, 869). In all of these instances, Sin definitely calls for a parallel between her own unholy family and that of Heaven. Arguably, she even lies to get to that parallel, for after all, Death is not the only child of Satan, she is herself his daughter, but one could say she is only a “daughter” and not a “son”, literally speaking. Sin is however not the only character to draw our attention towards the heavenly hosts; Satan does his share as well: “… I go/ This uncouth errand sole, and one for all/ Myself expose”, (II, 827). Throughout the poem, many are the instances where Satan can be compared to the Son, this is not something exclusively used in Book II; Satan’s very volunteering in place of all the fallen angels is mirrored by the Son’s proposal to sacrifice himself for humankind, and there are many other examples I could refer to here. What happens in this passage is that this scheme of mirroring the heavenly ones spreads out to Sin and Death so as to form the “Unholy Trinity”. Because of this, we cannot argue that Sin is individually mocking God and the Son, rather, the pattern of parody seems to come from a higher level, namely that of the author, Milton. He did not think much of the dogma of God being three, so it is possible to interpret the parallel as a potential jab against that dogma. Were I writing a longer work, I think it would be worthwhile to comment on all the other structural effects to be found in Paradise Lost, such as Hell resembling Heaven and other elements that tend to echo each other.
I propose now to take a look at what would characterise Sin, Death, and Satan, as an “Unholy Trinity”. In the context of the entities completing this unhallowed triad, Satan could be said to be a counterpart to God (I know this may sound like stating the obvious) because of his quality of creator: he made Sin out of nothing, so to speak. Sin is the parent of Death, the Son, and he is the one through whom all humans will have to pass to enter Hell, which is what Christ is to Heaven, though it is true one also has to pass through Death to enter Heaven. Sin as the infernal Mother takes the role of the procreating Father of Christian traditions, yet things are not all that simple. Their family tree looking like a stump, the relationship of each entity to another becomes relatively complex.
Incest is met at every branching of that Satanic tree. Sin is born of Satan alone, which does not exactly qualify as incestuous though it is obviously unnatural for a creature of God, Death is born of the union of Sin and Satan, and finally the Hell-Hounds are born of Death’s mating with Sin. The father mates with the daughter, who, unwillingly, becomes the lover of her son. What can be done of this rather dysfunctional family? According to my relatively humble knowledge of Greek mythology, incestuous unions are not a seldom occurrence, and as we know, Milton can heavily refer to Greek myths. Yet there certainly is more than that to it. There is a pattern of degeneration in the family of Satan; if he starts off as a beautiful angel, his daughter turns out to be a hybrid mixing humanness and reptile features. Furthermore, the child of their incestuous union is a complete figure of otherness as he cannot be distinguished perfectly even by Satan’s gaze, whose ability is thought to be much more efficient than that of mere humans. As to the fourth “member” of the family, the Hell-Hell hounds, they are mostly an unindividualised pack of beasts; they lost all angelic features, and they lost all unity too. The loss of unity, I think, is to be connected with what I said earlier about chaos and order and the structure of Hell resembling Sin. If this family went on, the descendents of the Hell-Hounds would probably be malefic maggots.
It is noteworthy that incest characterises Satan’s family; not only is it considered a sin, religiously speaking, but it also marks procreation as a less perfect creation than the kind God achieves. Similar to Adam and Eve’s only way to create offspring, sexual intercourse, the two-partied making of Satan and Sin create a monstrous child (however, Adam and Eve expected to have children before they knew of the Fall, but that is not a typical feature of the Christian tradition). The idea that every human is born sinful because of the carnal union of their parents can perhaps be found in the comparison between parthenogenesis and the immaculate conception God, the Father, can perform.
The question of hate in Heaven has always been a theologically loaded one, but along with Sin as the first female being of the universe comes the question of sex in Heaven. The one reference to this comes from Sin herself when she tells Satan her story: “… such joy thou took’st/ With me in secret, that my womb conceived/ A growing burden.”, (II, 765-7). The question of joy in Heaven may be much less interesting than that of hate, but that of physical, sexual joy, can be thought of more peculiar (though Milton clearly portrays a vision of sex that is sinless with Adam and Eve and how promiscuous they get, especially considering the above mentioned future children they expect to have to help them with their daily work). Thus sex per se is not automatically a sinful thing, yet what to think of Satan and Sin’s relationship? Well, for one, she is his very daughter, and while Milton could conceive of sinless sex, I would not suppose he would consider sinless incestuous sex (given that incest is not only a religious taboo but very much so an inherently human one, even atheists do not copulate with their daughters, generally). This incestuous nature is the first clue that something is not quite right, even in Heaven. The second point I ask myself about is whether the “joy” Satan took with Sin was shared. Indeed, Sin nowhere tells that she herself enjoyed the act, or even agreed to it, and so it is not inconsiderable that she may in fact have been raped by Satan. Raped in Heaven and raped in Hell? The story of Sin being what it is, that would not be unsuited. A third point is that this relationship with Satan was lived “in secret”, (II, 766), and that too brings up some questions. First of all, can there be secrets in Heaven? Whereas we have seen that there could be hate and even sex in Heaven, whether or not there can be secrets is much less certain. God is omniscient, after all; so there can be no secrets. What is most interesting, however, is that likely Satan believed there could be secrets and that God did not know everything. That argument is of major importance for critics who argue that Satan was tricked into doing what he did and that ultimately God is responsible for everything that happened, Fall included. This notion of secret also brings the fact that there was something to hide, something possibly wrong that needed to be kept from others, something possibly sinful. If Satan felt the need to hide, then surely he must have thought that what he was doing was not all that correct. But why exactly? If he thought the joy he took with his own daughter a thing not to do, then why did he do it at all? This would mean he knowingly chose to do evil. Any reason for the hiding can only be conjectural, since neither Sin nor Satan explicitly explains the why of the secrecy. There could be several origins: Satan could have been aware of the incestuous nature of the relation, and that it was “wrong”, he may have wanted no one to know about the affair, though why exactly I do not know (except for the reason previously mentioned), perhaps he discovered a new kind of joy with Sin and that raised suspicions in him (and perhaps also he did not want any other angel to find out “sex”, maybe Satan discovered sex, since Sin is the first female being of them all; although angels are traditionally genderless, Milton refers to them as males: Satan is a “he” and so are the other angels), lastly, if Satan was indeed raping Sin repeatedly, then he would not have wanted others to find out his crime. Whatever the reason, Satan, according to Sin, decided to keep the act a secret, thus admitting that he was not entirely at ease with the relationship and that probably, he was experiencing evilness.
To go back shortly to the idea of sinless and sinful sex, it is very likely that Milton differentiated sex as an act of love and sex as an act of lust; the latter characterising the relationship between Satan and Sin (and later on Sin and Death), as well as the first intercourse of Adam and Eve after the Fall. I will now pass on to the last topic of my essay: the allegorical nature of Sin and Death.
Patrick Cullen considers Book II to be “the most openly allegorical book of the poem – a book in which virtually every event has an allegorical dimension of one sort of another”. With names such as “Sin” and “Death”, the allegories to be found in them is unmistakable, obviously. However, the evident allegory may not be all that simple, after all. Did Milton really mean to make these two allegorical beings at all? One would think that there is no question about it, if only because of the names perfectly fitting the actions (although this is more easily said of Death than of Sin), yet there is potentially another kind of interpretation. The idea is to take Sin and Death literally. One of the angels who teach Adam and Eve explains that it is somewhat difficult to describe heavenly things to mere humans (unless my memory fails me); from that, it is arguable that all these things that are beyond human perception have completely incomprehensible natures. Thus, Sin and Death could be said to be entities that literally do what they are called after, Death kills and Sin leads to Hell. The highway to Hell they build can be said to be equally literal in that frame of thinking. Ironically, arguing that these are not allegories backfires with the fact that if this is not an allegorical use of Milton’s, it is one from the angels who teach the human couple (yet, that does not work with either Sin and Death or their bridge, since only the narrative voice of the poet relates them, not the angels’). I realise my argument is fairly brittle. The nature of Sin and Death tends to push our conceptions of the world in which they (and we) live so far as to make it quite confusing; which led many a critic to be heavily disappointed and displeased by and with the infamous duo. Thus Samuel Johnson wrote:
To exalt causes into agents, to invest abstract ideas with form, and animate them with activity has always been the right of poetry. But such airy beings for the most part suffered only to do their natural office, and retire. Thus Fame tells a tale and Victory hovers over a general or perches on a standard; but Fame and Victory can do no more. To give them any real employment or ascribe to them any material agency is to make them allegorical no longer, but to shock the mind by ascribing effects to nonentity.
Johnson has a problem with allegories doing actual things, things that go beyond the nature of the thing which they are allegories of. He would not allow Fame to have a cup of coffee, or Victory to take a bath, God forbid Sin and Death to build a bridge from Hell to Earth. This critic probably has a point when he says they are no longer allegories, in that the two entities exist as true characters within the poem; they are not a mere figure of speech. The question is whether or not an allegory has to remain an obvious allegory to be considered one. Many are the examples where allegories have features that do not belong exclusively to that which they allegorise. All of the allegorical characters of Everyman for instance have the ability to speak, which none of the allegorised concepts actually have. Thus Beauty, Faith and Knowledge do things that Johnson would not quite like. They are indeed anthropomorphised, yet I have never heard or read anyone arguing that they were not allegories. Another important question is whether allegories can do things without turning these very things into allegories too; can allegories live in a non-allegorical world. Sin and Death build a bridge, is the bridge an allegory if the builders are? Technically speaking, sin and death, as we know them in daily life, do not build any bridges, so it must not be that part of Sin and Death that enables them to do more than sin and death can do, in Johnson’s vision. To be perfectly honest, I am not sure where this is going, the question belonging more to a linguistic essay than the present one. Are Milton’s Sin and Death allegories that are given extra possibilities or are they simply not allegories at all? Does an enlarged allegory remain one? Can Sin and Death even be non-allegories given the names they bear? The last question I tried to engage in the beginning of this paragraph, to mild results. It could be interesting to venture the idea that Sin and Death not only are monstrous characters of the poem but also monstrous entities as literary ones, that is, that they escape even critics’ comprehension in their very nature. Many critics have been somewhat shocked by the obviousness of the allegorical use made with Sin and Death, and that puzzled them quite a good deal to see those two allegories from Hell doing so many unallegorical activities. Perhaps Milton aimed for a pair of entities that would seem out of human comprehension, as was my argument earlier, or that he wanted to have them monstrous and “other” on as many sides as he could. I would not exactly support that view myself as this seems a bit far-fetched; nonetheless, this could be interesting.
Although I certainly have not covered all the topics related to Sin and Death, I hope to have dealt with the main ones, at least partly. The children of Satan prove to be worth the close inspection which I could not find in most of the criticism I read (and I repeat that this may be due to my research rather than the lack of criticism on the issue). From their origins to their aspects, both Sin and Death are challenging us in a way that is never quite reached by other characters in Paradise Lost; although this is a bold claim, and likely wrong on certain levels, the Guardians of Hell, and its subsequent feeders, have that unique trait of being original creations of Milton, a characteristic that even God cannot claim to possess. I demonstrated the amount of coincidences to be found in Book II (for the passage that concerns us) and the Book of the Apocalypse, coincidences that stop being ones as they pile up to the level of organised references. I may have failed to provide those references with a strict reason to be, unless the apocalyptic roles of Sin and Death are to be compared with the frightening fate John of Patmos warns us of. Concerning the incestuous nature of Satan’s family, I have showed that it was a rather loaded issue since it begins in Heaven with the strange birth of Sin, and is further continued with the no less strange father-daughter sexual relationship between the two. In this I demonstrated, I think, how Sin and Death can be significant elements in arguments that do not directly concern them (as literary characters in a literary study), such as God’s omniscience and Satan’s knowledge or ignorance of it (the latter is what Sin suggests). Nevertheless, as I tried to show, Sin and Death per se are worthy of much scrutiny, scrutiny which they may have gotten from critics I have not read. Taken individually, Sin strikes us as a most damned creature. The first female ever to live, she is also the first being created not directly from and by God. Her only partner in womanhood is Eve, and both possess a “Sad instrument of all our woe”, (II, 872); for one an apple, for the other a terrible key. The connection between Sin and Eve is the one topic I omitted from my essay, but it too is a relevant theme. As to Death, the first procreated being of the universe, he is a black-hole of an entity. A shadow made of darkness, lusty like a brute beast, the self-declared king of Hell sounds a lot like his rebellious father, only worse and not romantic for a second. Although he shares that weak spot for incestuous affairs, and that sense of bravery, he is more of a debased version of Satan rather than a heroic saviour, which Satan devotes himself to be. Death’s main mission, unlike his father, is to satisfy his hunger to kill; he is not here to save anyone and is endowed with the most powerful weapon of all, he can kill everyone and everything save the Almighty and the Son. In Sin and Death, suffering and pain as well as grief and agony are polarised at both ends of the line: Sin does not in effect hurt anyone, nor does she wish harm to anyone either, her only major act in the epic is to keep Satan and Death from fighting, a noble and peaceful act; as to Death, he is the complete opposite: he never seeks to protect anyone from his selfish hunger, not even his own mother from his malevolent lust, his only wish in existence is to kill as much as he can. Satan’s offspring thus combines the conditions of being the aggressor and the prey, as Satan is God’s victim and Man’s misery-maker.
- Milton, John. Paradise Lost. London: Penguin Classics, 2000.
- Bloom, Harold, ed. Modern Critical Views: John Milton. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.
- Cullen, Patrick. Infernal Triad, The Flesh, the World, and the Devil in Spenser and Milton. Princeton and London: Princeton University Press, 1974.
- Empson, William. Milton’s God. London: Chatto & Windus, 1961.
- Forsyth, Neil. The Satanic Epic. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
- Kean, Margaret. John Milton’s Paradise Lost: a Sourcebook. New York: Routledge, 2005.
- Rajan, Balachandra. Paradise Lost & The Seventeenth Century Reader. London: Chatto & Windus, 1947.
 The Holy Bible, Authorized King James Version. Thomas Nelson Bibles, 1970, 2001. All further references are to this edition.
 Milton, John. Paradise Lost. London: Penguin Classics, 2000. All further references are to this edition.
 Rajan, Balachandra. Paradise Lost & The Seventeenth Century Reader. London: Chatto & Windus, 1947, p. 40.
 p. 50.
 Cullen, Patrick. Infernal Triad, The Flesh, the World, and the Devil in Spenser and Milton. Princeton and London: Princeton University Press, 1974, p. 104.
 Cited in Maccaffrey, G. Isabel. “Satan’s Voyage” Modern Critical Views: John Milton. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986, p. 32-33.