Aug 5, 2022 • 12M

Satan tries to pretend that Hell is a fine place

From John Milton, Paradise Lost

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Anthony Esolen
Poetry Aloud will help you learn how to read poetry with your ears. Unlike children with bad table manners, poetry is meant to be heard and not just seen. Join Anthony Esolen every other week (or so) as he introduces and discusses a longish poem and then reads it aloud.
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     I’ve said that IRONY is what you get when there is a clash between levels of knowledge, when for example somebody should know something but doesn’t, all while somebody else, perhaps the author and the reader whom the author lets in on the jest, does know it, and waits for the outcome that will strike the ignorant as a surprise, but those in the know will find it predictable or even inevitable.  Often, the IRONY arises not because someone is simply stupid, but because he is not as smart as he thinks he is, or he is fooling himself, or he unwittingly reveals a truth he does not want to admit.  He may call his enemy a tyrant, when it is he himself who is the tyrant.  He may praise himself for his daring and call the cautious man a fool, just as he is about to step over the brink of a precipice.
     In the speech that ends this selection, Satan, accompanied by his flunky and right-hand devil, Beelzebub, both of them newly fallen angels who have just raised themselves off the floor of…

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