By now you should have read Books I and II of Paradise Lost and have listened to and taken notes on the first power point presentation on Book I. If not, please do so before you continue with this discussion activity.
In Book II Milton follows a Classical epic convention by creating a counsel scene (we didn’t come across one of these counsel scenes but both the Aeneid and the Iliad contain them). The scene is actually a sham, as Satan and Beelzebub have already decided that the best way to get back at God is to destroy his new creation, humans. But Satan arranges this counsel scene so that he may give the appearance of being a just and open-minded ruler (in this dissembling Milton is referencing Machiavelli’s scheming Prince). Three of the fallen angels step forth with plans of what to do next: Moloch (41-107); Belial (107-227); and Mammon (227-283). Each of these counsels represents certain Classical values, values that epitomize Greek or Roman culture. We will again split into groups:
1. What does your speaker suggest is the best course of action?
2. Can you relate your counselor’s suggestion to any Classical values?
3. Cite and write out a line or two (or more if need be) of the speech that addresses the first two topics and put the speech in your own language (important note: all students must do #3. This Discussion activity, our final one, is worth 40 instead of just 20 points, and to receive full credit you must address topics #1 or #2 and #3.)