Paradise Lost

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Sin Character Analysis

Satan’s daughter who sprang from his head when he first conceived of disobedience, and then Satan incestuously impregnated her. When she is cast into Hell, Sin becomes a monster with the lower half of a serpent and a circle of hell-hounds around her waist, constantly gnawing at her. God gives her the keys to Hell, but she immediately gives them to Satan. She gives birth to Death and then enters Earth after the Fall, infecting all humans with sin.

Sin Quotes in Paradise Lost

The Paradise Lost quotes below are all either spoken by Sin or refer to Sin. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Paradise Lost published in 2003.
Book 9 Quotes

No more of talk where God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar used
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heav’n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment giv’n,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and misery
Death’s harbinger…

Related Characters: God the Father, Adam, Sin, Death
Page Number: 9.1-13
Explanation and Analysis:

With the beginning of the final third of the poem, Milton turns to the tragic side of his story. He explains that it's time for him to talk about the fall of man--the tragic, repeatedly-foretold event to which his poem has been building up for hundreds of lines now. Man's fall into sin was a crushing defeat for the universe itself, because it ushered in a history of death, misery, disease--all that we now know of human history.

Milton describes the fall of man here, but doesn't yet mention that man's fall is, ultimately, a good thing, because it paves the way for the coming of Jesus Christ. Milton doesn't give this passage anything like a silver lining: instead, he emphasizes the enormous stakes of Adam and Eve's disastrous decision, and saves his optimism and hope for the poem's end.

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Book 10 Quotes

Fair daughter, and thou son and grandchild both,
High proof ye now have giv’n to be the race
Of Satan (for I glory in the name,
Antagonist of Heav’n’s Almighty King)
Amply have merited of me, of all
Th’ infernal empire, that so near Heav’n’s door
Triumphal with triumphal act have met,
Mine with this glorious work, and made one realm
Hell and this world, one realm, one continent
Of easy thoroughfare.

Related Characters: Satan (speaker), Sin, Death
Page Number: 10.384-393
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Satan has returned to Hell, and encounters his two incestuous offspring, Sin and Death, who have been busy building a bridge from Hell to Earth. Satan proudly tells his children that he has successfully corrupted the entire human race, allowing Sin and Death a "free reign" on Earth.

The passage shows Satan at the height of his power: he thinks that he's succeeded in defeating (or at least wounding)  God by tempting Eve and Adam into sin. As a result, Satan believes, Death and Sin are free to further lead Adam and Eve down the path of evil, and make "Hell and this world, one realm" (an echo and perversion of God's earlier plan to make Earth and Heaven one). He even fully accepts the name Satan (which means "Adversary") for the first time--it's not his original angelic name, but one that he now embraces, as he thinks himself as a worthy antagonist to God.

Yet even here at the height of his success, Satan's victory rings hollow: he's spread misery and pain to others, but done nothing to alleviate his own. Indeed, he won't be allowed to glory in his "victory" for long, as God will further punish and humiliate him and the other devils.

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Sin Character Timeline in Paradise Lost

The timeline below shows where the character Sin appears in Paradise Lost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 2
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...forth from his head when he first conceived of rebelling against God. She was called “Sin,” and she was beautiful then and soon won over the other angels. Satan himself became... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Then the war had broken out in Heaven, and Sin was cast into Hell with the other rebel angels, but before she fell she was... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Satan, who seems to have forgotten all of this, now speaks more kindly to Sin and Death. He reveals his plan to find God’s new world and corrupt it, and... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
The gates open and remain open, as Sin does not have the power to close them again. On the other side is a... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...voyages of Ulysses or the Argonauts, but says that Satan’s journey was even more perilous. Sin and Death follow behind him, as “such was the will of Heav’n,” and they start... (full context)
Book 10
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
The scene then jumps slightly back in time, as Sin and Death wait at the Hell’s gates where Satan left them. Sin suddenly senses that... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...at the edge of Paradise, and he is delighted at the bridge they have built. Sin congratulates Satan for his success, encouraging him to take all the credit for the bridge,... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Sin and Death enter the mortal universe and immediately begin infecting it, and Satan flies swiftly... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Meanwhile Sin and Death arrive on Earth. Death says that all places are alike for him, as... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...and uncomfortable, and they create storms, strong winds, and ice. Then Discord, the daughter of Sin, arrives and causes all the animals to be at war with each other and with... (full context)
Book 12
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...a cross. After three days, however, the Son will rise from the dead, defeating Satan, Sin, and Death in one great resurrection. He will appear to some of his disciples and... (full context)