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Paradise Lost, Book IV Book Summary

by John Milton

Paradise Lost, Book IV

John Milton


  • Continuing in the theme of rebellion against authority, Milton’s fourth book of Paradise Lost describes Satan’s journey through hell and his meeting with other fallen angels.
  • Satan rallies the fallen angels to his cause of rebelling against God and enthroning himself as their leader.
  • Through descriptions of hell, the fallen angels, and Satan’s persuasive speech, Milton reveals the nature of evil and challenges conventional views of heroism.

Table of contents

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Writing Background

  • Paradise Lost was written by John Milton in the 17th century.
  • It is an epic poem that tells the story of the fall of man from the Garden of Eden.
  • Milton was a Puritan, and his work is heavily influenced by his religious beliefs.

Author’s Introduction

  • In the fourth book of his epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton continues the theme of rebellion against authority.
  • The book opens with Satan lying defeated on the burning lake of hell, but he soon rallies his fellow fallen angels to his cause of rebelling against God.
  • Milton uses vivid imagery to describe the fallen angels and their surroundings, and he creates a powerful sense of evil and despair.
  • Through Satan’s persuasive speech, Milton challenges conventional views of heroism and explores the nature of evil.

Key Insights

  • Satan’s journey through hell is a physical and psychological journey.
  • He is haunted by the memory of his defeat and by the knowledge of his own evil.
  • Despite his despair, Satan is still determined to rebel against God.
  • Satan’s speech to the fallen angels is a masterpiece of rhetoric.
  • He uses flattery, appeals to their pride, and promises them revenge to win them over to his cause.
  • The fallen angels are a diverse group of characters.
  • They include Beelzebub, Mammon, Belial, and Moloch.
  • Each of the fallen angels has their own unique personality and motivations.
  • The battle between the forces of good and evil is a central theme of Paradise Lost.
  • In Book IV, Milton shows how evil can be seductive and how easily it can corrupt even the best of beings.

Chapter Summary

  • The book opens with Satan lying defeated on the burning lake of hell.
  • He is surrounded by his fellow fallen angels, who are also defeated and despairing.
  • Satan rallies his followers to his cause of rebelling against God.
  • He promises them revenge and glory, and he convinces them that they can defeat God.
  • The fallen angels march out of hell and into the void.
  • They travel through chaos and darkness, and they eventually reach the gates of heaven.
  • Satan and his followers attack the gates of heaven, but they are defeated by the forces of good.
  • Satan and his followers are cast back into hell, where they are imprisoned for eternity.


  • Book IV of Paradise Lost is a powerful and moving account of the fall of Satan and the rebellion of the fallen angels.
  • Milton’s vivid imagery and persuasive rhetoric create a vivid and memorable picture of hell and its inhabitants.
  • Through Satan’s speech, Milton challenges conventional views of heroism and explores the nature of evil.
  • Paradise Lost is a classic work of English literature that continues to be studied and enjoyed today.


  • Paradise Lost has been adapted into numerous operas, plays, and films.
  • The poem has been praised for its beauty, its power, and its insights into the human condition.
  • Paradise Lost is considered one of the greatest works of English literature.