The Tyrant’s Plea

On 20 April 1667 John Milton published his epic poem “Paradise Lost” about the fall of Adam & Eve. Like some fabulously lavish literary ice cream, Milton is too rich for most people today, but O, he is good. When Satan first spies Adam & Eve from a distance and decides that their undoing will be his revenge on God, Milton writes, “So spake the Fiend, and with necessitie, the tyrant’s plea, excus’d his devilish deeds.” Milton’s genius cuts right through to the tyrant’s nature as they always excuse their crimes with the plea that necessity — emergency — forces them to do it.

— Franklin Sanders, The Moneychanger

Commentary for 19 August 2013

The Moneychanger


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