Glen Duncan’s novel I, Lucifer can be read as an infernal reply to the divinely inspired Paradise Lost. This is particularity apparent when comparing the separate accounts of the fall of Satan and the garden of Eden, as well as countless details throughout the stories. These accounts are incredibly similar, but unsurprisingly, due to his use of Satan as narrator, Duncan spins the stories to play up the lack of justice in Satan’s treatment. In many ways I, Lucifer can be considered a sequel to Paradise Lost. One passage in particular suggests this to me,“But say I could repent and could obtainBy act of grace my former state. How soonwould heighth recall high thoughts? How soon unsayWhat feigned submission swore? Ease would recantVows made in pain as violent and void…Which would lead me but to a worse relapseAnd heavier fall. So should I purchase dearShort intermission bought with double smart.” (IV:93-102)
In this passage Satan comes to the understanding that if he were to be given a chance for forgiveness, he would simply fall again twice as hard, which is exactly what occurs in I, Lucifer. He accepts the trial run on earth and at the end of the month rejects it, dooming himself again, and having to face the pain of his fall anew. While Satan’s accounts of his fall, the garden of eden, and other biblically based stories seem plausible enough, he is still shown throughout as a completely unreliable narrator through obvious and intentional contradictions. This directly conflicts with Milton’s narrator who claims divine inspiration for his work, suggesting a very reliable narrator. Due to this discrepancy in narration, I, Lucifer serves as an intriguing foil to Paradise Lost that continues the c…
…al abyss with nothing but him in it. To which he replies, “if God were to get rid of everything except little old me, I’d be in exactly the position he was in at the beginning. Rich, don’t you think? Lucifer ends up where God started.”(257)
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