On Chance in Milton

[ETA: THIS IS POSTED HERE BY MISTAKE–ACTUALLY NOTES TO SELF FROM THE DISSERTATION. BUT I’M LEAVING IT HERE BECAUSE TRANSPARENCY. AND SHAME.]

From Comus–the elder brother says the following to the younger one:

“against the threats

of malice or of sorcery, or that power

Which erring men call Chance, this I hold firm,

Vertue may be assail’d, but never hurt…”

586-589.

Roy Flannagan glosses this as follows: “In a providential theology, there is no such thing as fate independent of God’s will. Thus pagan “destiny” or “fate” or “chance” should have no meaning to a Christian. And yet it’s a gust of wind that by chance saves Satan from falling forever on his way to Chaos.