Although the first book of Milton A Poem read nothing but mumble jumble to me as I read it, I seemed to be aided by not only the Blake Dictionary, but also drawing from past discussions in class. I came to the conclusion that the reason why Milton feels he must “go down to self annihilation and eternal death” was in fact to ultimately reach the imaginative (Blake, 162).

As we have seen in Blake’s previous works, this idea of the contraries has been highly relevant with Blake, which has aided the revelation of his emphasis on the importance of becoming in touch with the five senses and reaching the imaginative.  When Milton “rose up from the heavens of Albion…He took off the robe of the promise, & ungirded himself from the oath of God,” in other words, Milton strips himself of any obligation or reason to obey God’s order and leaves him “naked”, vulnerable, and gains him free of will and thought (162). Further on in lines 30-2, Milton claims “I in my Selfhood am that Satan; I am that Evil One! He is my Spectre! in my obedience to loose him from my Hells, To claim the Hells…I go to Eternal Delight”(162).

Once Milton takes off the robe, and reveals his vulnerable self, he indulges in the glories of Hell. This contrary of Heaven versus Hell is what it displayed here; being in God’s robe, it bounds Milton from reaching exuberance. However, once Milton claims his “Hell”, it becomes eternal delight for him, which depicts Hell as this joyful place. So, to answer the question as to why he must “go down to self annihilation and eternal death” is in order to become eternal himself. Through Hell, and death, he reaches eternity; but once he is dead from the cause of his own will, he will at last have reached the imaginative and thus become eternal and infinite.

-Kimberly Martinez-Melchor