Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n.
—John Milton – Paradise Lost
As a rebel, antinomian, and dissenter – pretty much what a contrarian converges on, I’ve identified with Milton’s Satan as a figure of revolutionary spirit against political authoritarianism since my early twenties when I first listened to my old literary prof. Dr. Huff read John Milton’s Paradise Lost out loud in his deep baritone voice… the dramatic effect was stunning and brought the figures on the page alive! Sometimes listening, rather than reading can be not only enjoyable, but help those figures and tropes become real for one in ways that just reading cannot. When one sits and reads one has a tendency to stop so very often and try to imagine these creatures of words coming alive and walking across the gallery of one’s mind as if upon the stage of the world (or, at least I do!). Maybe this is the reason our Greek forbears used the stage to dramatize both tragic and comic affairs of the moment, because it gave one not only the rhetorical flourish of the text but the instantiation and realization of it in human and dramatic form.