Envy, Beelzebub, and Paradise Lost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Scholars have long appreciated the centrality of envy to Satan's characterization in Paradise Lost, and they have sometimes extended the importance of envy to Beelzebub, his closest associate. This note, however, argues that scholars have failed to appreciate the full significance of Beelzebub's connection with envy in the poem because they have not yet acknowledged the rich cultural association between Beelzebub and envy that existed in early modern literary culture. After surveying Beelzebub's connection to envy in the poem, Bradley J. Irish unpacks the linkage between Beelzebub and envy in early modern culture - a thematic resonance that is unfamiliar to us but that would have been immediately apparent for many of Milton's original readers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-357
Number of pages11
JournalHuntington Library Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Abraham Cowley
  • depictions of envy
  • Edmund Spenser
  • history of emotion
  • Thomas Lodge

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • History
  • Literature and Literary Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Envy, Beelzebub, and Paradise Lost'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this