The Archangel Raphael

Archangel Raphael

Satan may dominate the first two books of Paradise Lost but Raphael commands the central third of the epic in Books V to VIII and his narrative of the War in Heaven establishes his colleagues, Michael and Gabriel as Satan's superiors. The role assigned to Raphael by Milton reflects Raphael's traditional role as seen in this video clip, as an agent of healing who protects medical workers and can bind devils, partly as the communicator of science and knowledge. However, none of the archangels can finally defeat Satan. Mere information cannot avert the misjudgments of Adam and Eve: only firsthand knowledge based on painful physical experience can validate abstract ideas. Nevertheless, Raphael remains an attractive and powerful figure in the human imagination and this video suggests the kind of images which might have inspired Milton to create him as a figure who proved one of the most attractive in our performances of the epic at UC Berkeley.


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