Comparing Seasons of the Mist and Paradise Lost Essay Example

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  5
Wordcount:  1217 Words
Date:  2022-12-08


Seasons of the Mist is a seven-part comic by Neil Gaiman that appeared in 1991 and 1992. It follows the adventures of Dream, a member of the Endless family. This family is made up of godlike siblings who represent different human attributes. Unlike most other comics, the Seasons of the Mist does not only focus on the superhero but is also character-driven. Though at the surface, the comic might seem to present a story of the battles between different powers from which the superhero emerges victorious, the comic has a deep theme of freedom and suffering. A similar theme can be seen in Paradise Lost, a poem by John Milton published in 1667 (Cruz, 2014). In Seasons of the Mist, Dream misused his freedom and condemned Nada to hell after she refused to be his queen. The act has caused him so much suffering which takes him to hell, which has been abdicated by Lucifer, and has to struggle with both good and evil powers to free her. Paradise Lost presents the story of the fall of man. They too misused their freedom leading to eternal suffering in hell. John Milton follows two arcs in the poem. In one, Lucifer is condemned to hell. He then tricks Adam and Eve making them disobey God's command and hence they are kicked out of the Garden of Eden (Cruz, 2014). Both works make heavy allusions to the Bible. However, unlike John Milton who purely borrows from the Bible, Neil Gaiman also borrows from different mythologies. For instance, Loki and Thor are from Norse mythology. Despite the use of different elements by the two artists, their use of imagination to bring forth the theme of freedom and consequences/suffering is brilliant.

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Gaiman's Lucifer and Milton's Satan

Lucifer plays only a little part in the Seasons of the Mist. Issue 21 starts with him as the king of hell, but he is a free being by the time issue 23 ends. This can also be said about the other cosmic forces in the comic whose desires are too thin and hence their roles do not develop much. However, despite his little role in the comic, he sets into action a cascade of events that lead to conflicts among the other characters. When he abdicates hell and gives Dream the key, a struggle for the key among the different forces emerges. Threats and bribes are offered as each of the forces strive to gain possession of the key. Therefore, the Lucifer presented by Gaiman is similar to Satan presented in Milton's poem (Porter, 2013). He causes conflicts in heaven leading to his condemnation to hell. When he visits Adam and Eve, he starts an internal conflict in Eve which ultimately leads to her breaking God's command and the subsequent condemnation. This led to a conflict between man and God. Both writers, therefore, present him as a source of conflict. In the Seasons of the Mist, he says, "I could never again be an angel. Innocence, once lost, can never be regained" showing resignation to his character and fate (Porter, 2013).

Use of Imagery in the two Works

Both writers brilliantly use imagery to depict hell as well as its betrayals, intrigues, and princes. Though Gaiman's book does not directly present the violence and suffering that is usually associated with hell, graphic images are used in the book to paint a picture of the hell that the writer envisions. For instance, Hell's locks are made up of piles of organs. The demons are depicted in visceral grotesqueness. The use of Christian theology that people believe in such as heaven, hell, angels, and Satan, also helps the readers view the book from the writer's perspective. The writer conjures the strange and the eerie as well as the grotesque and the exquisite in a brilliant way. On his side, Milton paints God as the light and heaven as pure and bright. Angels are also presented as pure, bright, and luminous beings. These attributes are contrasted with the darkness associated with Satan and hell (Cruz, 2014). The suffering in hell is captured when the poet says that the fallen angels wake up in a lake of liquid fire. More than one hundred lines full of imagery are used to represent the Garden of Eden as a paradise.

Similarities between the Angels in the two Works

In the Season of the Mist, Duma and Ramiel are fallen angels. After Lucifer abdicates hell, they are left as the guardians. They are borrowed from Jewish mythology. In Paradise Lost, Milton presents both good angels such as Gabriel and Michael as well as fallen angels such as Mulciber. Though the angels presented by the two writers are different, there exists a similarity in the way they are presented. Protestant doctrines only give four roles of the angels; bear messages, praise God, act as witnesses as well as ministering spirits. The two authors try to envision the activities that the angels engage in outside of the four roles in the context of their consciousness and freewill.


Both works are as relevant today as they were when they were created. Through the use of imagery, the writers succeed in enabling the reader to envision a world whose existence, in reality, cannot be confirmed. The allusion to Biblical events as well as different mythologies helps in the creation of mental images. Most importantly, both works present a strong lesson on freedom and suffering/consequences.


Cruz, N. L. (2014). Narratives of Suffering and Forgiveness: neil Gaiman's Season of Mists as a Parable of Hell. Webbing Vicissitudes of Forgiveness, 1-8. doi:10.1163/9781848882775_002

Porter, A. (2013). Neil Gaiman's Lucifer: Reconsidering Milton's Satan. The Journal of Religion and Popular Culture, 25(2), 175-185. doi:10.3138/jrpc.25.2.175

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