His equals, if in power and splendour less
In freedom equal?
Milton, Paradise Lost, Book V, 796-797
I concur I have less power,
I cannot beat men to my will,
Nor bribe them with a thousand chests of gold.
But though I am less honoured,
Will you not concede
That if not your equal in power,
I am in freedom your equal?
Now we move away from the voice of God in Milton to Satan (of course – he gets all the best lines). He challenges God’s claim that he is supreme over them by contesting that although the angels are weaker than God, they should be treated as having equal freedom. This is a view that translates well for a modern audience.
The Hapless Neo-Romantic