Contents Index

I was cursed by some devil, and carried about with me my eternal hell

To what sort of devil can Victor be referring? Is it what, exonerating himself from responsibility, he described to his father as "some destiny of the most horrible kind" (3.4.9)? Or is it a more immediately relevant sense that the world of the dead, which in the previous paragraphs he has seen as impelling his mission of revenge, has a fundamentally diabolical association (3.7.2)? Or is it that he knows himself to be self-curst, as he earlier surmised at the beginning of the second volume (2.1.1)? Such an admission would involve acknowledging that the "devil" is an internal spirit. Certainly, the continuation of the sentence suggests such a recognition of the diabolical as a psychological state, for it returns us to the conclusion of the first volume, where Victor confesses that upon the execution of Justine Moritz he "bore a hell within [him]" (1.7.9). Once again, the context is supplied by Milton's Satan as he reviews his career in soliloquy on Mt. Niphates (see Paradise Lost, IV.73ff.).