The debate of Christ and Satan concerning “zeal and duty” to Israel is the most significant temptation in Paradise Regained. In it, Milton sums up the main themes, reveals the antagonists definitively, and foreshadows the remaining action and resolution. The sequence of temptations itself indicates that the matter of Israel is crucial: the episodes form a pattern whose organization highlights the Israel temptation. The pattern is derived from the symmetrical relating of the parts of the sequence through parallel and contrast. The first part or episode is related to the last, the second episode to the second-to-last, and so on, leaving the Israel debate alone unparalleled, and therefore emphasized, at the center of the pattern. This pattern imposes coherence upon the temptations and counterpoints previously defined patterns, enriching the poem's texture. It also places several episodes in new perspectives and enhances awareness of Milton's architectonic method.

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