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Paradise Lost
Faqs




What is meant by "assert Eternal Providence"?

Assert means affirm or defend. Providence can be defined as God's management of his Creation. In the opening of his poem Milton couples this phrase with his purpose to "justify the ways of God to men."

In The Thesis of "Paradise Lost" (1962), G. A. Wilkes points out that the poem is about more than just the fall of man. It begins with the angels' revolt in heaven, and covers all the events in Genesis before and after the fall, continuing up to the birth of Christ, and even to the Last Judgment. This he calls a complete "treatment of the operation of Providence." It's only through studying the epic as a whole, and grasping the full picture, (not by obsessing about Satan's heroism as so many love to do) that God's intentions and actions can be understood.


How long did it take John Milton to compose Paradise Lost?

Milton may have begun his work as early as 1655, twelve years before its publication.


I am looking for some infomation or other in sight on the conversation, dialogue and friend ship between adam and eve before and after the fall. thank you Carrie

Before: After a bad dream, Eve expresses horror that bad thoughts have entered her mind. Adam comforts and reassures her of her own unassailable purity: Book V lines 1-135. But later, Eve, asserting her independence, wants to wander away from Adam's company. Adam, showing somewhat less confidence in her, tries to dissuade her but ultimately gives in to female persuasion: book IX lines 205-384.

After: The relationship goes haywire. Temporarily in denial, they playfully lust after each other in celebration of their newly "opened eyes, new hopes, new joys," but soon descend to quarreling and blaming each other: book IX lines 1134-1189. Adam rebukes Eve's plea for his forgiveness, but ultimately they reconcile: book X lines 865-1096.

The unfortunate moral here seems to be that women shouldn't assert independence from their mates, even momentarily: book XI line 176.


How can Satan be wounded and "bleed" if he is a spirit?

Yes, especially when a few lines later Milton tells us angels can take whatever shape they want, solid or not [vi.352]. Milton has taken some heat for his angels' inconsistent physiology, but in fairness, that has always been the case in the portrayal of angels. If you think about it, why would angels need wings?

Through Raphael's voice in Book V lines 569-576 Milton lays a belated foundation for portraying spirits in human-like form.


How does Milton depict Hell and Heaven? Can you give me your comments and perhaps some page references please? Many thanks - I'm finding the poem very difficult because I don't have an annoted copy but your information is extremely helpful..THANK YOU!!

Funny, but when heaven or hell are depicted in literature they sometimes have to be toned down from their intense traditional associations in order to move the story along. Milton's heaven is afraid of the dark. Although it resembles earth, evenings there are no darker than our twilight. Kind of disappointing never to have moon and starlit nights, don't you think? Even Milton prefers earth's beauty [ix.99-102]. His hell is unpleasant but not so unaccomodating that the devils can't build themselves a comfy palace.

Milton occasionally parodies heavenly and hellish elements, such as the holy and unholy trinities. Note the use of music as entertainment at the celebration in heaven [v.618-627], and then later to pass the hours in hell, waiting Satan's return [ii.546-555]. Bored with the music, some of the devils head out to explore their new domain. Join the tour in book II, lines 570-628.


Is there a way I can find out the title of the music on your title page?

Dance of the Knights from Romeo and Juliet ballet (1935) composed by Sergei Prokofiev.


I'm writing a report about the use of female characters in PL. Is it safe to say that the 3 women (if you include the muse) were created for their 'surperior' male counterparts only to serve them?

Yeah, that’s about the way it was, and everybody was okay with that back then.


Your intro page takes so long to load that I finally had to turn off the graphics in my browser to get to the actual content.

Thanks for your input. We have simplified the opening.


Through summaries and commentary, I disagree with the fact that Milton wrote Paradise Lost in favor of Satan. But since I have trouble understanding the actual poem, I would appreciate any evidence quoted from the poem that supports my opinion. This is for an assignment and I promise to give credit for it. Thank You very much.

Early on Satan exhibits sentiments we, perhaps unwillingly, sympathize with. As the poem progresses Satan's character degenerates to an almost classic silent movie villian. Check out lines IV:375-386 where he sarcastically invites Adam and Eve to join him in hell. And lines IV:799-809 where he is found "squat like a toad" whispering temptations into Eve's ear as she sleeps.

Your viewpoint is also supported by the magnificent affection Milton displays towards Adam and Eve, Satan's victims, throughout.


Hi!I have to write a paper comparing Masaccio's"The Expulsion from Paradise"to Miltons description of the expulsion from Eden. I don't know if you know this painting,but was wondering about your views

Technically, the illustration doesn’t fit Milton’s script (or for that matter the Bible’s, since the couple is still unclothed). It shows lingering shock and despair in the figures as they make their exit, while, at this point, Milton has them wiping their tears and hesitantly approaching their new world. But then, why would we expect any conformity, since Masaccio predated Milton by over 200 years, and there is no indication that Milton was inspired by this particular painting.

Masaccio brought realism to the painting of the Italian Renaissance. He used natural lighting, three dimensional forms, and scientific perspective in ways that hadn’t been done before. He was not concerned with the usual flat, detailed ornamentation of that period. His simple naturalistic approach brought great dramatic impact. He was an important influence on Michelangelo.


I am looking for a site that compares John Milton's Paradise Lost and Dante's Inferno. Any suggestions?

Haven't seen anything that specific on the net.

Here are some major distinctions that come to mind:
1. They are written in different languages, so there are many English translations of Inferno, but only one Paradise Lost.
2. The works emerged from different eras: Milton, 1667; Dante, early 1300's.
3. Dante's work is in rhyming pentameter; Milton's, blank verse. (The very first words of Milton's own introduction to PL express his contempt for the use of rhyme in long works.)
4. Inferno is all about hell, while PL deals with it in only a few sequences.
5. Dante's hell is today's hell, demonstrating how it proceeds to deal with various categories of sin; Milton describes the early days of hell while it was still inhabited only by devils.
6. Dante places hell in its traditional location beneath the earth; Milton's hell is completely outside our universe, all the way at the bottom of Chaos.
(Both works have inspired classic engravings by the great illustrator Gustave Doré.)

Here are the "hell" scenes in PL:

B:I L:56-77 (Satan awakens in hell for the first time.); 221-269 (He emerges from the burning lake); 670-751 (The devils build their palace.)

B:II L:570-628 (The devils explore hell.); 629-680 (Satan meets Sin and Death guarding the gate of hell.); 871-894 (The gate is opened, revealing Chaos beyond.)

B:III L:440-497 (Satan lands on the shell of this universe, the site of a future "Limbo" of souls. This scene resembles Dante in that Milton describes sinners and their prescribed punishments.);

B:X L:230-305 (Sin and Death decide to build a bridge from hell to earth.); 418-455 (Satan returns to hell after his successful mission.); 504-579 (Again as in Dante, Satan and his crew experience a unique punishment, suited to their crime.)


how does John Miltone wiev Satan and God what wos his point of wiev

He weaves the two characters together in an epic plot as he expresses his woes about the tragedy, point by point. (But he wasn’t Italian.)


In line seven of the first book, Milton writes "of Oreb or of Sinai didst inspire..." - what is this referring to?

Line eight continues:
“That Shepherd who first taught the chosen seed…”
The shepherd is Moses. The reference is to a mountain, Oreb or Horeb, in Arabia connected to Mount Sinai, where the Angel of the Lord spoke to him from the burning bush.

In this, the very first and typically complicated sentence of Paradise Lost, Milton is calling upon the same angel or muse to inspire him in writing the poem. Apparently, the muse liked long sentences, with suspended clauses, reversed object and verb, multiple-choice allusiveness, and an exalted, magniloquent, epic style.


Is Satan a winner or a loser?

Look around you. The war isn't over yet.

Okay I know, you mean within Paradise Lost. Same answer. The end of Paradise Lost does not depict a conclusion to the struggle between earth and hell. To the contrary, the last words of the poem convey, in powerful simplicity, the true beginning of a new world.

Satan lost his first battle in heaven, then won a victory over man in Paradise. But life goes on.


I need to do a oral report introducing book two. Although I have found plenty of information, I would like to do something different with the introfuction, can you help? It is due Jan 2. Thanks

That might be difficult since you posted your question on Jan 29. Leaving the time warp problem up to you, here's a suggestion. If you want to get their attention you might start off with:

"Sex! Lust! Incest! Rape!--and it all takes place before Adam and Eve were even created!" Then tell the story of Sin and Death. (Better correct your inadvertantly excellent but inappropriately x-rated pun/typo, though.)


What is "Paradise Regained"?

This is Milton's sequel to Paradise Lost. It is much shorter, with its plot confined to the subject of Christ's confrontation with Satan in the desert. It is more an exposition of Milton's religious philosophy, without the grandeur and action--and consequently, nowhere near the popularity of the earlier poem.


Help! I am very overwhelmed. I don't know how to approach the reading of Paradise Lost. If I just sit down and try and read it I glaze over very quickly. How can I read it proactively? What questions should I be asking?

Don't read it.

I'm not joking. That's my serious, if subversive, recommendation. Most people cannot adapt to reading this complicated style at a normal comprehending pace, and will inevitably "glaze over" fast.

So, read all the summaries, browse the comments here and the illustrations to psych you and pique your interest, settle in on the aspect of the poem that relates to your assignment, and after you have thought it through thoroughly, then find and study (not read) the relevant passages in the poem. That's all you will have time for.

And whatever you do, don't tell the teacher I told you to do that.


I wanted to know if there was a website that had a summury of "Paradise Lost."

The best summary of Paradise Lost is written by Milton himself.

Even in Milton's day Paradise Lost was a formidable undertaking for readers. So when he produced the second edition in 1674, he placed an introductory "argument" at the beginning of each book to help them out. You can find the 12 arguments here.


This is the best, most comprehensive site ever! Q: How or does PL reflect & exalt Anarchist ideals? Textual evidence? Thank you! E:

Look for examples in Satan’s speeches to his followers in book I.

Anarchism has many philosophical branches, opposition to government control being a common link. One view sees the structure of the universe as represented in Paradise Lost with God and Satan or good and evil as opposing forces battling for control, and humanity as mere pawns in their battle, with a fourth element, chaos, representing anarchy, or the uncontrollable. (ref: John Moore)

PL depicts a personified Chaos enthroned, with “sable-vested Night,” Rumor, Confusion and others holding noisy court. He’s an adversary to God’s creation, and friendly to Satan in their brief encounter, as Satan promises to restore his encroached upon realm by destroying earth.


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The rhyme scheme is a difficult one to plot out... what's your take on it? I'm guess it's based on the numerology of the words...there's got to be some perfect way that every line's mathmatical relationship cooresponds

Like Shakespeare, Milton's blank (non-rhyming) verse uses the rhythm of iambic pentameter. A line is composed of five long, unaccented syllables, each followed by a short, accented one. Pick and read any line at random and you will hear the rhythm:

The MIND is ITS own PLACE, and IN itSELF
Can MAKE a HEAV'N of HELL, a HELL of HEAV'N.
[i.254]


This site is really boring and it sucks really bad. The only reason why I came here is because I am sitting in English class and trying to look like I am doing something. Also I wanted to cheat on my essay in English Class by stealing one of your essays to copy as my own, but you don't have any.

Yeah we do. But you knew that, didn't you. A little detective work shows this submission to be a fake--sent just to see if we'd post it or not. Not that there aren't those who hold these sentiments--they're just too lazy to write them down.

Besides, the punctuation is just too darn correct.


I am looking for some information regarding inhabiting a new world and it's implications in Paradise Lost. Thanks
Jess

Well, there are quite a few "new worlds" in Paradise Lost. In a sense the whole poem is about new or changing worlds. To begin with, Satan perceives heaven as about to become a new and unacceptable world as the Son of God is delegated to take over as co-ruler. The result is Satan's rebellion and war--which leads him to the new world of hell. The implications here are exploration (B:II L:570-628); the formation of a new government (B:II L:249-298); and a new agenda of revenge (B:II L:310-378). Earth is another new world--actually two new worlds--one before the fall, and one after. ("pre-lapsian"/"post-lapsian", if you want to sound brainy.) With the before-world comes the pressure of having all the happiness you could ever ask for, as long as you don't make that one little slip which destroys everything and is irrevocable. The after-world leaves Adam to deal with having royally screwed up the entire future of the human race (B:X L:720-844). And finally there is the new world promised by the coming of the Savior (B:III L:294-341).


What Effect did Paridise Lost Have on Society?

God, Satan, the Beginning, and the surrounding events and consequences had never before been so uncompromisingly exposed. The poem brought to light some difficult moral conflicts and paradoxes, with images that carried a heavy emotional burden. Make of it what you will, but it has been noted by theologians that the doctrines of the Fall, and of hell, have experienced a gradual decline in importance as essential basis to the Christian faith, continuing to the present time, and beginning at about the time of the poem's publication.


This poem wouldn't be so hard to understand if it was easier to read.

--Yogi Berra?


in Milton's account, who wins the battle in Heaven?

The good guys.


What in Milton's description of Hell do you find most vivid?

The more important question is: Why do you care what I think? We both know the answer, don't we. Somebody doesn't want to do their own homework.

This is not complex analysis or technical research question, but a personal subjective reaction of which you are as capable as I. Of course, you do have to read the poem to get one--at least the "hell" parts, which are delineated in an earlier answer.


Hello, I am prepari a paper comparingthe fall of Eve and the fall of Adam. Could you give me some pointers to go on? My e-mail address is Allen***** Thank You. ( I am a senior at a university, the paper is for an upper level class)

As the tragic moment approaches, Milton's man and woman are, by our standards, more like father and daughter than lovers:
1. During their shared gardening tasks, the rebellious 'daughter' begs some freedom from 'dad's' overprotectiveness (later blaming him for letting her win her way and wander off into danger.)
2. The unescorted innocent is easily seduced by the reptilian tempter.
3. Believing the magic fruit has rendered her goddesslike, the wayward child considers her options: Perhaps she should keep this magical power from her father and become his better, reversing their roles.
4. Worried papa searches for delayed daughter and is frozen with horror to find she is fallen and as good as dead.

Their relationship heats up to that of lovers, however, as they consummate the original sin:
1. Romeo-like Adam decides that to die with his doomed Juliet is better than living without her. (Adam is reprimanded by Raphael before the fall (B:VIII L:560-594), and by God afterwards (B:X L:144-156), for his weak surrender to Eve's irresistible charms.)
2. Moved by his sacrificial love, Juliet gifts him the fruit, "his dubious reward."
3. In both of them, the real or imagined after-effect of the fruit--or perhaps of their emotional interplay--is lust.
4. After a sexual interlude, they sleep, then wake to the realization that they blew it big time, and quickly descend into a sitcom-like, old married couple's quarrel over who's to blame.

But they soon revert back to the father-daughter relationship, taking it to new, almost perverse extremes:
1. Father rolls around on the ground, wallowing in lamentation over their new "burden heavier than the Earth to bear."
2. Daughter approaches and tries to apologize.
3. He harshly rebuffs her.
4. She grovels and weeps.
5. He relents and forgives her.
6. She suggests they commit suicide as their only out.
7. He chides her for the cowardly suggestion and delivers a fatherly pep talk.
8. She promises never to stray from daddy's side again.


Why does Milton portray Satan as a "hero" in the first two books?

Milton was not a Satanist. But like Shakespeare and all the rest, he was faced with the paradox that villains are more interesting than heroes. You can't have a story without a villain, even if the "villain" is a hurricane, or merely the bad thoughts inside the good guy's head. The "villain" is also referred to as the "conflict" necessary to any plot.

The same can be said about life. Without adversity nothing would happen, since every move we make, down to the twitch of a finger, is to change something that is unacceptable or other than we want it to be.

Without Satan, (according to Milton) God would not even have had the motivation to create the world [Book VII; lines 131-161]. Delving into the circumstances that bring this story about, you inevitably have to delve into the heart and soul of the villain, what makes him tick, and you find, again inevitably, that his complex inner struggles are identifiable with our own. Thus the accusation: "hero."

The story of Paradise Lost is about superhuman creatures, and can only be told if they are humanized to some degree. In spiritual philosophy, man places himself "in God's image," but when you dramatize these characters, the shock is that Satan is humanized more successfully than God, because he has our own faults and conflicts.


Hi- Does Milton answer the question: If God had millions of obediant angels why did he need man? Was he 'experimenting'? I find it hard to believe he needed more creatures to praise him or serve him.

another asks: Can you tell me please if there is any reference about creation of angels, including Satan, in PL? I don't understand why would God created humans when he already created more perfect beings.

God’s explanation: vii, 139-160; Satan’s take: ix, 135-157. Satan scoffs when Abdiel suggests they were created by God: v. 853-861.


I am to do a research paper on any topic of my choice that has to be 6 to 8 pages long. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to write on how Satan is the hero of the novel, but I have not found in my mind enough evidence to support this written by others. Is there a topic which has a lot written about it and that I would have no trouble writing a 6 to 8 page paper on?

There is a wealth of writings about Satan as hero in PL, but you have to look outside your mind to find it. Other popular topics include: Milton's language, the epic style or the style of verse in PL; Milton's Christian beliefs and/or 17th century puritanical reflections in PL; how well Milton fulfills his promise to "justify the ways of God to men"; and of course a very popular subject--all the negative criticism of PL.

But, you know, choosing the most popular topic may make your research easier, but it almost guarantees your paper will be very ordinary.


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I need help on examining the language and its implications in the last 5 lines of Paradise Lost (Words such as "natural," "wandering," "hand in hand," and "rest")

Now that the world is a fallen world, it has become "natural" for them to shed tears. Eve had previously shed tears in Book V, but the reason wasn't the same. She had had an "unnatural" dream inspired by Satan, in which she ate the forbidden fruit.

They proceed hesitantly and with trepidation, with "wandering steps and slow," because they have no direction, both literally and in looking to the future. Their home in Paradise was all perfectly planned for them by God. Now they must find their own place of "rest" in the wild, to settle and build a new life, to rest from their physical journey and their emotional trauma, and from which to begin the "rest" of the history of this world.

Milton first introduced the pair to us walking "hand in hand" [iv.321], and so linked again as they retired to their nuptial bower [iv.689]. Their love survived some shaky moments after the fall. In the tragic finale, this symbol of reaffirmed union takes on greater poignancy.


I am doing a report on Paradise Lost and one of the main thimgs I have to do is compare the fall of Adam and Eve to the fall in the Bible. I have both sources, but what is the difference between the two? Is one more verified than the other or something? I'd really like some Help. thanks.

There is no "verification" possible of what took place in the Garden of Eden. If anything, science refutes the whole story. The devout will tell you the Bible's account is inviolable, while Milton's is pure fiction. But the two accounts--Milton's and the Bible's--are not contradictory. Milton's is just longer. Using his imaginative interpretation, he speculates and elaborates--(boy does he elaborate!) This knowledge comes to him from the inner voice of his "muse," he explains.

For example, the Bible doesn't specify that Adam and Eve are separated when the serpent tempts Eve (in fact, the Bible says she gave the fruit "also unto her husband with her" but the phrase has various interpretations), but it is logical that Satan would seek out Eve when she is alone. Milton goes into great detail about why and how she comes to be alone. The Bible flatly states that she gave the fruit to Adam and he ate it. Milton tells us Adam's various reactions to her act and her offer. Do you draw the same conclusions as Milton about these circumstances based on the premise given in the Bible?

Milton says the fruit had the effect of arousing lust in both of them. Can you find any basis for this in the lines of the Bible?


I'm writing an essay on God's omnipotencein PL. Does god have a grand scheme of things where Satan was supposed to rebel in order to create mankind? or is Milton trying to say that God is not all powerful as he cannot stop the rebellion which ruins the perfection of Eden? Also what of the impression of God wanting free will, Adam and Eve can do as they please except eat from the tree of knowledge. He also keeps them bound in Eden, into "God's fold" is this really allowing them to express free will?

Whew, you don't ask much! O.K. starting with your last question and working backwards, Adam and Eve were not confined to Eden. Had things gone differently, when they populated the world Eden would have become its capital. See [XI:335-348 ]. In their state of perfect innocence they can do no harm, and are allowed full enjoyment of their perfect world, so God places the troublesome tree in their midst as the only way to test their allegiance. As with the angels, without the freedom to rebel against his rule--allegiance, loyalty, respect, etc. would have no meaning [III:96-128 and V:524-540]. While God is all powerful, he allows his subjects the freedom to fail. To stop the rebellion he would have had to take away Satan's free will. Therefore he allowed the battle to take place--but don't forget who won the war.

Some believe if God does exist he takes no part in what goes on here (rendering prayers futile) but leaves it all up to us to create or destroy, having instilled in our human capacity everything we need to succeed--should we choose, of our own free will, to do so. [VIII:633-643]

Finally, no, under Milton's logic, God didn't scheme to create mankind through the mechanism of Satan's rebellion. If Satan didn't empty heaven of one third its populous, inspiring God to refill it with us, God and the angels would have gone on very happily through eternity without us. [VII:139-159] It's only from our point of view, being the self-important creatures we are, that we take for granted humanity must be the be-all, end-all focus of all existence, with God and the angels little more than our servants.

But Satan did rebel and Adam and Eve did sin, and God, being the smartest guy in the universe, did find a way to provide an opportunity for a transcending, ultimate positive result from all this. Look up "fortunate fall".


YOU NEED A SCROLL BAR.

If there’s something you can’t see on a page without a scroll bar, strike F11 on your keyboard (to open or close full page), but this shouldn’t be necessary if you have your browser set to the normal viewing area. Keeping a side bar open or setting your own special view preferences may prevent you from experiencing the site as intended.

(note: This answer was given long before the proliferation of smart phones, tablets, etc., all of which can play havoc with old style html.)


I was reading an essay, "Starting a tradition: Taking a look at Paradise lost through new eyes" by Tim. R. Fredrick and it contained an interesting approach comparing Eve to Satan. They both lost a paradise, however Eve blames herself near the end. Satan in book 4, only seems to blame God for his aspirations of grandeur. I was wondering what you thought.

You have stated quite succinctly the reason why the former is forgiven (actually accorded sainthood by some), and why Christ martyred himself to mitigate her sin, while the latter is doomed to eternal hopelessness in hell.


yeah, I was wondering if you could send me the midi you had playing on the main page on 3/17 at 7:44pm CST. Excellent page! Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the best epic poems next to Dante's The Divin Commedy. If you could send that midi please send it to Stan***** Once again excellent page!!!

Can't, sorry--copyrights and stuff, you know.


Do you think that many people view Satan as a hero, simply because he has been portrayed with human virtues eg, defiance, anger, regret, arrogance? And that God is not seen to be more likeable character because he is deemed perfect, with no faults and therefore unable to relate to human nature.

Yes.


I'm going to write a paper on Milton and Sex and i wanted feedback on the sources to find the data in the text,other sources and your insights. i'm not quite sure how to infer correctly, in bk 8 or others but does the angels have sex?

Ah yes, sex.

The first overt sexual reference in PL is quite brutal. [II:746-801] Sin tells of her incestuous union with Satan, which resulted in the birth of Death, who emerged from her womb with such violence that her lower parts became deformed and snake-like. The precocious infant immediately raped his mother, impregnating her with a pack of hell-hounds that enjoy returning to her womb from time to time to nibble at her intestines.

I don't blame you for being a little confused about the angels. There is some ambiguity in PL's sex scenes. In the discourse between Adam and Raphael, [VIII:614-629] the angel suggests that, when in their non-physical state [VI:344-353] they can unite in love something like two (or more?) whiffs of smoke intermingling. Is there anything like orgasm?--a rosy-cheeked Raphael quickly changes the subject. And yes, the angels are all male [X:888-892]. Should we infer homosexuality? I won't touch that one.

But then we learn of Satan's intercourse with his daughter, Sin. Her birth had been spontaneous, springing forth from his head when he had the first bad thoughts, but their union resulted in the pregnancy and birth described above. This sounds like regular old fashioned sex to me. And note that this first occurrence of heterosexual intercourse in heaven is an evil one. This is quite different from Milton's first portrayal of sex between Adam and Eve. He asserts that their marriage was consummated before the Fall, unlike some who say it was the fruit that introduced them to sex. Milton enters his assertion with some vehemence, derides those who say Paradise was too pure to accommodate such things, and with passionate poetry, sings praises of marital lovemaking. [IV:736-775]

Earlier, Adam had described to Raphael his first meeting with Eve and the sexual passion she aroused, causing Raphael to admonish him. [VIII:460-594] The suggestion is that Adam's weakness in the face of Eve's charms led him to submit to his half of the original sin. Later, eating the forbidden fruit, both sinners' senses are opened to full-blown lust, and a very different image of coupling follows, resulting in shame and awareness of their nakedness. [IX:1008-1059]

Satan's sexuality remains evident when he comes to earth and observes and envies the happy couple in loving embrace, and complains of his "fierce desire ... still unfulfilled." [IV:492-511] There is also the scene in which the sentry angels find him whispering in the ear of sleeping Eve. [IV:797-809] The sexual symbolism here is only thinly disguised in phrases like "organs of her fancy" and "inordinate desires."


To What is the lake of fire compared?

In Book I: a horrible dungeon [61] a great furnace [62] a fiery deluge [68] a prison of utter darkness [71-72] floods and whirlwinds of tempestuous fire [77] the Sygian flood--referring to Styx, a river in hell; also means "infernal" or "dark" [239], and an inflamed sea [300]. Also, lines 301-311 compare the fallen angels in the lake to a valley of death strewn with autumn leaves and to the army of the Pharaoh drowned in the Red Sea which Moses had parted.


How Large was Satan?

The clue is in Book I lines 291-293.


How does Satan feel about being in Hell?

The obvious answer is in Satan's line--the most famous line in all Paradise Lost: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven." [I:263] But this comes after he has just arrived in hell, hot from the passion of war, spoken to Beelzebub, his second in command. Later, when Satan stands alone on the mountain, newly arrived on earth, he lets his guard down in a soliloquy where he expresses his waning confidence, regret, and ultimate resolve to evil. [IV:32-113]


How does Satana react to the fall from Heaven??

I think they made an album about it


I have a question and it's a long one.......milton believed that God purposely let Satan escape frm hell and establish himself on earth so that humans would have something to fight sagainst and with God's help triumph.....my ? is how does this concept prove God's omnipotence?

Omnipotence means unlimited power. If God tried to prevent Satan from coming to earth but he came anyway, that would prove God did not have unlimited power. If he had successfully prevented Satan from coming to earth that would be only one example of one kind of power--not proof of omnipotence. The fact that he did not try to use any kind of power to restrain Satan does not prove anything about anything.

What is shown here is not omnipotence but a mundane line of strategy, which you have accurately summed up--and in the process raised some disturbing questions. Why would God set Satan loose on humanity before Adam and Eve fell from grace--even with the foreknowledge that they would--since Satan was a required element in the fall? Should we infer that God intended all along for the world to be a place of terrible struggle, with himself the hero everybody must depend upon for salvation?


...continuing from last comment. God's ways. Can Milton's God be trusted?That is what I would like to know.

Provocative question. Technically, he didn’t go back on anything he said or promised. If anything, he tempered his harsh judgment with mercy.

Satan’s opinion was that God deceived him into believing a fair fight was possible, then sucker punched him. (bI:635-642)

But methinks you have something even more provocative in mind that sparks your suspicion. Am I right?

comment: The music sucks.


I was wondering where the part about Sin and Death being offspring of Satan and forming the "unholy trinity" comes from. Is this exclusively Milton's imagination at work?

Not exclusively. He found his inspiration in the Bible in the Epistle of James I:15.


can you help me find additional sources and other related souces of eve and adam finally not holding hands,and choosing to hold hands when satan transforms himself into beautiful creatures,the fact that even Sin and Satan are beautiful, and the hair issue. The hairs of the characters in PL also and other of his works.I realize this is a lot, so try if you're willing to elaborate please. thanks a lot.

Well, this is a challenge. After reading your question three times I conclude you are not putting me on but actually trying to ask for assistance--to what end I still have no idea. But it's my job to try to find something constructive to do with these questions, so here goes.

The best help I can provide for you is to inform you that your question is totally incoherent. The first thing you need to work on is your writing. However interesting your analysis of PL may be, it's worthless if nobody can understand it.

If you're doing a report, I encourage you to focus on one thing, clarify it in your own mind, then work on writing about it clearly. Read what you write over and over. Pretend you're someone else reading it--someone ignorant of the whole subject--would it be understandable to him? It helps to go back and read what you've written after a period of time has elapsed--preferably the next day. It will look new to you, and mistakes or weak prose you hadn't seen before will become obvious.

You're welcome to resubmit a question--a single question--which is clearly and correctly written.


I need to know how the element of politics plays a part in Paradise Lost for a research paper. CGCG

Lots of politics here. To begin, the rebellion in heaven is a political upheaval. Part of what accounts for the "Satan as hero" phenomenon is that this can be likened to a freedom vs. dictatorship conflict. And lets not forget what precipitates it: God's appointment of his Son as co-ruler. Among us humans it's called nepotism.

The council in hell is a political debate, the results of which--either a return to battle or peaceful lower-world government-building--will effect how power is distributed among the devils [II:290-299]. When Satan proclaims his intention to go the journey to earth alone, we note a political slant [II:465-473].

Among other nasty effects produced by eating the forbidden fruit, it turns Eve political, as she ponders whether to share the magical fruit with her husband or keep the odds in her favor, in her imagined new goddess-like state.

Even some of God's motives can be termed political, as when he publicizes some of his actions to influence the masses [XI:67-71].

Paradise Lost is a about power, ambition, alliances, deceit, vengeance--in other words, "politics as usual."


What's the theme?

One theme in Paradise Lost is the contrast between two kinds of irreparable loss: the loss which leads to hopelessness and unending evil [IV:108-113] and the loss which, though irreparable, is mitigated with love and hope [XII:466-478 ].


I understand that the Tree of Knowledge appears to be an apple tree but what is tasted when they ate the fruit?

Well, they really enjoyed it, and apples do taste good. I’m guessing the apples tasted like apples.

Of course, you’re asking, or are being asked, what was the metaphorical taste, the taste of forbidden knowledge. The realization of newly imparted, and unwelcome, “knowledge” came later, as an aftershock. The initial “taste” had more to do with the “forbidden” aspect—the childish kick or thrill one gets in breaking the rules, especially with a cohort. The “intoxicated” couple “swam in mirth” and “burned in lust” among other things.


How do you read what is written about chapter three?

A very comfortable chair is recommended, good lighting, and something to drink, because you'll be there a long time if you want to read all that is written about chapter three.


Older publications of PL have an unusual spelling of the title. An ‘f’ is used in place of an ‘s’ -- Paradife Loft. What say you? ty –Craig?

Apparently Milton’s original publisher didn’t think the poem gave us enough of a challenge, so he chose an archaic font style that intermittently used a funny looking, elongated “s” with a flat base, making it almost indistinguishable from an “f.” If you think your copy of PL is treacherous going, take a look at this. Fo you fee what I’m faying?


How would you translate these lines by Eve in book IX:For good unknown, sure is not had, or hadAnd yet unknown, is as not had at all.

These lines conclude a sentence begun eleven lines earlier. Having been swayed by the serpent, Eve is in the process of talking herself into eating the forbidden fruit, which will impart knowledge of good and evil. The two lines comprise an independent clause, introduced by the word 'for,' meaning 'because.'

It means, if a certain thing's goodness is unknown to you, you probably won't get to acquire or experience it, and if you already have it and don't recognize its goodness, it's the same as not having it at all.

For example:

Some people don't believe Paradise Lost is a good story. They will never want to read it. And some people are forced to study it, but never learn how to enjoy it.


I have wanted to read Milton's Paradise Lost because of the french band ELEND who uses parts of the novel for their songs.....

There is also a band called PARADISE LOST. If you hit the search engines for PL and don't add the word "Milton" you surely will meet up with them more than you care to. Quotes and elements from PL form a major source of reference for rock music and superhero movies these days. And if you look up Paradise Lost on Google or Amazon or Netflix you'll get as many hits on totally unrelated products that have ripped off that famous title as you will on the poem.


First of all, thanks for your site. I'm doing the classic essay on Satan being the 'hero' of paradise lost. I have gathered notes on that and was hoping for your help on something that has been bugging me since starting PL. I just wondered if in PL, anywhere it mentions Eve and her having a period? if it does, is it as a punishment because of her temptations? or is the issue not addressed? Nik

No, that charming bit of folklore never made it into Paradise Lost. You might be confusing this with God's pronunciation to Eve that as part of her punishment she (and all future women) would experience pain in childbirth [x.193 and 1051].


I'm analyzing book one lines 192-210 looking to identify features of the language which diifer from standard modern english in regards to diction , syntax and those words which have changed significantly in meaning. Could you please give me some ideas or links. Thanks so much

Begin by fully understanding Milton's lines. Refer to an annotated version on the net, or the Signet or Mentor paperbacks. Then rewrite the entire sequence in modern standard English using as many of the original words as you can. Look up the words you don't know in an ordinary dictionary or encyclopedia. If you don't understand a line, look up all the words--even the ones you think you know. They often have additional archaic or rarely used meanings.

Put your version next to Milton's and the differences will pop. (Look up diction and syntax too even if you think you know the meanings.)


can you tell me more about the "fallen language" of Adam after eating the fruit? i need to discuss how milton uses imagery, sound effects, metaphors, etc in order to emphasize Adam's fall.

and: i just wrote a question about the language that milton devises in order to show the fallen state of adam. it is lines 1017-33 and 1067-98 in book 9. thanks.

In the first soliloquy Adam is drunk with lust, triggered by the "forbiddeness" of the fruit, and lets fly a stream of double entendres around "taste" and "delicious pleasures," as he seduces his wife.

In the next dialogue Adam sees the light of truth and visibility as revealing evil. He sees his nakedness as exposing his lost honor, faith and purity. He cannot face God or the angels with lust now visible in his face. He likens their goodness with light too bright for his sinful eyes. He wants to hide from the light of sun and stars, and cover his body and his shame with leaves.


I have selected the simile where Satan's spear is compared to Norwegian pines, and masts, and now I must analyse its importance to Book I. I would appreciate some ideas on how to go about this.

We are being introduced to Satan. Milton uses similes to suggest his huge physical size, beginning at i.195 and i.221. But the physical image of hugeness is itself metaphorical for the stature, power and importance of angels in general, Satan in particular, and the immensity of the subject of the poem.


What happens in Book 2?

There's a link called "Summaries" on this site that might help.


I need information on John Milton's Satan.

Read Paradise Lost.


Hi, I'm a student in high school, and we are studying John Miton's "Paradise Lost". I don't really need the book itself, just certain excerpts, and thier meanings. Or just on John Milton himself. Thank You

Try www.paradiselost.org

That's 3 in a row. I can't take much more of this, guys. Let's get with it.
Awake, arise, or be forever fallen!
[I:330]


I'm confused about the Forbidden Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil... (I'm trying to relate it to Milton's argument of the knowledge of good and evil in Areopagitica). Before they ate from the tree, was there no virtue, because there was no knowledge of evil?

In Areopagitica, Milton says virtue is not possible without the test of evil temptation. His God in PL seems to agree [iii:103-111].

Much is made of Adam and Eve's perfect innocence before the fall. But their innocence is not the same innocence as that of, say, the animals, for animals have no knowledge of how to commit evil. For all the talk of knowledge of good and evil being locked up in the tree, didn't Adam and Eve have to know, before they partook, that obedience to God's edict was good and disobeying it would be bad. Otherwise, as Milton says, their so called "virtue" would have been "blank virtue"--that is, worthless.


For a short-story, I need to connect Miltons life to a London visit. Any tips on references ?

There's a site about Milton's home, 25 miles from London.


Sorry, I know how much you hate repeat questions, but I am really bugged about another item. My Engilsh teacher wished us to find a one word subject (i.e. struggle, love, sin)to describe our novel. I was wondering if you could help me narrow the choices down a bit? Thanks for all your kind help. (Oh, I am an eight grader, so try and keep the words fairly G-rated!)

I'll assume by "our novel" you mean Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost. (Do they read PL in eighth grade? Wow.) Sum up Paradise Lost in one word? Even Milton needed at least two.

Do you think maybe she means pick an important one-word subject in Paradise Lost? Like, maybe: Beelzebub, bower, Chaos, creation, foreknowledge, freedom, Heaven, Hell (oops, scratch that one--G-rated, I forgot) justice, orbs, prayer, Raphael, regret, revenge, snakes.


Why does satan reject God in Genesis?

You won't find the answer in Genesis. You have to go to Isaiah, xiv 12-15.


I am working on an assignment that deals with Book 9. Can you tell me anything about the structure of the book and any possible cultural connections?

This book is devoted entirely to a straightforward account of the event of the fall--all the way through to the devastating aftermath. It's plot structure is so complete, it could stand alone as a short story. Interestingly, Milton manages to build enormous suspense as Eve approaches the fateful moment--even though we all know exactly what's going to happen.

How's this for a cultural connection. The secret of creating suspense was well explained by a contemporary master, Alfred Hitchcock: "Tell the audience everything, but don't tell the characters anything." Certainly works here, doesn't it.


In this book, is it impled that it is Satan who implants the temptation into Adam and Eve?

It is more than implied, it is narrated in meticulous detail: Satan possesses the serpent, who does the tempting of Eve, who in turn tempts Adam.


Write an essay illustrating and analyzing the heroic aspects of Milton's Satan in the excerpt you have read. What specific passages can you find that invite you to react positively to Satan? What passages show Milton undercutting Satan's heroic ambition and courage? Why would Milton have presented Satan in this way, instead of making him a consistent object of the reader's disgust? The excerpt i have is from lines 1-264

You didn't even say please! I do have a sneaking suspicion your teacher wanted you to do your own homework. By the way, PL has 12 excerpts with lines labeled 1-264.


I am writing an analytical essay on how dreams are important in Paradise Lost. I was wondering if you could give me some sights that have some information on this topic or give me any info you might have on this topic. Thanx. And I really enjoyed your sight. It was a great help in gathering some information.

Adam dreams of (or witnesses in half-sleep) the creation of Eve from his rib [VIII:456-480].

Satan infects Eve's sleep with a dream which mimics the temptation and fall to come [V:26-93].

After eating the forbidden fruit and celebrating with some steamy lovemaking, Adam and Eve have "conscious dreams" in restless sleep [IX:1044-1054]. They awake to guilty awareness and shame. The implication is that their suppressed guilt first broke through in their dreams.

After learning she will be expelled from Paradise, Eve's mild hysteria is calmed by soothing dreams from above, while Adam goes off to learn Michael's prophecies [XII:610-614]. (Feminists love this stuff.)


WHAT IS PARADISE LOST ABOUT?
HOW WAS IT USED IN MARRY SHELLEY'S FRANKENSTEIN?

Paradise Lost is about Adam and Eve--how they came to be created and how they came to lose their place in the Garden of Eden, also called Paradise. It's the same story you find in the first pages of Genesis, expanded by Milton into a very long, detailed narrative poem. It also includes the story of the origin of Satan. Originally, he was called Lucifer, an angel in heaven who led his followers in a war against God, and was ultimately sent with them to hell. Thirst for revenge led him to cause man's downfall by turning into a serpent and tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.

Frankenstein is also a story of creation--by a man who 'played God' and attempted to create a new race of humans. The epigraph of Frankenstein is taken from Paradise Lost, Book X, lines 743-745, where Adam is in great distress over having committed the first sin, and cries, "Hey, give me a break--I didn't ask to be created, you know!" (in more poetic language of course)


i don't exactly have a comment more like questions, anyway, what is Paradise Lost about ? just briefly tell and don't tell me to read teh book, i wouldn't exactly know how to without getting confused, also how does this piece of work attribute or intertwine with Marry Shelley's Frankenstein? thank you. you can e-mail. what your response: willow*****

What amazes me is not that you ask the exact same two quesions just answered, but do you really believe I diligently email each individual answer to each individual student? Can you say "entitlement"?


Milton's God insists that His creatures excercise their free will, even though He foresees the result. How is this possible? Can you help me figure out this apparent paradox amongst predestination/ free-will /foreknowledge? ...and ..How successful is Milton at his purpose:justifying the ways of God to man/both regret and approve what happens in the garden? Thanks!

To your second question, I think Milton does as well as can be expected, given the prejudicial religious or anti-religious beliefs readers will bring to the poem, and the unsympathetic (dictatorial) position God is in as a character. Personally, I am moved by God's justice/mercy equation: Man dies, or justice does [III:209-212]--meaning justice requires he punish man, but mercy allows him to mitigate that punishment by sacrificing his Son.

Paradoxes do not have solutions. That's why they are called paradoxes. If you are on TV's "Deal or No Deal" and I, as a true fortune teller, tell you that you are going to select Case #5, having free will, you can then decide to select Case #8, simply to prove me wrong. And I would then be wrong. But if I truly see the future, I can't be wrong . . . a paradox, to say the least.

God, Milton, and Adam get around this problem by burying it in the complexity of the situation. Even if God told Adam what the future would be (which, in a way, he did), then technically, Adam could've said "Well, just for the hell of it, I'm not going to eat the apple, just to show I can make God wrong." He didn't do that because a whole other set of complex emotional forces were propelling this story. No time for such trivial experiments. Yet, technically, with free will, he could have . . . or . . . could he?


Where are the seven deadly sins mentioned in Paradise Lost?

They're not. But to be sure, they are all in there, in spades. Most--pride, envy, lust-- are ascribed to Satan's behavior. They fill the pages of his scenes.

Adam and Eve fall into lustful behavior immediately after eating the forbidden fruit. Whether this can be called their second sin or just part of the erratic behavior that results from the big one is open to debate. They were husband and wife, after all. [IX:1009-1016]

Gluttony is mentioned as a prime cause of sickness and death in mankind's future, as Michael explains it to Adam. [XI:475-525] You can find a variety of sins in Michael's prophecies.

Vanity and superstition in future generations are sins Milton proposes to punish in the "Limbo of Vanity" or "Paradise of Fools"--which he locates on the outer shell of our universe, a place Satan passes on his way to earth. [III:444-495] . . . But wait a minute, superstition and vanity are not among the seven deadly sins, are they, so scratch that. But then you knew that, didn't you.

As I'm sure you also know, anger is one of the seven, and just about everybody in Paradise Lost gets angry at one time or another, including God!


What is the mithological meaning of " NIPHATES " ?
Thank you
M.T.B.

It is the mountain where Milton says Satan first alighted on earth [III:742]. It is a real mountain in the Taurus range in Armenia, northeast of Turkey. Milton also refers to it as "the Assyrian mount" [IV:126], though it is somewhat beyond the area of the ancient empire of Assyria.


What is wrong with the logic of Satan's argument urging Eve to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge?

Actually some of it is pretty good. How can you avoid evil if you don't understand what it is, he argues. And how can you enjoy goodness if you don't understand the difference between goodness and evil, as the tree of knowledge offers? Makes sense to me. He also implies God is jealously guarding his own power which the tree can impart to Eve, making her God's equal. Sounds good, too.

Note how your question is leading, presumptuous? Maybe Satan did not beat his wife. Or do I underestimate you, and is it rhetorical? For in no way could Eve have been expected to outwit Satan's 'logic' in her state of naive innocence. I can't, and innocent I am not. What God was asking for was pure unquestioning faith and obedience.


I have to do a term paper. subject: Milton here are a list of the topics perhaps you could lead me to the correct references. (internet and books)
1. Earlier Structual Models for Paradise Regained
2. Miltin and the Theory of Divorce
3. critical reactions to Satan in P. Lost
4. Milton Misogyny (e.g. Eve, materials about his relationship with his daughters)
5. greek tragedy in Samson Agonisties

1 and 5 are outside the parameters of this website subject. So are 2 and 4, but the Milton links on this site give you a start.

If you want to delve deeply into 4, try The Life of John Milton by William Riley Parker.

No.3 is such a broad topic there is information all over the place. Half the critical essays on PL touch on this subject. 'Satan as hero' is now almost a cliché, but an endlessly fascinating subject.


Im in an upper level English course and I have to write a 4-5 page essay on how Eve's first experience by the lake (self-love) and/or the dream she has of the forbidden fruit against her lips shapes who she is or becomes.I have to write about the implications of the uniqueness of her experience in relation to Adam, God, desire etc. ANy pointers on getting started? thanks!

At the lake and in the dream Eve is portrayed as highly sensual and therefore temptable. Study also lines 816-832 from Book IX where she examines her options in a changing relationship with Adam. Her seeming disloyalty shocks us until we remember she has no ethical guidance to look to since she is at ground zero of human experience. Unique indeed.


what caused lucifer to fall from the grace of God

Once upon a time, before this world was created, according to Milton, there was a celebration in heaven where God called all the angels together to present to them his Son, newly anointed as heaven's co-ruler. "He who disobeys my Son, disobeys me," he said. This incensed Lucifer, a high ranking archangel, later called Satan, who was not fond of taking orders to begin with. He became so jealous of the appointment that he secretly (though nothing was secret from God) assembled the many angels under his command--one third of heaven's population--and incited them to wage a war of rebellion against God.

That should be enough to get any god p.o.ed, don't you think.


What botanical distinction does Milton draw on Adam and Eve's fig leaves?

Where do you guys come up with this stuff? Botanical distinction, huh?

Look up the arched fig tree of India in Herbal by John Gerard, 1597. That's where Milton got his inspiration.

Actually, the embarrassed couple were just trying to find the biggest leaves they could, for obvious reasons.


Why does Milton have God explain the fall of Adam and Eve in book three.

Classical literature commonly uses non-chronological narrative. This allows the author to compose his own sequence of dramatic impacts, rather than being restricted to what comes in the order of events.

Milton knew the big moment everyone would be waiting for is the temptation and fall, and that a long exposition on this event after the fact would be anti-climactic. So he gave us the explanation first, as God's prophecy. He didn't need to worry about revealing too much. We all already know how the story comes out.


how does milton's conception of hell and satan in paradise lost compare to Dante's as described in inferno?

Milton's Satan is a major character. Dante's Satan doesn't get out much. He's stuck in ice in the center of the earth. (PL also mentions an icy region in hell.) He is huge, like Milton's Satan, and he has the bat wings which inspired Doré's illustrations of devils in both works. Endowed with three faces, he perpetually chews on three poor sinners, Judas Iscariot among them. In Dante's vision, he is reduced to little more than a sideshow freak on display.


Sources for information on Satan as a Machiavellian Prince. (Yes, I already have The Prince.)

The term Machiavellian is about amoral cunning, duplicity and "might makes right," which is a liberal take of The Prince.

Satan shows the first two qualities in his encounters with Uriel and Gabriel, and in his plot to tempt Eve. With his own men, he's remarkably straightforward. Messiah nails him on power in Book VI, lines 818-823.


I decided that reading your archives would help me for my University exam. I have about five things that can prove Satan to be a hero, I just wanted to compare yours and mine to see if I was leaving any obvious or not so obvious ideas out, and if I was then I could mess around with my points. Some of my own points to prove to you that I am not an idiot and am not trying to get you to write my paper for me are

1. The position of an underdog rebelling against a dictator ressembles a hero.

2. Instead of sending someone else on the dangerous trip to earth Satan volunteers himself.

3. Satan is a hero because he gives freedom to his followers by waging war on God.

4. He also shows courage (which is a quality needed by a hero) by being the first to go against the almighty God.

Your page is truly awesome and I don't know where i would be without it. THANKS!!!!!

I can't improve on your analysis. Good job.


please give your definition of "The Fortunate Fall" - thank you.

This is the philosophy that the good which ultimately evolves as a result of the fall--God's mercy, the coming of Christ, redemption, salvation, etc.--leaves us in a better place, with opportunity for greater good than would have been possible without the fall.

After Michael gives Adam all the prophecies of what is to come, both good and bad, as a result of his fall, Adam sums up the spirit of 'the fortunate fall' pretty well in his emotional speech at xii.469-478.


Do satan's reason for rebelling against God make sense to you or not?

His reason makes perfect sense--as does the reason why a crook robs a bank.


i sent a question in 7 days ago and still have not got a respons. this site is misleading and total b******t. I wonder if you wil even print this.

We understand your frustration. Some reasons a question might not be posted are: time limitations, space limitations, brain limitations - ours, not yours - yes, sometimes, believe it or not, we just don't know the answer.

Sometimes a topic may have already been covered--several times.

But our favorite reason is that we don't wish to participate in what we call the stuck pages phenomenon, that is, the question suggests that the student's copy of Paradise Lost has pages still sticking together from the printing process (from never having been opened, get it?) These students may someday be appreciated in the business world for their talent in efficiently eliminating the middleman. If their plan succeeded, the question would go straight from the teacher to us, and our answer straight back to the teacher, with no interference from the student.


I have Miltons Paradise Lost published in London by John Sharpe 1827 and was wondering the value?

Check out Ebay. Many old PL editions are constantly up for bid.


why did the devil want to destroy adam and eve

Jealousy, revenge, pride. The happy couple took over his place of importance in God's universe--literally--since God created humanity to eventually fill the space left in heaven by the fallen angels. All pleasures lost to him were now theirs. Pride would not allow him to accept defeat in his revolt against God, and he knew a return to battle was futile. But these two human favorites of heaven were vulnerable.

Read lines 358-392 in Book IV to see how Satan regarded them and how he struggled with his own conscience, such as it was.

Then too, sometimes bad people do bad things just because they've got nothing better to do. Eternity is a long time to spend in hell. You know, "idle hands ..."


comment: Great-another example of the dumbing down of the American education system. You can't understand Paradise Lost?-We'll write an easier version for you. Well, no thanks, I'll stick with the original if you don't mind. The greatest poem in the English language doesn't need a hatchet job from you!


similies

Yes, PL is a cornucopia of them.

The hordes of defeated devils are sprawled across the lake of fire "thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa."

Satan walks across the burning soil, supporting his shaky steps with his spear, "to equal which the tallest pine hewn on Norwegian hills, to be the mast of some great Admiral, were but a wand."

(Next time please make your question more succinct.)


Who is the internal audience in Paradise Lost, and why does the narrator think that some how his writing will affect the internal audience, if God himself couldn't sway Adam and Eve from temptation?

Your second question answers your first. Though there are others in addition to Adam and Eve. The angels, for example, are audience to God's explanations.

But, yes, the big production number is Raphael's lengthy message to the pair. God's purpose in sending Raphael was to cover his own behind (sorry) by making sure A & E knew full well what was at stake and where the threat was coming from, that they understood they had complete freedom to do as they chose, and needed no more power than they were already given to succeed. [V:224-247] God's goal wasn't to change their behavior--he knew they would fail--but to endow them with absolute and perfect free will, which by definition, unfortunately, included suffering the dire consequences.


If god is all powerful over the Earth and Heaven, Why does he allow satan to enter Earth at all.

I'm not sure. I don't think anybody is. Milton gives a wobbly explanation in Book I, lines 209-220.

Then again there's the theory of the "fortunate fall." Look it up.


How does Milton go about justifying the ways of God to man (successfully/unsuccessfully)? "Die he or Justice must"
Thank you!

Milton must have thought delving deeply into Satan's ways would help support his thesis. But it is mostly God himself whose explicit revelations to the angels in Books III--later expanded upon by Michael in Book XII--enlighten us about his intent. If one wanted to sum it all up in a phrase, your quote would do it.

A successful premise? Atheists and devout alike have praised the poem's greatness, while at least one Christian, T.S. Eliot, considered it a travesty against his beliefs.


I have to write a term paper for my Epic Tradition Class concerning Paradise Lost and Prometheus Unbound. I was wondering if you can offer any pointers on similarity between Satan in the former and Prometheus in the latter. I read both poems, but am in need of help. Thanks.

Prometheus may have more similarities with the Creator than with Satan, since he made man and was man's friend, even to the point of undergoing great torture for his service to man, comparable to the crucifixion. What he has in common with Satan is rebellious behavior, as by bringing fire to man he angered Zeus. This indirectly caused the Pandora's box incident, as retaliation from above, releasing all man's ills to the world. It's a bit of a stretch, but you could liken this to Satan bringing sin to earth, and its consequences.


I am confused about Milton's feeling about women as projected through Eve.

It would be anachronistic to complain that he was not politically correct. Besides, the prototype was already dictated by the Bible, and Milton had no desire to change it.


Can you help me compare the light and dark imagery

Basically, light = good, dark = evil:

God is so bright even the angels cannot look at him directly. [iii.375]

Nighttime in heaven is no darker than our twilight. [v.642]

Hell is so dark even the flames issue no light. [i.61]

Creation brings light out of darkness. [vii.243]

Satan's visage darkens and deteriorates as he descends further into depravity. [iv.835, 850, x.449]

Adam and Eve's morning prayers ask God to dispel the evil night may have wrought. [v.205]

Milton invokes the light of spiritual revelations to circumvent his physical blindness. [iii.1-55]

And many more: Satan hates the sun [iv]; After sinning, Adam wants to hide in the shadows; etc.


Looking for information on Paradise Lost and Artist's Representation of the Fall of Man.

No shortage of pics of Adam and Eve by the old masters and in medieval artifacts. The most revered depiction of Genesis is Michelangelo's Sistine ceiling. Many illustrations done specifically for Paradise Lost can be found on this website. The most famous, and generally considered best, are by Gustave Doré.


What is Calvinism?

We’ll skip the dictionary definition (we know you read that) and just point out that Calvinism includes the doctrine that God never changes. But there are at least two instances in PL where God changes his mind, both out of mercy. He changes the penalty for the sin of Adam and Eve from immediate death to death far removed to the future. The second instance is mentioned in Book XI, lines 885-895.


was John Milton a poet of the renaissance age?

Just barely. The Renaissance is said to have extended to the mid 17th century--about when Milton was beginning to work on Paradise Lost.


i need the reference info from the origonal paradise lost by john milton... do you have it?

Uh, could you be a mite more specific?


In book IX, what is Eve's reaction to the serpent's temptation?

She bought it, hook, line and sinker.


Was Satan created to fall? Or, Was it his own free will?

Absolutely his own free will, by PL or any other interpretation I ever heard of--that is, if you are referring to the real Satan, who was created by God. If, on the other hand, you are referring to the fictional Satan, created by Milton, the answer may be a little different. Without Satan and his fall, there would be no story, no Paradise Lost, no earth, no us. So I don't think Milton could afford to give him "free will," do you?


Was Paradise Lost ever made into a movie?

Not ever, but its time has finally come! A major ($100 million +) version of the epic is now in production and is slated for release in 2009. Legendary Pictures, which produced “Batman Begins” and “Superman Returns,” promise the royal treatment. The director, Scott Derrickson, is no stranger to the dark side, having directed the “Exorcism of Emily Rose” and “Hellraiser: Inferno.”


Do you think the movie will ever be made?

It’s not unusual for major movie projects like this to take a long time to materialize. It’s a difficult and complicated process, with way too many cooks in the kitchen and megabucks at stake.

The real question is: should it ever be made?


I am writing a research paper for an upper english course. We read Paradise Lost and I need to write about the dichotoy of the falls of Adam and Eve and the element of choice in the epic.

(He means dichotomy, folks.)

Though Eve holds the onus of being the first sinner and Adam's lure, general theology grants that she underwent heavier temptation, by the devil himself, while Adam merely succumbed to female charms. PL supports this by Satan's elaborate temptation speech, and by Adam's earlier portentous admission that Eve has him so spellbound that anything she says or does seems right [viii.524-559]. But at the precipitous moment, Milton injects a Romeo/Juliet (or "Backdraft") influence: "If she goes, I go."


what reason does Satan give for God's victory over him?

When the devils regroup in hell after their defeat, Satan addresses them with a rousing speech. In it, he accuses God of a dirty trick, which caused their fall. The sentence is at i.637-642, and it's Satan's weakest and most pitiful "sour grapes" argument of all his otherwise powerful early speeches.


thanks for this awsome page it has offered great insight to my knowledge of Paradise Lost. please for an annitative essay help provide some sources for the answer of the question: Why Satan needed to be portrayed as he is by Milton in Paradise lost? p.s. if you know any other good thesis topics about anything the text offers please feel free to give some ideas.

Villains are important to any story, so it's not surprising that the most important villain there ever was would tend to upstage everybody else in the book.

(Sources--kids always looking for sources. And we love that backhanded compliment: "Your website is awsome--know any better ones?)


After eating the forbidden fruit, did Eve and Adam make love?

Had sex, is more like it. Adam and Eve were married by God and enjoyed conjugal lovemaking with his blessing in their innocent state. In Milton's version, after eating the fruit, however, something came over them which changed their behavior in all ways.


Thanks for your explanation of the poetic style of PL. Can you also explain the language - why is he so difficult to understand? Any clues?

Milton's style is strongly influenced by Latin. His sentences do not follow the structure we are used to. For example you will often find the direct object placed before the verb.

She, as a veil down to the slender waist,
Her unadorned golden tresses wore
[iv.302]
Milton's sentences are long, again as in Latin, with phrase after modifying phrase. If you separate the clauses and phrases it will help you to decipher the message.

Then there are the words. Since we are in a 17th Century context, sometimes even annotations don't help. If all else fails, there's that old standby, the dictionary. Sometimes words you think you know will have other, rare or archaic uses. And Milton is famous for finding them.

These, lulled by nightingales, embracing slept,
And on their naked limbs the flowery roof
Showered roses, which the morn repaired. . .
[iv.771]
After 'fix', Webster's second definition of 'repair' is 'renew' - in other words, after the roses shed their petals on the sleeping couple, the next morning they grew back again.

That's how things were in Paradise.


Many readers have found Satan to be the most compelling figure in Paradise Lost. What does Milton do to create this response? What, if anything, does he do to counter-balance the nobility of Satan?

These four question-packs are clearly submitted by one and the same, and obviously copied verbatim from your given assignment.

Most of your collection of topics is addressed, to varying degrees, in about a dozen different places herein. And that's all you're gonna get from me.

The purpose of this question and answer page is to boost you over the rough spots in a difficult study topic and spark your imagination, not become your accomplice in all out cheating.


When Adam and Eve are trying to decide whether they should work together or apart on their first morning in a Satan inhabited Garden, they "argue" from two very different views of what virtue is. What are these views? What is your own evaluation of their difference of opinion.

See previous answer.


-Book III is very theological and "Pauline"--it repeats arguments St. Paul makes in his epistles, particularly Romans and Corinthians. What is the Father's defense of his innocence in regard to the coming of evil into the word? What is your reaction?

See see previous answer


One of the difficulties Rahael has in telling Adam about war in heaven [Books V&VI]is the inability to find human language and metaphors to describe spiritual reality. How does he attempt to solve this problem? What strength and/or weaknesses do you see in his attempt?

See previous answer.


comment: paradise lost in plain English was just excellent. It makes the poem very understandable. The summary was great too. Every thing was very helpful.

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Hi! thanks for giving us folks a reason to be lazy.(i hope you do answer this though) I was wondering, why do some people believe Milton is a feminist? or a puritan? ( i mean, he did have multiple wives in his lifetime nor does he condemn premarital sex for one obvious thing) And, this whole felix cupa point I think really can't override being an angel, am i missing somthing important? it seems so apparent, if you had no pain, you may not be wise, but then again you'd be ignorant of it too. the true question,it seems like is if you want to be wise but realize you can never get all that you want in life versus having what you need and want ignorant of what's out there. if you can't have it why stress? Maybe this is a stupid point, but then again, if I knew enough, i wouldn't be writing this. by the way, you don't have to answer t his, but who are you? It seems like you're a walking Milton dictionary.

Well, you're not lazy about writing long questions are you? Anybody who considers Milton a feminist didn't get that view from his Eve. He was a Puritan with a capital P--not necessarily "puritanical" as in today's parlance. In PL, Adam and Eve do not have premarital sex; they are married by God as soon as they meet. After this your inquiry gets real fuzzy. (Felix Cupa?--never met the guy.)

I think what you're saying is, why weren't Adam and Eve content with what they had, which was all so fine. Why did they reach for some vague, unknown prize of wisdom or whatever, risking everything in so doing. A) They are exhibiting absolutely normal "grass is greener on the other side" human nature. B) There would be no story if they hadn't. C) Looking at it through today's eyes, there is little in modern culture which lauds blind obedience or complacence, and every admiration for curiosity and enterprise. Who can resist Eve's plea: "If this be our condition, to dwell in narrow limits drawn by a foe, then perhaps he has already gained his hoped success." It doesn't jive, does it. But then paradox is one of the ingredients which make PL a great tale.

Since you give your permission to skip the last question, I'll take it.


Hi, I just wanted to brush up on my paper which is about intemperance being the true sin, since the act breeds sin. I'm writing about sex and intemperance specifically. I have approx. 12 pages finished, but can you list some ambiguous or somthing not too obvious on sex and intemperance?

What's obvious to one is not so obvious to another. To me, it's not intemperance that is the problem with sex, it's whether you're married or not. There's no speed limit within the married state, but one small indiscretion can result in disaster--morally, legally, socially, hygienically, psychologically, and financially. (Your spouse won't like it either.)

In Paradise Lost sexual intemperance is not a plot element. Rather, Milton stresses the difference between love and passion [viii.588] and uses A & E's passion immediately after the fall to symbolize their degraded state.

So throw away those twelve pages and start again. Just kidding. I'm sure you can squeeze out a paragraph or two cleverly intertwining the implications of passion and intemperance.


In the beginning of PL Adam and Eve are symbolicly holding hands. Ehne Eve chooses to walk away from Adam she lets go of his hands and "soft she withdrew,...(IX.386). In the end of Book XII, they walk arm in aram to face their lives together. Through out PL the phrase is used and I thought a connection between their choices and their holding of hands would be an interesting one to write about. But I am having a hard time making 12 pages out of this. I start out with their separate falls, go into the product of their choices, shame, selfishness, lies etc. and I want to convey how they are also physically separated because of their choices until the end when they repent and arm in arm walk into their new world. Hate to keep bothering youwith this, but I am really having a writer's block about connecting these two successfully. Thank you again.

There is a point well before the end where Adam 'chooses' to forgive Eve. It's not too much of a stretch to read "upraised" to mean both emotionally and physically with his hands [x.945]. (When Eve found Adam's hands not open to her she tried his feet [x.909].)

You have outlined your concept of hands as a unifying symbolic element that underscores the pair's choices quite well. To fill your 12 pages you may want to explore and analyze Milton's layered language in greater detail in those lines that illustrate your theme.

One hint about combating writer's block: . . . Write. Seriously. Write anything--no matter how bad it feels--then rewrite it. Good writing doesn't materialize on white sheets--it comes through the process of rearranging phrases, replacing words, and gradually making bad sentences less bad--all made easy in this computerized age.


In the beginning of PL Adam and Eve are symbolicly holding hands. Ehne Eve chooses to walk away from Adam she lets go of his hands and "soft she withdrew,...(IX.386). In the end of Book XII, they walk arm in aram to face their lives together. Through out PL the phrase is used and I thought a connection between their choices and their holding of hands would be an interesting one to write about. But I am having a hard time making 12 pages out of this. I start out with their separate falls, go into the product of their choices, shame, selfishness, lies etc. and I want to convey how they are also physically separated because of their choices until the end when they repent and arm in arm walk into their new world. Hate to keep bothering youwith this, but I am really having a writer's block about connecting these two successfully. Thank you again.

There is a point well before the end where Adam 'chooses' to forgive Eve. It's not too much of a stretch to read "upraised" to mean both emotionally and physically with his hands [x.945]. (When Eve found Adam's hands not open to her she tried his feet [x.909].)

You have outlined your concept of hands as a unifying symbolic element that underscores the pair's choices quite well. To fill your 12 pages you may want to explore and analyze Milton's layered language in greater detail in those lines that illustrate your theme.

One hint about combating writer's block: . . . Write. Seriously. Write anything--no matter how bad it feels--then rewrite it. Good writing doesn't materialize on white sheets--it comes through the process of rearranging phrases, replacing words, and gradually making bad sentences less bad--all easy stuff in this computerized age. Read and reread your work. In the process, new ideas will be inspired to flesh it out.


What part of Satan's speech in Book I would appeal to Frankenstein's creation?

None of it. Possibilities in Book IV, though.


WHAT WAS THE TWO THINGS HE ACCOMPLISHED IN WRITING THIS EPIC POEM?

I'll tell you Milton's two stated goals.

1. To "leave something so written to aftertimes, as they should not willingly let it die."

2. To "justify the ways of God to men."

We all know he accomplished at least one of them.


Other than being told not to by God (repeatedly), what is wrong with Adam eating the fruit? I feel like if more husbands cherished their wives the way Adam loves Eve...well, can that be a bad thing?

Nothing wrong with it at all. Other than being told not to by God (repeatedly).

So let me get this straight. If God appeared in person like he did to Adam, in your kitchen, and commanded you face to face to do or not do something, you’d say, “Oh, well, I don’t know about that, God. Let me check with my spouse and get back to you.”


I'm really confused about Paradise Regained. Is it just about the temptations that Satan uses with Jesus? What are they?

When Jesus fasts in the wilderness, Satan offers him a feast. Ultimately he offers him all the kingdoms of the world, if Jesus will "fall down, and worship me as thy superior lord."

You're not confused, just disappointed, as anyone is who expects a sequel to Paradise Lost. It is not a sequel but a different kind of poem entirely--didactic rather than action-oriented. Critics agree that if it had been composed by some other poet, and not subject to the comparison with PL, it would be more widely hailed as a great work.


how does paradise lost redifine authority?

and:
hey hey...wrote earlier...must do a paper and would appreciate direction to better understanding about how PL redifines authority...Thanx!

So would I. I suspect your instructor gave you a little more to go on than that, because, as stated, I don't know what you're/he's/she's getting at.


What passages invite you to react positively to Satan

In perhaps his most sympathetic moment, his voice cracks as he is choked with emotion, standing before his assembly of wretched, war-torn followers who are looking to him as their last hope [i.619].


What is some examples of Puritans style of life throughtout the poem

Well, there are no indications of severe discipline, hard work, frugality, or democratic church government. No penalties for drunkenness or games of chance, no prohibition of theatrical performances. Adam and Eve did offer morning and evening prayers. Is that a Puritan custom? I don't know.

Milton was a Puritan, which was something very different than our American Puritans. Back then Puritanism meant having politically radical views. And at one point Milton was actually jailed for recording them on paper.

Above all, PL is a series of arguments put forth by the characters, which in turn ultimately expresses Milton’s personal truth. It is, in that sense, a Puritanical work.


In book 3...can you tell me what are the specific parallels and contants between the action in Heaven and the Son's decision with Hell and Satan's volunteering? (with line #s in the poem if possible) And which is more fun, Heaven or Hell, again, in book 3 of Paradise lost??

Parallel: Both volunteer while the masses hang back [ii.417-429] = [iii.217-226]

Contrast: Satan uses his volunteerism to glorify himself and intimidate the others [ii.465-477] while the Son's first consideration is to please his Father. [iii.266-273]

continued . . . Hi, i forgot to add a little thing in my last question...in book 3, the question which place is more fun, heaven or hell, and WHY?...thanks...this will be such a BIG help!!!

Hell is always more fun than heaven--in any book of PL or anyplace else for that matter (as long as you're on the outside looking in)--particularly in reverent depictions as in PL. Satirical scenes in heaven can be fun, but there is no way to interestingly portray unvarying bliss, love, peace, and (yawn) benevolence. The only fun in heaven in PL comes when Satan raises hell there.


What role does food and eating play in Paradise Lost?

Ever hear of the forbidden fruit? (I've learned it's presumptuous to assume everyone has.)

Also, the visit by Raphael in Book V, where he relates the story of the war in heaven, begins with a shared meal elaborately prepared by Eve. At this meal he discusses how angels eat. Later, in his story, he tells how the angels feasted in heaven [v.632].

Adam, in fallen state, seduces Eve with language playfully equating food with sex [ix.1017-1033]. In hell, the devils are punished with trees that spring up resembling the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. They are overcome with irresistible hunger, but the fruit turns to bitter ashes in their mouths [x.548].


HI I'm a junior in high school, and we are currently reading Paradise Lost. Everyone in the class received a book, and must teach their particular book to the class. I have book nine. This is one of the most important books in the novel, because the story becomes tragic. I was wondering if you could help me get some important themes, or questions, or anything that would help in my teaching. Thank you very much for your help.

This is the big one. The main theme in this chapter is choice and change--the worst choice ever made and the personal change from innocence to guilt.

Talk about the change which the act produces in Adam and Eve. Do the personality changes they experience come from some magical quality in the fruit, or would they have occurred between any two people involved in making a terribly bad choice? How closely do their reactions resemble, say, a boy and girl having an unprotected sexual encounter, then facing some very bad consequences.

In addition to her bout with the serpent, some interesting conflicts occur for Eve, such as when persuading Adam to let her leave his side for awhile, and later her quandary whether to share or not share with him the supposed power revealed in the fruit. Are these the seeds of woman's liberation?


I am doing a paper on the fall of Adam and Eve. What are the psychological causes of the fall of Adam and Eve. What in respect to their characteristics makes them suseptible to fall? Which one is more suseptible to falling?

Eve is often portrayed as weaker, but her temptation was greater than Adam's, tempted as she was directly by the master of all evil. But Milton also emphasizes Adam's susceptibility to Eve's charms. You can look at this two ways: A woman's sex appeal is a force as powerful as any devil--or, is it an indication of weakness in Adam? Eve faced Satan, but Adam was in double jeapardy--from both the devil and his wife.

To analyze the psychological causes of their fall, read the thoughts and speeches of each just before they give in to temptation. For example Eve mentions how the very forbidding of the fruit makes it more appealing [ix.753-755]--something so familiar to our experience that we have coined the phrase "forbidden fruit" to symbolize this effect.

Eve is characterized as feeling constrained by "narrow limits drawn by a foe" [ix.322]-- another contemporary theme manifest in our fenced domiciles, locked doors, and barred windows. Today's big city parks could be characterized as small paradise-like oases, which can also be dangerous places to be alone in. If one refuses to give up the right to freely roam the park, and as a result is assaulted, who do you blame?


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The fallen angels have lost heaven, but what do they still have?

They have hell, such as it is. They remain free to build a kingdom there. Read lines 249-283 in Book II. Satan points out that at least their position is relatively secure, for no one will want to challenge the throne of hell.

They also have the freedom to visit this world as they choose and exert their influence here, thus they have their revenge. And when that's all you've got, you make the most of it, as conditions in this world testify.

Beginning at 356 in Book I, Milton spends several pages describing the future earthly incarnations of the highest of the fallen angels--as the false gods of Egypt, Greece and the ancient world.


What are some of the parallels between books 6 & 7?

In both, God sends forth his Son, Messiah, to accomplish a great mission. The first is a mission of war, to defeat the rebel angels and cast them out of heaven. The second is a mission of peace, to create a new world and new creatures that will eventually fill the space in heaven left by the fallen angels. In both, Messiah returns to his place in heaven, triumphant, where the angels sing his praises.


Hi. I am writing a paper on Book 10, and I need an argumentative topic, need less to say I am not sure what to write about. Any help is GREATLY appreciated.

Eve's supplication is cause for some controversy as handled by Milton in the last few pages of this chapter. She falls to her knees and begs Adam's forgiveness. Then winning his pity, she suggests they commit suicide as their only out, leaving Adam to admonish her. How do you feel about this pitiful representation of woman? Granted, the Bible renders woman secondary to man, but did Milton have to go this far?


Oh I have another question. Is the movie helpful in reading the book? I always remember a quote I heard "never judge a book by its movie!"

Good quote. We’ll have to wait and see. First announced in 2005, there’s still no sign of any actual movie-making going on.


What are some figures of speech from PARADISE LOST that are particularly important? What are the personifictions?

Hard to find any that are not important. And hard to find a page without any. Milton's very elaborate personifications are, of course, Sin, Death, and Chaos. He also briefly personifies Grace and Liberty, Night [ii.961; vi.406], the Sun (male) and Moon (female), and, in an important line, Justice [iii.210 ]. Why not find some imagery that appeals to you.


I am trying to write and argumentative paper comparing Satan's manipulation of Sin, his 'daughter/lover', to Satan's manipulation of Eve? Got any hints? Thanx.

Well, Satan certainly manipulates Eve, by insinuating himself into her dreams [iv.799 & v.26], and later by the world famous temptation. But I never thought of him as manipulating Sin. Perhaps you interpret his sweetness toward her at the exit of hell as a con to get her to open the gate? An unusual take. Later, he praises her construction of the bridge to earth, and sends her and Death forth with his blessing. It all seems sincere to me. After all, their goals are the same. Maybe you should reconsider the word "manipulation."


What were some of the main stances of Satan in book 2? What was Satan trying to convey here?

My favorite one is that at least his position is relatively secure, for no one will want to challenge the throne of a crummy place like hell.


What is your opinion of how different Adam and Eve view virtue?

In Book IX, Adam wants to protect their virtuous state by sticking together to pool their strength--at least, that's what he says. But does he really view Eve as weak and vulnerable? Eve thinks virtue isn't worth much untested, which puts her in agreement with God. The serpent perverts her reasoning about virtue, which after tasting the fruit, becomes even more convoluted. Adam, distracted by his love for Eve, sees sharing her fate as a virtuous act. Later, Eve sees self-destruction as an honorable solution, while Adam regards it as unvirtuous anguish and "pleasure overloved."


How does "Paradise Lost" portray Eve as a prototypical woman?

You will rarely see a network TV movie with an African American criminal unless there's also an African American detective, judge or police chief, or at least a few white felonious accomplices. Ditto women. Balancing every plot with a cross section of politically correct models produces a pretty sorry excuse for drama--except in Paradise Lost--the only story in the world which centers around the one and only prototypical man and woman.

That leaves this portrayal of woman the only one legitimately subject to feminist evaluation. Every conceivable kind of woman has walked the earth and you could write a story about any one of them, but only one--Eve--is obligated to fulfill a universal prototype.

This may not answer your question, but I feel much better now.


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who is the hero of paradise lost

Deceptively simple question. And a subjective one. That means you have to decide. Here's a hint: The popular choices would be, alphabetically, Adam, Messiah, Satan. If you want to be unconventional, consider Raphael or Michael. If you want to be reverent, choose God, the Father. If you want to be politically correct, choose Eve. Trouble is, you've got to become pretty familiar with the overall poem to make your choice.


Are these True or False

1.By corrupting Adam and Eve, Satan hopes to corrupt the whole human race.
2.Satan hope's to find eve alone in the garden is unrealized

1. Ah, a trick question! because if Adam and Eve will die before they reproduce, do they not then constitute the whole human race? Even Satan seems confused. Look up lines 381-385 and line 527 in Book IV.
2. Start reading at either line 412 or line 473 in Book IX and the answer will quickly emerge.


A few days ago you called Eve the "prototypical woman" But Milton describes her as having long blonde hair. How is that prototypical?

Good point. So, did Milton fail in describing the prototypical woman? In fairness, we have to consider the age he lived in. (Interesting note: The actor slated to portray Adam in the upcoming movie version is Hispanic . . . Diego Bonita.)


I am confused about what felix culpa is. Can you explain this to me please?

The phrase is Latin.
felix = lucky, fortunate, happy
culpa = fault, blame, (especially against chastity)
...thus: the "fortunate fall".


Why is God considered less sympathetic than Satan?

Here on earth we usually sympathize with uprisings against dictators. To Christians, however, God's benevolent "dictatorship" is unreproachable. That works for heavenly images of goodness and love, mysterious and incomprehensible. But as characters in his story, Milton transforms God and angels into palpable beings--humans with wings. Suddenly Satan sounds like any earthly proponent of "freedom".

The position of the underdog rebelling against a dictator resembles that of a hero, and would be, among humans, normally a sympathetic one. Heaven, however, is rightfully a benevolent dictatorship. But we are just not used to regarding the dictator as the good guy, especially one who we cannot sympathize or identify with in a dramatic setting because he is perfect and has no human qualities.

Literary character development requires inner struggle and change. God is perfect--he does not change and has no inner conflict. Satan, on the other hand, goes from high ranking angel to rebel leader to defeated failure to vengeful outcast, with (according to Milton) moments of regret and remorse along the way. There's obviously a lot to relate to there.


What is Satan's role in Paradise Lost? Is Paradise Lost a Romance or a Tragedy?

They say there are no stupid questions. Thanks for disproving that with your first one.

Now for your intelligent question . . .

PL fits the classic definition of tragedy in that an unhappy ending is brought about by the moral weakness of the main characters. But tragedies are not without positive elements which can transcend the negative.

The ending of Paradise Lost is very moving. There is the tragic loss of Paradise, but simultaneously the birth of a new world--our world. You can feel the unsteady steps of the frightened couple as they leave the only home they know, yet with them goes all the hope and guidance brought by Michael.


Is there a detailed illustration of the geographical location of Milton's Hell as portrayed in, "Paradise Lost"?

If you have any creative inclination, wouldn't it be fun to devise your own interpretive illustration based on the poem's description? Yeah, right, just what you wanted to hear from me. O.K., here is an interesting diagram of Milton's cosmos from an old edition of PL.


Was Milton completely blind when he wrote PL? Why did he go blind?

He was. He became completely blind at the age of 43. "Why" is a question only God can answer. How he went blind has not been established. Modern researchers do not agree on a diagnosis, although glaucoma is a likely cause.

But this amazing blind man produced one of the world's greatest literary masterpieces. He did it by dictating the lines to others, who transcribed them. He could not make notes, or review them. He had to keep everything in his head--everything.

This parallels the miraculous work of Beethoven, who was completely deaf when he wrote his greatest symphonies.


what was the moral lesson?

Adam states it, Wizard of Oz style, in Book XII, lines 552-573.


Explain the symbolic importance of the crossroads that Satan faces in Book Three: the stairways that lead up to Heaven and down to Paradise.

They were not crossroads in the usual sense of a traveler having a choice between two paths. Satan was bound to his mission to earth, and the steps to heaven were there, Milton says, merely to taunt him, with no access possible. At this "crossroads" Satan is much more in awe of the new universe that opens at his feet anyway, and in a state of mind to prefer this new adventure if he did have a choice.

So what's the symbolism? Illusion. A look back at the point of no return that has already been crossed. Choice that is really no choice. A view of what the future could have been, juxtaposed with the future that must be. A graphic representation of Satan's own "paradise lost."

(By the way, there is no stairway down to Paradise in Milton's poem, Cliffs Notes notwithstanding.)


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(They're on to us!)


Is Paradise Lost a Tragedy or a Romance. Based on one's view of Satan, you could go either way, but what are some reasons to think either way?

Even if you passingly accept the antihero as hero, the best you can say is that the early parts of the poem resemble romantic adventure. You'll need to discount a lot, though. Romance combines love and adventure in a light, melodramatic way. Here the lovers inhabit a separate world from the swashbuckler, both worlds laden with heavy issues.


What type of argument can I form about how the visual arts and Paradise Lost are connected?

There is a wealth of art from past ages that draws upon the events and inhabitants of Eden for subject matter. A modest sampling can be found on this site.


Hi,
Can you please tell me how i can elaborate on how Satan was a tragic hero in paradise lost. I know it is because he was born high adn cuz of his pride , but can u tell me where in teh poem can i can excerpts to put in my term paper....u talk about hero alot, but not tragic hero. Please please please.....if you think this is not importnat enough to take up space then please email me at Minny-xxxx@aol.com.....plllllleeeeeeaaaaaasssssseeeeeeeeee..........

Get hold of yourself, Minny.

It's only a homework assignment, your term paper, your education and whole future that's at stake.

What makes a tragic hero is not only that he is the hero and comes to a tragic end, but that he brings it on himself, through his own human--or in Satan's case, superhuman--faults. And please get enough grip on your sanity to remember Satan is not really a hero, can never be a hero, he is the devil, and only assumes the perverse characterization of hero in Milton's poem because Milton humanized him. He had to. There is no way to construct a central literary character without endowing him with human characteristics, whether the creature is human, animal, superhuman, or the Brave Little Toaster.

Satan ruminates his own "tragic" descent in these excerpts: iv.32-113 and ix.99-178.


Thank you so much for your site. I am at a total lost with this paper I am supposed to write. Can you please help me with:
a) The nature and seductiveness of evil
b) Aspect of evil or good vs. evil
I am not supposed to give a plot summary and am at my wits end trying to figure where to start HELP ASAP please

Paradise Lost brings the 'forbidden fruit' cliché to life. You could analyze seductiveness in the temptation scene.

Or if you want to stir up some controversy, try this. There can be evil without good; but there cannot be good without evil. Any disruption of the neutral state is negative. The return to neutrality is good--not the neutrality, only the process of returning. But you must have a negative to return from. The relationship between good and evil works the same as the relationshib between pleasure and pain. For example, we experience the pleasure of eating to eliminate the pain of hunger. After we accomplish this, we are then in a state of neutrality, experiencing neither pain nor pleasure. But to experience the pleasure of eating requires the pain of hunger.

What's more, pleasure is limited, while pain is limitless. The pleasure of eating lasts only as long as the meal, but the pain of hunger can last indefintely.


Hi, can u please tell me where in Paradise Lost does it let us know that Satan was one of God's favorite angels and that he was born high in station? thanks.

v.658-661


Isn't it ironic that Satan, who attempted to overthrow his sovereign, is pictured this way?

Which way? Overthrow one's sovereign?--no irony in that. Lots of irony in PL, though. You need to clarify.


What does Satan represent in Paradise Lost

Something quite different from the monster of The Exorcist or The Omen, who got his kicks from inflicting pain and violence on individuals. [ix.282] This Satan represents the gentle enticement that led a man and woman to make the single mistake that brought down the whole human race.


What is ironic about how Satan is portrayed in Paradise Lost, and are there any good quotes to support this? THANKS

It is ironic that in a work intended to "justify the ways of God," Satan is regarded by so many as the most interesting--even sympathetic--character. You will find examples in his earlier speeches, but it is the overall portrayal, and the contrast with a sometimes less sympathetic God, that creates the irony.


does fire or ice symbolize hell better in paradise lost?

All of Book I is played out against the backdrop of hell's fiery landscape, before the devils renovate it to their taste. Later, as Satan embarks on his voyage to earth, the open gates of hell "like a furnace-mouth cast forth redounding smoke and ruddy flame." The icy region of hell is mentioned only briefly in Book II [lines 587-603].

Interestingly, Dante chose to construct the center of his Inferno out of ice.


Is there any way that The Fal could be clasified as a necessary evil? Doesn't Michael say something about Earth will be a happier place then Eden in Book XII?

Yes and yes.


I was wondering what the theme of Paradise Lost is? Also, how does Milton illuminate and explicate this theme throughout Book 1.

Prepare yourself for a shock! . . .

Paradise Lost PAGE ONE, lines 1-5: Milton states the theme of Paradise Lost.
Paradise Lost PAGE TWO, lines 27-49: Milton illuminates and explicates the theme.


In line 392, I had a difficult time deciphering the significance and meaning of the phrase "Guiltless of fire had formed, or angels brought." Does this statement describe her tools or her?

In Book IX, the complete phrase is:
...tools as art yet rude, guiltless of fire had formed, or angels brought.

The phrase describes her tools, but art refers to Eve's rude (rudimentary) craftsmanship in forming them. Guiltless here means without experience--in other words, her skills did not include knowledge of the use of fire to make tools. Milton's multi-layered poetry is also suggesting association with the "guilt" of Prometheus' act of bringing fire to earth, and consequently, as the myth goes, the Pandora's box full of evil. In this scene, Eve is still guiltless of bringing evil into the world through her sin.

The last part of the phrase tells us some of the gardening tools were brought to her by angels.


describe "Free Will" in Paradise Lost please

Better yet, I'll let God describe it to you: iii.94-128; v.230-245; viii.633-643.


I need e-commentaries from published critics/authors on the imagery of light and dark in Milton's PARADISE LOST.

Lots of luck. Critics and authors who get published rarely give their work away for free on the net.


Can someone please help me... I need a good answer for what the relationship between God and His Son was like in Book lll.

They liked each other a lot. [lines 138-142]

Their thoughts are in sinc completely about the fate of man, and need not be uttered, but they verbalize them question & answer style to educate the angels (and us)--and fulfill Milton's poetic purpose. [150-172]

In typically idealized father-and-son fashion, the Son will do anything to please his Father [262-265], and the Father is bursting with pride in his Son [305-311], their mutual goal being to help man out of the terrible mess they foreknow he will get himself into before the poem is over.


comment: this is the best study guide i have ever read it makes all other study guides seem like 2nd grade pop up books


When did the 6th day begin?

At the conclusion of the 5th. (Sorry, but I really don't know what you want.)


Hi!! I'm doing a seminar on Paradise Lost Book 11 tomorrow and I was wondering if you could tell me the similarities/differences between forknowledge and providence in this Book?

Think of providence as God’s task and foreknowledge as his tool. His task is to influence future events and turn the tragedy of the fall into something positive. In his planning he uses his foreknowledge, imparts it to Adam, educating both Adam and the reader, and fulfills Milton’s stated purpose to “assert Eternal Providence/And justify the ways of God to men.”


I apologize. I think what I really should have asked was the difference between providence and predestination. But I think you answered it anyway. Providence only influences the future whereas predestination would set it in stone.

You got it.


post Gene Michael Anderson's EXPLICATOR (1995) article concerning the war in heaven and the pun on the word "cannon."

Can't. Gene Michael Anderson might sue us for copyright infringement.


Who do you think is the real hero in this story? Why do you think so?

another asks: how is satan looked at as a hero?

another(?) asks: I have to do an essay on the heroism of satan and i'm lost!

another(??) asks: can you characterize SATAN as a trajic hero ?

Another amazing coincidence? or one person cleverly disguising his style and submitting at different times of day to throw us? Either way--you or you all--are not trying very hard. This site overflows with answers to these questions.


How did John Milton use the Bible to interpret Paradise Lost

I think you got it backwards. He used Paradise Lost to interpret the Bible. The "Bible" section of this site gives examples.


comment: Our Bible Study group at St. John's Lutheran Church (Parkville, MD) is planning on using Milton's Paradise Lost as a class project soon. the data you have in the New Arts Library Study Aid is VERY helpful as an aid to our study.


why was satan admired in the beginning and ytowards the end you admire christ?

It's true that any sympathies with Satan come earlier in the story in his conflict with God. Later we take the side of Adam and Eve against him. But Christ--a.k.a. Messiah or the Son of God--comes off well throughout the epic--as self-sacrificing Savior of mankind [Book III], warrior-defender of heaven [Book VI], Creator [Book VII], and finally merciful Judge [Book X].


Do you realize that you're basically getting questions copied and pasted from homework assignments and you're answering them? Shouldn't you rather tell people to read the poem and do their own work?

Look closely and you’ll see most answers are only partial answers, but even if we do give away too much too easily sometimes, there’s more than one student listening. The goal is to help all visitors get past the traumatizing “PL shock” many experience the first time they encounter the poem’s dazzling language, and to stimulate their interest in exploring its many layers.


How does Pandemonium relate to Heaven and to earth in time to come?

The architect of Pandemonium, Satan's palace, had formerly designed structures in heaven [i.730]. The dignitaries who inhabit this hall are also former high ranking heavenly spirits and will become the future false gods of earth, in Egypt, ancient Rome, etc. (the White House was not mentioned) The list is long--from line 356 to 521, Book I.


What are the allusions in Paradise Lost? please contact me. <*****@hotmail.com>

Our first glimpse of Satan in the lake of fire: [i.195-208] ... the huge sea-monster Leviathan, which the Norwegian sailors mistook for an island.

The beaten angels scattered across the lake: [i.301-311] ...autumn leaves in the brooks of Vallombrosa (a tree covered valley in Florence) and Pharaoh's chariots that pursued the Hebrews and were washed away when Moses' parted sea enfolded them.

The assembly of fallen angels: [i.573-587] ...the warriors of Troy and the Iliad, the knights of King Arthur, Charlemagne, Orlando Furioso, etc. (not to mention the many allusions to all the future false gods of earth they would become [i.381-521])

Pandemonium, Satan's palace: [i.692-730] ...Babylon, Egypt, and ancient palaces of the underworld.

The smells of Eden: [iv.153-171] ...sailing by the Cape of Good Hope, Mozambique (of Portugal), Arabia, and the myth of Tobias, wherein an angel instructed him to burn fish to ward off a demon--Milton points out the delicious aromas of Paradise had the opposite effect on Satan.

The food of Eden: [v.331-349] ...compares to that of 'India East or West' (tropical Asia and tropical America) and the 'Punic Coast'--the southern shore of the Black Sea, where fish were a Roman delicacy.

Paradise: [iv.264-283] ...where Pan, god of nature, brought perpetual spring, plus a host of mythological references to gardens, springtime, and the fertile earth.

The abode of Adam and Eve: [iv.705-719] ...more secluded than those of the nymphs and fauns, with Eve compared to Pandora, in beauty and 'in sad event' (See No. 97).

Eve departs from Adam's side carrying her gardening tools, his last look at her before she loses her innocence: [ix.385-396] ...Diana, who led her wood-nymphs in the hunt, and Ceres, who taught men to raise crops.

Whew! . . . got a little carried away there.


according to paradise lost how did the 6th day begin?

"With Ev'ning Harps and Matin*" [vii.449]

But that's not the answer you want, is it? You've been here before and I'm still at a loss as to what you are asking. Please try again. You've got me curious.

(*Matin: morning prayers)


comment: I was happy I was finally get the book, Paradise Lost: The Novel. (A Barnes & Noble store told me they could not order it for me which I know is not true) It is a beautifully designed book in antique style and once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it to anyone who is having difficulty understanding the original. In my opinion the language used is just as beautiful as the original, but more understandable. Thank you.


What was the story's view on mankind

Michael tells of man's tendency to corruption. [Books XI & XII], but it's Adam and Eve who literally represent all of mankind in PL. They were weak enough to make a super blunder, but in the end showed strength and promise. Perhaps the moral is to pick yourself up and move on, even if you can't entirely undo the damage of your mistakes.

God said, man fell because he was deceived, therefore he shall find grace and mercy. [iii.129-134]

The Son said, their prayers of repentance show the grace you endowed them with bears fruit. [xi.22-30]

God said, yeah but I know how changeable he can be. I wouldn't be surprised if he helped himself to another one of those apples. So out of Paradise he goes. [xi.90-96]


If Eden is perfected nature, why do Adam and Eve work to improve it?

Good question. Even bigger and better than you think. Because it goes beyond Paradise Lost, to the very nature of life. What good is a perfect world if there's nothing for you to do? Sure, you could sunbathe and play tennis. But if you analyze these and all other recreational or pleasurable experiences, you will find they are based upon a natural or manufactured need or challenge or imperfection, and the pleasure comes from the action of meeting the challenge, or satisfying or eliminating the need. In fact this is the only way to get pleasure. And once the need is satisfied, thereby ending the process, the pleasure ceases. Rest is only pleasurable if you are tired, and the tastiest food is unpalatable if you have no appetite. And yes, it's corny to say but, if not now, someday you will agree: There is no greater pleasure than accomplishment through hard work.

If this sounds like a paradox, it's because it is, as is all of life, and certainly all of Paradise Lost. (or should I say 'Paradox Lost'?)


Any information on the place names in chapter two of paradise lost??? Send any info to *****@hotmail.com

Well, I'm not about to read a whole chapter hunting out names you might possibly be referring to--got housework to do. Try again, and be specific.

And are you guys still of the opinion that we send individual email responses? Not to mention the intrusion of privacy you risk by including your email addresses.

I need a vacation.


What is the child of Sin and Death called?

Okay this is really gruesome and not for the squeamish. "Viewer discretion is advised." They didn't have a child ... exactly.

Satan finds two creatures guarding the gate of hell. One is a beautiful woman above the waist, her bottom half that of a snake. The other is a dark formless shape, who threatens Satan. The woman prevents their fight, and reminds Satan that she is his daughter, called Sin, who sprung from his head when he first conceived his rebellion in heaven. They had made love, the result being this dark son/grandson, named Death, that sits beside her. His violent birth deformed her lower part into its present shape. The monstrous newborn's first act was to rape his mother, who became pregnant with a pack of howling hell hounds, which perpetually return to her womb to gnaw at her insides.

Well . . . you asked.


comment: paradise lost should not be treated as just a great battle between angels. adam & eve and the fall of man should be portrayed with a great deal of sensebility, & sympathy. If the filmakers really care about making a really great movie in the same epic visual scope of say the lord of the rings then they need to treat the source material with an adult respect and not worry about the film studios worry that they aren't going to get a 12cert rating because there will be some nudity in it!!.This has all the chance of scooping as many awards as peter jacksons epic if done right.

comment: I would like to see it on the screen pretty soon, I wonder what will be the look of the Almighty God, and His Son. This will be, I think, the bomb.

comment: I don't think a movie would work, even if they did it "Beowulf" style with actor animation. In fact, animation would be the only possible way to show most of it...but it could end up being startlingly cheezy, and probably will.

comment: Scott Derrickson ?? Not even Heath Ledger coming back from the dead to be Satan can save this film now!

comment: Sean Connery,would be a great ,Lucifer.Voice is mature as certainly his acting. Ready to buy the Movie.

comment: THE GRATEST AND BEST VILAIN OF THE WORLD IS SATAN'S CHARACTER. FROM HARICHANDRA.

comment: Ahhhh! Neither please! Why can we only rarely see a movie that actually values the heart of its original story? The longevity, beauty and interest in Paradise Lost stem from timeless messages that appear to have been easily eliminated from either of these versions. It's beauty, challenges and intrigue make a great story and could make a great movie. After reading Lanzara's novelization, which I expected to be disappointed in but was not, I actually had hope that a movie could be beautifully done and inspiringly told with the zing needed for a box office draw. Instead we're seriously talking 3D!!!!!

comment: hi well i read this book in my world lit class and i learned so much about life from it. I'm hoping ya'll can really capture the points that I got from it and that most readers will take away from the book. I know its built on rhetorical debate like u said and would be hard to put into a movie but I'm hoping you will find a way as this has really helped me learn alot about life and made me think and reconsider my decisions and relationships between people and God.

comment: It appears that the indie film is attempting to remove the main references to religion which circumvents the whole point of the poem and story, and the excision of the discussion of the War leads to a possible plot-hole regarding the tale beginning in media res. Further the hollywood films focus on the war above all else is akin to taking the premise for a really great spy-film and forcing 3/4 of it to be a cheesey car chase. The problem of nudity on screen could be minimised by the use of appropriate camera angles (such as viewing from behind or having a discretionary branch in the way) and having the actresses hair cover her bosom. I also criticise the planned heavy use of CGI as opposed to being bothered with location scouting and other special effects as used in the past and which have been proven to have verisimilitude unlike noticeable CGI. Thank you for reading.

comment: Paradise Lost has been one of the greatest unmade Hollywood epic movies of all time. The right execution could spell out a HUGE payback. This movie could make Avatar look insignificant by comparison. Who wouldn't want to see battling angels flying through the sky with todays special effects potential? Anyways, there is my 2 cents worth, this is a movie that has been waiting to be made since cinema began, I sure hope they bring it justice and do it right.

comment: I would be more interested in seeing Blockbusters movie than Intie's for the simple fact that Milton's story of Adam and Eve's downfall was more about the attatudes of time he lived in than theology. Battling Angel's, great action flic if it's well done. On the other hand, the noble smarter man, the weak stupid woman, sex is a sin and the trinity exsisted at the dawn of time? I can live without that.

comment: I will say this that if it is done right every christian on the planet will go see it and can you imagine how much money that would generate! This studio holds the holy grail of movie scripts in their hands. I hope they go for it and really portray the fight scenes like 300 and not hold back. The war against God and Satan and the Angels unleashed on the screen in 3D and carrying the weight of what is at stake TO BE GOD! O'MAN WHOOH I CAN'T WAIT.

comment: I'm excited.


Where in the book, can I find evidence that eve is Milton's human secondary? In other words, that Eve is not equal to Adam

A lot of it comes from Eve's own lips (despite a few feistier moments) [See iv.440-448 and ix.378-383]. While Adam converses with Raphael [Book VIII] and Michael [XI], Eve willingly retires to let the men talk. God also defines her place [x.144-156].

You have to remember the Bible had already fixed Eve's station, and Milton couldn't have done a whole lot to lift her up if he wanted to.


Do you think Milton wrote PL as a "learn by example" story to sway the readers from sin or do you think he was just telling an interesting story? Anytime I begin to analyze the free will concept of the story, Calvinist doctrine always stops me. Is there any way to explain free will in PL without having to account for Calvinism? I don't believe in it, but I cannot refute it.

Milton started out as a Calvinist but ultimately rejected the doctrine. Calvinism or predestination doesn't carry much weight in Paradise Lost. Milton's God goes out of his way to validate free will.


Thanks for the insight on why Adam and Even garden eventhough God made it perfect... I am getting somewhere. Do you think that this could be linked somehow with the fertility of of the Garden?? Just looking for an "out of box" thought for this paper!

The garden is fertile - the deadly tree grows in the garden - the tree can (before God mitigated their sentence) cause the death of Adam and Eve, bringing their fertility, and the human race, to an end. How's that?


I've been asked to "discuss the structue of Paradise Lost as based on a series of massive antitheses." I understand the nature of the conflicts - satan vs christ, pre- and postlapsarian sexuality and behaviour, linguistic contrasts, satanic contrasts with the heavenly court, the changeability of satan an the intransigence of God, light and dark imagery and so on, but i'm not sure how this relates to the structue per se. Any advice?

Milton plunged into the "midst of things" and left the narrative of earlier events for the middle of the poem, creating a kind of symmetry, and balancing the first half which eminates from Satan's viewpoint with the second half favoring Adam's.


explain the relationship between passion,reason and liberty

Given the right doses of passion and reason, i.e. 10% former, 90% latter, liberty would be well served. Since human nature is inclined to reverse those proportions, we tend to exercise our liberties poorly.

Since you didn't ask what this has to do with Paradise Lost, I'll let you figure it out for yourself.


What is exactly meant by "thy seed shall bruise the Serpent's head?"

This quote is from Adam [x.1031], recalling God's earlier judgment directed to Satan [x.181]: "Her seed shall bruise thy head, thou bruise his heel."

Milton got this metaphorical prophecy, almost verbatim, from the Bible [Gen 3:15]. And he explains it fully in Book XII, lines 375-435.

"Seed" is an archaic way of referring to offspring, especially offspring which hasn't been born yet--in this case, Eve's ultimate descendant, Jesus. The bruising of the heel of the seed, is metaphorical for the crucifixion. And the bruising of the serpent's head is what Jesus accomplished in his sacrifice to mitigate Satan's victory in Eden.


i have to choose 2 passages in PL to show the persuasiveness of both the narrator (in choosing good) and satan (obviously the opposite). i think choosing satans speech to cajole eve into eating from the tree is probably what they teach in law school, but i am stuck on one for the narrator. what do you think of the speech in book 1 when the narrator is describing satan in the burning lake (l. 209-220)? do you find that to be a convincing description of why one should choose morality? can you help me with a better one?

There is an effective short passage at the end of the council in hell where Milton harshly contrasts mankind's perpetual discord with the devils' brotherly cooperation [ii.482-505]. But your original choice is just as good.

(and I've never heard a more vivid characterization of the legal profession.)


What is meant by the narrator's desire to "justify the ways of God to men?" (Book I: 26) Thanks.

Milton is stating his purpose in composing the epic--to show us the series of events at the beginning of creation that led God to allow so much evil and suffering into the world.


What is meant by Eve when she says, "For inferior who is free?" (Book IX : 825)

It means "How can anybody be free, if they are inferior to others (in knowledge). More specifically, how can a woman be independent if she must depend on her mate's knowledge and wisdom.

Eve has just eaten the forbidden fruit and imagines herself having increased in wisdom. Since she had considered herself inferior to Adam in this respect, now she thinks she has become his match and maybe even a little superior. She's wondering if she should keep it that way by not sharing the fruit with him.


WHAT DOES THE "X" MEAN IN THE MIDDLE OF HIS SENTENCES? MY GRANDMOTHER IS READING HIS BOOK, AND DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT IT MEANS. I ADV HER THAT I THOUGHT IT WAS JUST THAT STYLE OF WRITING IN THISE DAYS...PLS ADV ME. MY EMAIL ADDRESS IS xxxxx@YAHOO.COM

Though it doesn't rhyme, Paradise Lost is a poem. Your grandmother probably has an economy edition which saves space by separating lines with an X rather than returning to the left hand of the page for each new line.


What is the york cycle play? How does it relate to Paradise Lost.
Thanks,
xxxxx@airmail.net

This was a medieval form of drama based on Bible stories, some including those on which PL is based. They developed over several centuries throughout the Old World. In 15th century England, the York cycles were performed in public squares. Stages on wheels moved from square to square, where a "cycle" of scenes was played out--this is the origin of our "pageant." Like PL, they dramatized and expanded on Scripture. Today's "passion play" is a survivor of this style of drama.


How is Satan like the monster in "Frankenstein?" Also, How is God like Victor Frankenstein? After all God created Satan out of nothing, but Victor did create "the Monster" out of dead human parts. It should also be noted that Victor's creation finally destroyed him, while Satan was merely banished to Hell. Final, It is important to note that Satn lives in an Inferno (Dante) while Victor's creation burns himself alive with Victor Frankenstein in the flaming inferno. Thanks and please write back as soon as you can. *****@aol.com

The more compelling analogy is between Adam and the monster. Both were created as prototypes for a new race of creatures, and both experiments went badly, more or less.

An analogy can only be made between two things that are like each other in some aspect. There will also be differences--many more differences than similarities. You can't make an analogy between two things that are exactly the same, because ... there's nothing to compare ... they're exactly the same!


1)Why did God cast Satan out of heaven?
2)Satan considers himself the equal to God in reason. How, then, does Satan explain his defeat?
3)What does God do to stop Satan's reign of terror? Why?
4)Why does Satan say that "The mind is its own place"?
5)How is Satan's pride as tragic as it is heroic?
These are all questions i missed on a test if you could help me I would greatly appreciate it!!!

1) No excuse for missing this one.
2) He blames God for hiding the extent of his power, thereby tempting Satan to challenge him. Lines 637-642, Book I.
3) If by "reign of terror" you mean the war, he sent his Son to end it, single-handedly. Why? The Son says, I'm the one they hate, and since they measure what is right by strength alone, let me show them what I can do. The Father says, both sides are equally matched in this conflict, so this could go on forever. You better get moving, Son, before they wreck heaven altogether [VI, 669-698].
4) It doesn't matter where you are physically--if you're mental state is good, you will be in a good place. Satan says "Which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell," and he's in Eden when he says it.
5) His "heroism" leads to his "tragedy." I put these words in quotes because all we sane people know he really fits neither category. But as a character in this poem, he arouses certain sympathies in the reader over his errors and defeats, brought on by pride. Doesn't answer your question, but that's all the time we have right now.


Does Satan's logic seem to err at certain points iln Book 4, lines 32-113? If so where and why?

Probably seems so to some people. Moral logic is subjective. To me he makes a lot of sense. He knows everything he's done has turned out badly. But he also knows he's not capable of sincere repentance, and that he would resent a return to servitude and inevitably rebel again.


Hi! My college professor assigned an expository paper in which we need to discuss instances of Dramatic and Verbal irony. I desprately need help, as he neve showed us irony nor taught us anything about PL. Thank you in advance!

Verbal irony means saying the opposite of what you mean. Sarcasm is a form of verbal irony.

Dramatic irony is a little different. It occurs when characters are clueless to what is obvious to the reader, as when Adam and Eve happily enjoy life in the Garden of Eden, unaware of their impending fall.

At one point a cocky Satan and his cohort let fly a stream of ironic statements or wise cracks to deride the opposing angels when they naively believe they are winning the war against God. [Book VI, lines 558-567 & 607-627] Note how this example illustrates both kinds of irony.


Imperfect love described in John Milton's paradise lost

The easy answer is that Adam and Eve's love was perfect before the fall and imperfect after, but in Milton's version Adam accepts the fruit from Eve because he places love for her above obedience to God. He had been warned earlier by Raphael to curtail his passion [viii.460-594].


What exactly is apocalypticism?

It is a theological belief system based on Hebrew and Christian literature concerning the end of the world. The book of Revelation in the New Testament is also called the Apocalypse, though apocalyptic elements appear throughout the Bible.

The premise of Paradise Lost is rooted in apocalypticism, in that the loss of Paradise in Eden sets up a chain of events which culminates in the fulfilling of these prophecies. This is delineated in Books III and X of the poem. While the Bible's version is rich with enigmatic imagery and obscure symbols, Milton's explanation, through God's words, is quite explicit. Apocalyptic prophecy fuels the debate about predestination.


who is urania ? *****@nlamerica.com

Urania is one of the nine Greek goddesses of the arts--astronomy was her speciality. She is the muse Milton calls upon to inspire him to write Paradise Lost. There are four invocations throughout the poem, at the beginning of Books I, III, VII and IX. Milton did not balk at mixing mythology with Christianity in PL.


What is the name of the first Superdome ever? It means?

Pandemonium. Wild uproar or riotous confusion; a place where this exists; the abode of all demons.

(Thought you had me, huh?)


As a note to #216 in your Q&A, though it may be true that most people assume that God the Father is the creator, the Bible does give some evidence that it was the Son. John 1:3, referring to the “Word” (which vs. 14 explains is Jesus) says "All things were made through him...” So Milton may have been more Biblically accurate than many assume.

Wow! Some of you actually are smarter than me.


What do lines 290 through 305 in book 9 mean?

“Girl, don’t go into that bar alone. I know you can take care of yourself if guys hit on you, but just the fact that they would try it would be an insult to you, wouldn’t it? Let me go in with you. They won’t try anything with me there beside you, and if they do, they’ll have to deal with me first.”


When Sin and Death cross the void on a divinely-built bridge that appears behind the laboring Satan - does this remind you of an extract from a 20C animation? If so, which one?

No, but some of the questions we get bring Daffy Duck to mind.


what gives anyone the right to change milton's words and then sell it as a "novel"

If you mean legally, the work is in the public domain. If you mean ethically, well, adaptations from one medium to another are done all the time. It's up to the marketplace to decide if they're worth the price of admission.


What were the causes and consequences for both Eve and Satan when Satan convinced Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge? Not only the physical ramifications, but mental also? THANK YOU!

You ask too much.

Everything in the poem up to the critical moment, delineates the causes. And everything following gives the consequences.

At that moment Satan merely slipped out of sight. Later his speech to his followers evinced boastful pride--cut short as they are all physically changed into snakes.

Physically, Eve lost her immortality and eternal youth. She would now grow old and die. Her emotions ran the gamut, from elation, to cunning, to love, to lust, to shame, to grief, to belligerence, to contrition, to name a few. And these are just some of the immediate consequences. Michael takes up most of Books XI and XII enumerating others to come, and he barely gets past the Old Testament. And, oh yes, she lost Paradise.


I'm not actually doing an assignment on Paradise Lost, and I haven't read it, though I think I will now. My question is that some critics have likened Emily Bronte's 'Heathcliff' from Wuthering Heights to Satan in Milton's poem. From what I have read in these other questions about Satan, I can already see a resemblence. Do you have any ideas (if you've read Wuthering Heights)?

Both are rebels against authority, antiheroes propelled by jealousy and revenge, which, "at first though sweet, bitter ere long back on itself recoils." [ix.171]


comment: this site is very useful to me in my study . i present to you my thanks. thank you very much.

comment: Thank you very much for your magnificant work! You help Milton to stay alive also in our times. Greetings from Germany, P. N.

comment: No poem could reach the perfectness such PARADISE LOST. Khalid Razak. Iraq/Baghdad

comment: My name is Pedro Argumedo, I read the novel when I was 13 or 14. The challenge to display on the screen this story is big, congradulations.

comment: I am a reader from Taiwan. Thank you for all you information you offered in this website, and thanks for letting more and more people understand John Milton's works.

comment: Thank you for your wonderful site. I am Muddling through the poem and your site has been very useful. I am writing an exam on monday and hope that I manage to pass!! Thank you Carla (South Africa)

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In Book II Satan literally falls. What does he land on? I have looked for it for hours and I have a quiz about that tomorrow. Is it the bridge that sin and death build?

another asks: What keeps Satan from falling in book 2?

See lines 931-938. Flying through the vastness of chaos on his way to earth, Satan encounters a vacuum. He drops ten thousand fathoms till a thunder cloud shoots him back up again. The science of Milton's day held that thunder occurred when hot and cold elements mixed, igniting sulfer and casting forth matter with the same forceful effect as gunpowder.

Lines 292-295 in book 1 (not 2) tell us what he used to keep from falling "on the burning Marle".


I have a paper due on Tuesday centered around the theme of a journey (either physical or psychological) in Paradise Lost...can you give me some information on who undergoes a journey and some information about that journey. Thanks alot. My e-mail address is *****@aol.com

According to my calculations, you sent this email around midnight Sunday. Adding 24 hours for response brings you to midnight Monday--to get a suggested topic for your paper due on Tuesday. I'm not a mathematician, so I won't try to figure out how this can work.

Satan's physical journey to earth, with many psychological overtones, is the big one, but since you're pressed for time why not center on Raphael's descent. It is briefly and quite beautifully described. The theme simply stated could be that of a celestial presence entering the physical world.

Raphael receives his assignment [v.219-320]
Raphael describes the speed of his descent to Adam [viii.107-114]


Okay, I've noticed you're sarcastic in the way you answer some of the questions. Well I don't need any sarcasam I'll I need is your help. For example, I have a research paper and my topic is discuss symbolism in John Milton's Paradise Lost and various other literary terms? Can you help? Give me some samples of literary terms and what is your understanding. Don't just tell me well on line()your answer is stated. Hello I don't have the book except the cliff notes.

yes sir! no sir! .. uh … s-sorry sir – uh – ma’m? – uh, …… just plain “ho”…

We deeply regret the effort that will be required to scroll up and down to find the answers you require for the research paper your doing on the book you don’t have because hello they’ve already been asked and answered. (Sarcastic? Moi??)

It’s been a pleasure to serve you.


Explain Moloch's political position in lines 51-70 in Book 2

Any political subtleties here are buried under a hawkish thirst for war--the only thing he knows or is good at. There is some military strategy in all his emotionalism. He proposes bringing the very hellfires designed for their torments up with them to fire back at God's forces in heaven. You might infer that his definition of power, political or otherwise, is through nothing more complicated than the use of force.


Hello and many thanks for your unbelievably well run web site. I am an American putting together the equivalent of a masters thesis out in France, and as such have a hard time finding references. My topic is the evolution of what I call the 'complex character'; that is to say, a character who is not immediately branded by narrative into a simple protagonist/antagonist dichotomy, but instead resists simplistic classification and invites readers to embrace the complexity of human psychology. I have chosen Paradise Lost as a historical reference point, as Milton's portrayal of Satan grants us an empathic window into his character and represents the explosion, in a large way, of the classic antagonist (an idealized antagonist--that is to say a perfect villain, which was a notion that arrived along with the Heroic tales of the Middle Ages and was later reinforced after the Reformation, so far as I can tell at this point. Unlike a number of your other requests, I do not ! wish for you to do my work for me; rather, I would simply like your point of view on the choice of PL for this topic, and perhaps any insight into what seems to be Milton's swaying and indecisive portrayal of Satan: Satan resists quick condemnation (no pun intended) even if presented in a context of despicable evil. It often seems Milton wishes to glorify Satan, yet cannot manage to prevent himself from returning to a dogmatic context which glorifies God and condemns Satan. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated, and if possible, a dialogue between the two of us would be wonderful--I'm certain I'll encounter many more blocks in my study as it becomes more intensive. At this point I am reading PL for the first time and preparing my subject. Many thanks.

To analyze Milton's complex and unconventional portrayal, start with some simple insights. Satan becomes disturbingly sympathetic in the first part of the poem, while reverting to the "perfect villain" in the latter half--for one important reason. God is much more powerful than Satan, so his rebellion is doomed; but Satan is more powerful than Adam and Eve, and wins his contest with them. Morality aside, quite simply, we do tend to empathize with the underdog.


What happens in Eve's dream?

This is Satan's first attempt to corrupt Eve. Before he tempts her in the form of a serpent he comes to her in this dream disguised as a friendly angel who successfully tempts her to eat the forbidden fruit. Immediately upon eating the fruit she and the angel fly up into the sky like gods, when suddenly ... to be continued ... when you read lines 799-821 in book IV for yourself.


Hiya! I need as much information as possible on the names, personalities, doings, ect. of the 13 demons involved in the story. I am also intrested in how they plan on bringing the end, but I am not sure if it is specifically covered....Any help is greatly thanked!

See the Dramatis Personae for a complete roster, with book & line references.

Or go directly to Book I, lines 381-534. (also 678 & 740) Many of Milton's demons are destined to become the gods of ancient civilizations. See annotations or consult an encyclopedia. In Book II, several of them give long speeches at the council, which expose their personalities. In Book VI, lines 355-372 (also 446 & 620), some are singled out in their battle with the good angels. Beelzebub, Satan's second, is prominent in Books I & II.

Don't know what you mean by their "bringing the end." Paradise Lost keeps them pretty busy just getting started with their mischief. If you mean Armageddon, that is God's plan, of which at this point the devils have no knowledge.


Is the idea of Lucifer as a fallen angel an official part of Christian doctrine or a detail invented by Milton?

It's the real thing. See the Book of Revelation, xii.4, 7-9, and Isaiah, xiv 12-15. Early church writings had fleshed out these brief biblical accounts by the time Milton began his.


For what sin was Satan cast out of heaven?

Sin is the breaking of religious law. Religion is an earthly phenomenon. (writings by humans that supposedly qoute the words of God) Milton's only indication of law-making for the angels in heaven is the Father's edict that both he and his Son should be unquestioningly and equally obeyed. The fact is, we don't know what the laws were in heaven. There are certain unstated axioms everyone can accept, however. It's reasonable to assume, for example, that a king's subjects are not allowed to wage war against him.


I'm hoping to do a presentation on images of Heaven and Hell in Western literature this Wednesday. I would be delighted if you could help me out on this matter. I studied Paradise Lost some time ago and have forgotten the finer details, especially the Hierarchical structure of Heaven. I'm not even sure if it was mentioned. Please could you tell me the structure involving the Seraphim, Cherubim etc.
I'm supposed to give this speech in Japanese infront of a class of Japanese students and i want to convey the greatness of Milton's visions. With your help I'm hoping to avoid giving a weak speech. As im sure you know all too well... "To be weak is miserable" Thanking you in advance

For the most vivid descriptions of heaven consult v.574-648, and for hell i.670-751 and ii. 570-628. Milton does not define the hierarchical structure in heaven in PL. He alludes to it briefly in v.584-594.


the temptation of eve

You think you've covered everything when you offer to accept "comments and questions" on your website, but innovative visitors invent yet new categories. What do you think, folks, should we change our submission form to "comments, questions and headings"?


Am I missing something? Book XII, lines 648-649 read: "They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow,/Through Eden took their solitary way." Were Adam and Even not just banished from Eden?

They were banished from the Garden, which was in Eden. Eden is the name for the whole surrounding region. God "planted a garden eastward in Eden"--Genesis 2:8, though sometimes the "Garden of Eden" is loosely referred to as "Eden," just as heaven and the Garden of Eden are both called Paradise, or as the United States is called "America," which is, more accurately, a couple of continents.


I know John Steinbeck's title "East of Eden" is taken from the Bible. Is there any reference to it in PL?

The Biblical reference is Cain's flight from Eden after murdering Abel. Without referring to the phrase or naming the participants, MIlton describes a vision in which Raphael shows the event to Adam (xi.429-460), the first of mamy visions that will illustrate the sad consequenses of Adam's sin.


The archangel Michael tells adam that if he has learned the limitations of human knowledge and if he has added to his wisdom the virtue of charity, then Adam will have "A paradise within thee, happier far." A paradise within? What does this final teaching tell us about Milton's belief in what is "within"? How large does this belief make the human soul? How great does it make the adventure into which adam and eve now depart?

Michael is saying there is greater joy and satisfaction to be had from inner peace and harmony than any that can be got from without, even from a setting like the Garden of Eden.

Eve verbalizes this new awareness to Adam in the expulsion scene: "To go with you is to stay in Paradise; to stay without you is to leave Paradise behind."

This quote comes from the novel's paraphrase of the poem's somewhat confusing lines:

...with thee to go,
Is to stay here; without thee here to stay,
Is to go hence unwilling;...


Can you define 3-4 characteristics of Satan in PL 1-4, explaining how they were revealed to you through mythic narrative adn/or trhourgh the reasoning or rhetoric in his speechesl--pLEASE?
3 epic qualities or conventions in PL 1-4?

thank you!!!

pLEASE note:

Excellent example of how not to get your question answered: Transfer your entire assignment over to us, copied verbatim (we love that), preferably including three or four or five compound essay type questions. An avelanche of typos will add just the right touch.

thank you!!!


More than one recent critic of PL has noted that Milton's secondary purpose seems to be to depict woman's disobedience and to justify the ways of God to woman. Milton, you can be sure, would have disagreed with this opinion on several points. Do you agree or disagree with the critic? Milton? thanx

1674 "woman" was obviously not the same thing as 2008 "woman" (not to mention Scriptural "woman"). You're probably too young to remember, but there was a time when the terms "man," or "he" in hypothesis, by definition included men and women. (So far, we have not been reprimanded for respecting that tradition here, or for always saying "Adam and Eve," never "Eve and Adam.") I don't see a separation in Milton's intent. He was speaking to both, and accusing both of the sin of disobedience.

Eve's pulling away from Adam in IX may have led to her downfall, but by today's standard it's one of her more normal moments. Milton's dialogue argues both male and female sides so well in this scene it's hard to tell whether he is accusatory or in sympathy with her.


What are some examples of blank verse and epic form in Milton's poem Paradise Lost.

Blank verse is verse that doesn't rhyme, and is composed in the rhythm of iambic pentameter, which is all of Paradise Lost. For Milton's unsympathetic views on rhyming see his preface to PL, "The Verse," which he added to the second edition along with the Arguments.

Paradise Lost has many of the elements that define epic form: It is a long, narrative poem; it follows the exploits of a hero (in this case, anti-hero); it involves warfare and the supernatural; it begins in the midst of the action, with earlier crises in the story brought in later by flashback; and it expresses the ideals and traditions of a people. It has these elements in common with the Aeneid, the Iliad, and the Odyssey.


Don't you think Milton symbolizes support for women's liberation when he makes Eve demand to go off on her own in Book 9 to get out from under the watchful eye of Adam?

Yes but he squelches it in line xi.176; after all, don't forget, her "liberated" walk in the woods did turn into disaster.


I have seen attribution made to Milton in Paradise Lost for the old adage, :Absence makes the heart grow fonder." I only find that passage in Bayly's song, Isle of Beauty. Comments?

In Book IX, line 250, discussing Eve’s proposal that they do their gardening in separate areas, Adam preludes his objection with, “And short retirement urges sweet return” (followed by “But…)


Could you please help me to understand the meaning of "intranst" (in the line 420, book eleven: "all his Spirits became intranst").Thank you.

It’s Milton’s spelling of “entranced.” Most editions of PL convert to today’s spelling and punctuation. You are reading the original version. Very brave of you, I must say.

Adam’s senses (“spirits”) have been put into a kind of magical hypnotic trance that will allow the angel to impart visions to him that transcend mortal sight and hearing.


In Frankenstein, the creation of V. Frankenstein reads Paradise Lost. What is the relevence of Mary Shelley's mention of this in her book? Do you think the story and situation of the monster in Frankenstein relate to Paradise Lost?

The monster himself will explain it to you quite clearly in Chapter XV of Frankenstein.


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Sir it is excellent, awesome to know the BIBLE SECRETS. but i wonder still why in Asian Churches like India these teachings are not entered Stephane from India (xxxxxxxxx@yahoo.co.in)

Paradise Lost is derived entirely from the Christian Bible. It is unlikely that the Bible would be taught in Asian places of worship. It is fascinating, though, to compare the Bible with other religions' "secrets".


Hi, I'm having trouble analysing Book IX lines 631 to 647. I need to comment on the suggestive text and how the language foreshadows key events in the poem. Please help.

The Plain English version translates these lines as follows:

"His head glowed with excitemsnt as he led her on. They say sometimes a person is lost in the woods at night and they follow a light, but it's really an evil spirit that leads them into quicksand."


Im doing Paradise Lost 1 and 2 and studying elements of the Gothic-Ancestral curses. Is there any Ancestral curses in Paradise Lost? Please help

All the troubles of the entire human race are traceable to the sin of Adam and Eve. You could say it’s the biggest ancestral curse there ever was.


Hello! I am writing a paper arguing that Mary Shelley depicts Eve as the Creature in Frankenstein. Although Gilbert and Gubar are helpful, I feel that my argument is waning. Evidence from Eve in PL?

In Book X: lines 872-873, Adam calls her a “defect of nature.” (He’s pretty pissed about the apple thing) But is it only a thoughtless epithet?


Why is it that the title of the poem is Paradise Lost?

Paradise is an ambiguous word. It can mean Heaven, or the Garden of Eden, or any place or feeling of great pleasure or happiness. In the poem it has two meanings. The superficial meaning is the Garden of Eden, which Adam and Eve lost by committing original sin. The greater meaning, and theme of the poem, is the loss of the state of paradise that the entire world would have enjoyed if Adam and Eve had not sinned. These two people were God's test of whether the human race was worthy of paradise. They failed the test.


I've read that Eve's creation can be compared to Sin's creation/birth. Can you explain this to me?

Well, both come out of a part of the body of the male person they are destined to mate with. See [II:746-767 ] and [VIII:452-477 ]. And each springs forth from thoughts or needs the male has--Sin from Satan's bad thoughts, and Eve from Adam's loneliness. Interestingly, Milton calls Sin Satan's daughter, since she was born out of him. This allows Milton to accuse Satan of incest. But he conveniently fails to arrive at that interpretation with Adam.


I am working on a paper to provide a character analysis of God in PL-patterns of behavior, motivations, reflect on personal issues and how those issues affect other characters or perhaps the outcomes. I've read over the previous questions and it helped, but I still need more specifically if you could help!! Thanks

A real God, if one exists, would by definition be above such aspects as behavior or motivations. He would be the originator of all motivating forces. His "behavior" could not be measured with respect to propriety, since he would set the rules of all conduct. But in any story, the rules of plot structure require the inteplay of these mundane forces. So Milton embroils his God in a power struggle, has him plotting military strategy with his son, and shows him using his power of prophecy to carefully engineer an intricate balance of justice, mercy, and the "loophole" through which man can redeem himself from his fall from grace, all without ever disrupting the endowment of perfect free will in man, the angels, and Satan.

All the outcomes within the story can be traced to what God does or does not allow, since he has it in his power to control everything. Therefore, the most interesting way to approach an analysis of God's character is to figure out why he holds back his power in any given situation, and lets things progress to their natural, chance, or man-made conclusion, whether the result be good or, as is often the case, very, very bad.


what is the significence of death in paradise lost ?

Adam and Eve were originally created human but immortal. Death is the penalty God ordains for eating the forbidden fruit. But when they commit the act, in his mercy he postpones it many years, to allow the pair the opportunity to repent and prove themselves worthy of heaven. The Son of God, Messiah, offers to take on man's punishment by becoming himself human at a future time and suffering death by persecution, thereby saving them from death and hell, which would also have effectively aborted the whole human race. [iii.222] Expulsion from Paradise takes the place of instant death.

In their remorse over having sinned, Adam wishes for death, and Eve actually proposes double suicide. [latter part of Book X]

In Book XI, Michael produces visions of future events to teach Adam about death. First Adam witness his firstborn son, Cain, slay his brother, Abel. Then in a harrowing scene within a hospital he is shown the many ways of natural death by disease. He also sees death by war, and the holocaust of the Great Flood. Imagine his reaction to these visions of death for his descendants, knowing his own fall from grace is the cause.

Death is also personified as a living creature who is the son of Satan, conceived through Satan's incestuous union with his daughter, Sin. Death is a fearsome shape who's first act after being born is to rape his mother. He threatens even Satan on their first encounter, but later the three unite in their common goal to conquer earth.


comment: GREAT site! Extremely helpful - particularly for someone, such as myself, who was foolish enough to take an entire course focusing on Milton’s Paradise Lost this past semester! Nevertheless, you have undoubtedly been my “go-to” web-page for the past three or four months – and for that, I thank you!

comment: My husband is writing a paper comparing PL, The Tempest, Apocalypse Now and Raging Bull. Had a hard time with the connection until reading your FAQS. Thank you!


is there support in the bible for christ's exaltation among the angels in heaven in the beginning of raphael's story?

Yes, in Hebrews i.6, and Psalms ii,6-7. It is also supported by the theology of St. Thomas.


Are the seven deadly sins referred to in Paradise Lost?

Milton implies indictment of these sins in the all embracing act of eating the forbidden fruit. Gluttony and lust, for example, are overtly present. Covetousness and envy of the "gods" is instilled in Eve by the serpent. Eve feels pride in her imagined superiority. Adam and Eve slothfully retreat to a shady spot and sleep after food and sex; and finally, spew angry accusations at each other.


Is there any explicit evidence in Paradise Lost to prove that Milton believed all human interactions, including romantic relationships,are power relationships?

You certainly state your question in a very restrictive way.
--"explicit"? "prove"? - How would you do that except by a flat out statement of belief?
--"all human interactions" - That covers a lot of people and a lot of action.

Also, what exactly do you mean by "power relationships"? Do you mean relationships based on a contest for power--that that could be the basis of all human interactions? I don't think Milton shows any evidence of such extreme cynicism.


I'm looking for information comparing Paradise Lost and A Doll's House by Ibsen. In Paradise Lost Eve develops as a wife because she learns the value of submissiveness and humility - characteristics which Christians believe to be basic to a happy home and a happy life. A Doll's House seems to argue against such beliefs. Is it possible that both writers are right, in a certain sense, or is the play a complete denial of all that Christians believe about marriage and the role of women?

Christian beliefs vary widely on woman's role, so no doubt many Christians would be in total sympathy with A Doll's House, though you are correct that it is at odds with the fundamentalist portrayal in PL.

This is not measurable science, but social viewpoint and subjective judgment. Regarded as political statements, either one can be "right" depending on the mores of the day, or that of the individuals rebelling against it. Both writers are "right" in their dramatic portrayals in the sense that there will always be women like Eve and there will always be women like Nora.


What are the homosexual references in PL?

Milton's angels are all male [x.889], and Raphael implies that they do express love in a semi-physical way [viii.626]. Whether that makes them gay or not is debatable, to say the least.

Before she meets Adam, Eve falls in love with her own reflection in a pond. You could say that was understandable, but in a comical moment, her first impression on seeing Adam causes her to reject his less than soft appearance and head back to the pool [iv.460-486].

Sodom is referred to, where Lot offered his daughters to intruders [i.505] to save his male visitors from being raped--thought of as a worse kind of rape.


comment: Thank you for the valuable information on this site. I am teaching an excerpt of PL this year for the first time to my grade 12s and I have found this to be a wonderful resource. THANKS.

comment: I have always found your site to be an invaluable resource in my own studies and now I'm teaching Paradise Lost to my 10th graders. Your latest revisions make it even more useful. *****@fau.edu

comment: Amazing translation! I am teaching portions to a fifth grade class who can't wait to hear what happens next. I omit some sections.

comment: Wow. This looks fantastic. I'm teaching Paradise Lost and Elements of the Gothic this year. Your site has been really useful. Thanks


if the source of milton’s version of adan & eve is the bible, what is the bible’s source? also I know he expanded the poem into 12 books instead of 10. in what way did he expand it? thanks for your help!

The Genesis tales originate from many sources and many authors. Early Sumerian and Babylonian creation mythology contains familiar elements, including a beautiful earthly garden, a wicked serpent, plants offered and eaten, gods getting angry, one man’s sore rib, and a beautiful mother of mankind.

Milton didn’t expand the poem, he merely split a couple of the extra long chapters in two. The later, 12-book version is the preferred one, especially since he added summaries at the beginning of each book to help us out.

Here is a comparison:

10-Book Version
(1667)

Books I thru VI
Book VII
Book VIII
Book IX
Book X




remain
becomes
becomes
becomes
becomes
12-Book Version
(1674)

Books I thru VI
Books VII & VIII
Book IX
Book X
Books XI & XII


Can you give me some feedback on the representation of marriage in PL?

There was never any question that Adam and Eve were ever anything but a married couple--the ceremony performed by God himself only moments after the two met. But while the Bible is unclear about exactly when their marriage was consummated, Milton isn't.

The other interesting question from our cultural standpoint, which rejects inequality in marriage, is just how broad is the hierarchic spread depicted in this first, archetypal marriage. You'll find many comments here on this issue.


The treatment of music is one of the odd details of the devil's Pandaemonium in Book I. How would you explain the place of music in Hell? (I-711-712) Thank you for your time and your wittiness, I laughed quite often reading some of your responses to ambiguous questions. You can also e-mail me at xxxxx@hotmail.com if you prefer.

Judging from what spews from the boomboxes these days I'm surprised you would doubt the relationship between music and hell.

Rather than describing an audible concert, your excerpt is metaphorical, likening the rising of the great temple to a symphony. But, yes, there was music in hell. The fallen angels were, after all, angels, to whom music, like architecture, was no small talent.

Milton occasionally parodies heavenly and hellish elements, such as the holy and unholy trinities, or the volunteerism of Christ and Satan. Note the use of music as entertainment at the celebration in heaven [v.618-627], and then later to pass the hours in hell, waiting Satan's return [ii.546-555].


I am doing a research paper on how Satan's rebellion from God in Paradise Lost supports enlightenment ideals such as freedom, equality, natural rights, and skepticism. Are there any specific recources that could help me while writing this paper?

First of all, change "supports" to "reflects" or better yet, "mimics." Recognize that these ideals do not apply in heaven the same as they do on earth.

You could spend a lot of time looking for what others have to say about this subject, but your best resource is in the words spoken by Satan in PL. Your energy is best spent studying them in several well annotated editions.


are the invocations in books 1,3,4,& 7 significant?
michelle

Depends how deeply you want to get into Milton and his poetry. They're not essential to the plot, but the question does come up, doesn't it, just who is this narrator and how does he know every detail of heaven, hell, and the beginning of the world?

The Renaissance belief was that great epic poetry could only be written through divine illumination. In Book III's invocation, Milton calls upon his "Celestial Light" to surpass his physical blindness and "shine inward."

(By the way, it's 1, 3, 7 & 9. Were you testing me?)


In lines 1-263, Book I, what does milton believe about free will? How do you know?

He believes Satan and his followers had total free will in all they did before and after they fell from heaven. You know because Satan and his lieutenant spend these pages discussing their options and choices, having just lost the war, and expressing decisiveness and determined vengeance against God.


I am writing a report on Ithuriel's Spear, and I think this spear was referenced to in your excerpt from Michael vs. Satan. But I have one question, and I need an answer as soon as possible, who is Michael?
xxxxx@hotmail.com

No, Michael didn't use Ithuriel's spear, though both angels' weapons came from the same armory as mentioned in the excerpt you read, which was adapted from vi.320.

You can find out about Michael in the Dramatis Personae.


What is Milton's view of "knowing" as expressed in this poem? What does it mean to "know?" Are there both literal and metaphorical developments of this idea in Paradise Lost? ---How do these questions relate to PL? Why is it important to know? What is better left unknown? What relationship is there between knowing and sinning? Can one know and not sin?
PLEASE, I need your help!! This paper is due by tommorrow at 2:30!

God's only commandment to Adam and Eve in the beginning was not to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which would impart knowledge of good and evil that would eliminate their innocence--innocence not entirely different from the innocence of children and animals, who have no understanding of good and evil.

Satan argued that without knowing evil, how can you know how to avoid it? or how to enjoy what is good, not knowing what is good?

Raphael told Adam not to concern himself with curiosity about the stars in the heavens, but to attend to practical matters. But, paradoxically, Raphael proved Satan's point, since his primary mission was to bring the knowledge of Satan's evil to Adam, so he could avoid it.

One archaic, biblical definition of knowing is having sexual intercouse: "Adam knew Eve." This definition may have influenced, or been influenced by, the popular notion of the forbidden fruit having awakened sexual feelings.


My professor is curious about the sexual relationship of Adam and Eve BEFORE the Fall. Was there sex or just "sweet intercourse of looks and smiles"? We don't have any Milton buffs at my school so he has offered an extra credit assignment to find info fo him. We have only read Book 8 of PL so I need some extra help. I looked through the archives and many were helpful but I need a little bit more. (Maybe other web sites as well.) Thank you so much.

Not getting enough, eh? :-)

Yes, Milton is definite about it, Adam and Eve did consummate their marriage with honest to goodness, bona fide, real sex before the fall. He waxes passionate in praise of conjugal lovemaking and ridicules prudes who assert Paradise is incompatible with such things. It's all in Book IV, lines 736-775.


Hello! I am impressed with this site, good god! anyway I scrolled down the whole entire thing and basically found tons of great info. However, I am giving a presentation this Friday(5-21-99) on book v, I have read the book, the cliffnotes, and the summaries on your site, but I was just wondering if you had any deep thoughts or interestings insights on book v that I might have missed. Any questions that i could ask the class...Thanks SO Much!

Book V contains two brief but powerful allusions to the nudity of Adam and Eve: Adam as he treks out to greet Raphael [350-357], and Eve--of all things--serving dinner, (her sensuousness juxtaposed with the sumptuous delicacies) [443-450].

In The Nude: A Study in Ideal Form, Kenneth Clark describes the difference between nakedness, which is to be deprived of one's clothes, with the accompanying embarrassment felt in this "huddled and defenseless" state--and nudity, which is the image of the "balanced, prosperous, and confident body." You could say Adam and Eve were "nude" before the fall, and "naked" after.

In another vein, perhaps you could form a fun question out of these interesting tidbits. Line 363 mentions Raphael in battle--but wait--isn't Raphael telling the story? How come he doesn't say "I" or "me"? And how does Raphael know what was said in private between Satan and his followers? Did Milton goof?


ý really pittty for myself and for the one's who r supposed to read this xxx-long poem..I can't stop thinking what was wrong with milton!!if he had intenet would he have again written this?? no way out!lets enter! anil koprulu-TR

Yes, it's a long, tough poem. No, Milton wasn't whacked. He wrote it in a time when, as you say, there was no internet, no TV, no movies, no video games. Writing was the only way people could enter other worlds, and they were more willing than we are to make the necessary effort.


what quotes explain why satan was cast out of heaven by God?

You can find a complete explanation without going past the first two pages of the poem.


in what ways does milton evoke pathos in the reader in describing the fate of Satan and the fallen angels?

In Book I, lines 522-619, between the description of the foulest demons and the rousing speech by Satan, there is a sequence most sympathetic to the plight of the fallen angels. Also read Satan's speech at the beginning of Book IV. You can also find inklings of Satan's regret later in this chapter as he stalks Adam and Eve, and even in Book IX, as he approaches Eve in the form of the serpent, [lines 455-466] where he is briefly softened by her beauty.


I am in the beginning process of writing a 4-5 page term paper for my college class... Trace the horticulture element through "Paradise Lost" as a unifying device. To be very honest, I don't have the slightest idea of where to start. Can anyone give me some pointers? Many, many thanks for any help. xxxxx@hotmail.com

We are introduced to the grand "horticulture" of the Garden of Eden in Book IV, along with Satan, on his first visit there. He immediately learns that one element there, the Tree of Knowledge, provides the key to the downfall of the human race, and the ideal revenge for Satan.

In Book V, the angel Raphael dines with Adam and Eve on the delicious fruits of the Garden, as he brings them his teachings and warning. He relates the creation of the world and its grand landscape in Book VII. And in VIII, Adam tells Raphael what he remembers of his first view of the Garden of Eden.

In IX, on the fateful day, Adam goes to find Eve, bringing a garland of flowers for her [ix.838]. With a bough of forbidden fruit in her hand, she reveals to him her sin [850], and in shock and horror he drops the garland [890]. After both have sinned, they seek large fig leaves to cover their shame.

In Book X, God punishes the devils with visions of fruit trees that lure and torment them.

The ultimate unifying device is in the finale and in the very title "Paradise Lost"--the loss of innocence and immortality, symbolized by the loss of the Garden of Eden.


Was PL originally written in English or Latin?

English. Nevertheless, amazingly, there are in existence half a dozen or so various translations of the poem into English.


Really liked this site, very useful in terms of helping me with my essay. But I do believe there is more that can be said on the character of God and how Milton, in my opinion, fails to justify his wa

I’ll say there is! There are whole books about it. Check out Richard Dawkins and William Dembski.


what are the super natural concepts of paradise lost?

God, Satan, angels, heaven, hell, and all those allusions to religion or mythology--they all concern the supernatural, that is, forces which supersede the natural world. Very little in PL is not concerned with the supernatural. Would you say Adam and Eve were natural humans, considering the way they were created and their original immortal state?


I might sound lame, but I was wondering if you could tell me websites or books that relate to the social structure of heaven. I would really appreciate it. thanx. my e-mail is *****@yahoo.com

Anybody can make up anything about heaven (and they do). The only universally respected sources of information are of course the Bible, and to a lesser extent, Paradise Lost and Dante's Paradiso. For biblical references you will have to stick to the subject of angels, rather than "heaven" per se. Though heaven is mentioned in the Bible hundreds of times, it is always in its relationship to earth.


I have to find a way to compare themes in Paradise Lost and particularly the tempation and fall to drug addiction. I am lost! any ideas? thanks a million.

I suppose you could theorize that Satan was addicted to evil, or that Adam was addicted to Eve, or make a case for the temptation and irretrievable loss of innocence being like experimenting with drugs (forbidden fruit), then finding out too late one is hooked.

But the best analogy comes in the punishment God inflicts on Satan and his followers in hell for tempting Eve. After turning them all into snakes, he makes a grove of fruit trees appear, similar to the forbidden one in Paradise. Then he makes them ravenously hungry for the fruit so they cannot resist going after it. But when they bite on it, the fruit turns to bitter ashes in their mouths. They fall to the ground spitting it out in distaste. But immediately the hunger returns, and the image of delicious fruit is again irresistible, so they repeat the process over and over.

As with real addicts, it makes no matter that they learn repeatedly that the promise of fulfillment is an illusion and the end result will be bad. The craving supersedes all reason and free will is lost. Such is the case with all forms of addiction, once the habit progresses to excess--alchoholism, gambling, even smoking.

But even the devils' punishment is not as bad as the real hell of addiction, for it is temporary. After an uncertain period of time God returns them to their normal state. Real addicts don't have that luxury.


how does satan see himself? what does he say he with his troops was able to do?

In Book IX, lines 135-143, he brags that he "freed from servitude" almost half the angels, and that he ruined in one day the world it took God six to create.


Can you please complete the following quotation from Paradise Lost bk.ix - "Unless an age to late, or cold climate, or years ---- my intended wing.

damp

In other words, prevent flight. Milton is invoking his muse, without whose inspiration his poetry will not be able to "soar." (In addition to the regular definition, "intended" here also means "extended" or "outstretched.")


comment: I am studying Paradise Lost, Books 4 and 9 for Advanced Level English Literature. A message to anyone who visits this site: Leave now, none of thew comments or tips are correct, I study Paradise Lost at Advanced Level standard, all of the replies to your comments are not worth the "paper" thay are written on.
A message to the people who deal with this site: Don't give up your day job.


Why does Milton give the devils swords and spears and other military gear with which to fight? Are the devils really stupid enough to think they can out-arm God? Satan is really clever and has very sophisticated rhetoric; this seems like an elementary presentation of spiritual warfare. Thanks!

Read lines 563-576 in Book V, where Raphael explains to Adam that he’s going to narrate spiritual events through physical representations—the only way he, or we, can understand them (or artists could paint them).


is eve to blame for the fall

For hers, yes. You probably mean THE fall--hers and Adam's and everybody else's, because she gave in first and tempted Adam. No, Adam had free will also.

Which brings up an interesting question. Where would we be if Eve ate the fruit and Adam said "no thanks"?


Did Paradise Lost influence any of Shakepeare’s works?

Shakespeare came before Milton so it may have been the other way around. In fact, young Milton’s first published poem was an elegy to Shakespeare. PL’s Satan has been compared to Iago, the villainous master of deception in Othello, and to Macbeth.


I have a question concerning lines 505-515 in Book V. I understand that Melville referenced these lines in "The Doubloon" chapter of Moby Dick. I am trying to understand these lines but am unable to...can you help?

I read the chapter you cite and see no reference to PL. I also doubt these particular PL lines would be pertinent. Please check your information and write again.


what is an epic question?

Quo Vadis?


Describe the Paradise of Fools. Where is this located in the poem. HELP! FAST.

ItisdescribedinBookIII,lines430-497. (puff puff)

On his journey to earth, Satan alights on the outer shell of our universe. Wandering about on the barren surface, he comes to a windy place, a future "limbo" which would be occupied by the souls of those who spent their lives in vain pursuit of praise and empty worldly values.


Which are the images of women in «Paradise Lost», the Poem?
Thank you very much.

The only human one is Eve. But there are many female personifications, beginning with Sin, daughter of Satan. Urania is the Christian Muse which Milton invokes repeatedly throughout PL for inspiration. All of the angels are male (or perhaps unisex), but certain other minor passing personifications have been deemed female, such as Grace and Liberty.

Not surprisingly, PL's sun is male, with a female moon "borrowing her light from him" [vii.377]. That pretty well sums up women's place from the beginning of the world till about 1968 or so, wouldn't you agree?


Hi, I'm the junior high student who asked about the theme. I am now reading Paradise Regained. I know you have vast knowledge regarding PL, but I was hoping you could help me out by answering this: What is JM's view of the perfect, moral human in this book? Thanks for all your help (in advance) - EK

PL underscores the notion that humanity does not produce perfect, moral humans. But PR gives us one. As in PL, the struggle is about resisting temptation. Unlike PL, Christ succeeds. It’s easy to be good when the promised result is all good. But morality is about holding fast to a difficult path against the temptation of easy rewards.


WHO IS THE MAIN CHARACTER ?( SATAN OR GOD OR ADAM OR MILTON..)

It's debatable.

Satan (to the chagrin of many) fits the epic mold as hero in the first half of PL. Later the story tends to center around Adam.

But here's an interesting statistic to consider. If you count all the questions about Adam or Eve in this archive, you'll find four times as many inquiries about Eve than about Adam.


What is Milton's handling of gender (male and female) in Paridise Lost? And cite textual evidence supporting your answer. Also, What's the complexity of Milton's handling of the theme of knowledge in relation to the literary and intellectual structure of Paradise Lost?

Done that already.

And as for your second question . . . wha?!? . . . When given a question like this to deal with, my best advice is to respond in kind with like mix of eloquent babble and pseudo-intellectual gobbledygook, deliver it with a straight face, and hope for the best.


What do we learn about the Fall of Man through the change in the discussions of Adam and Eve

Well, they do turn into the Bickersons.


When Adam and Eve leave Paradise in their "solitary" way, does that mean alone without God, without Satan, without Paradise or something completely different?

They were definitely not without God. See xi.334-354.
They were definitely not without Satan. See i.209-220.
They were without Paradise, which would define them as homeless, not "solitary."

While they are not abandoned by God, they will probably have no more personal appearances from him or the angels as they did in Paradise. Adam senses this in xi.315-333.

But mainly they qualify as "solitary" because they are the only two people--now ordinary mortals like you and me--in the world.

Sometimes the simplest, most obvious answer is the answer...
But apt the Mind or Fancy is to rove
Uncheckt, and of her roving is no end;

[viii.188]


In reference to the "alone" question, I think you forgot to mention they were also alone without the animals, since after the fall, the animals were no longer friendly to man.

Good point.


I have to write a paper, dur Friday, comparing the respective soliloquies of Adam(X.720-844) and Satan(IV.32-113). I havecome up with such points as, the speech of Satan defines him as an antihero and allows us to sympathize with him, and we are able to see paralells between the 2 characters. Any other suggestions? Thanks

You're correct in that the two speeches parallel each other closely. Both lament mistakes made, and the dire results. Both persons are in a state of desperate hopelessness. Both regret bringing down so many others by their actions. Line x.840-841 underscores this. But while Adam feels responsible for the plight of future humanity, and is willing to take all the burden onto himself, Satan's main concern is his hurt pride, and he resolves devotion to evil as his only relief.


GIVE ME A BRIEF SUMMARY ON WHAT BOOK 4 IS ABOUT?

Please don't yell. Go back to the home page and look up "A Simplified Summary"--all the books are summarized.


Satan is a magnificent character. Discuss, indicating clearly in your answer the poetic and dramatic techniques used in his creation.(Book 1 only). If you could help me with this question I'd be forever grateful!

By beginning the story with Satan just having been thrown into hell, we get a full picture of his character as he reacts to his loss with anger and increased defiance. His desperate situation is even more intense than that which precipitated his rebellion in heaven. When he calls his legions together, he is choked with emotion, that so many have fallen while following his cause and yet still look to him for leadership.


Do the MOVIE - PLEASE!!! The Cast looks awesome. Even though they said they were hesitant because it is based on a "religious" work, movies and TV shows about angels and demons are pretty popular.

If only I had a magic wand.


Can you help me to explain the Aristotelian concept of 'entelechy' with regard to Milton's Paradise Lost?!?

As you know, entelechy is the philosophy of actuality as opposed to potentiality. God says he is presenting Adam and Eve with the potentiality of a perfect world. But we know a perfect world is an impossibility. (If you don’t think so, try to imagine one – not just the superficial pleasures, but the details of how life would or could function. You’ll soon realize it doesn’t work.) Instead we have the actuality of the inevitable fall, which produced not a perfect world or perfect people, but inevitably, perfect Christianity. Is that the potentiality God had in mind all along?


Which of Milton's devils offers the wisest councel in the debate in hell in book 2 of Paradise Lost?

The devils have just lost the Big One. How to handle defeat:
The first speech comes from a dimwitted warmonger ready to risk total annihilation.
The second speaker is a coward, who counters with a do-nothing proposal.
The third raises the political ambitions of his peers by proposing they turn their attention to building a new empire in hell.
Finally, Beelzebub, Satan's second in command, proposes a clever revenge, which sets the stage for man's downfall, and may be considered wisest, in the evil sense, because it worked.



End . . . . .




By the way, to all of you out there in rush rush land, if you take the time to read your entry before you hit the send button, you can fix your typos. I know--I tried it!