Milton, Paradise Lost I


July 21st, 2017, Friday


A central work in the language and it seems, in Christian faith, Paradise Lost by Milton is  his treatise on the world view he developed: the consideration of Ptolemy’s ideas (book 8) and alternatives to them, setting Adam as the hero of his epic, and, if there are two heroes, Satan, too. The allusions to classical texts and other authors, commentary and contemplation on Biblical parables, are another aspect of the poem. His Muse, as he designs, is different from other Muses: traditional muses tend to be pagan, which is an extension to the idea of “a private sun”. That’s the first impressions one non-Christian may get on a first, cursory view. And, keeping religion out of the discussion for some time, the poet’s progressive approach may be considered. Milton may have influenced the flow of literature and even society (‘London, 1802’, Wordsworth) in ways that may go either way–an artificial epic, per se, invites this natural reaction of being questioned for it’s inorganic fabric. But an epic of art shall be a deliberate effort for a specific purpose. The stated purpose is here ‘to justify the ways of God to men’, but is that the intended purpose? Does Milton achieve what he intends? Or is he a contributor to the making of–or even at the roots of–the English society depicted in Wordsworth‘s aforesaid? And that is to quote just one instance. The assertion may be entirely facile or it might have substance, but, what is sure is the poet has had influence on the English, and on the world, though in a highly derivative manner on the latter. Nonetheless, the poem is a masterpiece and does rewards the poet with “Eternal Providence” and that may be reason enough for it to be studied. For besides, the themes of the work are universal and timeless.

The aforesaid ideas show how in the very generality the poem can be considered–which claim has the authority of Joyce–more fruitful shall then prove inquiries made in particular dimension and direction; one such which will be the ‘argument’ next time.

Summary of book I

The author sets the argument before the reader at once in the convention of the epic and digressing from it in various ways. As the poem continues, the scene is introduced with the description of the present scene and its precedent event: Satan with his angels on the lake in hell and his rebellion in heaven with Jove expelling him farthest thence. The dialogue between Satan and his second is presented next…


The post changes with time.


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