Friday, October 16, 2015

Milton's Paradise Lost

    This poem was one of the first books that I bought with my own money at a bookstore. That along with other books like Robinson Crusoe and Pilgrim's Progress, were my first experiences of literature in general. Those two books, however, cannot compare to the heroic verse structure that you find in Milton's Paradise Lost, an epic poem that subsumes Homer, Virgil, Tasso, and so on.

    So the book that I'd like to discuss is Paradise Lost by John Milton. It is about the story of creation that we find in Genesis, but there are many Classical references as well. I feel that Satan is the central character, who reveals the fact that we identify with him at first but as we read through the poem, we feel that we would rather stay near our first parents: Adam and Eve, who are idealized human beings.

    The cosmos of PL consists of a three-tiered universe that some chide the biblical writers for. I sometimes wonder why science that has been evolving throughout these modern times must be used as a model for how pre-modern scientists should operate. Wouldn't it be nice if we could take what we know now and somehow give them our information? Perhaps, someday we will.

   Anyways, the three-tiered universe of PL is the backdrop for the event of the sin that Adam and Eve committed in the paradise that was the Garden of Eden. They were then cast out after they ate from one of trees of the garden, so that they then have to live without the sheltered lifestyle that they enjoyed together. And Satan was the one who led the assault on those two persons who ate.

  So the plot is simple enough to follow, but it's Satan who is the most intriguing because of his seductive charm that led our first parents to their demise. He was able to convince them in Book 9 to partake the fruit that was forbidden of them to eat. Then in Book 10, Satan is reduced to a hissing serpent, which is a long way down from the charismatic leader that we found in Book 2 of PL.

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