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Paradise Lost


Elizabeth Gordon

on 29 January 2013

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Transcript of Paradise Lost

Politics Now he's used as a defender of traditional literature values and the canon, the exemplar "dead white poet" that is taught in the traditional educational system. Biography Born December 9, 1608 (1603- James I became King 1603 ,1606- King Lear performed)
Father was a scrivener (scribe, a legal secretary)
1625- Entered Cambridge
1626- Kicked-out of Cambridge
Christ's Church was hotbed of Puritanism, this may be where his faith was cemented
1629 first famous poem, "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity"
Father supported Milton for "six years of leisure in the country in preparation for a literary career" (Hollander, 408)
1638 Grand Tour (met Galileo), returned for English Civil War
1642 Married Mary Powell, she inspired his treatises on divorce
1649 King Charles I beheaded, Milton took position in new Commonwealth Government John Milton (1608-1674) Considered by many (Yale) to be the greatest English poet ever, and by some to be a greater writer than Shakespeare.

Milton's writing is not necessary thought of as "beautiful" writing, but powerful. Milton stated, in his early twenties, that his literature would be included among the most respected literature in the English cannon. He was correct. His Writings Paradise Lost Considered the greatest epic in the English language. Overview "THE FALL OF SATAN" (we're reading this)
• Satan and angels rebelled and were kicked out of heaven
– pride and willfulness were Satan’s motives
• Satan and his gang sit in a lake of fire until God allows them to escape
• Satan says he will get revenge on God by tempting Adam and Eve
• According to Milton, Satan cannot win his battle because his will to do evil is permitted by God and ultimately serves God’s ends.

• Satan—Lucifer in Heaven
• Beelzebub—Satan’s lieutenant and
• God—Center of universe
• Michael—Angel who leads God’s
angelic army against Satan Supported Oliver Cromwell and the Puritan Revolution (during this time theater, pubs, sports, make-up and Christmas were banned as immoral). When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my Maker, and present
My true account, lest He returning chide;
"Doth God exact day-labor, light denied?"
I fondly ask. But Patience, to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, "God doth not need
Either man's work or His own gifts. Who best
Bear His mild yoke, they serve Him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at His bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait." Left-wing radical… was a revolutionary.

He wrote the first published work that asked for an armed
rebellion against the English monarch, it is "the duty of a
nation to rise up and overthrow an unjust and illegitimate
king." Demanded the execution of Charles I.

Published tracts arguing for divorces based on incompatibility.
Known by the public as "Milton the Divorcer"

Attempted to justify polygamy in pamphlets.

In response to his pamphlets being banned, he wrote treatises on censorship. During his time, he was thought of as an attacker of moderate Christian values. 1626- "In Quintum Novembris"
Written in Latin at 17 years of age
1634- Comus
1645- From Poems &c.
1667- Paradise Lost
1670- History of Britain
1671- Paradise Regain'd
1673- Of True Religion and Poems, &c.
1674- Paradise Lost (Expanded Version) 1652 Milton lost his eyesight: "When I Consider How My Light is Spent"
1656 Married second wife
1658 Cromwell died, Milton thrown in jail
1660 Released from jail (good friends), married 3rd Wife
Daughters did not approve, resented their father
1674 Dies "peacefully" of gout
Given a monument in the Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey (along with Chaucer, Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Edmund Spenser, Alexander Pope, etc.) Gifted with words at an early age (at 15 he translated Psalm 114 from original Hebrew into heroic couplets [rhyming pairs of iambic pentameter]), Milton attempted to rewrite everything; he created his own grammar system, wrote a history of Britain (God's Chosen Nation), a theology inventing his own version of religion, and constructed treatises on education. Milton aimed "to recreate Western culture in his own image." (Rogers) Milton began his magnum opus sometime in the mid 1650s although he had been planning his epic for many decades. He was, of course, completely blind. He dictated his work to an amanuensis (scribe) and the work was completed in 1667. Despite his political troubles, his work was immediately embraced as a work of genius.

It contains 10,000 lines of blank verse, and is divided into 12 books. The number of books correspond with the traditional numbers for classical epics (12 or 24 books), as Milton aspired to emulate the classic poets. The lack of rhyme was explained by Milton in typical style:
The measure is English heroic verse without rime, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin- rime being no necessary adjunct or true ornament of poem or good verse, in longer works especially, but the invention of a barbarous age, to set out wretched matter and lame meter... (qtd. in Hollander 409)
In addition to structure, the epic also glorifies the cultural values
of the time while exploring a "big question," in this case,
man's relationship with God. Without Milton nothing would be 'terrific', 'enjoyable', or 'enlightening'. Civilizing, Satanic, Pandemonium, Ecstatic, Endearing, Sensuous, Debauchery, Depravity, Extravagance, Cooking, Hurried, Half-Starved, Unhealthily, Padlock, Untack, Criticize, Disregard, Dismissive, Exhilarating, Stunning, Complacency, Attacks, Exploding, Airborne, Irresponsible, Undesirable, Persuasively, embellishing, embittered, hot-headed, fragrances, self-delusion, unoriginal
'Every cloud has a silver lining' The poem rewrites the book of Genesis and was intended to "justify the ways of God to men." Its themes include the fall of man and ways of restoration,
free will, and political revolution. Protestant Epic The narrative is an epic retelling of both Satan's fall from Heaven into chaos, and Adam and Eve falling from grace. They are the heroes of the poem as they represent all of humanity as they are flawed but still find love/forgiveness with God.

Milton's theological message: God is not responsible for evil that exists in this world, rather, Adam and Eve’s disobedience to God brought death/evil into the world for human beings forever after.

God purposefully let Satan escape from Hell and establish himself on Earth, not only so that Satan’s deed would damn him further, but so that human beings would have something to fight against and eventually triumph over at the end of time – what good is virtue/morality if a person does not then have to contend with evil?

The "Happy Ending" is when Adam and Eve lose Paradise but learn they have a chance to redeem themselves through virtuous behavior. They possess “A Paradise within thee, happier far." Plot Milton is estimated at speaking over 10 languages, thus he uses the etymological ties of words to
create multiple connotations and denotations in his verse. Over 600 words, which we use today, were coined in the poem. Many didn't make the cut, too many opiniastrous scholars decided that they were unreducible.
-blank verse
-allusions (mythology, biblical stories, etc.)
-in medias res (starts in the middle and jumps around, a trait of classic epics)
-begins with an invocation of the muse

the basics
-setting: heaven, chaos, paradise
-point of view: 3rd person omniscient narrator
-voice: Milton (his take on Christianity)
-language use: connotations, denotations, "Dark Satanic language" (Satan uses persuasive double speak) Notes on Style and Structure Works Cited

Alexander, Gavin. "Why Milton Matters." Christ's College.
Cambridge, UK. 2008.

Hollander, Robert. Western Literature: The Middle Ages,
Renaissance, Enlightenment. New York: Harcourt, 1971. Print.

Johnston, Ian. "Lecture on Milton's Paradise Lost." Vancouver
Island University. Vancouver. November, 1988.

Rogers, John. " Introduction: Milton, Power, and the Power of
Milton." Yale University. New Haven, CT. 2013.

Rushworth, Ruth. "Language in Paradise Lost’, Darkness
Visible: a Resource for Studying Milton’s Paradise Lost." Christ's College. Cambridge, UK. 2008. The English Civil War(s) The conflict began due to the hatred of the reign of Charles I (son
of James I)
He wanted to expand his kingdom (absolving Scotland and
Married a Catholic Princess
Started expensive wars
Fought with Parliament/Dissolved Parliament/Started a new
Parliament and then refused to call it to session for a decade, "Eleven Years' Tyranny"
Started making church more ceremonial (seen as a return to
Cut off the ears of political opponents (a punishment offensive to
gentlemen") FUN FACT: Beelzebub literally means "Lord of the Flies"
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