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Paradise Lost John Milton (9 December 1608 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, and civil servant

t for the Commonwealth of England. He is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. He was a scholarly man of letters, a polemical writer, and an official serving under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval in England, and his poetry and prose reflect deep convictions and deal with contemporary issues, such as his treatise condemning licensing, Areopagitica. As well as English, he wrote in Latin and Italian, and had an international reputation during his lifetime. After his death, Milton's critical reception oscillated, a state of affairs that continued through the centuries. At an early stage he became the subject of partisan biographies, such as that of John Toland from the nonconformist perspective, and a hostile account by Anthony Wood. Samuel Johnson wrote unfavourably of his politics as those of "an acrimonious and surly republican"; but praised Paradise Lost "a poem which, considered with respect to design may claim the first place, and with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind". William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author".[1] He remains generally regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language and as a thinker of world importance."[2]

Plot The story opens in hell, where Satan and his followers are recovering from defeat in a war they waged against God. They build a palace, called Pandemonium, where they hold council to determine whether or not to return to battle. Instead they decide to explore a new world prophecied to be created, where a safer course of revenge can be planned. Satan undertakes the mission alone. At the gate of hell, he meets his offspring, Sin and Death, who unbar the gates for him. He journeys across chaos till he sees the new universe floating near the larger globe which is heaven. God sees Satan flying towards this world and foretells the fall of man. His Son, who sits at his right hand, offers to sacrifice himself for man's salvation. Meanwhile, Satan enters the new universe. He flies to the sun, where he tricks an angel, Uriel, into showing him the way to man's home. Satan gains entrance into the Garden of Eden, where he finds Adam and Eve and becomes jealous of them. He overhears them speak of God's commandment that they should not eat the forbidden fruit. Uriel warns Gabriel and his angels, who are guarding the gate of Paradise, of Satan's presence. Satan is apprehended by them and banished from Eden. God sends Raphael to warn Adam and Eve about Satan. Raphael recounts to them how jealousy against the Son of God led a once favored angel to wage war against God in heaven, and how the Son, Messiah, cast him and his followers into hell. He relates how the world was created so mankind could one day replace the fallen angels in heaven. Satan returns to earth, and enters a serpent. Finding Eve alone he induces her to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Adam, resigned to join in her fate, eats also. Their innocence is lost and they become aware of their nakedness. In shame and despair, they become hostile to each other. The Son of God descends to earth to judge the sinners, mercifully delaying their sentence of death. Sin and Death, sensing Satan's success, build a highway to earth, their new home. Upon his return to hell, instead of a celebration of victory, Satan and his crew are turned into serpents as punishment. Adam reconciles with Eve. God sends Michael to expel the pair from Paradise, but first to reveal to Adam future events resulting from his sin. Adam is saddened by these visions, but ultimately revived by revelations of the future coming of the Savior of mankind. In sadness, mitigated with hope, Adam and Eve are sent away from the Garden of Paradise. Main Characters Satan - Head of the rebellious angels who have just fallen from Heaven. As the poems antagonist, Satan is the originator of sinthe first to be ungrateful for God the Fathers blessings. He embarks on a mission to Earth that eventually leads to the fall of Adam and Eve, but also worsens his eternal punishment. His character changes throughout the poem. Satan often appears to speak rationally and persuasively, but later in the poem we see the inconsistency and irrationality of his thoughts. He can assume any form, adopting both glorious and humble shapes.

Adam - The first human, the father of our race, and, along with his wife Eve, the caretaker of the Garden of Eden. Adam is grateful and obedient to God, but falls from grace when Eve convinces him to join her in the sin of eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve - The first woman and the mother of mankind. Eve was made from a rib taken from Adams side. Because she was made from Adam and for Adam, she is subservient to him. She is also weaker than Adam, so Satan focuses his powers of temptation on her. He succeeds in getting her to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree despite Gods command. God the Father - One part of the Christian Trinity. God the Father creates the world by means of God the Son, creating Adam and Eve last. He foresees the fall of mankind through them. He does not prevent their fall, in order to preserve their free will, but he does allow his Son to atone for their sins. God the Son - Jesus Christ, the second part of the Trinity. He delivers the fatal blow to Satans forces, sending them down into Hell, before the creation of Earth. When the fall of man is predicted, He offers himself as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of mankind, so that God the Father can be both just and merciful. Themes The Importance of Obedience to God The first words of Paradise Lost state that the poems main theme will be Mans first Disobedience. Milton narrates the story of Adam and Eves disobedience, explains how and why it happens, and places the story within the larger context of Satans rebellion and Jesus resurrection. Raphael tells Adam about Satans disobedience in an effort to give him a firm grasp of the threat that Satan and humankinds disobedience poses. In essence, Paradise Lost presents two moral paths that one can take after disobedience: the downward spiral of increasing sin and degradation, represented by Satan, and the road to redemption, represented by Adam and Eve. While Adam and Eve are the first humans to disobey God, Satan is the first of all Gods creation to disobey. His decision to rebel comes only from himselfhe was not persuaded or provoked by others. Also, his decision to continue to disobey God after his fall into Hell ensures that God will not forgive him. Adam and Eve, on the other hand, decide to repent for their sins and seek forgiveness. Unlike Satan, Adam and Eve understand that their disobedience to God will be corrected through generations of toil on Earth. This path is obviously the correct one to take: the visions in Books XI and XII demonstrate that obedience to God, even after repeated falls, can lead to humankinds salvation. The Hierarchical Nature of the Universe Paradise Lost is about hierarchy as much as it is about obedience. The layout of the universewith Heaven above, Hell below, and Earth in the middlepresents the universe as a hierarchy based on proximity to God and his grace. This spatial hierarchy leads to a social hierarchy of angels, humans, animals, and devils: the Son is closest to God, with the archangels and cherubs behind him. Adam and Eve and Earths animals come next, with Satan and the other fallen angels following last. To obey God is to respect this hierarchy. Satan refuses to honor the Son as his superior, thereby questioning Gods hierarchy. As the angels in Satans camp rebel, they hope to beat God and thereby dissolve what they believe to be an unfair hierarchy in Heaven. When the Son and the good angels defeat the rebel angels, the rebels are punished by being banished far away from Heaven. At least, Satan argues later, they can make their own hierarchy in Hell, but they are nevertheless subject to Gods overall hierarchy, in which they are ranked the lowest. Satan continues to disobey God and his hierarchy as he seeks to corrupt mankind. Likewise, humankinds disobedience is a corruption of Gods hierarchy. Before the fall, Adam and Eve treat the visiting angels with proper respect and acknowledgement of their closeness to God, and Eve embraces the subservient role allotted to her in her marriage. God and Raphael both instruct Adam that Eve is slightly farther removed from Gods grace than Adam because she was created to serve both God and him. When Eve persuades Adam to let her work alone, she challenges him, her superior, and he yields to her, his inferior. Again, as Adam eats from the fruit, he knowingly defies God by obeying Eve and his inner instinct instead of God and his reason. Adams visions in Books XI and XII show more examples of this disobedience to God and the universes hierarchy, but also demonstrate that with the Sons sacrifice, this hierarchy will be restored once again.

The Fall as Partly Fortunate After he sees the vision of Christs redemption of humankind in Book XII, Adam refers to his own sin as a felix culpa or happy fault, suggesting that the fall of humankind, while originally seeming an unmitigated catastrophe, does in fact bring good with it. Adam and Eves disobedience allows God to show his mercy and temperance in their punishments and his eternal providence toward humankind. This display of love and compassion, given through the Son, is a gift to humankind. Humankind must now experience pain and death, but humans can also experience mercy, salvation, and grace in ways they would not have been able to had they not disobeyed. While humankind has fallen from grace, individuals can redeem and save themselves through continued devotion and obedience to God. The salvation of humankind, in the form of The Sons sacrifice and resurrection, can begin to restore humankind to its former state. In other words, good will come of sin and death, and humankind will eventually be rewarded. This fortunate result justifies Gods reasoning and explains his ultimate plan for humankind. Paradise Lost Setting Heaven, Hell, the Garden of Eden Paradise Lost takes place right around what Christians would say is the beginning of human history. The poem begins after Satan's unsuccessful rebellion and the creation of the universe. Milton's conception of the cosmos is slightly strange, but basically at one end is Heaven, at the other is Hell, and in between is a place called Chaos (described in some detail in Book 2). Now, our universe the earth, the stars, Jupiter, the moon, etc. is enclosed in some type of spherical structure that is attached to Heaven by a chain. Just imagine a doll house (Heaven) floating in the air with a balloon attached to the bottom of it (inside the balloon is the universe as we know it). The first two books are set in Hell. Milton spends a good amount of time describing Hell's surroundings, even adding the little detail that Hell becomes a frozen, arctic tundra once one travels some distance from where the fallen angels initially congregate. After describing the frozen part of Hell, Milton says something to the effect of "it's so cold, it's hot." Very clever. Heaven is the setting of Books 3 and 6; Milton segues from Hell to Heaven right away in order to highlight the contrast between them. Unlike Hell, which is really hot and really cold, Heaven is temperate (i.e., not subject to extreme temperatures); Hell is dark ("darkness visible" reigns there) while Heaven is bright. Even when it is "nighttimes" in Heaven, it's not really dark, only dim. Hell isn't comfortable, but Heaven is the most peaceful place imaginable. The Garden of Eden is, for the most part, the setting of the rest of the poem. Paradise is exactly what you would expect. Every single sweet-smelling plant and tasty fruit exists there; all the animals get along (lions and tigers appear to be vegetarians because Milton tells us they don't chase other animals); and the weather is always perfect. What really drives the point home is the part where Adam and Eve drink from a cool stream. They don't have a cup, so they use a hallowed-out piece of fruit. Doesn't it remind you of Hawaii? Kind of? Just a little bit? While Milton does everything he possibly can to make Paradise appear pure and undefiled, his descriptions of the Garden of Eden always end up reminding us that we no longer possess it, that such a place can only be accessed through the imaginative productions of poets like Milton. When Adam and Eve leave the garden at the end of Book 12, a "flaming brand" or sword blocks the Gates of Paradise, reminding them (and us) of its ultimate inaccessibility. Sources . .......Milton used the Bible, Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Vergil's Aeneid, and the stories in Greco-Roman mythology as sources of information and as writing models. The Bible's Book of Genesis is the main source for his retelling of the story of creation and the first humans, Adam and Eve.

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By John Milton

Alumna: Mirta Morato Profesora: Rosa Ramos