Paradise Lost By John Milton  Essay

Paradise Lost By John Milton Nbsp Term paper

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Paradise Lost is a monumental epic poem in twelve books of blank verse. Paradise Lost is based on the Bible and other writings available in the Renaissance Era. The Epic begins with Milton's Intentions for "Paradise Lost." ;As stated in the beginning of the first book of Paradise Lost, Milton's intentions for writing his religious epic are to "assert Eternal Providence / And justify the ways of God to men" ;(Book I, ll. 25-26). Milton's audience, of course, is a fallen audience, like the narrator of the epic. Therefore, because the audience is essentially flawed there is a danger that we may not read the text as it was supposed to be read. Some may think Satan is the hero of the epic. Others may tend to blame God for allowing the falls to occur. However, both of these readings are thoughtless and are not what Milton has explicitly intended. Therefore, to prevent these prodigious readings, Milton has cleverly interwoven a theme of personal responsibility for one's actions throughout the epic. In this manner, Milton neutralizes God from any unfair blame, exposes Satan for the ill-Deceiver he is, and justifies the falls of both Angel and Man. A careful reading by the post-lapsarian audience reveals the author's intentions. First and foremost, Milton clears God's supreme being from any suspicion of blame by post-lapsarian readers for "letting" ;the Angels rebel or Man eat of the forbidden fruit. Milton skillfully defends God's knowledge in Book III, when God says to His Son, . . . they [rebel angels] themselves decreed Thir own revolt, not I: if I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no influence on their fault, Which had no less prov'd certain unforeknow. [my bold] Book III, ll. 116-119 The concept of free-will is of utmost importance to God, and it is the key to justifying the falls and properly placing blame. Free-willing behavior is the wellspring of joy from which God drinks, but it is also the justification for His punishment against those who disobey His order. As Milton continually notes, God takes His greatest pleasure in honoring and loving His faithful creations. Nowhere in the epic does Milton have God saying He thoroughly enjoys punishing the disobedient. Love, honor, and integrity are the main reasons that angels and men are manifested with the ability to freely choose their actions in the first place. As God rhetorically speaks of all of His creations in Book III, I made him [Man] just and right, Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall. Such I created all th' Ethereal Powers And Spirits, both them who stood and them who fail'd ;Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell. Not free, what proof could they have giv'n sincere Of true allegiance, constant Faith or Love, Where only what they needs must do, appear'd, Not what they would do? what praise could they receive? What pleasure I from such obedience paid, When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice) Useless and vain, of freedom both despoil'd, Made passive both, had serv'd necessity, Not mee. [my bold] Book III, ll. 98-111 God does not desire empty servitude. Forced praise, faithfulness, or adoration are empty and bordering with forced predestination: it obliterates free-will and any pleasure derived from it. Rather, God enjoys genuine love and honest faithfulness from His creations. The most obvious and deceitful sinner of God's will is Satan. Milton portrays Satan as a seemingly powerful and noble character who claims to have been wrongfully mistreated by the Almighty. His speech is loaded with appearance to reason and his arguments appear to be sound to the unobservant reader. One of many examples of his twisted speech occurs in the first book, in which Satan says, "Nor. . .do I repent or change, Though chang'd in outward luster ;that fixt mind And high disdain, from sense of injur'd merit, That with the mightiest rais'd me
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