Augustine & Dante prodigy & Shakespeare peer John Milton on Milton’s epic poem “Paradise Lost”: The poem concerns the Biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton’s purpose, stated in Book I, is to “justify the ways of God to men.”

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John Milton’s magnum opus epic poem Paradise Lost

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=images+milton+paradise+lost&qpvt=images+milton+paradise+lost&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=A901B3501B911EF49C605150146807B2D62A70C0&selectedIndex=40

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradise_Lost

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Great English Poet John Milton’s Paradise Lost is considered to be Milton’s “major work,” and the work helped to solidify his reputation as one of the greatest English poets of his time.

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/great-augustinian-acolyte-john-miltons-irony-paradox-of-hedonism-in-paradise-lost/

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/shakespeares-great-prodigyera-peer-john-miltons-poem-paradise-lost-is-about-the-fall-of-man-the-temptation-of-adam-and-eve-by-the-fallen-angel-satan-and-their-expulsion-from-the-garden-of-eden/

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Interpretation and criticism

The Creation of Man, engraving from the 1688 edition, by John Baptist Medina

The writer and critic Samuel Johnson wrote that Paradise Lost shows off “Milton’s peculiar power to astonish” and that “Milton seems to have been well acquainted with his own genius, and to know what it was that Nature had bestowed upon him more bountifully than upon others: the power of displaying the vast, illuminating the splendid, enforcing the awful, darkening the gloomy, and aggravating the dreadful.”

Regarding the war in the poem between Heaven and Hell, the Milton scholar John Leonard writes:

Paradise Lost is, among other things, a poem about civil war. Satan raises ‘impious war in Heav’n’ (i 43) by leading a third of the angels in revolt against God. The term ‘impious war’. . .implies that civil war is impious. But Milton applauded the English people for having the courage to depose and execute King Charles I. In his poem, however, he takes the side of ‘Heav’n’s awful Monarch’ (iv 960). Critics have long wrestled with the question of why an antimonarchist and defender of regicide should have chosen a subject that obliged him to defend monarchical authority

However, the editors at the Poetry Foundation argue that Milton’s criticism of the English monarchy was being directed specifically at the Stuart monarchy and not at the monarchy system in general.   In a similar vein, C.S. Lewis argued that there was no contradiction in Milton’s position in the poem since, from Lewis’ point of view, “Milton believed that God was his ‘natural superior’ and that Charles Stuart was not.”   Leonard places Empson’s interpretation “in the [Romantic interpretive] tradition of Blake and Shelley.”

 

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