John Milton was born on the date 9 December 1608 and died on 8 November 1674. He was a known and successful English poet, polemicist, man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under Oliver Cromwell. He great works include at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best work of all time is his epic poem Paradise Lost written by him on the year 1667, written in blank verse.
Milton’s poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self-determination, and the main issues and political problems of his day. This piece of art is written in English, Latin, Greek, and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, and his celebrated Areopagitica (1644)—written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship—is among history’s most influential and impassioned defenses of free speech and freedom of the press.
John Milton has achieved many things and written great pieces of literature over his life span but Paradise Lost is kind of the big kahuna of his work. It rises above all his other works in various aspects. It in fact is one of the most known and recognized piece in the world of English literature. Milton and Shakespeare are recognized as the most known and important figures in the world of English literature. It was published in 1667, and Paradise Lost is the recreation of the Biblical story of the ‘Fall of Man,’ mostly taken from the Book of Genesis, and it’s through the lens of Greco-Roman epics like
Decades and centuries after being published critics are still arguing about the most basic aspects of the work, which is fitting – all of his writing inspired controversy. His books made people rethink and change their perception over different things
As we mentioned, Paradise Lost was published in 1667. It’s 10,000 lines long, so it’s an undertaking if you want to read the whole thing. It’s blank-verse, so it doesn’t rhyme, and it’s broken up into ten books. Actually, later editions of it broke it into 12 to try to mimic The Aeneid, which is the Latin poet Virgil’s major work.
Paradise lost was released by john Milton near the end of his life, that concludes that paradise lost was written by Milton when he had no sight to his aid and was also out of political favor. In fact it is believed that he was wanted by the authorities during that time. He wrote exemplary piece of literature by dictating it to his daughter because he was unable to see.
Paradise Lost follows two strands of narrative. In one strand he talks about Satan who’s the rebellious angel, also known as Lucifer, who was thrown out of heavens and into Hell. In the epic we can also see the setting of Eden’s garden where he mentions about the familiar resident couple, Adam and Eve, as Satan switches from Greek-tinged anti-hero to antagonist and tricks them into committing the Original Sin. It bears repeating that the plot outline of Paradise Lost is basically in the Book of Genesis.
Milton has used language so skillfully to dramatize the biblical story in a whole new and compelling way. Actually in such a compelling way, in such a long-lasting way, that a lot of our understanding of Genesis is actually influenced by Paradise Lost. So they kind of become synonymous in the way that we think about the creation story.
Themes of Paradise Lost
Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas described in a literary work. Milton chose Biblical theme for his epic, the fall of man from paradise on account of his sins. The following are the main themes:
Theme of Jealousy in Paradise Lost
The theme of jealousy us evident in the whole epic, Satan is jealous over the fact that a creature weaker than him , made out of soil and not fire gets to enjoy the luxurious life of heaven when he himself in abandoned and thrown in hell. Jealousy may also be attributed to Eve who falls in to the hands and schemes of Satan only because of her own free nature and free will. But she puts the blame on Adam for her fall and fears that Adam will continue to enjoy the fruit and bliss of heaven and she will be left alone. She is jealous of Adam’s happiness in Heaven if he is left alone.
Theme of revenge and forgiveness
Satan and his partakers wishes to get his revenge. While forgiveness is sought by man alone for a sin which was committed by them under illusions and false colouring. Satan, a fallen angle would not seek repentance while man is willing to bow before God for His grace.
Theme of fate and free will
Fate and free will are major and important topics in The Paradise Lost. God reveals to them that he knows what will happen to Adam and Eve in the upcoming future, but resolutely denies that there is any such thing as fate. God knows what will happen (that Adam and Eve will disobey him) just like we know the sun will rise tomorrow and the moon will come out every night. So it might seem sometimes like Adam and Eve never had a chance, but according to Milton, that’s just not true. After all, it’s not God’s fault that he can see everything that will happen as if it has already happened.
Theme of love
Love is the basic human feeling and the most discussed since creation. Love is something everyone strives for. Milton has presented love on two levels, and these two levels of love are human and Godly; this is the type of love Adam has for Eve, which forces him to share the punishment and consequences with her. He is not happy with Eve for having fallen to Satan but he still commits the crime by sharing her lot and eats the fruit of forbidden tree. On the other hand, God is angry with mankind yet he would not abandon them. He would bestow his grace upon them: ‘Man shall not quite be lost, but saved who will, yet not of will in him, but grace in me”.
Theme of Pride and its role in Paradise Lost
Satan is full of pride and considers himself wise and powerful. He rebels under the same illusion of his might and get destroyed by God in a single moment. Satan, though lost and hurled into the abyss of hell, still considers himself superior and attributes the superiority of God to His sceptre without which He would not defeat Satan. God humiliates man but he does not surrender before God and decides to fight forever.
Theme of innocence
Paradise lost takes place basically in a time and place when pass away, immoral act, and lying didn’t exist. In other words it deals with a time when people of this world were very virtuous. While Milton is a very good painter and paints the picture of decency.
Theme of lies and deceit
In Paradise Lost, Satan is a good deceiver. He told lies to Eve, telling her that all the Forbidden fruits has the power. But actually it doesn’t. Beyond that, he is able to agree a third of the angels that God is unfair. He deceive people and convince them to leave the heaven.
Explanation: The theme of Paradise Lost is vast universal. It covers and highlights the fortunes not of a city or an empire but also the whole human race, taking a particular incident from history that sealed our fate and destiny
The story of Paradise Lost is Biblical and theme falls into three parts, the major themes of this epic are the theme of disobedience, manifestation of Eternal Providence, and justification of Divine ways. All these themes are complete and support each other.
The first part of the theme focuses on the obedience to God’s commandments is imperative at all costs. Clearly stating gods rule and words rise above all odds and are unchangeable. In Paradise, God only warns Adam and Eve not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Only one condition was imposed on them. The prohibition is not so much a matter of fruit of a tree as it is obeying God’s ordinance. By not obeying God’s commandment, Adam and Eve brought calamity and destruction into their lives, and the lives of all mankind and all of humanity.
Milton’s theme of Paradise Lost, however, does end with the idea of disobedience. Milton says that he will assert Eternal Providence. If man had never disobeyed God, death would have never entered the world and Man would have become lesser angel. Because Adam and Eve gave into temptation and disobeyed God, they provided an opportunity for the manifestation of God’s love, mercy and grace so that fall ultimately produces a greater good than would have happened otherwise.
“Milton’s heart was not in that sort of justification, whatever he might have consciously thought.”
Those critics condemn Milton that by using word justify, Milton is arrogantly asserting that God’s motives and actions seem so arbitrary that they need vindication and explanation. However Milton’s theme of justifying God’s ways is not as arrogant as some critics think. Milton uses the word justify in the sense of showing justice that underlies an action. Moreover because of Satan’s allegations, Milton is compelled to speak God’s case to us or in his own words to “justify the ways of God to men”.