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Paradise Lost



An epic poem in blank verse, considered by many scholars to be one of the greatest poems of the English language. Paradise Lost tells the biblical story of the fall from grace of Adam and Eve (and, by extension, all humanity) in language that is a supreme achievement of rhythm and sound. The main characters in the poem are God, Lucifer (Satan), Adam, and Eve. Much has been written about Milton's powerful and sympathetic characterization of Satan. The Romantic poets William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley saw Satan as the real hero of the poem and applauded his rebellion against the tyranny of Heaven. Many other works of art have been inspired by Paradise Lost, notably Joseph Haydn's oratorio The Creation (1798) and John Keats's long poem "Endymion" (1818). Milton's Paradise Regained (1671) dramatizes the temptation of Christ.

Paradise Lost is about Adam and Eve--how they came to be created and how they came to lose their place in the Garden of Eden, also called Paradise. It's the same story you find in the first pages of Genesis, expanded by Milton into a very long, detailed, narrative poem. It also includes the story of the origin of Satan. Originally he was called Lucifer, an angel in heaven who led his followers in a war against God, and was ultimately sent with them to hell. Thirst for revenge led him to cause man's downfall by turning into a serpent and tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit.--Submitted by Anonymous

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Recent Forum Posts on Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost: A good place to keep notes

This seems to be a good place to keep notes as I read Paradise Lost. If you wish, feel free to comment. I will be reading from the Riverside Milton.

Best edition of Paradise Lost

Hi, I've not read PL before, and wish to do so in the near future. Just would like to get everyone's opinion on what they think is the best edition. If possible, I'd like one either w/o commentary or with notes at the very end (in a different section than the poem itself), so I would not be distracted by it and be able to have my own interpretation of the poem. Thanks~

PL's influential reach

I'm currently reading Paradise Lost, and I have to do a project describing what works have influenced it or what works have been influenced by it. I have more than enough for my project, but I'm curious as to what others there are in existence, as I'm sure there are many. Feel free to add to my list! I'd love to hear your opinions on pieces and on how they relate to PL. Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Mary Shelley's Frankenstein William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven & Hell & Milton: A Poem Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses The Bible

"paradise Lost"by Milton who can help me??

hi guys I've to write a research on "The religious and political attitudes for Milton's personal view and feelings through "Paradise Lost" i need some help have any link contains information about my topic?? i'm waiting for u:hurray:

i am an aspiring student of literature

hello people...i am on book viii of paradise lost for te fourth time.....such a great book..i can hardly put it down....i am amazed at how milton has taken a subject that i am not to wholly keen upon(religion)and turned it into one of the most vivid and lucid poems i have ever read...such beauty in his language...i am a poet myself s i can most definitly appreciate his work of sublime controversy....anyways comment please..i will be posting on this site much more often...

Paradise Apprehended

Mayhap in youth thou wast obliged to read, For reason unbeknownst or unreveal’d Or e’en set forth though not well understood, A poem, like the world, devoid of end; And somewhat sparsely stocked with full-stops, too, Though forc’d full as a feather’d Christmas goose With sub-clauses, enbracketed asides, Diversions in parentheses unseen And colons scatter’d: broadcast, as might be From out the hand of God like silver’d stars Thrown careless ’pon the darkling firmament In multitudes to mortal mind confound: Which – and here we’re harking back to ‘poem’ – Was billed in the curriculum or notes As perhaps the greatest blank-verse epic work In English; or in any other tongue: And ploughing through it, line by turgid line, As one compelled to eat a sheepskin rug, Thou mayst have wondered what the bloody hell Could be the gain, of knowledge, or of joy, Despite whate’er grades thou wouldst achieve To rise to high Academe. Fair point. In truth, the lumpen tone of Paradise Lost is such a product of its time That it’s of int’rest only to those few To whom Milton is Hist’ry (not High Art!) As ‘twere a mammoth cold-preserv’d in ice. On top of that, the poem’s moral stance And theologick thrust are obsolete. Age of Reason, my spare freaking rib. E’en as metaphor it’s pretty lame. Were style and content not enough to zonk Thee off to sleep as might a hand-cupped draught Of Lethe’s flow or poppy’s Orient sap, Then John’s insistent soporific iambs Thumping like a party down the hall Will spirit dull and senses all benumb. Ti-dum ti-dum ti-dum ti-bloody-dum.

paradise lost. Miltons use of language.

hiya, im writing a dissertation on Paradise lost for advanced higher english and I am way over my head!:( My teacher says that i dont have enough analysis on Miltons use of language in the verse when describing Satan. I know about the use of flattery toward beelzebub and the other fallen angels but after that im stuck! Please could all you clever people maybe show me a few quotes from the poem in which Milton uses impressive techniques when describing or characterising Satan? Thanks. xxx:)

A First Time Reader's Dilemma...

...To read it with or without all of extensive notations. I have the beautiful (but really heavy!) Modern Library Edition and it seems that each page of Paradise Lost is filled with maybe 50 words of the poem and 300 words of notes on the poem. I basically have two choices: Read the poem with or without the notes. There are pros and cons to both. If I choose to read them I will undoubtedly get a greater understanding of the poem, especially in all its complexities and subtleties that both first-time readers and poetry neophytes (like myself) will miss. The great con is that reading the notes will interrupt the flow of the poem. Obviously the pros and cons of not reading them is the reverse; a greater artistic experience in terms of how it was meant to be read, but a loss of the understanding. Normally I prefer to experience art first and THEN go back and talk/learn all about it. But with such a work as PL I'm wondering if I can enjoy it without fully understanding what all I'm reading. All advices and opinions are welcomed.

So what’s so great about Paradise Lost?

I’ll tell you what’s so great about it. Everything. I just finished reading this for the first time and, in a word, I found it amazing. (In two words: absolutely amazing.) This thing is beautiful. You could take out of it any 10 or 12 lines completely at random and you’d have yourself a wonderful poem. Here, let’s try it. Okay, I just flipped through the pages and stuck my finger in the middle and pointed randomly (my eyes looking away, over at my filing cabinet as a matter of fact) and then took the next several lines from wherever my finger happened to be pointing when I looked back again. Here is the result: How can I live without thee, how forego Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined, To live again in these wild woods forlorn? Should God create another Eve, and I Another rib afford, yet loss of thee Would never from my heart; no no, I feel The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh, Bone of my bone, thou art, and from thy state Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. (Book 9, lines 908-916.) Wow. See? Now, that would be amazing enough in, say, a one-hundred line poem. This work is over 11,000 lines! It's truly a marvel. One wonders at Milton’s true motivation with this work. It’s on the one hand breathtaking in its scope, yet is, in its essence, about one chapter of the Bible, namely Genesis 3. Of course other parts of the Bible are detailed as we hear about Creation and are given summaries as well of the flood, the Tower of Babel, and an introduction to Christ and the idea of redemption. What was Milton trying to do with this? It strikes me that, for his time, this must have been a pretty gutsy thing to write. The man had some brass, no? These were sacred texts. Who was he to feel he could expand or elaborate on them? Was he trying to pass it off as fiction? Or was he trying to present a more detailed explanation of arguably the most important part of the Bible? And did he feel he was somehow within his rights to do so? Whatever his thinking, it seems clear to me that he’s added immensely to the story. (I think, for example, that it’s Milton’s Satan we think of when we think of Satan, not the Bible’s.) Milton has brought it all to life. A damn fine reason to write poetry, if you ask me. A truly amazing read.

Paradise Lost appropriations?

I need to find two appropriations (works that draw on the original text) of Paradise Lost. So far I have the His Dark Materials series by Philliip Pullman, but I am having trouble finding anything else. Any suggestions?

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