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Milton's Religious, Heroic Epic

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Milton's Religious, Heroic Epic

John Milton's Paradise Lost rejects the traditional epic romanticism for a more heroic

theme, which is apparent throughout his entire work. He dabbles in religion, gender, sin, death,

and the fall of man. Paradise Lost also explores stories from the bible, using many of the same

characters. Milton gives his readers great insight into the war between good and evil, and the

hierarchy of the characters of Paradise Lost.

Stemming from the epic standpoint, it makes sense that Milton's characters are God, the

Son, good and evil angels, and Sin and Death. Paradise Lost provoked mixed reactions in the

three centuries since it was published. Most of the controversy surrounds two specific issues: it's

style and content. Mainly the issues surrounded it's religious context, and political overtones.

Those types of themes are difficult to separate in an epic(Bush 141).

Milton took a bold approach using blank verse in his heroic poem. He came up with a

unique style of expressie rhythm. Milton's verbal texture, similar to his epic orchestration, has a

wide range of flexibility. He defends his epic style in the short preface of Paradise Lost

(Hunter 142).

Milton discusses the plans for human beings, which is for Adam's descendants to be

saved from the corrupt world after they have accepted Christ's love, and what he did for the

future beings. The remade descendants of Adam are to witness that God's grace need not give

evidence for the abolition of natural man(Bloom 3).

Richard Baxter believes "the corrupt nature of man is more prone to question the truth of

God's word, then to see and confess their own ignorance and incapacity." This gives an idea of

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the faith and reason Milton revisits in his epic(Fish 241).

It is important to emphasize Milton's views on the high office of the poet-priest. That

kind of traditional conception held at such regard is uncommon in the Renaissance. Paradise

Lost is a prime example of Milton's deeply religious humility. His ideas of heritage need to be

revived in order to reach the mind of the reader(Bush 12).

Milton's Paradise Lost was clearly influenced by the bible. The Creation, and the Fall

played a large part in the making of his epic. Milton put his own poetic, artistic spin on what was

such an old story. He definitely made connections with most of his readers due to the time in

which his book was written. Many people around this time were well-versed on the teachings of

the bible(Hunter 111).

C.S. Lewis is one of the many critics to place importance on the belief that reading

Paradise Lost is considered to be a huge achievement in Christian humanism. It is Milton,

himself, who has a striking resemblance to Lewis. Being a writer, Lewis considers Milton a

scholarly man devoted to religion(Freedman 32).

The idea of the timeless, and ideologically unaffected patriarchy subject to vulnerability is

obvious throught Milton's epic. Many female readers were aware of a sense of oppression. That

represents an ideal, attainable equality of the sexes. Androgyny is often associated

metaphorically with an eglitarian form of marriage(Nyquist 167).

With Milton's command of language, and poetic style, much of the appeal of Paradise

Lost lies in it's controversial content. Temptation, and the Fall are rooted in the fight between

good and evil. It also surrounds the injustice of mankind. While wicked prevails in the world,

Milton portrayed that nature and value suffered(Kendrick 149).

In the case of Milton, the human person consists of a resistance between demonic, and

sacred qualities: ambition, hatred, and the passion to destroy. Being insatiable in Satan, all

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perverse examples of opposite sacred characteristics of selflessness, love, and creativity are

apparent. Mankind stands separate against itself(Bloom 1).

Milton, on account of many scholars, created his poem in the present sequence for the

degree of imagination, and the order he desired to promote. With the contrast, and parallels

emphasizing the small details, his epic did not require recasting or change(Bush 140).

The beginning of Paradise Lost states the moral distinctions conveyed by an

unconventional type of word play. Many words are placed so specifically, and suddenly in



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