John Milton's Paradise Lost

Powerful Essays
John Milton's Paradise Lost

Freedom (free will) is the absence of imposed behavior.

Individual freedom is obviously attractive, but when there is real

freedom of choice, the wrong choice is the one that is made - such as

the choice made by Satan who although he can be admired for his having

dared to rebel against the norm, is not heroic for having chosen to

plot against God. Free will was given to man in order to be able to

choose the faith since in the absence of free will, there is no way to

test faith. The more tested we are, the closer we are to God although

whether we truly exercise free will is questionable since perhaps it

is simply enforced via the threat of punishment upon transgression. In

any event, despite the sanctions, man continues to disobey.

Paradise Lost begins in medias res, i.e. in the middle of the action

and from line 1, the association is made to the consequences of

sinning (disobedience). Such is the responsibility of free will. The

motivation to sin is the associated pleasure of fulfilling individual

desires. Disobedience leads directly to punishment. It is important to

note however that there is no fulfilment with transgression since the

feelings associated with this fulfilment disappear before they can

even be apprehended while the punishment lasts. Milton surely knew all

about since as a puritan, he was a great believer of penance. It was

also believed by Protestants at the time that without deprivation

during life, there was no ascent to Heaven upon death.

Satan's flaw in one word was pride. For any true protestant, this is a

terrible sin since any achievement is directly attributable to God and

not to the man in question. Milton identifies pride as the cardinal

sin b...

... middle of paper ... throughout

Paradise Lost that this simple equation might work : since God is good

and Charles II can be compared to God then logically it can be

deducted that he is also good. Conversely, in the poem, we arrive at

the conclusion that Satan is bad and this time, since milton compares

cromwell to Satan then it would seem logical to deduce that cromwell

is also bad. However, this equation does not hold up to close

inspection and in this way, it is evident that in fact, this is a test

since we should properly analyse the facts and not simply accept

things at face value because they seem right. He encourages us to make

our own investiations and make informed, knowledgable decisions.

Consequently, it cannot be simply stated that all monarchs are good

since such sweeping statements are false and it is primordial to

properly examine each separate individual.
Get Access