The First Words Of Paradise Lost Essay

The First Words Of Paradise Lost Essay

Length: 1438 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The first words of Paradise Lost states that the poem’s main theme would be of “Man’s first Disobedience.” Milton narrated the story of Adam and Eve’s defiance, explained how and why it happened, and placed the story within the larger context of Satan’s revolt and Jesus’ rebirth. Raphael informed Adam about Satan’s defiance in an effort to give him a secure understanding of the danger that Satan and humanity’s defiance poses. Paradise Lost presented two moral paths that one can take after defiance: the descending spiral of growing sin and dreadful conditions, exemplified by Satan, and the road to improvement, exemplified by Adam and Eve.
While Adam and Eve were the first individuals to defy God, Satan is the first of all God’s creation to disobey. His choice to rebel came only from himself—he was not convinced or motivated by others. Also, his choice to continue to defy God after his fall into Hell guaranteed that God would not forgive him. On the other hand, Adam and Eve chose to repent for their sins and asked for forgiveness. Unlike Satan, Adam and Eve understood that their defiance to God would be amended through generations of labor on Earth. This path is obviously the correct one to take: the visions in Books XI and XII established that compliance to God, even after constant falls, could lead to humanity’s deliverance.
Paradise Lost is about hierarchy as much as it is about compliance. The arrangement of the universe—with Heaven above, Hell below, and Earth in the middle—presented the universe as a hierarchy based on closeness to God and his grace. This hierarchy led to a social hierarchy of angels, humans, animals, and devils: the Son is next to God, with the seraphs and cherubs behind him. Adam and Eve and Earth’s animals...


... middle of paper ...


...gnifying its lightness and worthlessness. These scales symbolize the fact that God and Satan are not truly on opposite sides of a struggle—God is all-powerful, and Satan and Gabriel both derive all of their power from Him. God’s scales force Satan to realize the futility of taking arms against one of God’s angels again.
The wreath that Adam makes as he and Eve work separately in Book IX is symbolic in several ways. First, it represents his love for her and his attraction to her. But as he is about to give the wreath to her, his shock in noticing that she has eaten from the Tree of Knowledge makes him drop it to the ground. His dropping of the wreath symbolizes that his love and attraction to Eve is falling away. His image of her as a spiritual companion has been shattered completely, as he realizes her fallen state. The fallen wreath represents the loss of pure love.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Analysis Of The Book ' Paradise Lost ' Essays

- Adam and Eve are the parents of all. They started off perfect, but that all changed with the single bite of a forbidden fruit. That one bite changed the world forever. In Milton’s “Paradise Lost” he fills in the literary and theological gaps of Genesis chapter three. Milton’s job in Book IV is to separate Adam and Eve whenever Eve gets tempted. He does so by making them have a debate about splitting up to tend to the garden. Eve argues that she will be okay while Adam argues that she should stay with him so he can protect her....   [tags: Garden of Eden, Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve]

Better Essays
970 words (2.8 pages)

Paradise Lost By John Milton Essay

- “Solitude sometimes is best society” (Book IX, Line 249), a famous quote in John Milton’s 17th cen. epic poem Paradise Lost, summarizes a separation from Heaven which results in the fall of Lucifer, one of God’s fallen angels. The silent battle between God and Satan, the development of characters and the themes in the epic adds to a better overall understanding of the Milton 's poem. The work is one of literature’s most profound, giving its audience an exclusive look at fate, free will and morality....   [tags: Paradise Lost, Epic poetry, John Milton]

Better Essays
2194 words (6.3 pages)

Essay about Mary Shelley 's Paradise Lost

- Mary Shelley’s novel, Frankenstein, illustrates the Romantic idea of the sublime naturalworld as an emotional experience for the characters of the novel. Within the text, Shelleyutilizes an allusion to the John Milton’s biblical story, Paradise Lost, to make a parallel betweenthe characters. Within the passage, the monster compares himself, as well as his creator, Victor,to the characters Adam and Satan. He comes to realize that he is more similar to Satan;ultimately, leading him to his reign of terror and the revenge he wishes to impose on Victor....   [tags: Paradise Lost, Frankenstein, Mary Shelley]

Better Essays
823 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on John Miltons's Paradise Lost: Is Satan a Villain or Hero?

- The question of whether Satan is the hero or the villain of John Milton’s Paradise Lost has been largely debated by scholars over the centuries. The ones who believe Satan is the villain of the epic, more commonly known as the Anti-Satanists, tend to argue that Satan is too foolish to be considered a hero, as his “hostility to Almighty power” is ultimately a futile endeavour (as God’s power is omnipotent) (Carey, 135). C.W. Lewis, also an anti-Satanist, goes as far as to claim that to “admire Satan, then, is to give one’s vote not only for a world of misery, but also for a world of lies and propaganda, of wishful thinking” (Lewis, 203)....   [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]

Better Essays
2016 words (5.8 pages)

John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

- John Milton's Paradise Lost John Milton’s Paradise Lost is filled with fantastical tales from the depths of Hell, extravagant descriptions of the fallen angels, and a curious recitation of the council of demons in their new palace. How did Milton dream up such vivid depictions of such horrible demons as the ones we see in Book I. Most of his fallen angels originate in the form of Pagan gods condemned by the Bible, with actual historical backgrounds which Milton cites in his lengthy descriptions....   [tags: John Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Better Essays
3096 words (8.8 pages)

John Milton's Paradise Lost as Christian Epic Essay example

- Paradise Lost as Christian Epic John Milton's great epic poem, Paradise Lost, was written between the 1640's and 1665 in England, at a time of rapid change in the western world. Milton, a Puritan, clung to traditional Christian beliefs throughout his epic, but he also combined signs of the changing modern era with ancient epic style to craft a masterpiece. He chose as the subject of his great work the fall of man, from Genesis, which was a very popular story to discuss and retell at the time. His whole life had led up to the completion of this greatest work; he put over twenty years of time and almost as many years of study and travel to build a timeless classic....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Better Essays
1144 words (3.3 pages)

Satan is No Hero in John Milton's Paradise Lost Essays

- Satan is No Hero in Paradise Lost There have been many different interpretations of John Milton's epic, Paradise Lost. Milton's purpose in writing the epic was to explain the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Although the epic is similar to the Bible story in many ways, Milton's character structure differs from that of the Bible's version. Through-out the epic Milton describes the characters in the way he believes they are. In book II of Paradise Lost, Milton portrays Satan as a rebel who exhibits certain heroic qualities, but who turns out not to be a hero....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Free Essays
1717 words (4.9 pages)

Essay on Satan: The True Hero of Paradise Lost by Milton

- Satan: The True Hero of Paradise Lost by Milton The identity of the true protagonist in Paradise Lost is a mystery. One would gather that Milton, a Puritan, would have no problem casting God as the hero, and Satan as the antagonist. However, looking back in history, Milton saw that most epic heroes had conflicts that prevented them from accomplishing their goals. God and his Son have no conflict, and Adam’s story does not really begin until the Fall of Man. Therefore, Milton was forced to select Satan as the hero of Paradise Lost because he adheres to the guidelines of epic poetry set by Homer, Virgil and others....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Better Essays
1622 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Predestination in Book III of John Milton's Paradise Lost

- Predestination in Book III of Paradise Lost   Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost is nothing less than to assert eternal providence and justify the ways of God to men - a most daunting task.  For Milton to succeed in his endeavour, he has to unravel a number of theologiccal thorns that have troubled christian philosophers for centuries.  Since his epic poem is, essentially, a twelve book argument building to a logical conclusion - the 'justification of the ways of God to men' - he will necessarily have to deal with these dogmatic problems, and, in doing so, reveal his own take on the Christian theology....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Better Essays
1629 words (4.7 pages)

Importance of Debate in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- Importance of Debate in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Paradise Lost Is an epic novel depicting the creation of the world and Man's fall from grace. It also shows the fall of Lucifer and his entrapment in Hell with other arch demons. Though Lucifer was one of the most beautiful angels, he became the most hideous of creatures in hell as Satan, the most powerful demigod-god. Satan resents God for the punishment that he has received and seeks revenge on Him. Satan knows, however, that he and his forces are no match for the might of Heaven, so he calls for a debate among his devilish council to work through their options....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Free Essays
703 words (2 pages)