John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

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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 ...


...ms 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.

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