“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Shakespeare II.i.166-67). So Hamlet tells Horatio when he marvels at the spectre of the ghost. Hamlet is telling his friend that science and natural philosophy can only account for so much. A point comes when humans cannot rationalize or prove certain events. In Paradise Lost , Raphael tells Adam similar sentiments when Adam questions him on the nature of the universe in Book VIII. However, Raphael goes on to warn Adam not to ponder deeply things that he can never know fully. This type of curiosity and desire for learning only leads to sin.
Yet, while Raphael is warning Adam not to think of these things, he himself speculates on the nature of the universe, planting ideas in Adam’s mind he did not have before. These ideas concern the theories of Ptolemy, Copernicus, and Galileo, much in dispute in Milton’s time. Though Milton seems to advance the Ptolemaic theory of the universe in Paradise Lost , the debate over which system Milton truly believed in is not the most important aspect of Raphael and Adam’s discussion in Book VIII. Knowledge is the true topic. What and how much can humans know?
Knowledge is the cornerstone of Paradise Lost . Adam and Eve must not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan pinpoints Adam and Eve’s vulnerability in their ignorance of evil. Adam worries that he may seek knowledge that displeases God. Raphael praises Adam’s thirst for knowledge and warns him about obsessively seeking knowledge that is useless. Eve eats the fruit because she wants to know how ...
... middle of paper ...
... the universe spends so much time circling the earth.
3 In Book VIII of Paradise Lost, Raphael discusses the source of the moon’s light (140-58).
4 “And now / [Adam] led on, yet sinless, with desire to know” (Paradise Lost VII.60-01).
Hughes, Merritt ed. John Milton: Complete Pomes and Major Prose. New York: Macmillan, 1957.
Marjara, Harinder Singh. Contemplation of Created Things: Science in "Paradise Lost". Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost ed. Alastair Fowler, Second Edition. London: Longman, 1998.
Nicolson, Majorie Hope. A Reader's Guide to John Milton. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1998.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Ed. Cyrus Hoy. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1992.
Williamson, George. ed. Milton: Formal Essays and Critical Asides. Cleveland: Case Western Reserve Univ. Press, 1970.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- In Paradise Lost, Milton writes the creation story from the perspective of three different characters: Eve, Raphael, and Adam, in that order. Eve’s story tells of her creation and her interest in herself rather than in Adam. Adam’s story tells the creation of animals and then of Eve from his rib. Raphael’s story is more of a warning to Adam to make sure that Eve does not eat from the tree of knowledge. Raphael is sent by God because he is omniscient and knows that Satan’s snake will tempt her. Analyzing from the perspective of the already fallen world, it is difficult for us to see how Raphael is doing much more than simply following God’s orders and warning Adam of Eve’s future actions.... [tags: paradaise lost, milton]
923 words (2.6 pages)
- John Milton grew up in a middle class family in London and was exposed highly to a variety of cultures. His father was highly devoted to the Protestant cause and this devotion wore off on Milton, which be demonstrated in many of his works. At the age 13, Milton began his formal education and was even tutored at home. He went on to several different higher learning opportunities and programs. By 1652, Milton found himself to be completely blind due to his long nights reading next to candle light.... [tags: John Milton, Epic poetry, Paradise Lost]
1247 words (3.6 pages)
- Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost After researching Satan and his kingdom, Hell, through the Bible and Paradise Lost to compare and contrast the two characterizations, I realized that Milton must have been a true Bible scholar. Milton’s Satan is described so closely to the Biblical view of Satan that it is often times hard to distinguish the two. Milton changed and elaborated on a few characteristics of his Satan and his Hell in order to create Paradise Lost, but based his characterization and his descriptions on his interpretation of the Bible, using his imagination to form a more vivid picture of how horrible Satan and Hell are in reality.... [tags: John Milton Satan Paradise Lost]
1787 words (5.1 pages)
- Milton makes Satan out to be a loveable likeable character that we can relate to, for a man of principle and a godly man why does he do this “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”Revelation 1: 8 in the King James Version John Milton’s Paradise lost is a poetic amalgam of vice and virtue it is an epic navigates the perils of right, wrong and the grey area that humans themselvesstraddle. An epic inherently conflicted at its very core stemming from the writer and the environment around him.... [tags: Paradise Lost John Milton]
1439 words (4.1 pages)
- 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]
1717 words (4.9 pages)
- 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]
1622 words (4.6 pages)
- Milton's Complex Satan in Paradise Lost Milton's Satan continues to fascinate critics largely because he is more complex than the Devil of the Christian tradition appears. Satan's rebelliousness, his seeking of transcendence, his capacity for action, particularly unconventional action, endeared him to certain types of minds, even if their viewpoint might be considered theologically misleading. Milton often follows the road of intellectual definition for his characters, of reasoning demonstration.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
741 words (2.1 pages)
- Passion to Change the World in John Milton's Paradise Lost The world I see around me every day is one based on reason, scientific principles, tolerance, freedom, and most of all, a deep-rooted skepticism toward any form of absolute truth. When I think about Paradise Lost, I cannot help but to ponder what implications Paradise Lost has in this cold post-modern world. The world was a very different place in 1666, and not to say Milton’s ideas where meaningful to everyone in the 17th century, but for many people today Paradise Lost is, to put it rather bluntly, little more than a fairy tale.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1611 words (4.6 pages)
- Speech and Deception in Milton's Paradise Lost "Rhetoric and sophistry testify to the fact that the world in which we live is a world of speech, that the clever man can compose at will in order to trick others." 1 Speech was perhaps the most important medium for Milton. As a blind poet, his lack of visual faculties was augmented by a renewed importance on auditory paths to enlightenment, especially the communicative. Therefore, contemplation of dialogue in Paradise Lost becomes an essential tool for developing a correct understanding of the characters, as Milton would have intended. Nowhere is this truer than with the character of Satan. Throughout the text, his rhetoric ex... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1724 words (4.9 pages)
- The classic tragedy Paradise Lost, written by John Milton, demonstrates how the fallen angels lose the paradise they have been given, and how this fall directly effects the downfall of man as well. Before anything ever was, all matter was chaos; utter darkness and filth. A mighty being, God, rose up out of chaos and created the firmament called Heaven, and all the universe (4). The angels, and archangels that populated Heaven, danced in the realms of the magnificent light (8). Lucifer, the highest archangel, stepped fourth and accused God of his power, jealously tying to take it from him.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1390 words (4 pages)
- Comparing Terror in Franz Kafka's The Trial and The Man Who Disappeared
- An Analysis of Paul Laurence Dunbar's We Wear the Mask
- Male Dominance in Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper
- Affirmative Action Promotes Discrimination in America
- The Problems With Affirmative Action
- The Dark Side of Social Media