This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Dante’s Inferno In Milton´S Paradise Lost

1589 words - 7 pages

Many arguments have been made that Dante’s Inferno glimmers through here and there in Milton’s Paradise Lost. While at first glance the two poems seem quite drastically different in their portrayal of Hell, but scholars have made arguments that influence from Dante shines through Milton’s work as well as arguments refuting these claims. All of these arguments have their own merit and while there are instances where a Dantean influence can be seen throughout Paradise Lost, Milton’s progression of evil and Satan are quite different from Dante. Dante’s influence on Milton is noted by many scholars and is very apparent in several instances throughout Paradise Lost, however, Milton shows a ...view middle of the document...


George F. Butler also looks at the ways the Milton may have been influenced by Dante when writing Paradise Lost in his article “Giants and Fallen Angels in Dante and Milton: The Commedia and the Gigantomachy in Paradise Lost”. Butler also notes Milton’s interest in Italian writers and “his admiration of Dante and Petrarch” and that “so great was Milton’s understanding of Dante that David Masson claimed Milton knew the Commedia “better than any other Englishman alive.” [and] Milton may have continued to consult the Commedia while reading his epic.” He notes the influence of the Commedia in Paradise Lost and that “while both Dante and Milton describe heaven and hell in sometimes similar ways, the epic vision of each is fundamentally different”. Butler is arguing the influence of Dante in Milton’s “allusions to the Titans, Briareos, and Typhon [that] Milton equates Satan with the fierce monsters of classical mythology.” He claims “while Milton’s editors have noted the classical antecedents of his allusion to the gigantomachy, they have disregarded Dante’s role in Christianizing the myth.”
Like Butler, Irene Samuel also mentions Milton’s admiration for Dante. In Samuel’s article “The Valley of Serpents: Inferno XXIV-XXV and Paradise Lost X. 504-577” she says “only Dante can have suggested to Milton that the scene represent the penalty exacted by divine justice, that the criminal must go on being and doing involuntarily what he had formerly been and done by choice” referring to the scene in Paradise Lost that they are turned into serpents. She further discusses some similarities between the two hells in the article, which she expands on her book. Irene Samuel in Dante and Milton: The Commedia and Paradise Lost further explores in her book the various allusions to Dante’s Commedia in Paradise Lost. She says “the first thing to be said of the two Hells is that Milton grasped the meaning of Dante’s and found it relevant to his own concept.” (Samuel, 72) She notes that the two hell have the same purpose in which they explore their “insights into what has gone wrong in the world we know, what traits in humanity lead it to make earth a hell.” (Samuel, 72)
Ethan Smilie discusses the Dantean Contrapasso seeping through to Paradise Lost in his article “Satan’s Unconquerable Will and Milton’s Use of Dantean Contrapasso in Paradise Lost”. In his article, he discusses many of the authors previously mentioned such as Samuel, Hollander, and Gurteen, and develops his own ideas about Milton’s use of Dante’s form of punishments. He makes note of the fact that “when Satan returns to Hell after successfully tempting Eve…he hears a “universal hiss” as he and his crew transform into serpents” which “is clearly an allusion to that which the thieves undergo in Cantos 24 and 25 of Dante’s Inferno.”
Other scholars agree that there is some flicker of Dante through Paradise Lost but argue that, although there are instances where it seems clear of the influence, Milton and...

Find Another Essay On Dante’s Inferno in Milton´s Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost, by John Milton Essay

1191 words - 5 pages 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

Paradise Lost by John Milton Essay

712 words - 3 pages Heather R. George Professor Paige Sasser ENG 2323 May 28, 2014 Literary Analysis Essay Paradise Lost John Milton's Paradise Lost is a configuration of the biblical interpretations in Genesis written in the 17th Century. In many ways this story is like the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible; although some aspects are significantly different. Some may try and argue that this poem is about Satan wanting revenge on God; however it shows a beautiful

Reflections of Milton in Paradise Lost and On Having Arrived

958 words - 4 pages At a young age, John Milton was convinced that he was destined forgreatness. He thought that he "might perhaps leave something so written toaftertimes as they should not willingly let it die"(Text 414). For thisreason he thought that his life was very important to himself and to others.He often wrote directly about himself, and he used his life experiences asroots for his literature. In Paradise Lost and in a sonnet entitled "OnHis Blindness

Analysis of Paradise Lost by John Milton

1001 words - 5 pages John Milton seeks to simply “justify the ways of God to men” with his timeless tale of the war between Heaven and Hell, leading to Lucifer being exiled from Heaven to deceiving God’s creation of man in Paradise Lost. I believe Milton is attempting to demonstrate the beginning of the root of all evil by exploring the fall of Lucifer and subsequently Eve’s fall in response. He begins with describing God creating another universe with divine

Heroism in "Paradise Lost" by John Milton: A Movement Forward in Morality

2580 words - 10 pages Milton defines heroism in Paradise Lost as Biblical heroism, where the hero is not defined by physical strength but rather moral strength; this moral strength permits obedience to God. The Christian form of heroism obtains glory through submission rather then the heroes of past epics which obtain glory through defiance. In Paradise Lost, Milton asserts his intention to show that the fall of humankind is more heroic than the past epics of Homer

How Evil And Good Is Portrayed In "Paradise Lost" By John Milton

1258 words - 6 pages The original sin that led to humanity's fall in the Garden of Eden is by far the worst sin committed by humankind. It is this sin that led to future sins. This original sin must be emphasized by writers to depict the evil involved in it. In writing Paradise Lost, John Milton recognizes this fact and uses a variety of literary techniques to stress the evil in the story over the good. The techniques used include a series of parallels with the

The Role of Satan in Dante's Inferno and Specifically in Paradise Lost

2432 words - 10 pages . 2014. Kerrigan, William. "Complicated Monsters: Essence and Metamorphosis in Milton." Texas Studies in Literature and Language 46.3 (2004): 324-339. Academic Search Premier. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. John Leonard. London: Penguin Books, 2003. Print. Lewalski, Barbara Kiefer. Paradise Lost and the Rhetoric of Literary Forms. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1985. Print. Reeves, Charles H. "The Aristotelian

Paradise Lost by John Milton Essay Title: Is God Just?

1606 words - 6 pages John Milton's Paradise Lost has been perhaps one of the most heatedly debated works of Western literature. Critics of Paradise Lost have praised Milton for his accurate description of a divine omnipotent and just God. I intend to prove that God as depicted in Paradise Lost is not the same God that is depicted in the Bible. Milton makes a noble attempt, but he is guilty of being only human. He makes the attempt to portray God as fair and just

Paradise Lost by John Milton: Exploring the Themes of Mankind's Great Fall

903 words - 4 pages Considered by many scholars to be one of the greatest poems of the English language, Paradise Lost by John Milton tells the biblical story of Adam and Eve's fall from grace in language that is a supreme achievement in rhythm and sound. Written by a very bitter, very lonely Milton in his mid-50's, the book was widely criticized by the Catholic church. People wondered whether Milton sought to justify the mysterious ways of God or merely show the

Separation in Dante’s Inferno

1052 words - 5 pages allegories illustrate Dante’s view about sin and God. The psychological allegories illustrate the internal conflicts within Dante. The political allegories illustrate Dante’s frustration with the government, and how the church is involved in the government. The literary allegories illustrate the structure of Dante’s poem, or they describe Dante as a poet. In the Inferno, Dante separates hell and Mount Joy into three different levels. In the highest point

John Milton, 'Paradise Lost Books One and Two', title - 'Milton's is a highly visual representation of hell. What does he describe? How does he describe it? What purposes do his descriptions serve?'

1937 words - 8 pages conceived' (626-7), which sums up the similes used in Paradise Lost - they are merely an approximation of the horrid reality.Milton frequently uses images of the sun, sea and night to describe hell, and on three occasions in Book I and II uses a contrasting image of the sun covered by clouds. The first is a simile for Satan's appearance,as when the sun new risenLooks through the horizontal misty airShorn of his beams, or from behind the moon,In dim

Similar Essays

The Power Of Free Will In Milton?S Paradise Lost

1548 words - 6 pages The Power of Free Will in Milton's Paradise Lost Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Remember always that you not only have to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one." To be an individual means to act by choice and make decisions with free will enhanced by the power of knowledge. Only then are people true to themselves and to others. In Paradise Lost, Milton clearly conveys this concept of acting freely under God. He shows the reader

John Milton: Paradise Lost Essay

1533 words - 6 pages In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan seeks revenge against God and causes the fall of man. He deceives Adam and Eve and gets them to disobey God. God ends up seeming cruel because of the way He punishes Adam and Eve but, He’s not. God could have killed them for disobeying him, instead He’s giving them a second chance with life, its just going to be a harder life. God is just doing what He has to by sending them out of the Garden. He is the high

Satan, The Core Of Milton´S Paradise Lost

1621 words - 6 pages The great debate whether Satan is the hero of Milton’s Epic Poem, Paradise Lost, has been speculated for hundreds of years. Milton, a writer devoted to theology and the appraisal of God, may not have intended for his portrayal of Satan to be marked as heroic. Yet, this argument is valid and shares just how remarkable the study of literature can be. Milton wrote his tale of the fall of man in the 1674. His masterpiece is an example of how ideas

Paradise Lost By John Milton Essay

1088 words - 4 pages least partially accurate, as Wordsworth seems anxious to compete with Paradise Lost. Yet it is inaccurate to completely apply Bloom’s ‘anxiety of influence’ to Wordsworth. In Book IX of Paradise Lost, Milton debates his topic too. He is ‘not sedulous by nature to indite/Wars, hitherto the only argument/Heroic deemed’ (PL IX.27-9) and continues to dispel other ideas such as Arthurian legend. Wordsworth and Milton both reject what has gone before