Essay Selections From Milton's Parradise Lost Wrote This A While Ago. May Still Be Helpful.

1012 words - 4 pages

Poetic Thesis - MiltonTwo Passages from Paradise LostBefore beginning my analysis of this sample of John Milton work, I am sure someof you may find it interesting to note that before beginning his piece, Milton makes clearhis opposition to a poetic metre involving rhyme, this being the 'invention of a barbarousage'. Instead he writes in what he terms English heroic verse, or iambic pentameter,proposing to emulate the style of 'Homer in Greek or Virgil in Latin'. This poem - andhence the two passages which I examine - were inspired by the Bible, the former on theBook of Revelation and of various prophets and latter on that of Genesis and the Gospels.Both of these passages, as knows almost anybody familiar with English literature, dealwith the conflicting nature of God's will with free will and ensuing disobedience, and seemto be an attempt at setting up a groundwork for the English Church's views, which duringhis lifetime were the subject not only of debate and question but of Civil Wars andRevolutions.Book I, Lines ccxlii-cclxxThe first passage I chose perhaps for its position both as the vessel of perhapsMilton's best known line in the wider public, 'Better to reign in Hell than serve inHeaven,' and as perhaps the best framing for the dilemma of free will. In this first book,we see Satan and his friends in Hell following their defeat, somewhat angry because theyrealize now that they were fighting against an omnipotent foe all along. However, duringthe course of a conference between Satan and his leftenant Beelzebub, Satan decides thatHell may not be quite so terrible after all. Hey, he says. It's true we're outside his eternalbliss membership club. But on the other hand, we now have our own little plot of land,and he can't tell us to be wholly good anymore. Now we have the ability to do as we wish,with our own plot of land. Milton is himself wrestling with why exactly evil exists in aworld created by a good deity. 'Who now is sovran can dispose and bid/ What shall beright: farthest from him is best/ Whom reason hath equaled,force hath made supreme/Above his equals.Farewell happy fields/ Where joy for ever dwells: hail horrors, hail/Infernal world, and thou profoundest hell/ Receive thy new possessor...' In forsakingobedience Satan gives himself license to rule himself. And shortly after, 'What matterwhere, if I be still the same,/ And what I should be, all but less than he/Whom thunderhath made greater? Here at least/ We shall be free...' Yet here Milton also assures himself,and even through no less than Satan, that God is still above any contest of power.The depth which Milton uses to portray his projection of Satan's state of mind saysthat he himself pondered some of the same drives, to free himself from the yoke of God'sinfallible authority and take it upon himself, and for this in this brief passage the devilbecomes Promethean and almost heroic. Iambic pentametre adds to this appearance ofstruggle and drive throughout, he was probably...

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