The poem is divided up into 12 books. The verse is English heroic without rhyme, as that of Homer in Greek, and of Virgil in Latin. (Knopf, 1996) “This neglect then of rhyme so little is to be taken for a defect, though it may seem so perhaps to vulgar readers, that it rather is to be esteemed an example set, the first in English, of ancient liberty recovered to heroic poem from the troublesome and modern bondage of writing.” (Knopf, 1996)
Book One proposes the whole subject of the poem of mans disobedience and the loss of the Paradise where God had placed him. The serpent or Satan is talked about whom is the prime cause of mans fall. Satan who was once at Gods side had revolted and was driven out of heaven along with thousands of angels to a place of “utter darkness, filtiest called Chaos.”(Knopf, 1996) While they were recovering from being banished from heaven, Satan regroups them with a speech that they still have a chance to regain heaven. In his speech he also tells them of a new world that is to be created along with a new being. To find out if this prophecy is true, Satan convenes a full council in his palace called Pandemonium. This book ends as the consultation begins.
Book Two is where the debate among his council has begun and they are discussing basically three ideas. They are wondering if another battle will help them with the recovery of heaven and if it would be detrimental to their efforts. Some are for this proposal and others against it. The third proposal is to find out the truth of the prophecy of a new world and a new being. Whether the being is equal to them, or inferior. Satan will undertake this journey alone, which is seen as a very honorable thing to do. The council ends, with the rest of the council choosing a number of ways to occupy themselves until Satan returns from this journey. He needs to pass through the gates of hell. They are guarded and shut. He states the purpose of his journey to explore, and after some difficulty he is allowed to pass through with the help of Chaos who is the power of that place. He is then on his way to the new world that he is seeking.
Book Three is then a prediction of the fall of man. God is sitting on his throne with His Son at His side; they see Satan on his way to the newly created world. God foretells His Son of how Satan is able to trick man, as man is free to make his own choices. Because of the choices that man makes, he must die unless someone can be found who will answer to the sins of man, and will then take on the punishment for these sins. The Son of God then freely offers Himself as the ransom for mankind, and the Father accepts. There is then much celebration in heaven as they now have a plan to save mankind. Satan arrives: “thence comes to the gate of heaven, described ascending by stairs, and the water above the firmament that flow about it; his passage thence to the orb of the sun: he finds there Uriel,...