The Life And Times Of John Milton

1424 words - 6 pages

John Milton lived from 1608 to 1674 and was therefore a major part of the Neoclassical Period. Paradise Lost by John Milton was and still is an extremely controversial piece of literature. I have found that the more controversial and disputed a subject is, the more interesting it is to read about. Christianity is a notoriously touchy subject, so naturally I was pulled towards Paradise Lost. When I began my research on this “lost” treasure, I discovered that the recently blinded Milton focused on the tragedy of Adam and Eve. Milton intended to show men the righteous path that God took by rewriting and explaining the original sin (Luxon, “Milton Reading Room”). John Milton contemplated publishing Paradise Lost for a long time due to the controversial nature of the epic. Milton knew that releasing his work into the public would most likely cause an uproar or two, but in the end decided to do it anyway. Little did Milton know that Paradise Lost would be known as "the greatest epic poem in the English language” (Paradise Lost: A Brief Overview).
The first copy of Paradise Lost was published in 1667 in the form of ten books. After the initial publication, Milton split two of the longer books in half to reorganize the series into twelve books. In addition to reorganizing the poem, Milton added an introductory “argument” that explained the contents of each individual book to prepare readers for the intricate analogies and diversions into ancient history that the poem consisted of (Paradise Lost: A Brief Overview). However, if a reader is so dedicated to work through the poems ornate descriptions, comparisons, and references, the reward can be great. I was required to go to many different websites and read many summaries to clearly understand this poem. Paradise Lost is an extremely complex and detailed piece of literature, but all the digging and fact-finding made reading it more than worthwhile.
The central story line is built around the story of Genesis (otherwise known as the story of Adam and Eve), so it only makes sense that this is where the first book begins. “The poem tells the story of Satan’s rebellion against God, his expulsion from Heaven along with the rest of the rebel angels, and how he tempted Adam and Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit and fall from grace” (Lee, “Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton”). I found Milton’s approach to the epic to be unique. Instead of writing the poem in the typical God-favoring fashion, John Milton took a risk in emphasizing Satan’s role in the infamous tale. Milton writes Lucifer’s schemes, actions, and consequences in great detail; more so than any other character. “Milton’s Satan is one of the most three-dimensional characters in anything I have ever read” (Lee, “Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained by John Milton”). Milton steadily builds the poem on how Satan’s envy of Jesus Christ led the dark angel to encourage all those similar to rebel against God (Paradise Lost: A Brief...

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