679-732, Book IX, in Milton's Paradise Lost, is a persuasive masterpiece carefully structured to appeal to her ambitious tendencies and to expand her already existing doubts (which Satan has implanted) as to the perfect nature of God.
wasn't just a poet; he was a wanted man. In the 1640s a civil war was raging in England. On one side were the Royalists, a group of people that supported (royalty, Royalists). On the other side were the Parliamentarians, the men of Parliament (think: Congress) who represented different parts of Britain. As you can probably guess, the Parliamentarians were fed up with their king and wanted Parliament to play a more important role in English politics and government. The young John Milton was all about the Parliamentarians and wrote a lot of pamphlets supporting their positions. In one very famous pamphlet, he actually defended Parliament's right to behead the king should the king be found inadequate. According to Milton, the king exists to serve the people and Parliament; if he doesn't fulfill his end of the bargain, they should be allowed to kill him. Cheery, huh?
As it turns out, Charles I didn't fulfill his end of the bargain (ruh-roh) and literally lost his head in 1649. There was no king until 1660. At that time, Parliament realized things weren't working out so well, so they decided to bring back Charles's exiled son, , and make him king. The return of Charles II from exile to assume the English throne is called the Restoration, because the English monarchy was restored.
As you might expect, Charles II wasn't too happy about his dad's death and he executed many of those responsible. While Milton wasn't directly involved in the beheading, he was still a wanted man. He spent some time behind bars, and almost found his way to the chopping block, but, thankfully, he was eventually pardoned with the help of influential friends like fellow poet . (Check out Andrew Marvell's poem ".")
By this time Milton was totally blind as well, and the thing for which he passionately fought (a better English government) was in ruins. In many ways, he was in the perfect position to write a poem about the loss of Paradise, seeing as how his own aspirations for a brand new government had gone up in smoke. People have often commented on the fact that Milton himself resembles the Satan he creates in his poem; Satan (who, when the story begins, has just been crushed) attempted to launch a revolution to do away with God, because he thought God was a tyrant. The similarities between Milton and the Satan he creates are huge and worth pondering. But, at the end of the day, we should be careful about identifying Milton – a very serious Christian – too completely with Satan and his wingmen.
But Milton didn't just write Paradise Lost because he was upset and felt that he had lost his own paradise; he had been planning the poem for quite some time. Actually, Milton always saw himself alongside the greatest poets of Western literature – (Greek), (Roman), (Italian), and (English), among others. Milton, being Milton, also realized that to be a full member of the Cool Writer Club he had to write an epic. But, whereas most of those other poets wrote epics celebrating martial heroism (i.e., being a good soldier, winning wars, etc.), Milton's poem explores a more spiritual heroism.
If competing with the great poets of the past weren't enough, Milton was completely blind! He couldn't see. That means he had to dictate Paradise Lost to somebody (the person who transcribes a dictation is called an amanuensis, by the way; ten points if you can use that word in conversation today). Just try writing your next essay by dictation, and then imagine writing a poem that is several hundred pages long. Yikes!
32 Responses to JOHN MILTON – PARADISE LOST – SATAN’S SPEECH.
In this Gustave Dore engraving from Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan, the Fallen Angel, is flung from Heaven and nears the confines of the Earth on his way to Hell.
John Milton's Paradise Lost (pg. 524) Castille …
Though Pythagoras is credited with first using this term to describe the Universe, probably since he is also the one most commonly cited for ideas of harmony and the Musica Mundana, cosmos is generally a contrast to "chaos"-"the first state of the universe." In explaining the theology and cosmology of Paradise Lost, Milton writes, "the heavens and earth/ Rose out of Chaos," describing the move from the formless mass to the ordered whole....
Top Ten Favorite Quotes from John Milton’s Paradise Lost
In composing this extraordinary work, John Milton was, for the most part, following in the manner of epic poets of past centuries: Barbara Lewalski notes that Paradise Lost is an "epic whose closest structural affinities are to Virgil's Aeneid .
Background and Politics in John Milton`s Paradise ..
Many scholars have noted Milton’s reliance on personal discovery throughout Paradise Lost; Stanley Eugene Fish points out that discovery operates in Paradise Lost in a way that “is analogous to that of the Mosaic Law” because it invokes a level of interaction with the reader that is able to “bring us to the righteousness of Christ” (526-7)....