Preview
Preview

John Milton's Paradise Lost as Christian Epic Essay example

:: 1 Works Cited
Length: 1144 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Purple      
Open Document




- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Paradise Lost as Christian Epic

John Milton's great epic poem, Paradise Lost, was written between the 1640's and 1665 in England, at a time of rapid change in the western world. Milton, a Puritan, clung to traditional Christian beliefs throughout his epic, but he also combined signs of the changing modern era with ancient epic style to craft a masterpiece. He chose as the subject of his great work the fall of man, from Genesis, which was a very popular story to discuss and retell at the time. His whole life had led up to the completion of this greatest work; he put over twenty years of time and almost as many years of study and travel to build a timeless classic. The success of his poem lies in the fact that he skillfully combined classic epic tradition with strongly held Puritan Christian beliefs.

In Paradise Lost, Milton uses many conventions of the classic epic, including an invocation of the Muse, love, wa, a solitary voyage, heroism, the supernatural and mythical allusion. Milton writes, "Sing, Heavenly Muse, that on the secret top of Oreb, or of Sinai, didst inspire that shepard who first taught the chosen seed in the beginning how the heavens and earth rose out of Chaos." Here he invokes the traditional muse of the epic, yet in the same sentence he identifies the muse as a Christian being and asks him to sing of Christian tales.

A central theme of Paradise Lost is that of the deep and true love between Adam and Eve. This follows both traditonal Christianity and conventional epic style. Adam and Eve are created and placed on earth as "our first two parents, yet the only two of mankind, in the happy garden placed, reaping immortal fruits of joy and love, uninterrupted joy, unrivaled love, in blissful solitude."(...


... middle of paper ...


...le in one sentence. Thus, he successfully completes the tapestry which he has created, weaving the Bible and the genre of the epic closely together to create a work of art.

Throughout Paradise Lost, Milton uses various tools of the epic to convey a traditional and very popular Biblical story. He adds his own touches to make it more of an epic and to set forth new insights into God's ways and the temptations we all face. Through his uses of love, war, heroism, and allusion, Milton crafted an epic; through his references to the Bible and his selection of Christ as the hero, he set forth a beautifully religious Renaissance work. He masterfully combined these two techniques to create a beautiful story capable of withstanding the test of time and touching its readers for centuries.

Works Cited

Scott Elledge, ed., Paradise Lost, second edn. (NY: Norton, 1993).


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Treatise for the Christian Soldier in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay - Milton's Treatise for the Christian Soldier in Paradise Lost            While the War in Heaven, presented in Book VI of John Milton's Paradise Lost, operates as a refutation of the concept of glory associated with the epic tradition, the episode also serves a major theological purpose. It provides nothing less than a perfect example of how the Christian soldier should act obediently in combating evil, guarding against temptation, and remaining ever vigilant against the forces of darkness. It also offers the ultimate hope that Satan can be thwarted and comforts Christians in the knowledge that Satan cannot be victorious....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
:: 3 Works Cited
3827 words
(10.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Predestination in Book III of John Milton's Paradise Lost - Predestination in Book III of Paradise Lost   Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost is nothing less than to assert eternal providence and justify the ways of God to men - a most daunting task.  For Milton to succeed in his endeavour, he has to unravel a number of theologiccal thorns that have troubled christian philosophers for centuries.  Since his epic poem is, essentially, a twelve book argument building to a logical conclusion - the 'justification of the ways of God to men' - he will necessarily have to deal with these dogmatic problems, and, in doing so, reveal his own take on the Christian theology....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1629 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Connections in John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay - Paradise Lost: Connections "Put that down... NOW!" As many of us have grown older, familiar phrases return to us that were instilled during our childhood. These ideas taught us how to grow and learn within the world. Just As our Parents taught us these words, God taught Satan and everyone under him ideas for their further growth and enrichment. "Paradise Lost" contains connections which are still used today. "Paradise Lost's" initial connections begin with the awesome power of God. Another connection states Satan being theroot of all evil....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays] 574 words
(1.6 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Epic Characteristics of Milton's Paradise Lost - Paradise Lost is one of the finest examples of the epic tradition in all of literature. 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 . . . "; she continues, however, to state that we now recognize as well the influence of epic traditions and the presence of epic features other than Virgilian. Among the poem's Homeric elements are its Iliadic subject, the death and woe resulting from an act of disobedience; the portrayal of Satan as an Archillean hero motivated by a sense of injured merit and...   [tags: Epics Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
:: 12 Works Cited
3232 words
(9.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Free Essay on Milton's Paradise Lost - Paradise Lost as an Epic - Paradise Lost as an Epic   The Oxford English Dictionary defines "cosmos" as "the world or universe as an ordered and harmonious system," from the Greek, "kosmos," referring to an ordered and/or ornamental thing. 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....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays] 1720 words
(4.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on A Complex Satan in John Milton's Paradise Lost - Milton's Complex Satan in Paradise Lost Milton's Satan continues to fascinate critics largely because he is more complex than the Devil of the Christian tradition appears. Satan's rebelliousness, his seeking of transcendence, his capacity for action, particularly unconventional action, endeared him to certain types of minds, even if their viewpoint might be considered theologically misleading. Milton often follows the road of intellectual definition for his characters, of reasoning demonstration....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays] 741 words
(2.1 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Christianity and Greek Epic Tradition as Devices for Milton's Object in Paradise Lost - Christianity and Greek Epic Tradition as Devices for Milton's Object in Paradise Lost The widely known story of the Genesis account in the Bible of the creation and fall of humankind does not make for a very interesting story. Almost anyone familiar with Western tradition can provide at least this basic outline: God makes angels, the best angel wants to be God, the angel gets kicked out of Heaven into Hell, goes to the garden of Eden, persuades Eve to eat an apple, and down plunges humanity. So why, then, did Milton choose to use this particular piece of Biblical narrative, first, above his original intention of an Arthurian tale, and second, above any other account in the 66 books of the...   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
:: 8 Works Cited
2721 words
(7.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Free Essay: Deception of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost - Deception of Satan in Paradise Lost           The speeches of Moloch, Belial, Mammon, and Beelzebub represent particular ways of looking at life. Milton derived these views from I John 2:15 and 16 which says, "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world--the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does--comes not from the Father but from the world." Coming into the world, these demons transferred their philosophies to the human race....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays] 1697 words
(4.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Quest for Knowledge in Milton’s Paradise Lost - How Much can Humans Know? - Quest for Knowledge in Milton’s Paradise Lost - How Much can Humans Know. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” (Shakespeare II.i.166-67). So Hamlet tells Horatio when he marvels at the spectre of the ghost. Hamlet is telling his friend that science and natural philosophy can only account for so much. A point comes when humans cannot rationalize or prove certain events. In Paradise Lost , Raphael tells Adam similar sentiments when Adam questions him on the nature of the universe in Book VIII....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
3070 words
(8.8 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Rape of Proserpina and Eve's Fall in Milton's Paradise Lost - The Rape of Proserpina and Eve's Fall in Milton's Paradise Lost "She pluck'd, she eat" (PL IX.781). With these four monosyllables, Milton succinctly announces the Fall of Eve in Paradise Lost. Eve's Fall, however, is far more complex than a simple act of eating, for her disobedience represents a much greater loss of chastity. Indeed, Milton implies that the Fall is a violation not only of God's sole commandment but also of Eve herself, for Milton implicitly equates Dis's ravishment of Proserpina with Satan's seduction of Eve....   [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]
:: 5 Works Cited
3723 words
(10.6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]