Sei sulla pagina 1di 163
title: ParadiseLost,Notes:IncludingMilton's LifeandWork,BriefSynopsis,Listof Characters,SummariesandCommentaries,
title: ParadiseLost,Notes:IncludingMilton's LifeandWork,BriefSynopsis,Listof Characters,SummariesandCommentaries,

title:

ParadiseLost,Notes:IncludingMilton's

LifeandWork,BriefSynopsis,Listof

Characters,SummariesandCommentaries,

ReviewQuestions,SelectedBibliography NewEd. author: Flannagan,Roy. publisher: JohnWiley&Sons,Inc.(US)

isbn10|asin:

printisbn13: 9780822009771 ebookisbn13: 9780822071600 language: English subject Milton,John,--1608-1674.--Paradiselost. publicationdate: 1970 lcc:

ddc: 821.409 subject: Milton,John,--1608-1674.--Paradiselost.

Page

Page

Page1

ParadiseLost

Notes

by

RoyC.Flannagan,Ph.D.

Editor,MiltonQuarterly

OhioUniversity

including

Milton'sLifeandWork

BriefSynopsis

ListofCharacters

SummariesandCommentaries

ReviewQuestions

SelectedBibliography

ListofCharacters SummariesandCommentaries ReviewQuestions SelectedBibliography INCORPORATED LINCOLN,NEBRASKA68501

INCORPORATED

LINCOLN,NEBRASKA68501

Page2

Editor

GaryCarey,M.A.

UniversityofColorado

ConsultingEditor

JamesL.Roberts,Ph.D.

DepartmentofEnglish

UniversityofNebraska

ISBN0-8220-0977-3

©Copyright1970byCliffsNotes,Inc.

AllRightsReservedPrintedinU.S.A.

1999Printing

TheCliffsNoteslogo,thenames"Cliffs"and"CliffsNotes,"andthe

blackandyellowdiagonal-stripecoverdesignareallregistered

trademarksbelongingtoCliffsNotes,Inc.,andmaynotbeusedin

wholeorinpartwithoutwrittenpermission.

CliffsNotes,Inc.Lincoln,Nebraska

Contents

Page3

Milton'sLifeandWork

5

ABriefSynopsis

9

ListofCharacters

12

SummariesandCriticalCommentaries

BookI

16

BookII

19

BookIII

22

BookIV

27

BookV

32

BookVI

37

BookVII

41

BookVIII

46

BookIX

51

BookX

61

BookXI

69

BookXII

75

QuestionsforReview

80

Page5

Milton'sLifeandWork

JohnMiltonwasbornin1608intothesmallfamilyofafairlywell-to-

doLondonscrivener,acombinationoflawyer,money-lender,andreal

estateagent,whowasalsoacomposerofsomereputation.Thepoet

gotalongwellwithhisfamily;hisfather,hewrote,wasgenerouswith

himand"destinedmefromachildtothepursuitsofLiterature."Inhis

youthhewastutoredprivatelyandsenttotheexcellentSt.Paul's

School,adjoiningthefamouscathedralinthecenterofLondon.Atan

earlyagehedistinguishedhimselfinthestudyoflanguages(hewas

readingevenHebrewbeforehewenttocollege)andinthetranslation

andcompositionofpoetry.

Whenhewasseventeen,MiltonwenttoChrist'sCollegeat CambridgeUniversity.Hisexperiencestherewerenotespecially happyatfirstsincetheseriousyoungscholarrevoltedagainstwhathe thoughtwastheirrelevantmedievalscholasticcurriculumof Cambridgeanddidnotgetalongwellwithhisfirsttutor.Aftera periodofadjustmentduringwhichheleftschooltemporarilyandwas givenanewtutor,Miltonseemstohavemadeanumberofgood friends.HegraduatedfromChrist'sanM.A.withsomedistinctionin

1632.Bythetimehefinishedhewasinterestedinclassicalliterature

andhistory,modernhistory,ancientandmodernlanguages,thestudy

oftheBibleandChristianreligion,mathematics,andmusic,and,with

hisfather'ssupport,heretiredtotheirhouseinthecountrytocontinue

hisstudyonhisown.Withhisdegreehemighthavebecomean

Anglicanminister,buttheAnglicanchurchunderCharlesIand

ArchbishopLaud,hefelt,hadbecometoocorruptandtootiedupwith

politics.

Beforehewasthirty,Miltonhadwrittenhisfamouspastoralelegy

"Lycidas,"onthedeathofapoetfriendatCambridge,andComus,a

masqueorshortmusicalplay,asanentertainmentforthenewLord

PresidentofWales,aswellasanumberofothershortworks,mostly

onGreekorRomanmodels.

Aftermorethanfiveyearsofcontinuousstudy,againwithhisfather's

support,Miltonwentabroadin1639.Hewasespeciallyanxious

Page6

tovisitItaly:hespokeItalianlikeanative,knewtheancientand

modernhistoriesofthecitieshevisited,andhemadefriendswith

literateItalianseverywhere,spendingmuchtimeinRome,Veniceand

especiallyFlorence,thecenterofItalianRenaissanceartand

literature.HewasespeciallyinterestedinItalianmusic,suchasthe

emergentformofoperapracticedbytheVenetianClaudio

Monteverdi;literature,suchastheepicpoemJerusalemDelivered,by

TorquatoTasso;andscience.WhileinFlorencehevisitedtheaging

astronomerGalileo,atthattimeimprisonedinhishomebythe

Inquisition.

InhistravelsMiltonremainedaProtestantEnglishmanandhis freedomofspeechinCatholicItalyseemstohavealmostgottenhim introubleseveraltimes.Nevertheless,whenhecamebacktoEngland

in1639,MiltonfeltadeepattachmentforItalianculture.Hisbest

friendatSt.Paul'sandCambridgehadbeenCharlesDiodati,an Anglo-Italianwhoseuncle,thefamoustheologianandtranslatorofthe

Bible,Giovanni(orJean)Diodati,MiltonvisitedinGenevain1639

onhiswaybacktoEngland.

ProbablyfromhisyearsatCambridgeandcertainlysoonafterhe returnedfromItaly,Miltonhadtheideathatheshouldwritealong poemthatwouldusehisgreateducationandglorifyhiscountry.He wasnotsurewhatthesubjectmightbebuthehadtheexamplesof

EdmundSpenser'slongromance,TheFaerieQueene(1595),in

English,andthelongromanticepics,Ariosto'sOrlandoFuriosoand

Tasso'sJerusalemDeliveredinItaliantoguidehim.Hehadpractised

withmanyshorterandoftenclassicalformsofpoetrysuchasthe

sonnet,thepastoralelegy,andtheode,butallthese,hefelt,were

preparationforsomemasterwork,perhapsanepicpoemtorivalthe

IliadorOdysseyofHomer,orVirgil'sAeneid.

WhenMiltonreturnedfromItalyhehadcutshorthistravelstosome

extentbecauseofreligiousandpoliticalproblemsathome,andnot

longafterhereturnedandhadsethimselfuptutoringinLondon,he

beganwritingpoliticalpamphletsagainstthecorruptionofthebishops

intheAnglicanchurch.Churchofficials,hefelt,wereoftengiven

positionsoutofpoliticalprefermentratherthanspiritualstrength,and

theChurchofEnglandwastoocloselytiedtotheking.Gradually,

MiltonbecamemoresympathetictothemanycausesofPuritanism,

amongwhichwerethereformofthemodernchurchbasedonthe

"purity"oftheveryancientChristianchurch,andtheconsequent

reformofthespirituallifeofeachpersoninEnglandbasedonsolid

personalknowledgeoftheBible.

Page7

In1642MiltonmarriedMaryPowell,thedaughterofaRoyalist

(sympathizerwithCharlesI),justastheCivilWarwasabouttobegin.

Shewasconsiderablyyoungerthanhewhenhebroughtherfromthe

countrytolivewithhiminLondon,andshelefthimsoonafterto

returntoherparents,whetherforpolitical,family,orpersonalreasons,

nooneknows.Inseveralyears,however,shewastoreturn,andtolive

outherlifewithhim,bearinghimfivechildren.

BeforeCharlesIwasbeheadedin1649Miltonwroteanumberof

pamphlets,allcenteredontheproblemofpreservingindividual liberty,fromthelibertytoobtainacivildivorceonthegroundsof incompatibility(averyunpopularideaatthetime)tothelibertyof publishingwithoutpre-publicationcensorship.Miltonwrotethree

tractsondivorce;OfEducation(1644),adefenseofliberaland

unscholastictraininginacombinationofhighschoolandcollege;and

hismostfamoustract,Areopagitica(1644),whichisadefenseofthe

libertyofthepress.TheideasofMilton,generallyacceptedtoday,

wereconsideredradicalathistime.Hewasnicknamed,inscorn,

"Miltonthedivorcer."

In1646thefirstcollectionofMilton'spoetrywaspublished,including

Comusand"Lycidas,"and"OntheMorningofChrist'sNativity,"as

wellaspoemsinLatin,Greek,andItalian,butitmetwithnogreat

criticalresponse.

WhenCharleswasdefeatedandfinallybeheadedbyParliamentin

1649,MiltonpromptlywroteadefenseoftherightofParliamentto

executeabadking.InwhatwastobecomeOliverCromwell's

Common-wealth,Miltonwasgiventhepostofdiplomatic

correspondent,writingletterstoforeigncountriesexplainingthe

positionsoftheyounggovernment.AmongMilton'sassociatesinthis

erawereAndrewMarvell,whowastobecomeagreatpoetandwas

oneofMilton'sclosefriends,andthemanwhowastobepoetlaureate

underCharlesII,JohnDryden.

Miltonbecamethescholarlydefenderofthemoralrightofthe Commonwealthtoexecutethehereditarymonarchandtorule Englandwithoutaking.Asapublicfigurehewasoftenattacked,but hedefendedhisowncharacterquitewellinhisprosepamphletssuch

ashisDefenseoftheEnglishPeople(writteninLatinin1651),and

attackedhisattackersviciouslyandeffectively.

Writingthesepamphletswasdifficultandoftenverytaxingscholarly

workandMiltongraduallybecameblind,untilin1652hiseyescould

onlyperceivethedifferencebetweenlightanddarkness.His

Page8

wifeMarydiedinthatyear,probablyinchildbirth,andhisonlyson,

thebabyJohn,outlivedheronlyaboutamonth.Miltonwasrelieved

ofsomeofhisdutiesbecauseofhisblindness,buthekeptwritingon

variousprojects,includingahistoryofBritainandatractinLatin.The

ChristianDoctrine,whichwouldtrytosummarizeallhisbeliefsin

Christianitywithinasystematicandcoherentframework.

MiltonmarriedKatherineWoodcockin1656,butshelivedonlytwo

yearsafterthemarriage.Showinganunusualattachmenttomarriage

fora"divorcer,"Miltonmarriedagain,ElizabethMinshull,in1663.

Thenurseofhisoldage,shewastooutlivehimforsomeyears.

In1660theCommonwealthwasdissolvedandthesonofCharlesI,

CharlesII,wasbroughtbacktothethroneintriumph.Becauseof

Charles'liberalityandtheintercessionofhisfriends,Milton'slifewas

sparedandhewasnotimprisoned,eventhoughhehadwrittenonthe

sideofthosewhohadexecutedCharles'fatherandwasclassifiedasa

regicide.

By1665Miltonhadcompletedthegreatepicthathiswholelifehad

preparedhimtowrite,andin1667ParadiseLostwaspublished.It

hadbeenplannedatleastsincetheearly1640's,andhadbegunasa

dramaonthestoryoftheFallofManinGenesis,averypopular

literarysubjectinthatera.Miltondecidedinsteadtomakeitanepic

whichwouldbesobroadinscopethatitwould"justifythewaysof

Godtomen,"andwouldglorifyhiscountry,hislanguage,andhis

ownbrandofChristianity.Towriteithedevelopedhisuniqueepic

language,whichisoftencalledthe"grandstyle,"outofEnglish

combinedwiththemanyforms,idioms,andwordmeaningsofthe

otherlanguageshehadstudied.Hehaddictatedtheepictovarious

amanuensesafterhewentblind,andthewholepoemseemstohave

theconcentratedqualityofanorallycomposedepicliketheIliad.At

thesametimeMiltonwasconsciousofhiscompetitionwithearlier

classical,medieval,andRenaissanceepics,andheworkedtomake

ParadiseLostthegreatestofitsform,takingmorecarewithhisepic

invocationsandsimilesthandidHomer,writingaboutmorenobleand

lesswarlikecharactersthandidVirgil,andgivinghisepicaProtestant

andhumanisticslantthatwoulddifferentiateitfromtheCatholic

Dante'sDivineComedy.Healsorejectedwarasacentralsubject

worthyoftheepicandtherebydifferedfrommostofhispredecessors,

includingHomerandTasso.UnlikeSpenser,herejectedallofwhathe

calledthe"tinselTrappings"ofromance,allthechivalrousknights

andladies,andreplacedthemwiththemoresubstantialandsolid

charactersofAdamandEve.

Page9

ParadiseLostwaspublishedfirstintenbooks,butinthesecond

editionof1674MiltondividedBooksVIIandXintotwobookseach

andtherebygavetheepictheconventionaltwelvebookform,asdid

HomerandVirgil.

In1671ParadiseRegainedandSamsonAgonisteswerepublished

together.TheideaofwritingParadiseRegainedmayhavebeen

suggestedtoMiltonbyoneofhisfriends,whosaidtohim:"Thouhast

writtenmuchofParadiseLost,butwhatofParadisefound?"This

briefepic,infourbooks,isconcernedwiththetemptationofChristin

thewildernessbySatanandChrist'sfinalrenunciationoftheDevil.

Milton'splay,SamsonAgonistes,isthestoryofthefinalstruggleand

deathoftheOldTestamenthero.PatternedafterGreektragedy,the

poeticdramapicturestheblindSamson'sstrugglewithhisdoting

father,hisunfaithfulwife,histauntingenemies,andhisown

conscience,untilhebringsGod'swrathdownonthePhilistines,

killinghimselfwiththem.

MiltondiedquietlyonNovember8,1674,afterlivingoutapeaceful

andcheerfuloldageinthemidstofRestorationLondon.Hislastwife andtwodaughtersofMaryPowellsurvivedhim.Hewasburiedin LondonnearhisfatherinthesmallchurchofSt.Giles,Cripplegate, whichisstillstanding.Athisdeathhisliteraryreputationwas growingsteadily(hewasalreadyfairlywellknownpolitically),so

thatby1688ParadiseLostwaspublishedinaquiteexpensive

illustratededitionforwealthysubscribersonly,andby1700was

alreadyconsideredbyintelligentliterarymenasaclassicofEnglish

literature,thegreatestepicintheEnglishlanguage.

BriefSynopsis

Miltonhaswrittenhisownsummariesofeachbookinthe

"Arguments"(argumentuminLatinmeanssubjectmatter)tobefound

atthebeginningofeachbookinanymodernedition.Thosewere

addedbyMiltonbetweenthefirstandsecondeditionsattherequest

ofearlyreaders.Thewholesubject,Miltonsays,isannouncedatthe

beginningofthepoem:itwillbeman'sdisobedienceandthelossof

Paradise.TheprimarycauseofallthisisSatan,whohadrebelled

againstGodwithahugenumberofangelsandhadbeencastoutof

HeavenintoHellbeforeAdamandEvewerecreated.

Beginningaccordingtotheepicformula"inthemidstofthings,"the

epictellsfirstofthefallenangelsinHell.Sataninformsthemofa

Page10

prophecyaboutanewcreaturenamedmanandsuggeststhatthefallen

angelscallacouncil.Acouncilhall,Pandemonium,isbuiltbymagic,

andSatanbeginsadebateonthesubjectofhowtorecoverHeaven.

AftersomediscussionitisdecidedthatSatanshouldgoalonetofind

thenewlycreatedworldandman.Withsomedifficultyheflies

upward,getsthroughHell'sgates,maintainedbySinandDeath,and

isdirectedbyChaostothenewworld.

MeanwhileGod,sittingonhisthroneinHeaven,showshisSonthe

figureofSatanflyingthroughtheair,andpredictsSatan'ssuccessin

corruptingman.Maniscreatedfreeandcouldstand,butwillfallof

hisownfreewill.BecauseheisseducedbySatan,however,manwill

begivengrace,ifsomeoneinHeavenwilloffertodieforman'ssin.

TheSonvolunteerstodieformanandtheangelsjointogethertosing

Hispraiseinhymns.

Asthisishappening,Satanhasflowntotherimofouruniverse,sees

inpassingtheLimboofVanity,andcomestotheorbofthesun,where

hechangeshimselfintotheformofalowerangeland,pretendingto

beenthusiasticaboutfindingman,trickstheangelofthesun,Uriel,

intogivinghimdirections.HefindshiswaytoMt.Niphates,within

sightofEden,andalightsthere.

Satanisalmostovercomebydoubtsandpassionsashethinksabout

whathewantstodo,butatlengthheconfirmshimselfinhisevil

purposeandgoesintoEden.WhenhefirstseesAdamandEveheis

awe-struckbytheirbeautybuthelistenstotheirconversationand

discoversthatthefruitoftheTreeofKnowledgeisforbiddentothem.

This,hedecides,willbehismeansofseducingthem.Meanwhile,

UrielhasdiscoveredSatan'sfraudandhaswarnedGabrielattheGate

ofParadisethatsomeevilspirithasescapedfromHell,andGabriel

andhisfellowangelsbeginasearch.AfterAdamandEvehavesaid

theireveningprayerandgonetosleep,theangelsdiscoverSatanat

Eve'sear,temptingherinadream.SatanisbroughttoGabrielfor

questioningandanswershimscornfullyuntilheseesasignfrom

HeavenshowinghisdestinyandhefliesoutofParadise.

WhenEveawakesshetellsAdamherdream,whichdisturbshim,but

hecomfortsherandtheygooutfortheirdailywork.Godsends

RaphaeltotellAdameverythingnecessaryforhimtoknowofhis

positionwithrespecttoGodandtowarnhimofSatan'spresence.

AdamseesRaphaelcominginthedistanceandgoesouttowelcome

him,thenRaphaelsitsdowntoadinnerpreparedbyEveandtells

Adamof

Page11

Satan'srevoltandtheWarinHeaven.InthatwartheSonultimately

hashadthevictoryandglory,drivingSatanandhishugearmyover

Heaven'swallandintothedeep.

AfterSatanandhislegionshavebeenexpelledfromHeaven,Raphael

says,GodsendstheSontocreatetheworldinsixdayswhilethe

angelscelebratetheactofcreationinhymns.

AdamasksRaphaelquestionsaboutthecelestialbodiesandRaphael

suggeststhatmandoesnotneedtoknowasmuchasGod.Adam,

changingthesubject,tellsRaphaelwhatheknowsofhisowncreation

andhisfirstmeetingwithEve.Raphaellistens,thenwarnsAdam

againandleaves.

NightfallsandSatanreturnstoParadiseandentersthesleepingbody

oftheserpent.Nextmorning,astheypreparetogototheirwork,Eve

suggeststhatsheandAdamdividetheirlaborsandworkindifferent

placesinordertogetmoredone.Adamarguesagainstthissuggestion,

maintainingthattheEnemywouldliketofindheralone,butEve

persistsuntilhefinallygivesinandletshergo.

TheserpentfindsEvealoneandsubtlyflattersheratfirst,then

convincesherthathehaseatenthefruitoftheTreeofKnowledgeand

gainedwisdomandspeech.Graduallysheispersuadedthatheis

tellingthetruthandsheeats.Pleasedwiththeintoxicatingsensation

ofeatingtheforbiddenfruit,shehesitatesforawhilebeforegiving

Adamhernew-foundknowledge,thentellshimthesamestorythe

serpenttoldher.Outofloveforher,Adameatsthefruittoo,andthe

effectsofthesinareimmediatelyapparent:AdamandEvediscover

thattheyarenakedandtheybegintoquarrelandaccuseoneanother.

TheguardianangelsleaveParadiseafterGodhastoldthemthatthey

couldnothavepreventedtheFall.GodsendstheSontojudgeAdam

andEve,butHealsoclothesthemoutofpity.

AtthegatesofHell,SinandDeathbyamiraculousempathywith

Satanfeelthattheyareduetomaketheirappearanceonearth.To

makethewayeasiertheybuildabroadhighwayorbridgeoverChaos.

AstheypreparetogotoEarththeymeetSatan,proudofhissuccess,

headingbacktoHell.AtPandemonium,however,whereheexpectsto

becheered,Satanisgreetedbyauniversalhiss;intokenofhisacthe

andthefallenangelsaremadeintoserpents.

Page12

InHeavenGodforetellsthefinalvictoryoftheSonoverSinand

Death,whileonEarthAdamandEvearebitterlygrievingovertheir

fateandaccusingeachotheroftheirsin.Evesuggestssuicide,but

Adamremindsherthatheroffspring(Jesus)willeventuallyovercome

andwipeouttheirsin.

TheSoncarriestheprayersoftherepentingAdamandEveuptoGod

andintercedesforthem.GodacceptstheprayersbutsendsMichael

withabandofcherubimtodrivethepairoutofEden.Adamhas

noticedcertainsignsthattheywillhavetoleaveParadiseandgoesout

tomeetMichaelwhenhecomes.MichaeltakesAdamuptoahighhill

andprophesieswhatwillhappentomanbeforetheFloodbringsan

endtotheworld.Michaelsurveysallhumanhistory,pointingoutto

Adamthetransmissionoftheseedwhichwilleventuallyleadtothe

Christ.Althoughthehistoryisbleak,Adamiscomfortedbythe

promiseoftheseedashedescendsthehillwithMichael.Heawakens

Eve,whohasbeengiventhesameinformationinadream,and

Michael,takingthembothbythehand,leadsthemoutofParadise

(nowguardedbycherubimandafierysword),whichtheywillnever

beabletoenteragain.

ListofCharacters

Thefollowingcharactersarethemostimportantintheepic.Numbers

inparenthesesindicatethebookandlineinwhichthecharacterfirst

appears.MostofthoselistedappearthroughoutParadiseLost.

Abdiel(V,805)

TheoneangelfaithfultoGodamongthelegionsofthosewhofollow

Satan.BydefyingSatanandrebukinghimintheWarinHeaven,he

becomesanexampleoffreeservicetoGod.

Adam(III,285)

Thegeneralfatherofmankind,thefirstand''goodliest"(IV,322)of

men,madeoutof"earth'shallowedmold"(V,321),capablebeforethe

FalloftalkingwithGodandeatingwithangels,tall,handsome,and

erectinstature.InBookVIIItellsthestoryofhisaskingforand

receivingEvefromGod,butisrebukedbyRaphaelforallbut

worshippinghiswife.HisdutiesinEdenincludenamingtheanimals

andhelpingtendthegarden,buthealsohasthedutyofprotecting

Eve,whichhe

Page13

violatesbylettinghergooutaloneinBookIX.AftertheFallAdam

becomesmorerecognizablyhumanandarguesbitterlywithEvebutat

theendofBookXIIthecoupleisreconciledandleaveParadisehand

inhand.

Beelzebub(I,81)

Thesecondmostpowerfulfallenangel;Satan'schiefaccompliceand

spokesmaninthedemoniccouncilinBookII.Speakslastand

convincesthefallenangelstofollowSatan'swayofthinking.

Belial(I,490)

Themostdissoluteandsophisticatedofthefallenangelswhospeakin thedebateinBookII.Hisspeechissmoothandseemsreasonablebut

isreallyfor"ignobleease"(II,227)ratherthanforhonorableaction.

Chaos(I,543)

Apersonification(whichMiltonborrowedfrommythology)ofthe

physicalandmentalstateofdisorderoranarchy,apartofwhichGod

usedwhenHecreatedtheuniverse.ConsortofNightandkingofthe

regionofdisorderbetweenHellandHeaven.

Death(II,666)

PersonificationofthedeathbroughtaboutbyAdam'ssinandpartof

theallegoryofSatan,Sin,andDeath.ThesonofSatan,incestuously

conceivedofSatan'sdaughterSin;alsotheincestuousloverofhis

mother.Ahorribleshadowyfigurewithmanydifferentshapesin

whichallthefearsofmankindmaybeseen.Helpsbuildthehighway

fromHell'sgatestoman'suniverse.Holdsadartwithwhichhekills

man.WillbedefeatedbyChristalongwithSatanandSinatJudgment

Day.

Eve(I,36)

Thegeneralmotherofallmankind,morebeautifulthanallwomen

bornafterher,madebyGodfromAdam'sribtobeacompanionfor

himandtobearhimchildren.Weakermorallyandphysicallythan

Adambutideallybeautiful.HasadreaminBookIVcausedbySatan,

whichforeshadowstheFall.Herchiefdutyisloyaltyandobedienceto

herhusband,butshealsohelpstendtheGardenofEden.Argueswith

Adamandisallowedtoleavehisside;consequentlytemptedbySatan

inthe

Page14

serpent,isdeceivedintobelievinghislies,andeatstheforbiddenfruit.

UsingthesameargumentsconvincesAdamtoeat,too.Arguesbitterly

withAdambutisthefirsttorepentandseekreconciliation,andleaves

Paradisehandinhandwithherhusband.

Gabriel(IV,549)

AngelinchargeofguardingtheGateofParadise,searchesoutSatan

andcatcheshimatEve'sear.SecondtoMichaelinmilitaryrankin

Heaven.WilllaterannouncetoMarythecomingofJesus.

God(I,12)

Theomnipotent,omniscient,andomnipresentkingwhocreatedand nowrulestheuniverse.Unapproachable,veiledinlight("Godis

light,"IJohn1:5),incapableofbeingseenorfullyunderstoodbyman

aftertheFall.Infinitelywise,reasonable,andgood.CertainofHis

characteristics(creation,universallove,judgment,andmercy)are

demonstratedtomanthroughinspirationandthroughHisSonwho

becomesamananddiesforman'ssin.Sitsonanunshakablethrone

onthetopofhismountaininthehighestHeaven.

Lucifer

SeeSatan.

Mammon(I,678)

Called"theleasterectedSpiritthatfell/FromHeav'n"(I,679-680)

becauseinHeavenhewasalwayslookingdownatthegolden

pavementratherthanuptoGod.Characterizedbygreedfortangible

wealth.Findstheundergroundpreciousmineralsoutofwhich

PandemoniumisbuiltinBookI.ArguesinthedebateinBookIIfor

remaininginHellandexploitingitswealth,ratherthanwarringon

God.

Michael(II,294)

Chiefoftheangelicarmies,carriesamightyswordintobattleagainst

God'senemiesintheWarinHeaven.AftertheFalldescendstotell

Adamofthefuturehistoryofmankind.ContrastedwithRaphael,who

islessstern.

Page15

Moloch(I,392)

FallenangelmentionedinBookIasa"horridKing"towhomchildren

aresacrificed.InthedemonicdebateinBookIIheadvocatesopen

waragainstGod.

Mulciber(I,740)

Thefallenangel(whomMiltonborrowedfromclassicalmythology)

whoisthearchitectofPandemoniuminBookI.

Raphael(V,221)

Calledthe"affablearch-angel"andthe"sociablespirit."Makesa

friendlyvisittoAdamandEve,inwhichheretellsthestoryofthe

WarinHeaven,andwarnsAdamandEveofSatan'splottocorrupt

them.IscontrastedwithMichaelwhoismoresternandvisitsAdam

andEveaftertheFall.

Satan(I,34)

Thenamemeans"Enemy,"hencetheEnemyofGod.The personificationofevil,originatorofevilbeforethecreationofthe universe,thefatherofSinandDeath.PermittedbyGodtoexistandto actinordertodemonstratethevalidityofgoodness.Formerlyoneof thehighestangelsinHeaven,thencalledLucifer("Light-bearer"),but leadsagroupofangelstorebelagainstGodoutofenvyfortheSon andisutterlydefeatedandcastdowntoHell.Thefatheroflies,a

masterofdisguise,sometimescalledthe"dragon"(Revelation20:2),

establishesatyrannicalmonarchyinHell,decidestocorruptman,

seducesEveandthroughherAdam,butgainsnothingfromthe

seductionandisgreetedwithachorusofhisseswhenhereturnsto

Hell.AppearshugetomanbutsmalltoGod.

Serpent

SeeSatan.

Sin(II,650)

Personificationofthementalandphysicalcharacteristicsofthatstate

andpartoftheallegoryofSatan'sevil.Thedaughterandincestuous

mateofSatan,motherofDeath("Thewagesofsinisdeath,"

Page16

Romans6:23).Physicallyabeautifulandenchantingwomantothe

waistbutbelowthewaistadeadlyserpent,surroundedbyhorrible

hellhoundsthatcrawlinandoutofherwomb.OpensthegatesofHell

inBookIIandbecomesthegate-keeperofHell.Helpstobuildthe

highwayfromthegatesofHelltoman'suniverse.Willeventuallybe

defeatedalongwithSatanandDeathbyJesusChristatJudgmentDay.

TheSon(II,678)

InParadiseLosttheSonofGodbutnotyetbornasJesusChrist;not

thesameasorequaltoGod,butasclosetoHimasispossiblefor

humanunderstandingtoknow.BegottenbyadecreeofGodwithin

thelimitsoftimeasmanknowsit,butnotco-eternalwithGod.

Sometimes(asintheCreation)calledGod,butHispowersweregiven

HimbyGod.VolunteersinBookIIItodieforman'ssin.Issentby

GodinBookVItoendtheWarinHeavenandthusdemonstrateHis

glory,easilydefeatingtheevilangels.ChosenbyGodtojudgemanin

BookX,intercedeswithGodforthesinofAdamandEve.

Urania(VII,1)

ThenameofMilton'sChristianMuse,whomheinvokestohelphim

writeParadiseLost.BelievedtobetheinspirationofMosesinwriting

thebooksoftheOldTestamentascribedtohiminMilton'sera.

Uriel(III,648)

Anarchangel,oneoftheseventhatstandnearesttoGod'sthrone,

regentofthesun.DeceivedbySatan'sdisguiseinBookIIIbut

recognizeshiminBookIV.

SummariesandCommentaries

BookI

Summary

ThesubjectofParadiseLostisannouncedatthebeginningofBookI;

itis"Man'sfirstdisobedience"andtheconsequentlossofParadise.

MiltoninvokeshisMuse,thesameChristiansourceofinspirationthat

gaveMosestheTenCommandmentsonMt.Sinai,tohelphimrise

abovethepaganepicpoetsofthepastandjustifytheways

Page17

ofGodtoman.Theprimecauseofman'sfallisSatan,formerlyan

angel,whosepridecausedhimtowaragainstGodandtobethrown

outofHeavenandwhoseenvyofmananddesireforrevengeonGod

causedhimtodeceiveEveandhelpbringaboutthefallofAdamand

Eve.

Satanisseenjustafterheandhisfellowrebelangelshavebeenhurled downintoHell,aplaceoffierytormentbutnolight.Chainedonthe burninglake,hespeakstohisnexthighestcomrade,Beelzebub,lying besidehim.SatanisstruckbythehorriblechangesinBeelzebub's appearancecausedbytheFall,buthestilldefiesGodandrefusesto repent.HeevenclaimstohaveshakenthethroneofGod,whichwe

findoutlaterisalie(I,105;VI,834;VII,585-586).Herefusesto

serveGod,whomhecallsatyrant.Butwhileheboastsinthisway,

thepoetsays,heisinwardlytorturedbyhisowndespair.

BeelzebubasksSatanwhattheyshoulddoagainstGod'sall-powerful

force,andSatananswersproudlythattheyshoulddoeverything

withintheirabilitytopervertGod'swill.

HavingbeenpermittedbyGodto"Heaponhimselfdamnation,"and

havingbeenallowedtomove,Satanfliesbymeansofhiswingsfrom

theburninglaketoaplain,believingheisdoingsoonhisownpower.

Surveyingthedolefulsurroundings,Satandecidesitis"Bettertoreign

inHellthanserveinHeaven."Althoughtheotherfallenangelslie

"grovelingandprostrate"onthelakeoffire,Satancallsthemtoarms,

addressingthembytheirangelictitles.Theycome,lookinglikethe

biblicalplagueoflocusts.

AmongthemareMoloch,wholaterbecameapagangodtowhom

childrenweresacrificed,andotherheathengodsandgoddessessuch

asAstarte,Orus,Dagon,IsisandOsiris.Belial,alewdandgrossly

sensualdevil,islastamongthem.Satanralliesthemwithhigh-

soundingwordsandtheyappeartobealargeandgloriousarmy.Satan

feelsahugeprideinhistroopsofdemons,whichmakeshimforget

forthemomentthescarshehasfromhisearliercombat.Strugglingto

keepbacktearsofdespair,headdressesthem,callingthemtowar,if

notagainstGod,thenagainstGod'snewcreation,man.Acouncilof

warshouldbecalled,hesays.Theyrespondwithashoutofdefiance

againstGod.Mammonthenleadsagroupoffallenangelstodigintoa

volcanichillformoltenmetalanderectsuddenlyandbymagicwhat

lookslikeatemple,butisreallyPandemonium,thecapitolofHell,

designedbythedemonicarchitect,Mulciber.

Page18

Withtheirrustlingwingsthedevilsappearfromadistancetobelikea

swarmofbeesastheygointoPandemoniumtoconsultoverthe

methodofwaragainstGod.

Commentary

Inthefirsttwenty-sixlinesMiltonstateshiswholesubjectmatterand

askstheaidoftheheavenlyMuse,whogaveMosestheTen

Commandmentsandinspiredhim,Miltonthought,towritepartofthe

OldTestament.Milton'ssubjectisman'sdisobediencetoGodandthe

consequentlossofEden.Itisman'sfirstdisobedience,implyingthat

othersaretocome,anditisaseriouswrong,becauseitis

disobediencetoGod'scommand.Onecanseethecomplexityof

Milton'sstyleintheseriouspunsandambiguityofthewordsfruit(the

fruititselfandthe"fruitsofsin")andmortal(meaning"deadly"and

"makingmenmortal").AsischaracteristicinRenaissanceepics,

Miltonmakesaclaimfortheoriginalityanduniquenessofhispoem;

itpursues,hewrites,"ThingsunattemptedyetinProseorRhyme."

BecauseheisablindmanMiltonasksthemusetoenlightenhim

spiritually,togivehiminnerlight.

Havingstatedhissubjectquickly,Miltonfollowstheclassicalepic

formulaofbeginninginwhathecalls"themidstofthings"andturns

ourattentionimmediatelytoSatan,whoispicturedsoonafterhehas

beenthrownoutofHeavenwiththeotherrebelangelsbecauseofhis

revoltagainstGod.ItmusthavetakensomecourageforMiltonto

allowhisreaderstoseeSatanfirst,beforetheyhaveseenGodorman,

butheseemstohaveapurpose.Somerecentcriticshavesuggested

thatheisallowinghisreadertobecomeasinner,too,sincethefigure

ofSatanseemsveryattractiveatfirstandtheaveragereaderseeshim

onlyonhisownevilterms.Miltonknowsthatevilisattractiveand,

Satan,thefallenangel,stillhassomeofthequalitiesandvirtuesof

Heaven,exceptthattheyhaveallbeenperverted.Mostofwhathe saysarelies,afactwhichagoodChristianreaderofMilton'sera shouldhaveknown,butwhichfrequentlydeceivesthemodernreader. GodhascreatedSatan,butSatanhasrevoltedagainsthiscreator,and hencecuthimselfofffromGod;beforeherevoltedheexercisedfree

will;nowheactsonlybyGod'spermission(210-220).

ReadersoftheOdyssey,theIliadortheAeneidwillrecognizethe

variousepicdevicesMiltonadaptedfromhisearliermodels:

beginningatlinetwenty-sevenistheepicquestion,lineseventy-five

isaVirgilianapostrophe,lines177-208thefirstofanumberofepic

similes,long,

Page19

extendedcomparisons,andthecatalogueofdevils'names(375-522)

isanepiccatalogue,likethoselonglistsofmenorshipsusedby

Homer.ButMilton'suseofearlierepicsismoresubtlethanjustthe

copyingofthedevices;Miltonneverjustcopieshispredecessors:he

triestodobetterthananyonewritingbefore,especiallyifthewriter

happenedtobeanon-Christian.Milton'ssimilesarelongerandbetter

integratedthanthoseofHomerandVirgil,althoughtheyarealso

morecomplicated.WhereasHomerwroteoftheangerofAchilles,

andVirgilof"armsandtheman,"Miltonisconsciousofhismore

importantsubject,man'sdisobediencetoGod,andhismorenoble

purpose,tojustifythewaysofGodtoman.ParadiseLost,though,

hasarichtextureoflinesandimagesborrowedfromearlierworks,

butimproved.AnyonewhohasjustreadHomer,orVirgil,orthe

BiblecanhearplainlytheliteraryechoesinParadiseLost.Miltonnot

onlytriestodobetterthanhisclassicalmodel;healsoshowshis

respectforitbyimitation.

BookII

Summary

AtthebeginningofBookIISataniscomparedtoanorientaltyrant,as

hesitsonthethroneinPandemonium.Fromthispositionhebeginsa

debateamongthedevilsonthequestionofwhethertheyshouldattack

manopenly,bywar,orsecretly,byguileanddeception.

Moloch,afiercedevilwhowisheseithertobeequalwithGodortobe

annihilatedinthestruggle,arguesforopenwar.Sincenothingcould

beworsethantheirpresentstate,heargues,theyshouldtrytoget

revengeonGodbyattackingdirectly.

Asmootherandmoregracefullookingbutreallyhollowdevil,Belial,

nextrisesandadvisesthecounciltowaitandseeratherthanfightat

all.Noone,hesays,wantstoprovokeGodtoannihilatethem;onthe

otherhand,perhapsifthedevilswaitGodwillremithisangerand

reducetheirpunishment.

Mammon,adevilknownforhislustformoneyandgoods,who

instigatedthebuildingofPandemonium,isthenexttospeak.He

suggeststhattheynotgiveintoGodbutrathermakethebestoftheir

situationinHellanddismissanyideasofwar.Hissuggestionpleases

themultitude,sinceitadvisespeaceandnottotalannihilation.

Beelzebub,Satan'ssecondincommand,speaksafterMammon,

apparentlywithgreatdignitybutreallyindespair,"Majesticthoughin

Page20

ruin."Hellisnottheirrefuge,hesays,buttheirdungeon;theWarin

Heavendeterminedtheirfate,whichiseverlastingpunishment.

InvasionofHeaven,hesays,isoutofthequestionsinceHeaven

cannotbeinvaded.Aneasierenterprisewouldbetoattackarecent

creationofGod,man,whohasbeencreatedliketheangelsbutless

powerfulandlessexcellent.Godhasfavoredthiscreatureabovethe

exileddevils,sotheyhavereasontobejealousofhim;also,hisnewly

createdkingdomcanbeinvaded,andthedevilsmayperhapsseduce

mantotheirparty,whichwouldbeanexcellentrevenge.

Satan,thepoettellsus,hasputthisplanintoBeelzebub'shead,and

thedevilsvotetocarryitthrough.Beelzebubasksforavolunteerto

travelonthisdangerousmission,butallthedevilsaresilent.Satanat

length"volunteers,"therebyglorifyinghimselfandmakinghimself

seemmorekinglyinthedevils'eyes.Theybowdownbeforehis

apparentcourageandsendhimoffonhisvoyagewithageneralshout

andfanfare.Assoonasheisgone,however,theysettledowninto

theirindividualmoodsofdespairuntilheistoreturn;tobolstertheir

spirittheystagegamesandwarcontests,composeemptypoemsabout

theirown"heroic"deeds,andholddebatesoverphilosophicalterms

irrelevanttotheirdamnedcondition.SomeexploretheregionsofHell

butfindittobea"Universeofdeath"inwhichthenaturalendsoflife

areperverted.

MeanwhileSatanfliesupward,discoveringatthegatesofHella

monstrouscreature,abeautifulwomandowntothewaist,buta

writhingserpentbelow,surroundedbybarkinghellhoundswhofrom

timetotimecrawlbackintotheirmother'swomb.Nexttoherisa

horribleshadowycreature.ThesetwoturnouttobeSatan'schildren,

Sin(bornfromhisheadwhenhefirstthoughtofsininHeaven)and

Death(conceivedincestuouslywhenSatancopulatedwithhis

daughterSin).Ironically,Satanalmostgetsintoafightwithhis

monstroussonbeforeSinseparatesthem.

SatanpersuadesSintoopenthegatesofHellandlethimout;the

gatesstayopenonceshehasopenedthemshecannotclosethemagain

andSatanmakeshiswaythroughtherealmofthegodsChaosandhis

consortNight,wheretheelementsaremixedinconfusion.Satantells

ChaosofhismissionandChaos,pleasedwiththeidea,directshimto

Earth,whichissuspendedfromHeavenbyagoldenchaininthe

regionsabovehim.

Satanfliesupwardsslowlyandwithmanysetbacks,followedbySin

andDeath,whoaremakingahighwayandbridgeoverthe"dark

Page21

abyss"forthedevilstouseontheirwaytowardEarth.Attheendof

thebookSatanisabouttoreachouruniverse.

Commentary

AtthebeginningofBookIIweseeSatansittingonagloriousthrone highabovetherestofthefallenangels.Fromthisvantagepointhe beginswhatissupposedtobeadebateoverwhetherornotthefallen angelsshouldfightagaintorecoverHeaven.Thedebate,wefindout

later(378-385),isriggedsothatBeelzebub,Satan'smouthpiece,

speakslastandcarriestheargument,butmeanwhilewehearthese

typicallydemonicpointsofview.Moloch'stypeofevilis

uncontrolledandunreasonableaggression:headvisesthattheyfight

untileithertheyorGodareannihilated.Belial'sevilismoresubtle

andsophisticated.Heappearstobeacourtierandwhathesaysseems

reasonable,butallofitisfalse:Godwillnotbecomelessangryatthe

fallenangelsastimegoeson.Mammonisacompletematerialistin

HeavenhelookeddownatthegoldpavementratherthanuptoGod

andheisevilinthesensethathecanseegoodonlyinpossessing

thingsandaddingtoone'sowncomfort,ratherthaninaloveforGod

thattranscendsmaterialpossessions.

Satan's"volunteering"toundertakethejourneytoEarthinorderto

corruptman,anironicreverseimageoftheSon'svolunteeringtodie

formaninBookIII,ispartofhisdeceptiveplan.Itlooksasthough

therehasbeenadebate,butinfactSatanhascontrolledit,anditlooks

asifhehasvolunteered,wheninfacthehasplannedtoescapefrom

thetormentsofHell.InBookIVSatantellstheangelGabrielfrankly

thatanyonewhodidnotlovepainwouldrunfromHellandGabriel

callshim"thefirstinflightfrompain";inotherwordswhatlookslike

hiscourageousself-sacrificeisonlycowardlyself-interest.

SatanleavesHellamidstageneralshoutandfanfare,butafterheis

gonethefallenangelsallwanderoffanddohopelessthings,suchas exploretheuglyregionsofHell,practicewargames,composepoems ontheirownfall,ordiscussphilosophy.Miltonpresentsallthis ironicallybecausethefallenangelshavealreadycommitted themselvestoevilandtheyareutterlyhopeless;itwilldothemno goodtoargueoverpredestinationorfreewill.Hellisaphysicalplace consistingof"Rocks,Caves,Lakes,Fens,Bogs,Dens,andshadesof

death"(621),butitisalsoastateofmindinwhichonehascommitted

oneselftoevil,hardenedone'sheart,andabandonedanyhopeof

salvation.

Page22

Satan'sconfrontationwithhisoffspringSinandDeathisperhapsone

ofthemostfascinatingepisodesofParadiseLostforthemodern

reader.Itistheonepieceofextendedallegoryintheepic.(Milton

couldhave,likehiscountrymanEdmundSpenserinTheFaerie

Queene,writtenacompletelyallegoricalepic.)Thewholetrio,a

parodyorpervertedimitationoftheHolyTrinity,representsthe

foremostfearsofman:fearoftheintellectualinstigatororprovokerof

sin(Satan),theactofsinitself(Sin),andtheconsequenceofsin

(Death).Allthreeareinvolvedinanincestuousrelationship.Sin,the

idea,sprangfromthemindofSatanwhenheconceivedtheideaofsin

inHeaven.Sheappearstobeabeautifulwomantothewaist,andso

Satanrapeshisowndaughter.FromthisincestcomesDeath,a

shapelessshadow,andheinturnlustsafterhismotherandrapesher,

producingthehellhounds.Satan,Sin,andDeath,inotherwords,are

intimatelyinvolvedwitheachotherinpervertedrelationships.They

aresymbolicoftheperversityofevil.

BookIII

Summary

AtthebeginningofBookIIIthepoetinvokes''holylight,"oneofthe

aspectsofGod,"sinceGodislight."LightwasapartofGodfromthe

beginningoftimeandHecannotbeapproachedbecauseofthe

powerfullightwhichsurroundsHim.AtthevoiceofGodinthe

beginninglightwentoutovertheuniverse.Now,thepoetsays,hehas

comebackuptolightfromthedepthsofHell.Inthepresenceoflight

hefeelssafeagain,eventhoughparadoxicallyhehimselfcannotsee.

Yethisafflictiondoesnotkeephimfromfeelinglightorfromvisiting

hissourceofinspiration,theSionoftheOldTestament.Inhis

blindnessheislikethepoetHomerandtheprophetTiresias;hewants

tobelikethemalsointheirfame.Althoughtoothermenthecolors

andsightsofnaturereturnastheseasonschange,becauseofhis

blindnesshehasonlyablankpagenowforhisknowledgeofthebook

ofnature.Somuchthemoreshouldaninwardlightofdivine

inspirationshineinsidehimandmakehimseethingsthatnomortal

cansee.

GodsitsonhisthroneintheEmpyreanHeavenwiththeangelsaround

Himasthickasstars,receivingfromHim"Beatitudepastutterance."

OnHisrighthandisHisSon.HelooksoutandcanseeallHisworks

atoneview;onEarthHecanseetheGardenofEden,whereAdam

andEvearenowlivinginimmortalloveandjoy,andthegulfbetween

HellandEarthwhereSatanisnowdriftingthroughtheairnear

Page23

thewallofHeavenandwhereitisnearlynight.Satanisexhausted

andwantstolandontheoutershelloftheuniverse.

God,beingabletoseepast,present,andfutureatonce,predictstothe

SonthatSatan'srevenge,soevidentinhisescapefromHell,willonly

recoilonhisownhead.Now,Hesays,havingbeenallowedoutof

Hell,Satanisheadingfortheworldtotrytotemptman.Andmanwill

betempted,believingSatan'slies,andwilleasilybreaktheone

commandment.Itwillbeman'sfaultalone,Godsays,sincehewas

made"Sufficienttohavestood,thoughfreetofall."Liketheangelshe

willbeabletochoosebetweengoodandevil.Hewillhavefreewill;

otherwiseanyobedienceorfaithorlovehemightshowtowardGod

wouldbeforced,notfree.Manwillbringabouthisownfate;evenif

Godknewitinadvance,toforeknowsomethingisnottopredestineit.

Manisthereforecompletelyresponsibleforhisownactionandhis

ownfall.Yetthereisadifferencebetweenthewaytheevilangelsfell

andthewaymanwillfall:theevilangelsfellbytheirownsuggestion,

self-tempted,butmanfallsbecauseheisfirstdeceivedbySatan.

Thereforemanwillbeabletofindgraceandmercy,buttheevil

angelswillnot.

WhileGodspeaks,aheavenlyfragrancefillstheairandtheangels

aroundthethronefeelanewjoy.TheSonbecomesmoregloriousas

theywatch,andinHisfaceHisFather'sdivinecompassionappears

visibly,alongwithunendingloveandmeasurelessgrace.

Itisgood,theSonsays,thatmanisnotcompletelylostthrough

Satan'sdeceptionandman'sownfoolishness,becausenowmanwill

continuetoloveandglorifyGodandStan'spurposeswilleventually

befrustrated.

Godsaysthisiscompletelycorrect:manwillnotbecompletelylost

andanymanwhowantstobesavedwillbesaved,althoughitwillnot

beofhisowndoingbutcausedbyGod'sgivinghimHisgrace,always

freelygiventothosewhowantit.Maninhisfallenconditionis

naturallyfrailandweakbutwithGod'ssupporthewillbeabletofight

againstevilonequalgroundsagain.GodwillplaceHis"umpire

conscience"withinmen,andthosewhohearitwillbesaved;onlythe

mosthardenedheartwillbeexcluded.But,Hesays,allmankindmust

dieifsomeonecannotbefoundwhowilldieforman.

Alloftheangelsaresilent,andmanwouldhavebeenutterlylostif

theSonofGodhadnotspoken.HetellsHisfatherthatHewillgive

mangraceandatonement.TheSontellstheFatherthatHehimself

Page24

(hismortalbody)willdiebutwillriseagainandconquerDeath

himself,bindingthepowersofdarkness,thenbringthemultitudeof

redeemedsoulstoHeaventoseeGod'sface,onwhichtherewillno

longerbeacloudofangerbutonlyavisibleexpressionofjoyand

peace.

TheSonissilentbutinHisfaceshinesimmortalloveforman,and,

abovethat,HisobediencetohisFather;Heishappytobethesacrifice

forwhichtheFatherhasasked.

Alltheheavenlyhostisseizedwithadmirationandwonderswhatall

thismightmean,butGodexplainstotheSonthatHelovesmanso

muchHewillallowhisSontoleaveHimforaspaceoftimeinorder

nottolosethewholeraceofmankindforever.TheSonwillbecome

manandwillbebornmiraculouslyfromavirginwhenthetime

comes.ThroughhishumanformtheSonwillbedescendedfrom

Adam,throughwhomallmendied,butHewillbeasecondAdamby

whomallmenshallbesaved.TheSonwillnotdegradeHimselfwhen

Hebecomesaman,becauseHehasalreadyshownHimselftobethe

worthiestinHeavenbesidesGod,notbyHisbirthrightbutbyHis

merit,notbyappearinggreatorhighbutbybeinggood.TheSon's

loveaboundsmorethanHisglory;HishumiliationofHimselfin

becomingmanexaltsHimtoathroneonthelevelofGod'sthrone.

TheSonwillbeundisputedheadofalltheangelichostbymeansof

Hismerits,andattheDayofJudgmenttheSonwillappearinthesky

andhavethedeadsummonedfromeverycorneroftheworld.Hewill

judgethesinnerswhowillsinkintoHell,whichwillbethenforever

sealed.Meanwhiletheuniversewillburn,purifyingitself,andfrom

itsasheswillspringanewHeavenandEarthwherethejustwilllive

goldendaysandtruthwillprevail.

GodthencallsalltheangelichosttoadoretheSonandhonorHim

justastheyhonorGod.Heavenringswiththegreatshoutofjoythat

comesfromthemultitudeofangels.Theangelstakeofftheirgolden

crownsinterwovenwithimmortalflowersandbowbeforeGod,then

riseagainand,replacingtheircrownsandpickinguptheirharps,they

playasymphonyandsingasacredsongexpressingvocallythe

naturalharmonyofHeaven.TheysingtheFatherfirst,the"Fountain

ofLight,"thentheSon,inwhosefaceallcreationmayseeGod

withoutacloudtocoverthebrightness.TheSon,theysay,wasgiven

glorywhenbyGod'spowerHeoverthrewtheevilangels.FormanHe

willdotheopposite;asthefatherofmercyandgraceHewillbeto

mantheprimaryexampleofdivinelove.

Page25

MeanwhileSatanalightsandiswalkingontheouterrimofthe

universeina"windySeaofLand"whichwillsomedaybecomethe

gatheringplaceofthevictimsofhumanvanity,suchasthebuildersof

theTowerofBabel,whoaspiredtobuildatowertoHeavenbutwere

thwartedbyGod'sconfusionoftheirlanguage.ThisisaLimboof

Vanity,oraParadiseofFools,mostlycomposedofthosewhomistake

superstitionforreligion.Satankeepsmovinguntilhecomestoa

gloriousstairwayuptoHeaven,itsgatescoveredwithdiamondsand

gold,whichislikeJacob'sladder.Eachstepinthestairwayhasa

mysteriousandsymbolicmeaningandatitsbaseflowsasealike

liquidpearl.Thestairshavebeenletdown,buttheirpresenceonly

aggravatesSatan,sinceheknowshecannevergothroughthegatesof

Heavenagain.

CorrespondingtothestepsuptoHeavenisabroadstairwaydownto

Paradise.AshelooksdownoverthewholeuniverseSatanisseized

withwonder,butevenmorestruckwithenvy.Hefliesdownward

fromthestairwaytoHeavenandlandsontheSun,whichisa

wonderfulcollectionofdifferentliquidmetals.Ashelooksfromthis

vantagepointSatandiscoversUriel,theangeloftheSun,withhis

backturned.QuicklySatanchangeshisshapetothatofa"stripling

Cherub"inorderthatUrielwillnotrecognizehim.

UrieldoesnotrecognizeSatanbecauseSatanispractisinghypocrisy,

andonlyGodcanseethroughthevice.Inhisdisguiseasayoung

angelSatanexpresseshisdesiretoknowmoreabouttheuniverse,and

especiallyGod'slatestcreation,man.Hesayshewantstoseemanin

ordertobeabletopraiseGodbetter.

Urieltakeshimforwhatheseemstobeandpraiseshimforwanting

toknowmoreofGod'screations.Urielhadwitnessedcreationitself,

hesays,soheknowshowglorioustheworksofGodare.Hetherefore

pointsoutEarthandParadiseforSatan,andSatan,afterbowinglow

toUrielasanangelofahigherorder,fliesdown,wheelingincircles,

andfinallyalightsonMt.Niphates.

Commentary

TheinvocationofBookII(1-55)announcesthetransitionfromHell

andasksofGodonemanifestationofhisexistence,light("Godis

light"MiltonborrowsfromthefirstepistleofJohn1:5).Itis

appropriatethatMiltonaskforlightbecausehehascomefrom

describingaregionofdarknessuptoaregionoflightandheis,of

course,blindhimself.In

Page26

hisblindnessheislikeothergreatpoetsandprophets,suchasHomer,

andheasksGodtogranthimaninwardlightsothat,illuminated,he

maytellofthingsmortalmencannotsee.

BookIIhasbeenaparodyinadvanceofBookIII.Satanhasimitated

Godbysittingonathronelikeanorientaltyrant,butinBookIIIGod

sitsonhisgenuinethroneanddemonstratesdivineorder,love,and

justicebyissuingjustdecrees.Theproblemwithinterpretingthe

characterofGodinParadiseLostisthatGodisnota"character";he

shouldnotbethoughtofasakindlyoldmanorasahumanfather.

Godmustbeultimatelymysteriousandnotidentifiable.YetMilton

hashimspeak,andourtendencyistopictureMilton'sGodand

perhapstheChristianGodingeneralasbeingsomethinglikeastern

oldschoolmaster.ForMilton,however,Godmusthaverepresented

purereason;Hewasapurelylogicalbeing,asultimatelyunknowable

forfallenmanaspuremathematicallogic.Foramodernreader,then,

Milton'sGodoftenseemseithertoocoldandreasonableortoocranky

andhot-tempered;heseems,inotherwords,tobesomealteregoof

Milton,scoldingusandAdamforoursins.IfonereadsBookIII

carefully,though,Godismorereasonableandbelievablethanthat:He

isall-powerful(omnipotent),abletobepresenteverywhereatthe

sametime(omnipresent),andHeknowsallthings(omniscient).

TheconversationbetweenGodandtheSon,calledtheSonhere

becauseHehasnotyetbeenbornasJesusChrist,isadramatic

demonstrationofGod'sjustice,grace,andmercyatwork.Epicwriters

beforeMiltonrarelyhadGodspeak,butMilton,alwaysriskingmore

thanthosewhocamebeforehim,representsbothGodandHisSonas

speaking.BothGodandtheSonspeaklargelyinthelanguageofthe

Bible.GodexplainstheprocessoftheFall.Heknowsthatmanwill

fall,butHisforeknowledgeofthatfactisnotthesameasHis

predestiningtheFall.Itisimportantthatmanexercisefreewillin

choosingbetweengoodandevil,andeventhoughmaninthiscase

choosesevil,hischoiceisdifferentfromthatofthefallenangels:they

were"self-tempted,"butmanwastemptedbySatanfirstandwill

thereforebeabletofindgrace.TheSonasksifGodwillhavetocause

man'sdeathinordertopunishhim,andGodasksifanyoneinHeaven

hassuchlovethathewouldsatisfyjusticebydyingforman.TheSon,

embodyingcharity,love,andgrace,offersHimselfassacrificefor

man.Thisisthewholeprocessofgrace,whichaccordingtoMilton's

theology,isnotdeservedbymanbutisofferedtohimfreelybyGod

andembodiedintheSon'ssacrificeonearth.AtJudgmentDaythe

Son,onceovercomebydeath,willovercomedeathitself,andsin,and

restorepeacetotheuniverse.

Page27

God'swrathwilldissolveandHisjoywillreplaceitentirely.Justas

Adam,amanhaslostParadiseforman,theSon,asaman,willbyhis

death,resurrection,andjudgmentredeemmankind.

WhereSatanlandsontheouterrimofouruniverseistheplacewhere,

intimetocome,willbefoundthe"LimboofVanity"or"Paradiseof

Fools,"whereallthosewithvainideasofhowtogetintoHeavenare

destinedtogo.Milton,asahard-lineEnglishProtestant,makesfunof

whatheconsidersthesuperstitionsofRomanCatholics;thefaithin

religiousobjectssuchasrelicsandprayerbeads;andtheheadsof

differentmonasticorders,groupingthemwithpaganandOld

Testamentidolatry,thevainworshipoffalsegods.Accordingtothe

ItalianRenaissanceepicwriterTorquatoTassothehumorinanepic

shouldbeheavy,satirical,andserious,andMiltonhereissatirizing

religiouspracticeshefelttobetrulymisleadingandwicked.

LaterinBookIIIweseeapictureofHeavenasSatancomestoits

outskirts,apicturewhichmarkedlycontrastswiththepictureofHell.

InHeaventhesun,which,likeGod,isasourceoflight,produces

preciousgemsandgoldwhichareallmorebrightandgloriousthan

thoseonearth.Satanmustchangehisshapetothatofa"stripling

Cherub"inordertofooltheangelofthesun,Uriel,intogivinghim

directionstoEarth.Hypocrisy,accordingtothenarrator,is"theonly

evilthatwalks/Invisible,excepttoGodalone."Inotherwords,Satan,

orevil,hasthepowertoreachtheverywallsofHeaventhroughhis

hypocrisy.

BookIV

Summary

SatanhaslandedonMt.Niphates,fromwhichhecanseeEden.The

poettellsusthat,nomatterwhereSatanis,hecarriesHellaround

withhiminhismindandcannotescapeit.Foramomentwehearhim

speakalone,firstcursingthesunbecauseitremindshimofhis

heavenlygloryasLucifer,the"light-bearer,"thenseemingtorepent

forwhathehasdonetoGod,thenturningbackonhimself(inself-

hatred)likearecoilingspring.Satanrealizesherethatthehigherhe

exaltshimselfinHell,thelowerhefalls.Headmitsthathehastricked

anddeceivedtheotherfallenangels,buthealsorealizesthathe

cannotsubmithimselftoGod'swill.Saying"EvilbethoumyGood,"

hevowstocorruptman.

Ashehasbeentalkingtohimself,Satan'strueuglinesshasbeen

showingthroughhisdisguises,andUrielinhispostinthesunhas

Page28

observedthechange.Suchachangecouldnotoccurinthefaceofa

trueangel,soUrielglidesdownasunbeamtowarnGabrielatthegate

ofParadise.

Eden,thegardeninParadise,isdescribedasasortofplateauonthe

broadtopofamountain,surroundedbysteepsidesandforestsanda

highwallofvegetationfromwhichAdamcanseehisempire,the

World,below.ForawhileSatantriestofighthiswaythroughthe

briarsandforestupintoEdenbutthen,incontempt,heleapsoverthe

walllikeasecond-storythieforawolfjumpingintoasheepfold.

Then,likeabirdofprey,SatanlightsontheTreeofLife,nexttothe

TreeofKnowledgeofGoodandEvil,andthereironicallyplotsdeath

forman.DespitehispresenceEdenisatrulybeautifulplace,with

deliciousfruitsripeforpicking,roseswithoutthorns,lakesand

streams,coolgrottoesinwhichtoescapetheheat,andbirdssinging

pastoralmelodies,allinperpetualspringtime.

SatanintheTreeofKnowledge,lookingoverallanimallifeonearth,

seesAdamandEveforthefirsttimeandrecognizestheyarethe

imagesofGod.Unliketheanimals,theywalkerect.Theyarenaked

butunashamed,naturalkingandqueenoftheirworld.Thesexesare

different:EveiscomplementarytoAdambutsheisnotequaltohim:

heismadeforcontemplationandvalor,whilesheismadeforsoftness

and"sweetattractiveGrace."Handinhandtheywalkuntiltheycome

toafountainside,pickfruitandeat,recliningbythesideofthe

stream.Aroundthemfortheiramusementplayalltheanimalsin

creation,notyetwild.Nightisfalling.

Satancannotstandthishappyscene.HebitterlyenviesAdamand

Eve.Hewouldliketolovethem,buthisheartissohardenedheno

longerisabletofeelanythingbutfrustratedlust.Insteadofloving

themheplotstheirdownfall.

Alightingfromthetree,Satanchangeshimselfintodifferentanimals

inordertoobserveAdamandEvemoreclosely.Ashetakestheform

ofthelionandthenthetigerabouttopounceonitsprey,Adamspeaks

toEveaboutGod,whohesaysmustbeinfinitelygood,andaboutthe

onerestrictionplacedonthem:thattheyshouldnoteattheonefruit.

Thoughitispunishablebydeath,thisisnotadifficultrestriction,

sincetherearesomanyotherfruitstoeat,andhesaysthatsucha

commandshouldbeeasytofollowsinceitisasignoftheirobedience

andgratefulnesstoGod.

Page29

RememberingthedaywhenshefirstmetAdam,EvetellsAdamhow,

whenshewascreatedfromhisside,sheawokewhilehestillwas

asleep,thenwanderedoffandsatdownbesidealake.Shesawher

ownreflectioninthelakeand,notknowingitwasherself,shefellin

lovewithherownimage.Avoicetoldher,however,ofAdamandshe

wasledtohim.WhenEvesawAdamsheturnedtogobacktothe

imageinthelakebecauseshefoundAdamlessattractive,butAdam

stoppedherandpersuadedherthatshewasapartofhim,hisother

half,andsheyieldedtohis"manlygraceandwisdom."

Backinthenarrativepresent,EvepresseshernakedbreasttoAdam's

sidein"meeksurrender"andhekissesher,whilethefrustratedDevil

turnsasideoutofjealousyandenvy.

FromtheirconversationSatanhaspickeduptheinformationthatthere

isaforbiddentreeandhedecidestotemptthembyexcitingtheir

mindstoknowmorethantheydoatpresentbyeatingofthefruitof

theTreeofKnowledge.Totrytogetmoreinformationwithwhichto

temptAdamandEve,Satanleavestolookforandlistentooneofthe

heavenlyspirits.

AttheonegateattheeastofEdentheangelGabrielsitsamidstan

angelicguard,whenUrielcomesdownonasunbeam,asfastasa

shootingstar,towarnGabrielofthepresenceofafallenangel.

Gabrielrealizes,however,thatafallenangelwouldhavetheabilityto

leapthewallandpassthemunobserved;hepromisestosearchfor

him.NightfallsandAdamsuggeststoEvethattheygotobed.Eve

askswhythestarsandtheotherheavenlybodiesstayawake,and

Adamexplainsthatthestarsandplanetsmustrevolvearoundthe

EarthandthatmillionsofGod'screaturesserveHimevenduringthe

night.Iftheylisten,hesays,theycanoftenheartheharmonyof

angelssinging,themusicofthespheres.

HandinhandAdamandEveretiretotheirbower,especiallymadeby

Godfortheirdelightandcomfortfromfragranttrees,flowersand

herbs.AtitsentrancetheysingtogetheraneveninghymntoGod.

ThenAdamandEvegotobedasmanandwife.

Inoneofhismanyauthorialcomments,thepoetpraisestheinstitution

ofmarriedlove,completewithitssexualrelationships;andcontrasts

thathappystatewithsexoutsideofmarriage,whichis"bought,"

"loveless,""joyless,''andresultsin"casualfruition."

Page30

AsAdamandEvegotosleep,Gabrielsendstroopsouttolookforthe

fallenangel,andtwoofthem,IthurielandZephon,discoverSatan,

squattinglikeatoadatEve'sear,givingheranevildream.Ithuriel

prodsSatanlightlywithhisspearandthetouchofheavenlymetal

turnsSatanbackintohistrueshape.Thetwoangelsdonotrecognize

Satan,hehasbecomesougly,andhelashesoutatthemfornot

knowingwhoheis.ZephonputsSataninhisplacebytellinghimhow

hehaschanged,andSatanisovercomeforamoment.Zephonpoints

outthatSatan'sevilhasmadehimsoweakthathecannotnoweven

fightwithlesserangels.IthurielandZephontakeSatantoGabriel

whoasksSatanwhyhehasrunawayfromtheplacewhereGodhad

puthim.Satananswersthathehasrunfrompain.Gabrielscornfully

mocksSatanforbeingsocowardlyandfoolishastorunawayfrom

thepainandpunishmentwhichherightfullydeserves.

Commentary

ThebeginningofBookIVisimportantastheplacewhereSatanfirst

revealshimself.LikeaShakespeareanvillainsuchasIago,Macbeth

orRichardIII,hetellsushisdesignsinasoliloquy.Hecannotescape

Hell,"forwithinhimHell/Hebrings,

Bychangeofplace"(20-23).Heremembershowglorioushisposition

wasinHeavenandhismemorybringshimanguishoneoftheseverest tormentsforthefallenangelsisthememoryoftheirstateinHeaven. HeadmitsthatGodcreatedhim,whichhewillattempttodenylater, andheadmitsthatitwaseasytoserveGodinHeavenandgiveHim duepraise.Buthe"likeadevilishenginebackrecoils/Uponhimself"

(17-18);herefusesforalltimetosubmittoGod.Asheswearsto

makeevilhisgoodheconfirmsthefactthathewillneverreconcile

himselfwithGod.

ForthefirsttimethereaderalmostfeelspityforSatan,buthis

norfromHell

canfly/

stubbornnessandhardnessmakehimdifficulttosympathizewith.His stateofmindandhishatredofthesuncontrastssharplywiththe sceneryofEden,whichislush,beautifulandfulloflight.Edenmeans

"delight,"or,asMiltonsays,"alldelightofhumansense"(206).The

gardeninEden,Paradise,isnotartfullylandscaped,butiscompletely

naturalandsuppliesformanapleasantvarietyoftrees,flowersand

streams,orchardsandlawns,hillsandcaves.Wildlifeaboundsthere,

birdsandflocksofgrazinganimals,allofwhichplayinpeacebefore

AdamandEve,whoareatthistimevegetarians.

AdamandEveareintroducedherefromthebeginningas"notequal."

AdamissuperiortoEve,althoughMiltonmighthaveargued

Page31

thatEveisasperfectwithinherwomanlinessasAdamiswithinhis

manliness.Adamwasmadeforcontemplationandvalorhischief

characteristicsarehisintellectandhisstrengthwhileEvewasmade

for"softness"and"sweetattractiveGrace."Theycomplementone

another,butMiltonimpliesevenherethatEveshouldnottryto

violatehernaturebybecomingmanlyorbyusinglogicfalsely,and

thatAdamshouldnotbecomeeffeminatebylosinghismanlinessand

strengthinimitatingEve'ssoftness.Theyeachhaveapositionin

respecttoeachotherwhichisnaturalandshouldnotbeviolated.

Eve'sstoryofhercreation(449-491)isasmallfable,likeanimproved

versionoftheNarcissusstorytobefoundinOvid'sMetamorphoses (BookIII).InOvid'smyththeshepherdNarcissusfallsinlovewith hisimageinthewater,piningawayuntilhisdeathandevolutioninto theflowerthatiscalledafterhim.Eve'saccountofhercreationis different.Shewouldhavepinedawayoverherownimageexceptthat avoicefromGodtellsherthatwhatsheseesisanimageofherself andofferstoleadhertohim"whoseimagethouart,"thatis,Adam. Still,whensheseesAdamshebalksandturnsbackandAdammust convinceherthatsheishis"otherhalf"andthatherbeauty''is excelledby[Adam's]manlygrace/Andwisdom,whichaloneistruly

fair"(490-491).Thisexpandedfableteachesthereaderaswellas

AdamandEvethatEve'sbeautyisaverypowerfulforcebutthat,if

weareledbyGod,wewillseethatwisdomisbetterthanmerebeauty.

Adamwilllaterfall(becauseofEve'sbeauty)through"vehemenceof

love"(Argument,BookIX),sothisisaforewarning.

Despitethisimpliedwarningformankindtobewareofthepowerof beauty,theloveofAdamandEveisatthispointpureandinnocent. AfterhehaspicturedAdamandEvegoingtobed,Miltonincludesa

shorthymnto"weddedLove"(750-770),whichopposesthepleasures

ofloveinmarriagetowhathecallsthe"Casualfruition"ofcourtiers

singingserenadestoladiesinhopesofseducingthem.ForMilton,as

formanyearlierPuritanwriters,marriagewasideallytheperfectend

ofhumanlife,borninloveandproducingoffspringinasolidfamily

unit.

ParadiseLostasawholeisnotastraightnarrativewithaclearly

definedchronology;itismorelikeamodernnovelwhichproceedson

mentaltimeratherthanclocktime.Thesameinstantintimemaybe

describedtwoorthreetimesinParadiseLostfromdifferent

perspectives;oronevisualmotif,suchasthepictureofAdamandEve

holdinghands,mayberepeatedindifferentbooks,witheachinstance

reinforcingeveryother.AdamandEveholdhandsastheyproceedto

their

Page32

bowerforthenightinBookIV(689),buttheydropeachother'shands

beforethefallinBookIX(385-386);finally,theyareholdinghands

againattheveryendoftheepic(XII,648).Theword"alone"isthere

inBookIV;inBookXIIitbecomes"solitary";eachsceneandeach

combinationofwordsreinforcestheother.

BookV

Summary

ThenextmorningAdamawakensfromhisusualgoodnight'ssleepin

EdenandtohiswonderdiscoversEvebesidehimlookingdisheveled

andupsetinhersleep.Hewakeshergentlyandshetellshimher

dream.AvoicewhichsoundedlikeAdam'scalledtoherinthedream

tocomeout.ShewentoutlookingforAdambutfoundinsteadthe

forbiddenTree,whichlookedmorebeautifulinherdreamthanitdoes

indaylight.Nexttoitstoodacreaturewholookedlikeanangel.The

creatureaddressedtheTree,askingwhynoonedaredtoeatitsfruit

andtherebygainknowledge.Thenhepluckedthefruitandtastedit.

Evewasstruckwithhorror,butthenthetempterheldthefruitupto

hermouthandherappetitegotthebetterofher.Rightawayshe

seemedtobeflyingwithhimabovetheearth,butthenthedream

fadedandshesankdownintosleepagain.

Adamnaturallyisupsetbythisdreamandwonderswhereithascome

from.HeexplainstoEvethatwhensheisunconsciousherreasonis

apttobereplacedbyherfancy,whatmightbecalledheruncontrolled

imagination,andthatherfancyjoinsimagesofthedaytogetherin

mismatchedformsandfantasies.Adamrealizesthatevilfantasies

maycomeandgoinman'smindandnotcausesin,soheisoptimistic

thatEve'sdreamwillnotcausehertosin,andhecomfortsher,telling

hernottoworry.Nevertheless,analmostunconscioustearcomesin

hereye,andAdamtenderlywipesitaway.

Astheyleavetheirbowerandseethesuncomingupintheeast,

AdamandEvebowandprayinahymnofpraisetoGodthecreatorof

theuniverse.Theyaskthewholeworldinallitsceaselesschangeto

glorifyGod,itscreator,withthem.ThentheyaskGodtodispelany

evilthatcameduringthenight,andtheybothgotoworkarranging

thetreesandvines.

FromHeavenGodandtheangelRaphaelobservethem.Godpities

thembecauseHeknowsoftheircomingfall,buthesendsRaphael

Page33

downtowarnthemofSatanandtoinformAdamthathehasfreewill

butthathiswillisfreetochooseevilaswellasgood.

PassingoutofthegoldengatesofHeaven,Raphaelfliesthrough

cloudlessskiesdowntoearthandlandsinParadise.Fromthedoorof

hisbowerAdamseeshimcomingthroughthefieldsofvarioussweet-

smellingspices.Eveisinsidepreparingadinneroffruits.Adamasks

hertobringouttheirfinestfoodfortheirheavenlyguest.Enjoyingher

domesticduties,Evepreparesafine,variedmealandstrewsthe

groundwithrosepetals,whileAdam,unafraid,goesouttomeetthe

angel.Hebows,sinceRaphaelishissuperior,andinviteshimintothe

bower.

RaphaelexplainsthatangelswillfreelycometovisitatAdam's

invitation,thensalutesEveasthemotherofallmankind.Withsome

hesitationAdamasksRaphaeltoeat,becauseheisnotsurethat

angels,beingmadeofether,asubstancemorevolatilethanearth's

elements,caneathumanfood.Raphaelexplainsthatallhigher

elementsmingleandfeedfromthelowerinakindofnaturalchain;

thesun,forinstance,madeoffire,drinkstheocean.Theangel,

therefore,eatswithrealhunger.MeanwhileEvekeepstheircupsfull,

tendingthemnaked,andthenarratorcommentsthatbeforetheFall

manfeltnojealousyorunreasonabledesire.

WhenAdam,takingtheopportunitywithhisguestfromHeaven,asks

whyRaphaelhascomedown,Raphaelexplainsthatmaneventually

mayworkhiswayupfrombodytospiritbyconcentratingmoreon

hissoul,orreasonablefaculty.Whenthishappens,thenmanmight

comeuptoeatwithangelsandhisbodyatlastbecomepurifiedto

spirit,ifmanwouldremainobedient.

AdampicksthisconditionalclausefromRaphaelandasksRaphael

whyheaddedit.RaphaelexplainsthatGodhasmadeAdamperfectin

hispresentstate,butnotunchangeable.Becausemangivesonly

voluntaryobediencetoGod,hecanalwaysdecidetodisobey.Some

angels,Raphaelsays,havealreadydisobeyedandfallen.

AdamasksRaphaeltotellhimofthefallenangelsandRaphaeltells

thestoryoftheWarinHeaven.Beforethecreationofthisworld,

whenChaoswaswheretheEarthisnowandhumantimewasnot

evenineffect,Godannouncedtoallhisorderlylegionsofangelsthat

HehadbegottenaSon,nowsittingatHisrighthand,andthattheSon

wasnowbydecreeappointedtheirhead,tobehonoredandobeyed

justlikeGodhimself.Atthisannouncementalltheangelsseemed

pleasedand

Page34

theyspentthatHeavenlydayindanceandfeastingonangelicfruit

andnectarandwenttosleeppeacefullythatnightallexceptforSatan,

oneofthefirstarchangels,whocouldnotstandtheideaoftheSon's

exaltationandcouldnotsleepforenvyandpride.Hewakeshis

nearestsubordinateandpoisonshismindwiththeideaofrevolting

againsttheSonandGod.Hissubordinate,probablytheangellater

calledBeelzebub,callsouttheirtroops,tellingthemmanyliesto

arousethem.

God,whoseeyesneversleep,seesallthisand,smiling,tellshisSon

toprepareforafight.TheSonanswerscalmlythatHeisreadyto

assumethepowerthatGodwillgiveHimtoovercometheprideofthe

evilangels.

AtthesametimeSatan,withahostoffollowersasnumerousasthe

starsordropsofdew,passesoverregionsinfinitelymorehugethan

Earthandsettlesonahill,fromwhichheaddresseshislegions.Heis

beginningtostirthemupwithangeratGod'sdecree,tellingthemthat

theirtitlesgivethemacertainautomaticsuperiority,whenoneangel,

Abdiel,speaksoutagainsthim.

Godisgood,Abdielsays,andtheSonhasbeenmadearightfulking

ofHeaven.Thedecreewasjustandgiventothembytheircreator.

Howthencanthecreated,Satan,argueagainstitscreator,God,orthe

Son?ThemovetoexalttheSon,Abdielsays,wasamovetounifythe

angelsandmakethemevenhappier.TheSon'sreignoverthe

hierarchyofangelswillgiveitmoregloryandmakeitmoresecure.

HebegsSatantostoptherevoltandthetemptationofothersbeforehe

bringsdownGod'swrathoneveryone.

Eventhoughheisright,nooneinthemassofangelshasthecourage

tosupportAbdiel,andSatananswershimwithalie:hehasnotseen

GodcreatingandthereforehedoesnotbelievethatGodortheSon

createdhim.Somethinglikefatebegottheangels,hesays;eitherthat

ortheycreatedthemselves.ThenSatandismissesAbdiel.

Beforeheleaves,however,AbdieltellsSatanwhatheis,aspirit

accursed,afraud,adiseasetohisfollowers.Oncetheyhavedecided

nottoliveunderGodinaruleoflove,hesaystheywillliveunder

God'sironrod.Theywillhavedeterminedtheirownevildestiny,and

thentheywillknowforsurewhotheircreatoris,sinceGodalsohas

thepowertouncreateordestroythem.

SosaysAbdiel,theonlyfaithfulangelinSatan'shugelegions,andhe

turnshisbackonSatan,hisownmoralsuperioritysustaininghim

againstthescornoftheevilangels.

Commentary

Page35

BookVislinkedtoBookIVbythenarrativeofEve'sdream.Satan

hasinspiredthedreaminEveinIV,789-809,andweseetheresultsin

V,26-93.Satanhasattemptedtosuggesttoherimagination("to

reach/TheOrgansofherFancy")thatshecommitanevilact,inthis

casetoeatthefruit,orhehastriedtopoisonhermind("inspiring

venom")sothatitwillproduceunbalancedandexcessivedesires,

makingherproudandwillful.ThedreamdoesaffectEve's

subconscious,makinghercheekglowandcausinghertowakeup

uneasyandstartled,butitisasuggestionratherthanaconscious

temptation.Satan'stechniquesinthedreamareclever:hecallsherin

avoicelikeAdam's(37),heinvertsthecustomaryvaluesmaking

nightbetterthanday(38-44),hesuggeststhatitistimeforlove-

making(41),heflattersher(44-46).Satan,astheBiblesays,can

appearasanangeloflight,andinEve'sdreamheappearstobea handsomemaleangelwith"dewylocks.''Everythingislargerand morebeautifulthanlife-size,includingthetreeofforbidden

knowledge(52-53).Thetemptationisquickandefficient;the"angel"

eatsthefruitquickly(thisplantstheideainEve'smind,thatthe

Serpenthasalreadyeatenthefruit,andSatanwillusethatsuggestion

tohisadvantageinBookIX)andoffersittoEvewiththeguarantee

thatitwillmakehergod-like.TheangelpracticallyforcesEvetoeat

andwhensheeatssheinstantlyfliesuptothecloudswiththeangelin

exaltation.Immediatelyafterthis,however,Satan'spurposehaving

beenfulfilled,Evewakes,gladithasonlybeenadream.

AdamexplainstoEvewhathashappenedtoher:herimaginationhas

formedfantasmsinhersleep.Butevenifthesuggestionswereevil,he

says,aslongasshedoesnotapprovethemshecannotbeblamedfor

evilthinking.

Thedreamisinterestingforitspsychology.AfterreadingFreudonthe

interpretationsofdreamsthemodernreadercanappreciateMilton's

psychologicalaccuracy.AfterthedreamEveshedstearssilentlyand

Adamkissesthemaway,butthereaderknowsthattheideaofsinhas

beenplantedinhermindandhertearsthereforearesymbolic,because

shehasn'tsinnedyet,butthereaderknowsthatshewill.Hertears

seemtobeanunconsciousacknowledgementofallthesinsmanisto

commit.

JustastheyhaveofferedaneveningprayerinBookIV(720-735),

AdamandEvenowsayorsingamorninghymnwhichpraisesall

God'screationandendswithanentreatytoGodthatHedisperseany

evilthathascomeduringthenight.Theemphasisintheirprayerison

Page36

simplicity,spontaneity,andnaturalness,andontheabsenceofformal ritual(whichMiltondistrusted).Astheyfinishthepoetsays"So

pray'dtheyinnocent"(209);thereader,then,shouldnotbelievethat

Evehasbeencorruptedbyherdream.

TheemphasisinthedescriptionsofEdeninBookV(211-218;291-

302)seemstobeonthefertilityoftheGardenwhichGodhas

designed.Theimagesareofmarriage,conception,andchildbearing. TheGardenreflectsGod'screativityexpressedinsexualterms:Eden isaplacewhere,asAdamsays,"Naturemultiplies/Herfertile

growth"(318-319).WhenRaphaelseesEve,thewordheusestogreet

heris"Hail,"whichemphasizesthefactthatthechildrenthatshewill

bearwilleventuallyproduceMary,hailedbytheangelGabrielatthe

annunciation.Eve'sfertility,inotherwords,willeventuallyproduce

theChrist.

Raphael'svisittoAdamandEveservesseveralpurposes.Itindicates thepossibilityforeasygiveandtakebetweenangelandmanbefore theFall,anditservestowarnAdamthoroughlyofthethreatofSatan

beforeEveistempted.AsRaphaelexplains(469-490),"body"may

throughrefinementworkitswayupto"spirit";man,ifheremains good,maygraduallybecomemoreangelic.Thereaderknowsthat Adamwillfall,butatleastweseehopeinthefactthatoncemanwas goodenoughtoeatanddrinkwithangels.RaphaelexplainstoAdam, however,thatallthisgoodnessandnearnesstoGodisbasedona chainofvoluntaryobedience.TheangelsserveGodwillinglybecause

theyloveHim:"freelyweserve/Becausewefreelylove''(538-539).

AsRaphaelbeginshisnarrativeabouttheWarinHeavenhepromises

tocompensateforAdam'shumanunderstandingbylikeningspiritual

formstobodilyforms.Angelsaremadeof"etherealsubstance,"and

etheristhefifthelementforMilton,higherthanearth,water,air,or

fire.ThereforeAdammighthavesomedifficultyimaginingwhathe

couldnotevensee,andRaphaelmustcompensateforhislackof

understandingbytellingthestoryinhumanterms.

Satan,oncecalledLucifer,or"light-bearer"inHeavenbecauseofhis eminence,isanarchangel;heisinthehighestorderofangelsandhe hassomanyangelsunderhiscommandthatitwouldbeimpossible formantoimaginetheirnumber.Hismethodsinseducingthese multitudesofangelsshouldalreadybefamiliartothereader,sincehe hasseentheminBooksIandII:Satansetshimselfuponathroneina

palaceonamountain,imitatingGod(756-766),theninsultstheangels

Page37

tobringouttheirprideandenvy(772-777),callingwhatshouldhave

beentheirwillingobedience"prostrationvile"(782),andfinallyhe

remindsthemnotoftheirrealmeritbutoftheir"imperialtitles"(801)

nameswhich,hesays,entitlethemtorule,nottoserve.Onlyone

angelseesthroughthis"counterfeitedtruth"(771),andthatisAbdiel.

Abdiel,thefirstofanumberofbeingsinParadiseLostbraveenough towithstandsocialpressureandscorninordertoserveGodjustly,

answersSatanthatitis"blasphemous,falseandproud''(809)ofhim

torebelagainsthiscreator.Itwouldberoughlythesameasapuppet rebellingagainstapuppet-maker;themakerknowseverythingabout hiscreation,butthecreatedbeingcannotknoweverythingaboutthe creator;hehastobelesspowerfulandintelligent.Satandeniesthathe

hasbeencreated(853-863),butweknowheislyingtoimpresshis

angels;inBookIVonMt.NiphatesSatanadmits(43)thatGodhas

createdhim.

AbdielisnotfrightenedbySatan'slie.Withthecourageofthejusthe

turnshisbackontheinnumerableangelswhohavebelievedSatanand

onthe"proudtowers"Satanhaserected,whichheknowswillsoonbe

destroyed.

BookVI

Summary

Raphaelresumeshisstory.Abdielhasflownallnighttoreachthe

MountofGod.Hearrivesatdawntofindthetroopsoffaithfulangels

preparingforwar.HeisledthroughtheirranksuptoGod'ssacred

hill,receivingcongratulations.God'svoice,comingfromagolden

cloud,praiseshimforremainingfaithfulwhenalltheevilangelshave

calledhimperverse.Itismoredifficult,Godsays,towithstand

universalscornthanviolence.

MichaelandGabrielareaskedtoleadtheangelicarmy,which

marchesoutcompletelyunifiedinitspurposewhiletheheavenly

trumpetblowsinharmonyandGoddemonstrateshiswrathwith

darkness,flames,andsmoke.MeanwhileSatan'slegions,determined

tocapturetheMountofGod,begintheattack.Satansitshighinthe

midstofthetroopsinachariotbrightasthesununtilthearmiescome

together,thenhealightsandfindshimselffacinghisadversaryofthe

nightbefore,Abdiel.AlthoughheseesthatSatanisstillglorious

looking,Abdielstandsuptohim,callshima"fool"nottorecognize

thatitisuselesstofightagainstomnipotence,throughwhichGodby

oneblow,atanytime,couldhaveendedhisexistence.Satandoesnot

admitthat

Page38

heandhisfallenangelsbelieveinGod'somnipotence;Sataneven

saysAbdielhascomeforthoutofambitiontogainpersonalgloryby

fightingsomeonesoexaltedashimself.Abdielandtheothers,he

says,arejustweakslavesofGodwhileheandhislegionsarefree.

AbdielanswersscornfullythattheserviceofGodisnotdemeaning

servitudebutfillingtheorderofnature.Itistrueservitudetoserve

someoneinferior,likeSatan;thenoneisenslavedtoanunnatural

leader.EvenSatanhimselfisnotfreebutparadoxicallyaslavetohis

owninferiornature.HavingsaidthatSatanisaslaveandinferior,

AbdielproveshispointbygivingSatanablowwithhisswordthat

staggersSatanbackandalmostbringshimtohisknees,causinghim

toleanonhisspearforsupport.Michaelcallsforthetrumpetsto

sound,andthebattlebegins.Theangels,anyoneofwhomcould

manipulatetheelementsofouruniversesuchasthewindorthewater,

fightwithalmostunimaginableforce.Theymighthavedestroyed

HeavenifGodhadnotlimitedtheirpower.

AftersomeamountofhardfightinginwhichSatandoesnotmeethis

equalinforce,hecomesfacetofacewithMichael,carryinghis

mightysword.MichaeltellshimthatGodwillnotallowHispeaceto

bedisturbedbywarandviolenceinHeavenandtheycometogether

soviolentlythatalltherestofthesoldiersmovebacktogivethem

room.Michael'sswordisstrongenoughtocutthroughanythingand

withitheshearsSatan'sentirerightside.ForthefirsttimeSatanfeels

physicalpain,althoughhishorriblewoundsoonhealsbecauseofhis

body'sbeingcomposedof"etherealsubstance."Hebleeds"nectarous

humor,"whichisbrightandstainshisarmor.Someofhisangels

quicklycarrythewoundedSatanfromthebattleandlayhimonhis

chariot.Hisprideiswoundedmorethanhisbody,whichcouldnotdie

exceptbyGod'scommandforitsannihilation.

MeanwhilethebattlegoesonandMoloch,amongothersofthefallen

angels,iswoundedbyGabrielandrunsaway,bellowing.Whennight

fallsthegoodangels,becauseoftheirinnocenceandfaith,stillstand

likeaphalanx,aperfectlyorganizedbattleformation,withoutbeing

tiredandwithnofearofbeingwounded.Atruceiscalledandthe

goodangelsmakecamponthebattlefield,withcherubimwatching

thefires.

AftertheyhaveencampedinthedarknessSatanholdsaconvocation

andtriestoregrouphisdismayedfollowers.Nisroch,oneofthe

discouragedsatanichost,admitsthattheyarefightinganunequal

battle,sincethegoodangelscannotfeelpainandSatan'sforcesnow

can,andsuggeststhattheyneedanewweapontomaketheoddsmore

nearly

Page39

even.Satananswershimconfidentlythathehasinventedsucha

weapon,whichturnsouttobethecannon,firedbytheheavenly

equivalentofgunpowder.Cheeredbythisnewgadget,theevilangels

gotoworkdiggingupandminingtheingredientsofgunpowder.

ThenextmorningSatan'slegionsattack,concealingthecannon

behindappointedsquadrons.Whentheyhavecomeuptothegood

angels,Satanpubliclyproclaimstheyseekonlypeace,thenhashis

troopsmoveasidetodisclosethecannonrywhichthegoodangels

haveneverseenanddonotyetcomprehendthefunctionof.Thefirst

rowofcannonfiresandthegoodangelsfallback.SatanandBelial

tauntthem,butthegoodangelsresourcefullythrowawaytheirarmor

andwiththeirgiganticstrengthbeginthrowingwholehillsand

mountainsatSatan'stroops,buryingthecannonsandcrushingtheevil

angelsintheirarmor.God,lookingdownandseeingthatHeaven

itselfmightbebroughttorackandruinbysuchforce,andnowready

tofulfillHispurposeforthewar,whichwasto"declareallpower

transferred"totheSon,tellsHimthefightinghasgoneonlong

enough.Thetwoarmiesaremoreorlessevenlymatched,sinceboth

groupswerecreatedequal,andifunchangedthefightingwouldgoon

perpetually.Thewarhasdonewhatwarsusuallydoletoutrageand

causeddestructionandaftertwoheavenlydaysitistimetoendit.The

SonshouldbedressedinthearmorofGodandrideoutasasignof

God'sglorytoendthewar.

TheSonanswersthatHewilluseGod'spowertoovercometheevil

angelsanddrivethemdowntoHell.TheSoncanassumeGod's

"terrors"aswellasHis"mildness,"andherisesfromhisseatatGod's

righthandtogetintoGod'schariot.Thechariotmovesbyitsown

powerbuthasanescortoffourangelicshapes,andtheSonridesin

celestialarmorwithVictoryathisrighthand,withsmokeandsparks

offlameaboutthechariot,andwithtenthousandangelsattending

Him.

MichaelopenstheranksofhisarmytolettheSonpassthrough,and

theSonresetstheuprootedhillsintheirproperplacesasHepassesby,

restoringthebeautyofHeaven.

Satan'sforcesbecomehardenedatthesightoftheSoningloryand

theydrawthemselvesuptofightinalastbattle.TheSoncallsoutto

thegoodangels,andtellsthemtheirfightingisover;Godhas

ordainedHimtofightandtoovercometheevilangelsbyHisown

poweralone.

PuttingonthecountenanceofterrortheSondrivesoutintothemidst

oftheevilangels,scatteringthembeforehimandterrifyingthem

Page40

bythrowingthunderbolts.Theevilangelswishtheywereagain

coveredbythemountainstoshelterthemagainsttheSon'swrath.The

SonputsforthonlyhalfHisstrength,sinceHedoesnotmeanto

destroythembutonlytodrivethemoutofHeaven.Thecrystalwallof

Heavenrollsdownandopens,disclosingahorriblegap,buttheevil

angelsaremoreterrifiedoftheSon'sforceandtheythrowthemselves

headlongoutofHeavenintothebottomlesspit.

HellitselfisafraidofreceivingtheoutcastsofHeaven,butFatehas

commandedthatthefoundationofHellbefixed,andthemouthof

Hellopenstoreceivetheevilangelsandthenclosesoverthem.

Heavenmeanwhilerejoicesthatevilhasbeencastout,andthesaints

celebratethevictoryandtriumphoftheSon.

RaphaelclosesthestorywithawarningtoAdamthatSatanisnow

plottinghisdestructionandthatheshouldwarnEveandguard

himselfagainsttemptation,rememberingwhathashappenedtothe

evilangels.

Commentary

BookVIistakenupalmostentirelywithRaphael'sdescriptionofthe

WarinHeaven.AtthebeginningofSatan'srebellion(718)God

smilesatHisSon,andtheSonrespondsbysayingthatGod'sderision

isfair,becauseHeisjustandomnipotent,andSataneviland

powerless.InMilton'seyeswickednessisweakness,hencethe

rebellionoftheevilangelsisweakandlaughable.Thewholeofthe

WarinHeaven,then,maybelookeduponasagiganticfarce,with

goodandevilangelsallburyingeachotherundermountainsand

sufferingfromwoundsthathealimmediately.Thehumor,however,is

heavyandseriousinitsimplicationsforman,sincethefallofthe

angelswillbeapreludetothefallofman.

AbdielremindsSatanthatheisafooltomakewaragainstan

omnipotentGod,andAbdielisfittinglythefirsttofightSataninthe

firstbattle.Satansaysheisfightingforfreedomfromtyranny,but

Abdielremindshimthatheisaslavetohimself,becauseheserves

himselftheunwiseratherthanservingGodthewise.Abdiel'spointis

illustratedwhenhe,whohadbeenalesserangel,knockstheformer

archangelbacktenpaceswithoneblow.Satan'sevilhasweakened

andenslavedhim.

ThewarinHeavenisalmostunimaginableforman,sincetheleastof

theangelscouldhavecontrolledtheelementsonEarth.Godhasto

Page41

limitthestrengthoftheangelssothattheuniversewillnotbe

destroyedutterly.

Ultimately,Michael,theangelmostassociatedwithmilitarystrength, challengesSatanandremindshimthat"Heaven,theseatofbliss,/

Brooksnotthewordsofviolenceandwar"(273-274).Thesymbolic

swordofMichael,associatedwithGod'sjustice,cutsSatan'sswordin

halfandwoundsSatanforthefirsttimeinhisexistence,humbling

himandcausinghimpain.Heaven,inotherwords,willcastoutevil

andviolencebyitsverynature.

Butwhennightcomes,eventhoughSatanhasbeenhumiliatedhe

gathershisforcesanddivertstheirattentionfromthedeeperissueof

theirrebelliontothesuperficialoneoftheirweapons.Perhapsinorder

totaketheirmindsofftheirnewmiseryandhopelessness,heinvents

thecannonandgunpowder,toolsofwarwhichhistoriansofMilton's

erathoughtwereinspiredbythedevil.

Thevariousangelswouldhavegoneonfightingforever,sincetheir

strengthissoevenlymatched,butGodonthethirddaysendsHisSon

todemonstrateHisglory.Thewar,likeallwars,isfutileandchaotic,

eventhoughthegoodangelsfightwithperfectdiscipline.Whenthe

SonforcestheevilangelsoutofHeaven,God'somnipotenceisshown

plainly:thefallenangelsfleeovertheedgeofHeavenratherthanface

thewrathofGod.YettheSonhereexertslessthanhalfHisstrength,

becauseHedoesnotwanttodestroytheangels,onlytorootthemout

ofHeaven.

ItisinterestingthatBookVI,thebookmostfullofaction,isperhaps

theleastdramaticbookinParadiseLost,perhapsbecauseMiltonis

moreinterestedinthepsychologicalinterplaybetweenhumanbeings,

rather,thantheirexternalandphysicalactions.

BookVII

Summary

MiltonagaininvokestheMuse,thistimecallingher"Urania,"but

reallycallingto"themeaning,notthename,"sinceUraniaisonlya

convenientnamefor"Christianinspiration.''Withthehelpofthe

MusethepoethasalreadybeendowntoHellanduptoHeaven,and

heaskshertohelphimashevisitshisnativeelement,theEarth.

MiltontellshisMuseheissurroundedbydarknessanddanger.He

Page42

askshertocontinuehernightlyvisitofinspirationtohim,tofindfor

hima"fitaudience

loud,murderous,ordrunkenmob.

AdamandEvehavelistenedattentivelytothestoryoftheWarin

Heaven,andithasfilledthemwithwonder.Adamnowhasadesireto

findouthowtheirownuniversewascreated,andheasksRaphaelto

explainwhyandhowGodmadetheEarth.Thedayisnottooold,he

says,andeventhesunwouldsuspenditsmotiontohearRaphaeltell

ofitscreation.

RaphaelanswersthathewilltellAdamofthecreation,butthatGod

hasinstructedhimnottotellAdammorethanheshouldknowor

morethanhismindcanhold.Knowledge,hesays,islikefood;one

canhavetoomuch.

AfterLuciferhadfallenfromHeaven,Raphaelsays,Godannounced

HisintentionofcreatingaraceofbeingstorepopulateHeaveninthe

placeofthefallenangels.Inamoment,Godsays,Hewillcreate

anotherworldandamanwhowillbethefatherofaninnumerable

raceofmen.GodaskstheSontosetboundariesonChaostoestablish

thelimitsofman'sheavenandearth.

TheangelsrejoiceastheSonsetsouttodoGod'sbidding.Theysing

thegloryofaGod"whosewisdomhadordain'd/Goodoutofevilto

create,"inthiscasetoextendgoodnessandmercytofuture

generationsofmenoutoftheapparentlyevilfallofSatanandtheevil

angels.

HeavenopenshergatestolettheSongoouttocreatetheworld.

ChaoshearsthevoiceofGodcallingforpeaceandtheendofdiscord,

andthenGodintheSontakesthegoldencompassandcircumscribes

theuniverseandallcreation.TheSpiritstretchesHiswingsoverthe

thoughfew,"andtoprotecthimagainstany

faceofthewaters,infusesthemwithwarmth,andgivesordertothe

variouselements.

Godsays"LettherebeLight,"andlightcomesoutofthedeepand

coverseverything,forthesunisnotyetcreated.ThenGoddivides

lightanddarknessbythehemispheres,whiletheangelspraiseHimas

creatorinhymnsforthefirstdayofcreation.

Godcreatesthefirmamentinthemidstofthewatersonthesecond

dayandcallsthefirmament"Heaven,"takingcaretokeepthe

universefarremovedfromChaossoastoavoiditshorribleextremes.

Page43

GodseesthatwhatHehasdoneisgood,andthechorusofangels

singsforthecompletionofthesecondday.

ThethirddayGodgatherstogetherthewatersonthefaceoftheEarth

andallowsdrylandtoappear,madefertilebythepresenceofthe

water.Themountainsareraisedandtheriversandstreamsflowtothe

sea.GodcommandstheEarthtoputforthvegetation,andtheEarthis

coveredwithbeautifulgreengrass,shrubs,flowers,andtrees,sothat

evenagodwouldbeabletowalkonitwithdelight.

Godonthefourthdaycreatesalltheheavenlybodies,thestars,and

planetsandthesunandmoon.ThenGodcommandsthewatersto

generatereptilesandfishandcreatesbirdstoflyintheaironthefifth

day.

OnthesixthdayGodcommandsthegreatMotherEarthtoopenher

fertilewombandgivebirthtoallthebeastsoftheground.Outofthe

earthitselfwildbeastsandtamestruggletothrowoffthedirtofwhich

theyarecreated.Something,however,islacking,acreaturetobridge

thegapbetweenanimalsandangels,andGodcallstotheSonthat

theyshouldnowmakemanintheirimage.TheSonthenformsAdam

outofthedustofthegroundandbreatheslifeintohisnostrils.Eveis

createdtobeAdam'sconsort,hiscompanion,andforthegeneration

ofchildren.Godblessesmanandcommandshimtobefruitfuland

multiply,thenbringshimtotheGarden,fullofdelectablefruits,

givinghimonlytheonecommand:nottoeatfromtheTreeof

Knowledge.

Godnowseesallofcreation,everythingHehasmade,andseesthatit

isentirelygood.GodreturnstoHisHeavenofHeavensasallcreation

singsincelestialharmonyasymphonyto"ThegreatCreatorfromhis

workreturn'd/Magnificent,hissixdays'work,aworld!"TheSon

returns.Theangelssingthecreationespecially,morethantheWarin

Heaven,becausecreationisbetterthandestructionofcreatedthings.

Theyalsosingthehappinessofmanwhoisfortunatetobeplacedin

suchamagnificentworld,solikeHeaven,andinsuchapleasant

dwellingplace.Manwillbethricehappyifhecanknowtheextentof

hishappinessandremainupright.

Thisistheway,Raphaelsays,thefirstSabbathwascelebrated.Heis

tellingAdam,hesays,sothatAdammayinformhisposterity.The

bookendswithRaphaelaskingAdamifhehasanyquestionsthat

couldbeanswered.

Commentary

Page44

BookVIIopenswithwhatisperhapsthemostdirectandpersonalof

thefourinvocations(SeealsoBooksI,III,andIX).Forthefirsttime

MiltoncallstheHeavenlyMusebynameUraniabutheisinterested

moreinthemeaningofheavenlyinspirationthaninamerename.

UraniawasearlierconsideredtobetheMuseofAstronomybut

severalwritersbeforeMiltonhadestablishedherasthemuseof

Christianpoets(thenameUraniameans"theheavenlyone"),anditis

thereforeappropriatethatMiltonshoulddiscardallnineofthe

classicalMusesandchosetheChristianUrania.Theepicishalfdone

attheendofthesixthbook,soitisappropriatetohaveanother

invocationatmidpoint.

Asapoliticalwriter,andparticularlyasadefenderofthekillingof

CharlesIin1649,Miltonwasunderattackaftertherestorationof

Charles'son,CharlesII,in1660.Thereforehecanspeakofhimselfas

thebesiegedpoet,"withdangerscompastround"(27),and"fall'non

evildays"(25).Thoughheisaloneandinpersonaldanger,thepoet

hasfaithinhisChristianMusetoprotecthim,tokeephispoemfrom

becomingharshorshrill,andtofindhima"fitaudience

few''(31).Milton'spictureofhimselfaspoetiscalm,reasonable,and

confident,sureofthesourceofhisinspiration.

BookVIwasthebookofwar.BookVIIisthebookofcreation.The

aspectofGodshowninBookVIwasHis"thunder,"Hisomnipotence:

inBookVII,Godisthecreator.Astheangelssay,"tocreate/Is

greaterthancreatedtodestroy"(606-607).Godcreatestheworldin

ordertocompensateforthelossofthefallenangelsfromHeaven.The

raceofmenhecreateswillbeable,afteraperiodofrefinement,to

worktheirwayuptoHeaventhroughtheirgoodness,or,betteryet,

createaHeavenwithinthemselves,sothatEarthmaybecomeHeaven

,though

andHeaven,Earth.

RaphaeltellsthestoryofthecreationtoAdamwiththereservation

thatheshouldnotseektoknowmorethannecessaryforhiswell-

being;Raphaelwill"answer[Adam's]desire/Ofknowledgewithin

bounds"(119-120).Therearesacredmysteriesandsecretsknown

onlytoGodwhicharebestnotrevealedtoman.

TheSon,inthiscaseanextensionofGodcalledthe"KingofGlory,"

the"Word,"andthe"Spirit"(207-208),leavesHeaventocreatethe

universeasmanknowsit.BecauseGodisomnipresent,Hecanleave

Heavenandremainthereatthesametime.Hecaneventalkto

Himself,

Page45

asHetalkstotheSon(516-523),inadialogueofone.Miltonhashis

owninterpretationoftheTrinity,inwhichtheSonandSpiritareboth

partsofGod,oraspectsofGod,buttheyarenotallofGod.The

analogyMiltonmakesisoneoflight:Godislikethesun,theessence

oflight,whiletheSonisliketheraysofthesun,an"effluence"of

light.Justasitisdifficulttoseparatethesunfromitsrays,itis

difficultforMiltontoseparatetheSonfromtheFather,ortheSpirit

fromtheothertwo.

ItistemptingtodismissMilton'sdescriptionofthecreationofthe

worldasamererepetitionofthefirstbookofGenesis,butitismore

thanimitationforanumberofreasons.First,Miltonwasabiblical

scholarofsomedepthofinterest.Hewasnotonlycapableof

translatingtheBibleonhisown(inhiswritinghesometimeseven

"improved"ontheKingJamesversionwhenhequotedtheBiblein

English),butheknewthevariouscommentariesontheBiblefromthe

earliesttothemostrecent,fromwhichhehadlearnedthemeaningof

everywordandthehistoryofeveryimageinGenesis,andhecould

relateapassageinGenesistopassagesintherestoftheBible,even

theNewTestamentortheApocrypha.Second,Miltonwasawell-

educatednaturalistwhoknewthatcrabshad"jointedArmor"(409),

thatpeacockswere"color'dwiththeFloridhue/OfRainbowsand

StarryEyes''(445-446),thatcranesmigrateannually(430-431);he

evennoticedthatfliesandotherinsectshave"spotsofGoldand

Purple,azureandgreen"(479)ontheirbacks.Third,therearesmall

hintsoftheFalleveninthedescriptionofcreation:thetwotypesof

Satanamonganimals,thehalf-mythicalseamonster,Leviathan(412),

andthelargestlandanimal,theBehemoth(probablyanelephant,

471),arementioned,aswellastheSerpent(494-498),butallare

referredtoinneutralterms.Theyarenotevilyet,butallofthem

remindthecarefulreadertoprepareforthecomingFall.

ThecreativityofGodisshowninthevarietyofHiscreation;the differentfoods,forinstance,whichGodputsinEdengiveAdam

"Varietywithoutend"(542)fromwhichtochoose.Creationisalso

showninthefertilityofallthecreatedthings.WhenGodcreatesthe livingthingsonthesixthday,"TheEarthobey'd[Hiscommand],and straight/Op'ningherfertileWombteem'dataBirth/Innumerous

livingCreatures"(453-455).

ManisthelastandbestofGod'screations.Hedoesnotcrawlonhis

bellylikemostoftheothercreaturesbutstandserect;heknows

himselfandiscapableofgoverningtheotheranimals;hecaneven

communicatewithGod,andheismadeinGod'simage.Therefore

Godsaveshimuntillast.

Page46

BookVIII

Summary

AdamthanksRaphaelforunfoldingtohimhistoryhewouldnot

otherwisehaveknown,buthestillhascuriosityaboutonepointin

creation:whytheheavenlybodies,somanythatsomeseem

superfluous,allmovearoundtheEarth,whichseems"aspot,agrain,/

Anatom"incomparison.Meanwhile,Eve,observingthatAdamand

Raphaelareabouttobegindealingwithanabstractsubject,discreetly

leavesherhusbandandtheangelandgoesouttotendhernursery.Not

thatshecouldnotunderstandwhattheywerestaying;sheprefers

hearingofsuchdifficultthingsfromAdam,whowouldmakethem

easyandpleasantforhertohear.

RaphaelanswersAdambysayingthattomanitshouldnotmatter

whethertheearthmovesaroundthesunorwhetheralltheheavenly

bodiesmovearoundtheearth.Thebookofnatureexistsformanto

readofGod'sworksandforhimtolearnhowtomarktheseasons,

years,anddays.OtherthingsGodconcealsfrommanbecauseitisnot

necessaryforhimtoknowthem.Itisevenalittlesillyformanto

chartthemotionsoftheuniversebecausewhatreallymattersisthat

theuniversewascreatedbyGodforman.Thesunshinesforman's

warmth.Thespaciousnessoftheheavensonlyshowstomanthatwhat

helivesinisnothisownbutmerelylenthimbyGod;therestofthe

universeGodusestoHisownbestpurposes.GodisthroughHis

omnipotenceabletogive"SpeedalmostSpiritual"toplanetsorto

angelslikeRaphael;toknowthismuchofGod'spowershouldbe

enoughforman.RaphaelasksAdamto"belowlywise"andnotto

worryaboutotherworldsintheskies.

AdamissatisfiedwithRaphael'sexplanation.AshetalkstoRaphael

AdamfeelsasifhewereinHeavenitselfandinordertokeepthe

angellongerinsuchpleasanttalk,Adambeginsthestoryofhisown

creation.Raphaelwelcomesthestory,sincehewasonamissionthat

daytoguardthegatesofHellsothatnoevilspiritmightescapeand

trytodestroyGod'snewcreation.Raphaelsays,too,thatheandthe

otherangelsareconcernedwithmanandwilltreathimasanequal;he

ishappy,therefore,tohearAdamtalk.

Adamhadawakenedfromhiscreation,hesays,tofindhimselflying

ongrassandflowersinthewarmthofthesun.Instinctivelyheknows

howtousehisbodyandhespringsup,noticingthebirdsand

Page47

treesaroundhim.Notknowingwhoheis,hequestionsthecreatures

aroundhimaskingthemwhohiscreatoris.Thereisnoanswerandhe

wanderson,enjoyingtheuseofhisbodyandthesightsaroundhim

untilhefeelsdrowsyandfallsasleeponashadybankofflowers.

Whileheisasleephehasadreaminwhichacreatureof"shape

Divine"guideshim,asiftheyareflying,uptoa"Gardenofbliss"

preparedashislivingplace.Eachtreeheseeshassuchdelectablefruit

helongstoeatit.

AdamawakesandfindshimselfinParadise.Hisguideappearsand

saysthatHeisGod.HehasgivenAdamParadisetotillitssoilandto

maintain.HegivesAdamonecommandment:nottoeatthefruitof

theTreeofKnowledge.Thepunishmentforeatingismortality.After

makingthisoneinjunctionGodgraciouslytellsAdamthatnotonly

Edenishisbutthewholeworld,createdforhimandhisdescendants,

andasproofofhislordship,Godallowshimtonamealltheanimals

andatthesametimegiveshimknowledgeoftheirnature.Adam,

however,sensessomethingismissinginNature.HetellsGodheis

lonelyandthathecannotenjoysolitude.

GodsmilesandasksAdamwhyhecannotfindenjoymentwiththe

animals,who(beforetheFall)arereasonableandcantalkamong

themselves.Adamanswersthathecannotfindasatisfying

companionshipwiththeanimalsbecausetheyarehisinferiors.Instead

hewantsfellowshipwithsomeonecapableofsharing"rational

delight,"whichtheanimalsarenotcapableof.

GodispleasedwithAdam'sanswerbut(totesthimfurther)asks

AdamwhyhecannotbecontentjustwiththecompanionshipofGod.

God,Adamanswers,isperfectinhimselfbutmanisnotandinhis

imperfectionneedsacompaniontocompletehimself.

AgainGodispleasedwithAdam'sanswerandHesaysthatAdamis

rightnottobelievethathecanbeacompaniontotheanimals,because

manaloneiscreatedinGod'simage.GodsaysheknewthatAdam

shouldnotbealonebutwasallowingAdamtoexpresshisfreewill.

ThenhepromisesAdamafitcompanionandputshimtosleep.

GodclosesAdam'seyesbuthekeepsopenAdam's"Cell/ofFancy"

sothathecanseetheoperationperformed.GodopensAdam'sleft

sideandtakesoutarib,healingthelargewoundimmediately.With

theribGodformsacreaturesobeautifulthattoAdamallcreation

seemedtobesummedupinher.Herlooksbringfeelingsof

sweetness,love,andamorousdelightintoAdam'sheart.

Page48

ShedisappearsandAdamrunsafterher,terrifiedtolosetheanswerto

hiseverydesire.GodbringsEveouttoAdamandAdampraisesGod

spontaneouslyforgivinghimsuchabeautifulcreature.Adamrealizes

thatEveispartofhim,fleshofhisflesh,andthathenceforthmanwill

leavehisfatherandmotherandbecomeonewithhiswife.

Evehearshimspeakingthiswaybutsheturnsaway.Adamfollows

herandconvinceshertocomewithhim.Allnaturecelebratesthe

marriageasheleadshertotheirbower.

AdamexplainshispsychologicalreactiontoEve.Hefeelsvehement

desireforher,heistransportedbyherbeautyandfirstfeltpassion

whenhefirstsawher.Herbeautyistheonlythingthatmakeshim

weak.Perhaps,hesays,Naturelefthimdefectiveinthisinterior

weaknessorperhapscreatedEvetoobeautifulontheoutside.She

shouldbehisinferioractuallyshelessresemblesGodthanhedoesyet

whenheisnearhersheseemstobecompleteinherself,andeven

wisdomitselfseemsweakandfunnyincomparisonwiththepowerof

herbeauty.

Raphael'sbrowcontractsintoafrownandheanswersAdamsharply.

HeshouldnotaccuseNatureofleavinghimdefective.Ifhedoesnot

dismisswisdomofhisownfreewill,itwillnotleavehim.Heshould

notattributetoomuchtothingslessexcellentthanhimself.Eveis

beautifulonthesurface;heshouldloveherbutnotputhimselfin

subjectiontoher.Heshouldweighherwithhimselfandthenmakean

evaluationofher.Ifhemakesherrealizeherpositionbelowhim,then

shewillforgoher"shows"anddealinrealitiesratherthan

appearances;butifhedoesnotmaintainhisauthority,shewillbethe

firsttoseehisfoolishness.Sheismadebeautifulforhisdelightand

awe-inspiringsothathemayloveherforhonor'ssake.

IfAdambelievesthatsexissoimportant,Raphaelsays,heshould

rememberthattheotheranimalssharethatpleasurewiththem.

Thereforesexualfeelingisalowerpassionandisnotmeantto

overcomereason.AdamdoeswelltoloveEvebutheshouldnotlet

passionovercomehisreason.Humanloveispartofthescaleby

whichmanmayascendtoheavenlylove,butcarnalpleasuredragsa

mandown;withouthumanlovemanmightjustaswellhavemarrieda

beast.

Adamis"halfabasht"bythisrebukeandanswersRaphaelthatheis

attractedtoEve'sappearanceandbysex,butwhathereallyloves

aboutheristhethousandgracefulactsandkindnessessheperforms

forhimduringtheday.

Page49

SinceRaphaelhasmentionedthescaleofheavenlylove,Adamasks

himtoexplainhowangelslove.Raphael,glowingwithasmilewhich

is"Celestialrosyred,"answershimthatangelsarehappyandthat

loveistheseatofhappiness.Ifspiritsembrace,hesays,theymingle

theiressencestogether,notjustbodies.Butitisgettinglateandis

timeforhimtogo.HegivesAdamalastwarning:tolove,butlove

firstofallGod,whomtoloveisalsotoobey,andnottoletpassion

overcomehisreasonandmakehimdosomethingwhichotherwisehis

freewillwouldnotallow.Adam,hesays,isperfectenoughtoresist

temptation,althoughheisfreetostandorfall.Theangelshopeforhis

best.

Adamfollowshimwithabenediction,blessinghimforcomingdown

toearthandbeingsoaffableandkindtowardmankind.Asnightfalls

theangelreturnstoHeavenandAdamtohisbower.

Commentary

BookVIIgavetheoverviewofcreation,fromthepointofviewof

Raphael.BookVIIIallowsAdamtomakethestoryhumanand

personalbytellingofhisownandEve'screation.Beforehetellshis

story,however,severalimportantthingshappen.Eve,seeingAdam

abouttoaskRaphaelabstractquestions,getsupandleaves,not

becauseshecouldnotunderstandbutbecauseshewouldratherlearn

suchinformationfromAdam.Adamwouldtellhermorepleasantly,

minglingkisseswithexplanation.ThisactindicatesEve'sdependence

onAdamforknowledgeandstrength,adependencewhichisnot

necessarilydemeaning,andalsoindicatesthatEvewillbeless

associatedwithabstractthinkingthanwillAdam.

Adam'squestiontoRaphaelconcernsthemostimportantscientific

discoveryoftheseventeenthcentury:thatthesun,stars,andthe

planetsdidnotrevolvearoundtheearth,butthattheearthwasoneof

anumberofplanetsthatrevolvedaroundthesun,injustoneofa numberofsolarsystems.Forthepurposeofhisstory,Miltonusedthe older,Ptolemaicsystem,ratherthanthenewer,Copernicanone,and RaphaelexplainstoAdamthatitdoesnotreallymatterwhichsystem oneuses;the"primeWisdom,"Adamfinallysays,is"buttoknow/

Thatwhichbeforeusliesindailylife"(192-194).

WhenAdamtellsRaphaelofhiscreation,theexperienceseemsvery

closetothatofEveinherdreamreportedinBookV.Thedreamin

Adam'scasecomesjustafterhiscreation.Heisvisitedbyabeing

witha"shapeDivine"whoservesashisguideastheyfloatthrough

theairtoEden.Hisdream,however,isinspiredbyGodandisa

Page50

foreshadowingofthetruth.ItseemstoillustratethefactthatGodor

theangelsmayinspiregoodthoughts,consciouslyaswellas

unconsciously,inman.Eve'sdemonicdreamisanotherparodyin

advance,inthiscaseaparodyoftrueinspiration.

GodtellsAdamoftheTreeoftheKnowledgeofGoodandEvil, whosefruitisforbiddenAdamandEve.Its"operationbrings knowledgeofgoodandill,"andGodintalkingtoAdamcallsit"The

pledgeofthyObedienceandthyFaith"(325).Satanintheserpent

convincesEvethateatingthefruitoftheTreewillcauseaninstant

revelation;justonebite,heimplies,willcausehertochangeintoa

goddess.

BothAdamandEvearecreatedwithacertainamountof

understanding.AsAdamwakesupheimmediatelyisconsciousof

howtousehisbody,herecognizesthelife-givingpowerofthesun,

andhesoonseeksouthismakerinordertoadoreHimforgivinghim

life.Alittlelaterastheanimalspassbyhenamesthemandatthe

sametimeunderstandstheirnature.BeingofthesexwhichMilton

connectedmorewithreason,Adamrequireslessguidanceatfirstthan

Eve;EvereallyneedsAdam'shelpinordertogaincomplete

understanding.

ThesceneinwhichAdamasksGodforamateisintentionallyfunny.

Milton'sGoddisplaysasenseofhumorwhichisnotjustsardonicor

sadistic.Gently,HeteasesAdamabouthisneedforawomanby

seemingtocommandhimtofindcompanionshipamongtheanimals.

AdamanswersGodwellbysayingheneedsamorerationaland

satisfyingsortofcompanionshipthanonecanfindwithanimals.

Adam'sanswerpleasesGod,whohasbeentestinghim.God'sgentle

testislikethemethodofteachingusedbyalovingfathertocoaxout

acorrectanswerfromhisson.

ItisimportantthatAdambeallowed,throughthe"cell"ofhis"fancy"

(460-461),inotherwordstheopeneyeofhisimagination,toseethe

creationofEve.Heistremendouslyimpressedwithherfromthe beginning;sheseemstohimtobethesummationofallworldly beauty,andassoonasshedisappearsitisasifthelightoftheworld goesout.Adam'sreactionisexcessivealmostfromtheinstantofher creation.WhenhefallsinBookIX,itwillbethrough''vehemenceof love"(Argument),andhereheisalreadydisplayingthatvehemence

(526).WhenhesawEve,AdamtellsRaphael,hewas"transported,"

hefeltpassionforthefirsttime,andhewasweakonlyaroundher.

Nowhesays,sheseemssoabsolutethatevenreasoninherpresence

isdowngraded.Eveherselfhasobservedthatbeautyisexcelledby

manlygrace

Page51

andwisdom,soitisnowonderthatRaphael'sbrowcontractsashe

frownsatAdam'sgrowingweakness.

RaphaelwarnsAdamseverelynottotrusttoostronglyinEve's beauty.Herbeauty,hesays,isworthAdam'slove,butnothis subjection.Passionisdangerous,becauseifAdamgivesintohis passionandallowsEvetorulehimthenaturalorderwillbe overturned.AdamsidestepsRaphaelbysayingthathispassionis

merelyaninnerfeelingandthatheenjoysthe"UnionofMind"(604)

morethananythingelse,butperhapstosavefurtherembarrassmenthe

quicklychangesthesubjecttothequestionofhowangelsmakelove,

whichcausesRaphaeltoblushandclosestheconversationbetween

themonalightnote.

BookIX

Summary

InhisfourthandfinalinvocationMiltonsayshemustnowchangethe

toneoftheepictotragic:manwillbedisloyalanddisobedienttoGod,

andGodwillmoveagreaterdistancefromman.Nomorewillangels

beabletovisitmanonascordialtermsasRaphaelhasvisitedAdam,

becauseofAdam'ssin.Thisistragicandsadtohavetorelatebut

Miltonsayshissubjectwillbemoreheroicthanthesubjectsof

previousepics,suchasthewrathofAchillesandthekillingofHector

(theIliad),ortheirritationofthegoddessJuno(theAeneid)orof

Neptune(theOdyssey),ifhecanobtainastylewhichispowerful

enoughtoanswerthepaganepicpoetsfromhisChristianMuse,who

visitshimeachnightwithinspiration.Formanyyears,Miltonsays,he

hasbeenpreparingtowriteonaheroicsubject.Hehadrejectedwar,

thoughtofastheonlyheroicsubject,andhadalsorejectedsuch

romanticsubjectsasknightsjoustingintournaments.Forthesehe

substituted"thebetterfortitude/OfPatienceandHeroicMartyrdom."

Hissubject,hehopes,willelevatethepoemtoheroicstatus,unless

hishistoricalerarejectsthepoem.Perhaps,too,hisoldage(in1667

hewas59)oreventhecoldclimateofEnglandmightstophimbefore

hecouldfinishhisgreatwork.Allthesemighthinderhimifhis

ChristianMusewillnotvisithimnightlyandinspirehis"answerable

style."

Atmidnight,eightdaysfromthetimewhenhefledfromGabriel,

SatanreturnstoEden,enteringParadisethroughanunderground

branchoftheTigrisRiverandcomingupthroughafountainnearthe

TreeofLife.HehadsearchedthewholeEarthtofindacreature

throughwhichtotemptmanandafterlongdeliberationchosethe

Page52

serpent,asGenesissays"moresubtlethananybeastofthefield,"

becausehisdeceitswouldbelessobviouscomingfromsuchaclever

animal.

Beforeassumingtheshapeoftheserpent,however,Satanaddresses

himselftotheEarth.Earth,hesays,isverylikeHeaven,sinceGod

createdEarthafterHeaven.Earthseemstobethecenterofthe

universe,andthesunandallthemanystarsseemtobeshiningjustfor

man'sbenefitonEarth.Ifhecouldenjoyanything,Satanwouldenjoy

walkingtheearth,butallhecanfeelinhimnowistorment,the

"hatefulsiege/Ofcontraries,"whichcauseshimtofindeaseonlyin

destruction.Becauseofhisperversity,themorebeautifulaplaceis,

themoreSatanhatesit.Satangloriesintheprospectofspoilingthe

earthformanandturningmanagainstGod.Satansayshehasrobbed

Godofalmosthalftheangels;thatGod,becauseHisenergyhasbeen

spent,couldonlycreateman,notmoreangels;thatGodisperversely

determinedtoreplacethelostangelswithacreaturemadeofdirt;that

Godevenhastheangelsthemselvesservingman.Thesesameangels

guardingmanSatanwantstoavoid,sohewrapshimselfinmidnight

mistandseeksouttheserpent,atthesametimethatheisbemoaning

thefactthathe,aformerangel,mustdegradehimselftobecomingor

possessingthebodyofasnake.Itisparadoxicalthatambition,trying

toraiseitself,willgotogreatdepthstoachieveitsgoals.Revenge,

too,althoughsweetatfirst,soonrecoilsonitselfbitterly.Withthese

thoughtsSatanturnstothepracticalmatterofhisplantocapture

AdamandEve.

LikeablackmistSatancreepsaroundlookingfortheserpentuntilhe

findshim,coiledontheground,hisheadinthemist"wellstor'dwith

subtlewiles."Satanpossessestheserpentbyenteringathismouth,

butallowsthebodytosleepoutthenightnaturally.

WhendawncomestoEdenandalltheflowerssendtheirfragrant

incenseasfromanaltaruptoGod,AdamandEvejoinallNaturein

praisingGod.Theprayerdone,theydiscusshowbesttoaccomplish

thegardeningforthatday.EvespeakstoAdamfirst.

Theirworkisgrowing,shesays,and,untiltheyhavechildrentohelp

them,theymightdowelltodividetheirlaborsandseparate,since

whentheyaretogethertheytendtodallywitheachother,ratherthan

work.Adamanswersthatthiswouldseemtobeagoodidea,andhe

praisesherforthinkingofwaystoeconomize,butthatGodhasnot

madeanyhardcommandmentoflaboronthemandtheyneednot

keepclearanymorethantheyuse,untiltheyhavechildrentohelp

them.If,

Page53

however,shewouldlikesolitudeforawhileapartfromhim,this

wouldbeallright,exceptthattheywerebothawareofa"malicious

Foe"whoissecretlyworkingfortheirdestruction,andwhowould

lovetofindoneofthemalone.Thefoewouldlovetodisturbtheir

conjugalhappiness,whichcouldonlycausehimenvy,andforthis

reasontheyshouldstaytogether,wheretheyarestrong.

EveanswersasifAdamhadbeenunkindtoher.Sherealizesthatthey

havesuchanenemy,sinceAdamhastoldherandshehasoverheard

Raphaeltellingabouthim,butshedoesn'tthinkthatAdamshould

doubtherstrengthjustbecausethereisafoewhomighttempther.

Adamshouldn'tfearthefoe'sviolentattacks,sinceheandEvearenot

capableofdeathorpain;thereforeAdammustfearanattackbyfraud.

HowcanAdambeafraidthatEve'sfaithandlovecouldbeshakenor

seducedbyfraud?

Adamtriestocomfortherhurtfeelings.Whathewantstoavoidisthe

attemptitselfonher,becausetemptationisapttodishonorthe

temptedandatemptationwouldonlyangerEve.Therefore,iftheyare

tobetempted,theyshouldbetogether,becausetheenemywouldnot

daretoattackthemboth.Ifhedid,hewouldhavetoattackAdam,the

stronger,first.Eveshouldnotundervaluethefoe'ssubtlety;afterall,

hehasbeensubtleenoughtohaveseduced(ledaside,orcorrupted)

angels.Adam'sstrengthisimprovedjustbyhisbeingabletoseeher,

and,ifshewereattackedhewouldbeevenstrongerfightingwithin

hersight.Hecannotunderstandwhyshedoesn'tfeelthesameway.

Adamspeaksasadevotedhusband,whileEverenewsherargument,

notthinkingtooconscientiouslyaboutprotectingherownfaith.If

theyaresoconstrictedbyfearofsomevaguefoewhentheyarealone,

shesays,thentheycannotbehappy,livingalwaysinfear.An

unsuccessfultempterwouldonlydishonorhimself,whilethesingle

oneofthemwouldgainhonorbyresistingtemptation.Also,faith,

love,andvirtuearenothingiftheyarenottested.Theyshouldnotbe

suspiciousthattheirhappyconditionhasbeenleftsoimperfectby

Godthatoneofthemcouldnotstandalone.

ThisrebukemakesAdamreply"fervently."Godleftnothing

imperfect,muchlessman.Theproblemisnotinanexteriorattack;it

isinsubtletemptation.Mancannotdowrongagainsthiswill,buta

clevertemptercanmakeevilappeartobegood.Adam'sdesireto

protectEvedoesnotcomefromfearbutfromtenderlove.They

remainfirmnow,butitispossiblethattheycouldfall,sincetheir

reasonmaymeetsome

Page54

falseappearingobjectusedbythefoeand,notbeingonguard,they

mightbeconvincedthatevilisgood.Eveshouldnotgolookingfor

temptation,then,whichismorelikelytocomeifsheleavesAdam's

side.Trialswillcomewithoutherlookingforthem.Ifshewantsto

proveherconstancy,sheshouldbeobedienttohersuperior.Butifshe

feelsthatwaythatsheshouldgooutandlookforsomesortoftrial

thensheshouldgo.

Evesaysthatshewillgo,butthatshedoesn'texpectthatafoeso

proudwillattacktheweakerpersonfirst.Eve(forthefirsttime)

withdrawsherhandfromAdam's.Lookinglikeawoodnymphorlike

Diana(goddessofthemoon,virginity,andhunting),Eveleaves

Adam'sside,butshedoesnothaveDiana'sbowandarrowstoprotect

her,onlygardentools.

Adam,lookingafterherlongingly,begshertostay,butshepromises

toreturntothebowerbynoonandleaveshim.Miltoncommentson

theironythatEvewillneveragainreturntothebowertofindthe

samesortofsweetmealorsoundsleepasshehashadtherebefore,

becauseatthatverymomentthefiend,hiddenintheserpent,lies

waitinginambushamongflowerstospoilherinnocence.Eversince

dawn,asamatteroffact,theserpenthasbeenlookingforAdamand

Eve,hopingbychancetofindEvealone.Byamazingluckhefinds

herapartfromAdam.Sheisproppingupflowersamidstacloudof

fragrancesfromtherosesandotherflowersshetends.Sheisnot

thinkingofwhatsheisdoing.Satanintheserpentdrawsnearer,down

thewalksofEve'sgarden,keepinghimselfhiddenamongtheflowers

andarbors.Satanadmirestheplacebuthefeelsmoreadmirationfor

Eveherself.Itisasifsomeoneusedtothedirtycityweretogoouton

asummermorninginthecountry,withallitsbeautifulsightsand

smells,andseeabeautifulvirginwalking.Eve'sbeautyeven

overcomeshismalicetemporarilyandSatanstandsabstractedfrom

hisownevilwhilehestaresather.Buthisownpersonalhellcauses

SatanagaintoenvythedelightandpleasureofEdenwhichisbeyond

hisgrasp.

Satanremindshimselfthathegetsnopleasureexceptindestroying

andheseestheopportunetimehascomeforhimtotrytodestroy

man:Eveisalone.Hedecidestodisguisehishatredinashowoflove.

Satanintheserpent,notgrovelingonthegroundbutbalancedonits

tailandquitebeautiful,approachesEve.Theserpentcoilsanduncoils

itselftoattractEve'seyebut,becausesheisusedtotheattentionof

theanimals,Evedoesn'tnoticetheserpentuntilitperformsthe

Page55

flatteringactoflickingthegroundwhereshewalked.ThenSatanin

theserpentbeginstospeak,stressingthefactthatheisaloneand

addressingEveinthemostflatteringterms.Miltonseemstobe

mockingtheconventionalflatteryofRenaissancelovepoetryin

whichtheidealizedwomanlooksdownwith"disdain"asthelover

looksather"insatiate,"asifhecouldneverseetoomuchofher.Satan

claimstobefrightenedofherbeauty,andhecallsherthefairest

imageofhermaker.Hewondersthatsheshouldnotbeseenbymore

admirerscapableofworshippingherbeauty,whichhecalls

"Celestial."Sheshouldbedisplayedlikeagoddessandservedby

numberlessattendingangels.

Sothetempterlied,thenarratorcomments,andhiswordsmaketheir

wayintoEve'sheart.Butsheisamazedthataserpentcanspeakand

askshimwhyhe,amongalltheanimals,istheonlyonewhocan

speakman'slanguage.

Callingher"Empressofthisfairworld,"thetemptertellsherhehas

raisedhimselffromhisanimalstate,byeatingfromacertaintree,the

fruitofwhichsatisfiedhishungerandthirstandalsogavehimthe

abilitytoreasonandtalk.Thisabilitytoreason,hesays,hascaused

himtocometoherasthemostbeautifulcreatureintheuniverse,and

toworshipher.

Eveanswersthathepraisesherirrationally,thensheaskswhichtreeit

waswhichgavetheserpentthisvirtue.Theserpentsaysitiseasyto

reachandthathewillleadherthere.Likeawill-o'-the-wispleading

somepoormanintoquicksand,theserpenttakesEvetotheTreeof

Knowledge.

Shetellshimimmediatelythathemightaswellhavesparedhimself

thetrouble,becausethefruitofthetreeisforbiddenforthemtoeat.

Theserpentasksiftheyaredeclaredlordsofalltheearthyet

forbiddentoeatfromthistree,andEverepeatsthecommandment

giventoAdam:thattheycaneatanyotherfruitbutthisoneandif

theyeatthisfruittheywilldie.

SatanarguesindefenseofAdamandEve,whohavebeen"wronged"

byGod,hesays.Lookinglikesomeancientorator,Satansaysthat

theywillnotdieiftheyeat:hehaseatenandhasnotdied.Godput

thiscommandonmanjusttokeepAdamandEvefrombecoming

gods;ifhehasmovedupfrombeasttoman,thenEvewillmovefrom

womantogoddess.Her"dying,"then,willonlybefigurative.The

fruitgiveswisdomandgod-likestatus;ifGodisagainsttheireatingit,

thenHemustbeenvious.

Page56

Satan'swordsfindaneasyentranceintoEve'sheart,andshestares

fixedlyatthebeautifulfruit,whichisevenmoreappealingbecauseit

isnearnoonandsheishungry.Shenowaddressesitasthe"bestof

Fruits,"andshewondersagainthatitgavetheserpentthepowerof

humanspeech.Toherthefruitbecomesacure-all,andfinallyshesees

itasdivine,andeats.

Thewholeearthreactstoheractwithsorrow,andtheguiltyserpent

slinksintothewoodsasEve,drunkwiththetasteofthefruit,thinks

shehasbecomeagoddess.SheworshipstheTreeasifitwereanidol

andpromisestopraytoitandattenditeverymorning.Reasoning

falsely,EvethinksthatperhapsGod,whomshenowcallsthe"great

Forbidder,"issofarawayHewillnotseewhatshehasdone,andshe

wondershowsheshouldacttowardAdamshouldshenottellhimand

therebynotallowhimtogainhernewknowledge,orshouldshetell

himsothathewillsharedeathwithher?Shecannotabidetheideaof

herdyingandAdam'smarryinganotherEve,soshedecidestogive

himthefruit,too,andcausehimtoshareinherdeath.Shebows

reverentlytotheTreeandgoesofftofindAdam.

Adamhasbeeninnocentlyweavingagarlandofflowersforherto

wearatherreturn,althoughhishearthastoldhimthatsomethingis

wrong.HegoesouttolookforherandfindshercomingfromtheTree

ofKnowledge,aboughofbeautifulfruitinherhands.Herfaceisfull

ofexcusesasshetellshimshehasmissedhimandthatshehasfeltan

agonyofloveinbeingseparatedfromhim.TheTree,shesays,isnot

dangerousbutdivine,makinggodsofthosewhotasteitsfruit.The

serpenthaseatenandhasbecomehuman;shehaseatenandbecome

god-like.Shedidit,shesays,allforAdam,andheshouldeatsothat

shewillnotbehissuperiorinwisdom.Asshesaysthishercheekis

glowingwithaguiltyblush.

Adamisamazedandhorrified,struckdumbandmotionlessandlimp,

sothatthegarlandhehaswovendropsfromhishandandshedsits

rosepetals,fadedbecauseoftheFall.Herealizesimmediatelywhat

shehasdone:sheislost,hesays,andsomecursedenemyhastricked

andruinedher,andAdamwithher,sincehehasresolvedthatEve's

fateisalsohis;onecannotseparatearibfromitsnaturalbody.Saying

this,Adamresolvestodowhatseemstobeunavoidable,andhe

beginstalkinglikeSatan,complimentingEveonherdaringand

adventurousspirit.Perhaps,hesays,theywillnotdie,sincehow

couldGoddestroyhisowncreatureswithoutitsbeingatriumphfor

Satan?

Page57

EveisoverjoyedthatAdam'sloveissopowerfulthathewillaccept

hisowndeathbecauseofit.SheseesAdam'seatingthefruitasa

glorioustrialofhislove,whichotherwisewouldhavebeenuntested.

Sheweepsforjoyasshegivessomeofthefruitfromtheboughto

him.Againsthisbetterknowledge,butovercomebyhisloveforEve's

beauty,Adameats,andcompletesthemortalandoriginalsin.Thesky

itselfweepsatthesinandtheearthtrembles.

NowbothAdamandEveareutterlycaughtupintheiractions,

thoughtlessandintoxicated,andforthefirsttimetheyfeellustforone

another.AdamnowspeaksofhoweroticEve'sbeautyistohim.He

seizesEve'shandandleadshertoashadybankandmakespassionate

lovetoheruntiltheyfinallyfallasleep,exhausted.Theirsexual

excesses,Miltonsays,arethe"seal"oftheir"mutualguilt."Their

sleepisnolongerpleasantbutburdenedwithconsciousdreamsof

guiltandtheywakeupnotrestedbutinabadmood.Theyrealizein

justwhatwaytheireyeshavebeen"opened"bythefruit;their

innocenceisgoneandwithitrighteousness,confidence,andhonor.

Insteadofbeingprotectedbytheirinnocence,theynowrecognize

theyarenaked.TheyarelikeSamsonafterhehasbeenbetrayedby

Delilah'sbeautyintorevealinghissecretofstrengthandhashadhis

haircutandbeenmadeweak.

AdamtellsEvewhattheirsinmeans.Theserpent,"thatfalseWorm,"

hastrickedthemintoknowinggoodandevil,ironically"Goodlost,

andEvilgot."Eventheirfacesshowtheeffectsofsin.Nowbecause

oftheirshametheywillnolongerbeabletotalkpleasantlytoGodor

totheangels.Adamsayshewantstoliveasasavageinthedeep

woodswherehewouldbehiddenintheshadeoftalltrees.Nowhe

feelsshameforhisnudityandlooksforaleaftocovertheirsexual

organs.Theyfindatypeoffigtreewithhugeleavestocoverwhat

theyarenowashamedof.

Forthefirsttimethevariousuglypassionssuchashate,anger,and

mistrustpossessAdamandEveandovercometheirreason.Adam

bitterlyscoldsEvefornotlisteningtohimandgoingoutalone.Eve

turnsonAdamandsaysthattheserpentmightjustaswellhave

corruptedAdamaloneorperhapsbothofthemtogether,hewasso

convincinginappearanceandsopersuasive.Astheheadofthefamily

Adamshouldhavecommandedherabsolutelynottogo;ifhehad

beenfirmhecouldhavepreventedhergoingout.

ThismakesAdamangry.Isthisthelove,hesays,thatEveclaimed

shefeltwhenshewaslostandhewasn't?Hechosetodiewithher

rather

Page58

thanenjoyimmortality,andnowsheisaccusinghimofcausingher

sin.Ifhehadforcedhertoremain,hewouldhavebeentreatingheras

aslavewithoutfreewill.Herconfidencemadehergooutandseek