Professor W***** B******
World of Humanism and Reform
29 April 2013
Humanism in Light of a Lost Paradise
Man may argue whether or not a Christian who claims to gather all their knowledge, wisdom, and reason from the divine God can be a humanist or not but it is obvious in Milton’s case, especially in light of his most well-known piece Paradise Lost, that this can be true. The notion of a Christian humanist is based on spiritual and moral achievement required to earn merit as can be seen in the heaven that is described by Milton in his epic poem. Despite the fact that his main character was Satan, a fallen divine being, he still managed to express his humanist beliefs by creating a devil that reflects fundamental human problems. Paradise Lost only served to stress Milton’s humanist beliefs due to his Christian principles and not in spite of them to address man’s struggle with himself caused by his choice to do evil which could only be restored by a man coming to die for humanities’ sins.
The greatest issue, which Milton tackles from a humanist perspective in this poem and has tainted the history of mankind, is that he desires to upsurge the goodness he was created in but because of his own damning free will he will now never know bliss again. He began his poem with the explanation of this very thought when he stated, “Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe, With loss of Eden” to emphasize the fact that it was the first man’s decision to do evil instead of embrace the goodness of God that walked beside and within him (232). The major decision that is then made later on the poem by both Adam and Eve as described in the poem as, “Greedily she engorged without restraint, And knew not eating death”, indicates their actual desire to sin instead of ignore the devil’s temptation because it was mediocre compared to the gift they had received from God (Milton,...