Paradise Lost is an epic! It explains the desires of Satan, the fall of the angels, the creation and fall of man from paradise, and finally ends with some hope for a paradise regained. At first glance it seems to be two epics rolled into one.
The book begins right away introducing us Satan up against an indominable force, God. We are made to sympathise with Satan's unfortunate situation and almost admire him or hope for his success. There is a certain excitement for Satan and even to Hell. But, quickly our hero begans to lose his qualities right before our eyes with the introduction of God and Christ. The focus on Satan seems to be all but abandoned with the introduction of man, and now Satan only plays a criminal role. We are reminded of our first connection with Satan and his aspirations when Rapheal recounts the war in heaven. It seems the first epic revolving around Satan was over before it was started, and now our would be underdog threatens us by threatening our new protagonist in Adam.
The brief warnings of Raphael are not enough to preserve paradise and save Adam & Eve from the the Devil. It seems our hero is destined to ruin once again, but this time there is hope. Man turns out to be more repentant than Satan, and God turns out to be a little more leniant to man. Adam and Eve are still banished from Paradise but the oppurtunity for inner paradise is still offered before them by the angel Michael who gives Adam these visions of new life.
And it seems the whole of Paradise Lost becomes a journey for the reader as well as the characters, and we fall twice in the reading of it with them. So, the third story is us, and hopefully at this point we see the folly of aspiring too far and understand why Satan was wrong even though his arguments seemed so attractive. And maybe as we reach the end we are the wiser for our journey, like Adam is, or we are not like Satan is not, because that is really what Paradise Lost is about, the freedom to chose....
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