Paradise Lost

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Paradise Lost is an epic poem, written by the poet John Milton, that tells the biblical story of the events surrounding the Fall of Adam and Eve. As much as anything, it ultimately expresses Milton’s personal truth by presenting the fundamentals of christian theology. It is composed in blank verse that achieves both rhythm and sound through the use of the iambic pentameter.

‘Paradise Lost’ has received mixed reactions from the time it was published in the 17th century to the modern age, continuing to arouse both praise and blame over the years. Apart from the beauty of its language and the power of the characterisation used in the poem, the subject matter of ‘Paradise Lost’ is what has continued to absorb the modern audience. By focusing on the foundational myth of humanity itself, Milton’s mission was to show not only what caused man’s fall but also its consequences upon the world, both good and bad. He has done this by posing the most difficult questions, and in turn forcing his readers to look for answers through his exploration in ‘Paradise Lost’. The value of the text for modern audiences is therefore emphasised, due to the subject of the poem being the universal beginnings of humanity and spirituality. Hence, ‘Paradise Lost’ is relevant to our present day society and allows us to relate with it more both personally and religiously.

Another way in which Milton seems to engage the modern audience and hence extend the poem’s value throughout society, is by targeting marriage. This is seen through the marital relationship between Adam and Eve in book 1, which is strictly hierarchical with the husband as the overseer of the wife. This representation of marriage and Milton’s opinion that when partners are no longer compatible a divorce should be in place, is considered an expression of Milton’s regressive views. Though such liberal views of divorce was unacceptable in Milton’s era, it had a great impact on 21st century opinions on marriage and hence the...
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