Milton's Paradise Lost: Free Will vs. Predestined

Topics: John Milton, Free will, Epic poetry Pages: 3 (874 words) Published: March 21, 2013
Paige Gardner
Julia Naviaux
ENG 230: 003
February 1, 2013
Explication Essay: Paradise Lost- Lines 80-134
The debate of free will versus predestination is a very common, prevalent topic in any Q&A session or even religious sermon. The controversial issue of whether God has predestined His people for salvation or if God has given people the freedom in making their independent choice to do so is a question theologians will never solve. Many church congregations have lost members due to the church’s opinion on this topic. John Milton, English poet, used his epic poem Paradise Lost to present the story of the Fall of Adam and Eve in a way people of his time, seventeenth century, had never been exposed to. Throughout the story, we are enthralled with the revengeful attributes of Satan and the loving, forgiving, and even punishable attributes of God. Milton doesn’t present the character God until Book 3. In lines 80-134, Milton presents his audience with the idea of predestination and free will from God’s own point of view through a conversation between his characters: God and the Son. God expresses to His son the difference of knowing what will happen and predestining what will happen. In Paradise Lost, Milton uses the literary elements of repetition and sentence structure to reveal the truth of free will to his readers.

Milton uses repetition to demonstrate to his readers the difference between knowing what will happen versus having a predetermined, influential stance on something. Milton uses the possessive pronoun ‘their’ to stress the importance on the matter of the people possessing something or something being a part of their possessions. For example, “their maker, or their making, or their fate” illustrates this concept in the epic poem (Milton, Book III, line 113). Here, Milton expresses how if people have free will they can no longer claim these things because they are a part of the human race and therefore possess human nature. From this,...
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