It is characteristic of a classical epic that the poet invokes the aid of his patron muse.
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Milton marries his Christian theme and neo-classical method by invoking, as his muse, the Holy Spirit, third Person of the Trinity. This section is a prayer , in which Milton states his subject, and asks for divine assistance in giving voice to it. Milton states that his purpose is to:. Note that this section contains only two sentences. The main verb, in the first, is the thirty-ninth word in the sentence.
Note how easily Milton moves from prayer into an account of Satan's fall, by asking who or what caused man to fall. According to Milton, Satan's motive was to be above his peers. Nine days they lie on a lake of fire, then regain consciousness to find themselves in Hell. Satan acknowledges how utterly his confederate, Beelzebub, has been changed, for the worse, by the devils' defeat, but stresses fact that they are still united in their fall.
He recognises God's superior strength, but points out that he now knows the extent of God's power, previously unknown because untried.
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Satan suggests that God's rule was endangered by his revolt, that he will never sink to the indignity of asking forgiveness, and outlines his intention of conducting further warfare against God. Satan's speech smacks of wishful thinking; he speaks boastfully, but at the same time tortured by pain and profound despair. Beelzebub acknowledges Satan's trial of God's might, bewails loss of Heaven, and the punishment the fallen angels are suffering, though this will not be alleviated by death.
Satan replies that the devils' task must be never to do anything good, but always to strive to pervert to evil ends whatever God does, turning to evil His good actions.
Satan suggests leaving the lake of fire in which they lie, and reassembling their forces. Note Satan's resolution and his taking the initiative. As the poem continues we also note Beelzebub's support of Satan, his ready agreement with all he says - Beelzebub is very shrewd: he makes sure he defers to his superior. Milton gives some account here of the topography of Hell. Satan and Beelzebub leave the lake of fire and fly to land. Milton compares Satan with the sea-monster, Leviathan, and stresses the fact that it is only with God's permission that the devils quit the lake.
Satan acknowledges the horrible nature of Hell, but argues that, for him, to be in Heaven would be Hell being subservient to God and it is better to reign where he is than serve in Heaven. Beelzebub repeats Satan's suggestion, advising him to call to other angels, who will be revived by sound of their leader's voice. Have you chosen to lie in the lake as a way of adoring God by readily bowing to His will? The devils, waking, stir themselves, fly up into air, and assemble around Satan The chief devils are named and described:.
The devil host assembles in military fashion. The devils move forward, and come to a halt ready for inspection by Satan. Milton describes the martial prowess and glory they retain despite their fall, and notes how moved Satan is by this display of loyalty. Note that Moloch and Belial reappear in Book 2, where they are more interestingly portrayed as speakers in the great debate.
Satan opens his address to his followers by praising them, claiming that none save the Almighty could have matched their strength. He claims that it is hard to believe the fallen angels will not re-ascend to Heaven, and regain their rightful position. Note how Satan flatters his legions - he persuades them they can still thwart God's designs and that Hell cannot hold them.
Unattempted Yet in Prose or Rhyme: Paradise Lost in Context
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Milton Paper Prompt Basic info: Length: 5 pages, double spaced, 1 inch margins, pt. Times New Roman Font. You have a variety of strategies available to you: 1. Close-reading: in this response to the prompt you will develop an argument about the poem by focusing exclusively on the text.
Make an argument about how this passage is doing something that helps to explain a theme or character. How is he different? Why does this matter? Compare and contrast two or more characters: one really good place to go for this response is to consider how Eve alternates between being like Satan and being like the Son. What does Milton gain by making her resemble these two extremes? Consider a theme: make an argument about one of the following themes.
Responding to a critic: in this response, you will pick one of the critical essays in the back of you Norton Critical Edition. Note that almost all of the essays are excerpted, so your reading load will not be overburdened.