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Paradise Lost- John Milton

Course Code
Andrew Lesk

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ENG110Y1Y (Summer)- Narrative May 18th, 2011
Lecture #2 (nothing covered in Lecture 1 will be on tests/exams/assignments)
Paradise Lost – John Milton
Epic Conventions used:
1. Invocation of the Muse
Why does Milton do this?
He delays it; plays with conventions
2. Familiar Story
follows the story of Adam and Eve; we will already know the ending of Paradise Lost before we
read it
Why read it if you already know the ending?
We want to know everything that happens beforehand; parts have likely been added/changed
it's about the journey itself, rather than the outcome; how the story is told
3. Media res (middle)
the story starts in the middle
why not the beginning?
In order to put focus on Satan's defeat, the battle of the angels
we aren't privy to what was happening in heaven
starts off with flashbacks to provide back story
4. Cast
5. Conflict
conflict in heaven: Satan stands up to God, God sends him to hell
6. Dramatic Irony
We know what's going on, but do the characters know?
We know things that the characters do not (mainly Satan)
(This is linked with #2: Familiar Story)
Enjambment: Sentences don't end on one line but continue to the next line.
Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit
in Paradise Lost, only the first two are present
Main Theme: Milton wants to display God's unknown agenda (Book 1, line 26). Vindication of God's
ways and affirms Jesus' place in the Old Testament.
Secondary Themes:
Inordinate pride: Satan's fall
Revenge: Satan's revenge for being sent to Hell by trying to subvert God's plan to create Man
Vanity: Eve's vanity- succumbs to the serpent because she wants to be more independent from
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