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ENG303H1 Lecture Notes - Areopagitica, Divine Providence, Aeneid

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Paradise Lost Book 1
Man’s First Disobedience
Evocation of Heavenly Muse
Marking out specific epic trait, things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme
Conventions of epic, Homer, Virgil, Dante, Ariosto…
Iliad, Odyssey (traditional epics) vs Aeneid, Divine Comedy, Orlando Furioso (literary
Formal, long, elevated styles, mythic traits of hero, embodies traits of nation….
Traditional epics from oral tradition (not invention of writer), literary epics work of
poet written in imitation of traditional style
Art epic Virgilian model
Protagonist traditionally hero of great significance, brave and wise, grand and vast
setting, noble and fantastic action, supernatural entities, elevated styles matching lofty
proportions of characters and action
Conventions invocation of muse’s aid during opening argument, posing epic
question… beginning narrative in medias res (in the middle of things), intro of character
rosters, giving formal speeches revealing personal traits, use of epic similes, learned
survey of knowledge
“Of Man’s first disobedience”
of result, about, ambiguity of first line origins and result of disobedience
“of” constantly repeated, intentional
first and of origins
cutting line at “and the Fruit,” pause then “Of that forbidden tree”
fruit of the tree, fruit of the disobedience
pointing to things before disobedience and what comes after
us as being the fruit of dissent, fruit as sweet and bounty, positive connotation
origin of evil in world
sweet fruit from sin -> Areopagitica, dialectics, cleaving… opposites needed to compare
fruit’s mortal taste -> brings death and woe until greater Man restores
epic “all of time”
beginning and end of time; whole story given
elaboration of unfolding that interests in epic
abiding to and changing literary traditions
question of heavenly muse… who inspired shepherd who first taught chosen seed ->
Moses, calling same Christian muse to inspire him Sinai -> Aonian Mount, no middle
flight, soaring above… going above predecessors (Aonian not good enough (Greek
myth) -> going above classical traditions, not pagan but Xtian epic)
things unattempted yet
Spirit that prefers before all temples the upright heart and pure -> evoking Protestant
Muse; criticizing church for not doing its job, no need for mediation between person
and God
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