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Jan. 7 Paradise Lost Lecture.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Chris Warley

Milton’s Paradise Lost Part 1: Renewing Epic Epic: some features in no particular order… 1) Epic hero does great deeds Virgil’s Aeneas, Aeneid, Homer’s Achillies in Illiad 2) Founds something usually a nation or people 3) “Machinery” actions of supernatural agents or gods 4) A Grand Style not in everyday speech, elevated, ceremonial 5) Always begin by stating an argument (I sing of war and a man at war) 6) In medias res which also implies that the ending is never in doubt, epics unfold 7) Catalogues of characters, often armies ad soldiers 8) Epic similes-> an extended simile that repeats a central argument 9) Encyclopedic about everything known, includes all genre • Milton is going to write a Christian epic... only one God… problem? Spend a long time talking about angels. • Grand Style when you read paradise lost read it outloud * its elevated • Style is the foundation of poetry and writing for the next 200 years • Epics aren’t novels  no mystery about the plot • Paradise Lost They are going to get booted out of Eden • A true epic is supposed to be about everything… the known world • Reason why there aren’t epics anymore? • The total history or founding of that thing • What is this poem going to be about? BOOK 1: • Teaches you how to read the poem • Man’s first disobedience with the fruit… is not actually the first disobedience… just MAN’s first • Milton takes some lines out of Genesis and turns it into this whole story • Milton creates a sort of backstory • Adam and Eve get booted out…the tree of knowledge with the apple on it…don’t touch that apple…eve touches it.... gets talks into it by the serpent… the snake is the devil • 3 different disobediences? Eves, Adams, Satan’s • Milton is messing around with the idea of the origin • The word and idea of “First” comes up a lot • The fruit seems to be the vehicle of the disobedience…but it is also the result of the disobedience • The poem is beginning to make the argument… is going to describe man’s first disobedience but also the fruit or result of that disobedience… the consequence is Paradise Lost • The whole subject= the argument… why does life suck? How does it become good? • The opening line is repeated often • Disobedience and then good coming out of it • Knowledge tastes like death • “ALL OUR WOE” all is a result of this first disobedience • Eden will be pastoral • “One Greater Man” will restore Eden • Out of disobedience comes fruit • Why is their evil in the world? That’s how you get fruit, good, knowledge • God needs justifying • Why is there evil in the world? Why does it exist at all? *Line 45 He falls for 9 days onto a burning lake in hell Milton goes out of his way to make Satan an epic hero What does the Renaissance value? Individuals that can impose their values on the world… great aspirations of renaissance thinkers Satan will not change who he is. He has an interior consistency that will not change. “I’m as constant as the sun.” Satan is the hero of Paradise Lost? Associated with all the characteristics of an epic hero. Pg. 1950 * he gets up… this is the moment when Milton writes an epic simile…line 193 Trick of an epic simile is buried in the poem…also making arguments…really descriptions…what does Satan look like? He is really big? How big? Leviathan* how is he like him? Leviathan is taking a nap…the pilot of the boat thinks he is an island. Leviathan will wake up and eat him. There is an argument being made here. What do you do at night in the sea in the wind and you are scared? You drop an anchor on an island because you cannot island…because you are reading paradise lost. We are the pilot. Surely the poem will be about Satan. We are wrong. The island isn’t an island. It is Leviathan. Disobedience* We know som
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