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Paradise Lost Part 1.pdf

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University of Toronto St. George

Milton’s Paradise Lost Part 1: Renewing Epic 1/9/2014 1:48 PM Milton, Paradise Lost, Books 1-4 - originally published in 10 books, revised into 12 Epic: features o Epic hero – does great deeds Virgil’s Aeneas, Aeneid, Homer’s Achilles in Iliad o Founds something - usually a nation or a people o Machinery - actions of a supernatural agents or gods o a grand style – not in everyday speech, elevated, ceremonial o always begin by stating argument (I sing of war and a man at war) o in medias res – (in the middle of things) which also implies the ending is never in doubt, epics unfold – not a novel, no mystery about the plot… o catalogues of characters, often armies, soldiers o epic similes – an extended simile that repeats the central argument o encyclopedia – about everything known, includes all genres in it, all of the known world *Milton tries to write a Christian epic, where there is only one God, angels come down to help in the way other gods do in the Iliad and the Aeneid *encyclopedic about the thing that is founded, the total history of that thing. Book 1: Line 1: - What the poem is going to be about; teaching you how to read the poem - Book 1 guides you how to read the rest of it, “With man’s first disobedience and the fruit.” Of man’s first disobedience, not the first disobedience which was done by Angels, Milton’s backstory to Genesis - Original sin: Eve touches the apple, convinces Adam to too, with the help of the snake, which is Satan, the Devil…Milton messes around with the idea of things that come first, with origin, etc. - From disobedience comes fruit, not just the vehicle of disobedience, but it is also the result of man’s first disobedience. The poem is beginning to make an argument; describes mans first disobedience, but also the fruit, the result of that disobedience - The idea is that man is descendant of Adam and Eve, all suffering comes from this moment - Why does life suck and how does it become good? = the disobedience and the fruit. - bite from the tree of knowledge brings mortality, death into the world, “brings all our woe.” With loss of Eden, pastoral is lost. - “Till one greater man restore us…” - If God created man, if he is all powerful, why is there suffering in the world?? Milton says out of evil, disobedience comes fruit. Why is there evil, it is how we get knowledge. - Argument: Poem is setting out to justify the ways of god and man.Justification of why evil exists at all. Out of the disobedience will come fruit, out of evil will come knowledge - Not a novel, not in temporal order, non linear; unfolds with no surprises along the basic argument. Satan revolts from heaven, falls for 9 days through chaos/the universe and lands in a burning lake, fallen angels, poem opens with Satan waking up from the fall. " • If thou best he, but oh how fallen, how changed from him…” to Beelzebub, his ‘lieutenant’ • Milton is going out of his way to make Satan the hero, make him sound awesome, give him the values that the renaissance holds the highest, individuals who can make the world what they want it to be. They can burn my limbs, but on the inside “the mind is its own place, …for I be still the same.” He is the same guy, he is the renaissance individual who will impose – like Prince Hal, he can be manipulated on the outside, but on the inside he is the sun. He hasn’t changed . Epic Simile: • 1. When he gets up, this is the moment where Milton describes him via an epic simile; pg. 1950, buried in the comparison is the argument of the poem. He’s as big as Leviathan – “which god
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