Monday, December 1, 2008

Lost in Paradise Lost

I remember in my high-school british literature class we studied Milton’s Paradise Lost. I read excerpts from the stories of Satan’s being cast from Heaven and the Fall of Man. I also learned facts about Milton, like how he was blind when he wrote his epic through dictation. Through this brief encounter with Paradise Lost I gained a strong admiration on a rather basic level of Milton’s Epic.

When I first started reading the assigned material I was flattened by the writing. The plot’s movements from Satan’s dignified speeches to his loyal commanders and hordes, to the progression of the plot through narration made the story line difficult to follow. The language is so elevated, it’s beautiful, but confusing. I felt that Milton in some ways wanted to write his epic on a higher level due to the lofty nature of his topic. (I mean, he’s talking about GOD). By giving his story a regal/deistic feeling he elevates the characters, and when this happens we view Satan in a different way than our normal cultural repulsion. We see him through his speeches as a being a majestic beauty and having abilities that before might have been eclipsed by humanities fear of him. However, I also feel that Milton viewed Satan as the master of lies so he may have been intentionally trying to build Satan up as a figure because that is is how he portrays himself to us.

Without guidance I feel my pursuits through Paradise Lost would have been much more laborious. However, I was still able to garner a strong admiration for Milton as a poet, and I was also able to see beauty in his descriptions even if I did have a hard time following the plot.

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