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“ Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe, With the loss of Eden” -- Paradise Lost. Paradise Lost by John Milton. An Epic. The Epic’s Form.

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“Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste

Brought death into the world, and all our woe,

With the loss of Eden”

--Paradise Lost

the epic s form
The Epic’s Form
  • Epic Poetry is a classic literary form. Homer recorded the first major epic poems—The Iliad and The Odyssey. They have the following requirements…
  • begin in medias res with an invocation to the muse;
  • are long, narrative poems (The key is in the length!);
  • are of epic proportions. Characters are usually immortal or royal.
  • are vast in setting, covering nations and even the world.
  • usually involve a hero;
  • contain gods, demons, monsters, or supernatural creatures who intervene in the tale;
  • are written in verse, the most common being iambic pentameter, which does not necessarily have to rhyme (blank verse).
john milton s biography
John Milton’s Biography
  • Born on December 9, 1609 in London, England
  • Graduates cum laude from Cambridge University. Moved home after school and spent six years writing and pursued his studies in Greek, Latin, and Italian. Later in the 1630s he traveled to France and Italy, where he met a man named Galileo.
  • When he returned home, he set up a school for his nephews and a few other pupils. During this period, he did not write much. The British civil war silenced his writing for almost 20 years.
  • He was concerned with the Puritan cause. He wrote a series of pamphlets against the Church of England, on the idea of divorce, and in defense of the liberty of the press. After Charles I died, he published The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates (1649), supporting the view that people had the right to depose and punish tyrants.
  • Milton went blind in 1651. Some think that it was the loss of his sight that helped him develop “verbal richness”
  • Paradise Lost was published in 1667 (10 book form) and republished in1674 (12 book form).
  • He died November 1674
  • (“John Milton”)
freaky fact

Freaky Fact

“He was buried beside his father in the church of St. Giles, Cripplegate. It has been claimed that Milton’s grave was desecrated when the church was undergoing repairs. All the teeth and ‘a large quantity of hair’ were taken as souvenirs by the grave robbers” (“John Milton”).

john milton s england
John Milton’s England

1642-1649 English Civil War

  • King/Anglican Clergy vs. Parliament (dominated by Puritans)
  • Protestant Reformation (death of King Charles I)
  • 1649-1660 No British King
    • 1649-1653 Commonwealth
    • 1653-1658 Oliver Cromwell
    • 1660 Restoration of King Charles II.
  • His purpose was to answer the question of why men suffer and die.
  • He also wanted to write an epic that was equal to the greatness of Homer and Virgil.
  • His events are drawn from the Bible, mostly Genesis.
  • He believes that good will eventually overcome evil.
paradise lost
Paradise Lost
  • It is set apart from other epics because it deals with deeds on a cosmic scale, rather than earthly matters
  • As with most epics, it begins with the invocation of a Muse (one of the 9 Greek goddesses who inspire poets and others)
  • It deals with the first act of disobedience; eating the fruit from the forbidden tree.
  • The result of their disobedience is banishment from the Garden of Eden.
  • Jesus Christ comes and restores the possibility of Paradise to humanity.
paradise lost leading up to the beginning
Paradise Lost—LeadingUp to the Beginning
  • At the beginning of the poem, war in heaven has been over for two weeks.
  • For nine days, Satan and those who fought God alongside him have been lying in Hell, stunned at the outcome.
  • The first character to move is Satan, who begins by speaking to Beelzebub.
  • Satan begins to sort of rally his troops
the characters
The Characters
  • Satan, the leader of the fallen angels (now known as devils)
  • Beelzebub, Satan’s closest friend/ally
  • God, God the Father
  • God, God the Son; also known as the Messiah, Christ
  • Adam, The first man, living in Paradise
  • Eve, His wife, supposed to be under his control
  • The image, Adam and Eve & the Serpent, 3rd century fresco, came from Temptation of Adam & Eve: Images.
  • The image of John Milton came from The Literature Network.
  • Biographical Information is from Books and Writers article, “John Milton.”
  • This PowerPoint was adapted from Mr. Adam Johnson’s PowerPoint whose source was John Geraghty’s Digital Facsimile Project.
  • Elements of Literature 6th course