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Milton Introduction

Milton Introduction



Introduction to John Milton and Paradise Lost.

Introduction to John Milton and Paradise Lost.



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Milton Introduction Milton Introduction Presentation Transcript

  • JOHN MILTON Poetry and Paradise Lost
  • WHO WAS MILTON? 9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674 Born into middle class family, son of composer and musician Tutored at home; began equivalent of high school at 13; mastered Greek, Latin, and Hebrew as well as several modern European languages Poet, author, civil servant for Commonwealth of England Best known for Paradise Lost and Areopagatica, (condemnation of censorship)
  • CROMWELL SUPPORT Was away when Charles I was executed Wrote treatise defending the execution of Charles I Cromwell makes him Secretary of State for Foreign Tongues: he had to translate official documents into Latin and write in defense of new government Lost his eyesight while serving this position 1660: Monarchy restored; hard times for Milton (imprisoned, stripped of his property)
  • PARADISE LOST Companion piece: Paradise Regained Story of creation, fall, and redemption of humanity in two epics Dictated poem to his daughters (blind) Written over 10 years, nearly 11,000 lines Critics: greatest epic in the English language
  • OVERVIEW Begins in medias res Introduction of Satan, rebellion against G-d Satan and his angels expelled from Heaven and sent to Hell War in Heaven is Milton’s invention Biblical story of Adam and Eve
  • COMMENTARY Wrote Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained to “justify the ways of G-d to man.” Reason and Free Will Free Will and Predestination Answer to historical crisis as Puritans challenge Church of England and English Civil War
  • SATAN AS HERO? 19th century Romantics viewed Satan as hero of Paradise Lost Ambitious and proud Defies his creator, omnipotent G-d Wages war on Heaven, defeated and cast down William Blake on Milton: “He was a true Poet, and of the Devil's party without knowing it.” Precursor to Romantic Byronic hero
  • SATAN NOT THE HERO? 20th century criticism: political and philosophical focus to interpretation Satan presented in terms that are Classically heroic He is diminished and reduced to a dust-eating serpent Politics: Satan’s conservative, hierarchical view of universe versus G-d’s new way of the Trinity - tension between traditional or “Old Testament” and “New Testament” revolutionaries
  • MILTON’S LEGACY Milton’s story as well known as biblical version Inspiration for poets William Blake and John Keats and novelist George Eliot Study of Paradise Lost an essential part of a respectable education