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Milton Introduction


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Introduction to John Milton and Paradise Lost.

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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Milton Introduction

  1. 1. JOHN MILTON Poetry and Paradise Lost
  2. 2. 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)
  3. 3. 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)
  4. 4. 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
  5. 5. 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
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. 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
  8. 8. 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
  9. 9. 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