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In Paradise Lost, what more besides the story of Creation does Milton see in The Book...

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nfenne | (Level 2) Honors

Posted February 21, 2012 at 4:03 AM via web

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In Paradise Lost, what more besides the story of Creation does Milton see in The Book of Genesis?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 21, 2012 at 1:43 PM (Answer #1)

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What is so interesting about this re-write of the beginning of the created order based on the Biblical view of creation is the particular angle from which Milton tackles his subject. One of the aspects of the creation narrative and the fall of man that he based his writings on is the insistence Milton places on the freedom that is given to man. The poem stresses the freedom that man has to choose but also focuses on the way that the freedom of choice gives us responsibility to make sure we make wise choices. In this poem, of course, this leads to the importance of reason as we make choices between actions that are obedient and actions that are sadly disobedient.

This is something that is stressed at various points throughout the text. For example, in Book 9, the following quote directly addresses this issue:

Against his will he can receive no harm.

But God left free the Will, for what obeys

Reason is free...

Milton thus views the Fall of man as the natural and inevitable consequence of an unwise decision. What happens as a result are only the natural results of Adam and Eve's decision to choose disobedience instead of sticking to the commands of God and his laws. The final section of this epic classic makes it clear precisely what is going to happen as a result of the Fall as Michael reveals o Adam the anguish, political problems and strife that will occur as a result of being expelled from teh Garden of Eden. However, at the same time, the eventual redemption of man is also focused upon, softening the bitter pill of the Fall.

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