As announced in the first five lines of Paradise Lost, what is Milton's subject? What is his purpose?

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As written in the first five lines of Paradise Lost, poet John Milton's subject is the Fall of Man and then Man’s redemption through Jesus Christ. Milton immediately informs the reader that the subject of Paradise Lost is Man’s rejection of what God wants human beings to do - and become. Milton states in the opening line of this epic work: 

“Of Man’s first disobedience, and the fruit”

He is talking of the first human beings, Adam and Eve, disobeying God, choosing rather to go their own way and deciding for themselves what is right and wrong. In essence, they did not trust God or have faith in His promises.

Therefore, they chose to disobey and reject God’s guidance. Because they were free moral agents, and not pre-programmed robots, God let them choose, but then, Adam and Eve had to reap the consequences of their decision.

So, John Milton’s subject, as announced in the first five lines, is the Fall, the “loss of Eden” by Adam and Eve.  

As written in the first five lines of Paradise Lost, poet John Milton's purpose is to set forth the story of Man’s Fall and also Satan’s part in this universal battle between good and evil. Milton alludes to how all human beings can be restored to a right and proper relationship with God through the atoning sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ, the coming Messiah. This is Man’s ultimate redemption. Milton states:

“With loss of Eden, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat,”

The poet here talks of Someone greater, the Word, becoming Man (Jesus Christ) and dying for human beings to pay the price for their sins so they can be reconciled to God. Upon true repentance and faith in Christ’s atoning sacrifice, human beings can be forgiven and restored to the purpose God originally created human beings for – to be part of the Eternal God Family in the Kingdom of God. Hence, Milton’s phrase “till one greater Man restore us.”

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