Paradise Lost Questions and Answers
by John Milton

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Describe how Paradise Lost is an epic and provide 3 examples as to why it is considered an epic.

Milton's Paradise Lost is an epic because it is a very long poem about a heroic subject written in elevated language. Three examples of it as epic are, first, it depicts a face-off between two larger-than-life characters, God and Satan, second, it starts in media res with Satan waking in hell from his defeat by God in battle, and third, it involves a heroic, supernatural struggle for the souls of humankind. It is also written in rich, elevated language.

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Paradise Lost is certainly an epic. An epic is a grand story involving heroes and legendary figures. These stories tend to cover mythical or historical events. Paradise Lost is an epic interpretation of the first part of the Book of Genesis, specifically the creation and the fall of mankind. This is a major event in Christian lore and by giving it such weight, John Milton is emphasizing its importance to his audience. By writing this story, Milton is perhaps trying to give the Christian world its own epic.

As a genre, epics tend to comment on the great themes of storytelling: the human condition, good and evil, war, love, sacrifice, and redemption. Paradise Lost seeks to justify the ways of God to man, such as why evil exists, why free will exists, and how humanity would ultimately be redeemed through the intervention of the Son. The war in heaven also evokes the battles in older epics, though unlike in the Greco-Roman stories, battles and strategy are not given much attention at all. Instead,...

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