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 an epic are that it depicts a face-off between two larger-than-life characters, it starts in media res with Satan waking in hell from his defeat by God in battle, and 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...

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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, Milton is more interested in what became of the fallen angels after they were defeated and Satan's attempt at revenge.

Epics tend to feature a culture's idea of heroism. Greek and Roman epics had clever, physically strong heroes, for instance. Milton turns this idea around by emphasizing a more Christian form of heroism. While Satan resembles the Greco-Roman ideal of heroism with his warrior past and sharp mind, Adam and Eve are heroic figures in their own right. Even though they sin, the two ultimately seek forgiveness, cultivating humility. The Son is also heroic, showcasing humbleness, compassion, and courage when he makes the decision to save mankind.

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An epic is a long poem with a heroic or elevated theme, usually involving warfare or conflict, that focuses on upper-class characters and often starts in media res, or the middle of the action. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey are the paradigmatic epic poems. What separates an epic from a merely heroic poem is its length and the rich elevation of its language. By elevation of language is meant using complex and allusive language and structure.

Milton follows the epic format in framing humankind's fall and redemption through Jesus Christ as a battle between heaven and hell. As in a classic epic, the gods (or this case, God) have already determined the fate of the players, but the interest comes in watching the details as the story unfolds. The adventure begins in media res, with a stunned Satan waking up in a lake of fire and brimstone after having been defeated in battle by God.

In Paradise Lost, two larger-than-life figures face off in a battle for the souls of the epitome of God's creation, humans. Satan, knowing he can't win against God in face-to-face battle, plots an underhanded way to defeat God's purpose and revenge himself for his defeat: he will corrupt humankind. This battle is played out in typical epic form by retelling a familiar story (in this case, of the biblical Fall in Genesis) in immensely rich, Baroque, elevated language. As is typical of an epic, too, the suspense in Paradise Lost builds, although we already know the outcome of the story.

God and Satan are both depicted as monarchs, though God is a true and perfect king, and Satan is merely a debased parody of kingship. Satan, however, reaches heights of grandeur perhaps more than Milton expected, causing the Romantic poets, in particular, to see him as the hero of the piece.

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John Milton's Paradise Lost is considered an epic. In literary terms, an epic is a poetic story. The word epic comes from the greek word epikos, also meaning a poetic story. Essentially, an epic is a long, narrative story written in impressive style. An epic typically has a heroic character who completes grand deeds through bravery and courage.

Paradise Lost is an epic because it describes Satan's fall from Heaven and Adam and Eve's fall from the Garden of Eden using grand writing style. Additionally, this battle between good and evil is a theme prevalent in epic literature. Milton uses figurative language such as simile and metaphor. He also uses caesura, which is a pause in a verse. In addition to the style of writing that makes the story an epic, Milton also introduces a muse, the "Heavenly Muse" who appears at the beginning of the story. Muses are common in epics and represent a supernatural force that influences the course of the story.

Other examples of epics are The Iliad and The Odyssey, both written by Homer.

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There are several reasons that Paradise Lost is considered in Epic. First, in the formal definition of the term, an epic is a long narrative poem utilizing elevated style. Paradise Lost fits this definition because of its content, length, and style (the use of figurative language, inverted sentences, caesura, etc). Another trait of epics is a vast setting, covering a long period of time. The setting of Paradise Lost is the entire Universe, including Heaven and Hell, which definitely qualifies as vast. Traditional, epics invoked the Muses, or some other supernatural force, when presenting a story. Milton does this as well, referring to "Heavenly Muse" at the opening of the story. Paradise Lost also involves external conflict, centering on the battle between good and evil (God versus Satan). This is another trait typical of an epic. All of these conventions allow Paradise Lost to be classified in this category. 

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