Discuss Milton's Paradise Lost as an epic.answer in detail

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clairewait eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let's look at Paradise lost through the following elements of epic poetry:

1.  narrative poem of great length

  • This is a very lengthy story - told in blank verse.

2.  subject matter is serious

  • heaven and hell;
  • the Creation, the Fall, and the redemption of humanity.

3.  main character is a hero - or has heroic qualities

  • this element has always been a topic of debate for Paradise Lost.
  • Some have argued that humankind is the hero, represented by Adam and Eve.
  • Others say that Satan himself, though evil, portrays the more outward signs of hero.
  • Despite the human weakness shown in Adam and Eve - and the fact that they never rise to a typical heroic stature - the idea that the poem ends in the conquoring of despair by hope, love and companionship likely signifies that Milton's ambiguous epic hero is supposed to be born from redemption.

4.  the events of the narrative are significant to a culture or an entire nation

  • Every culture has a Creation story - this poem uses the epic form of "mythology" from the Bible - the Christian creation story