Examine Paradise Lost as a Renaissance epic.

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Milton's epic shares many of the conventions of earlier epics, such as those by Homer and Virgil. Though Milton wrote in English rather than in a classical language such as Latin or Greek, Paradise Lost, like the earlier epics, starts in medias res (in the middle of the action)...

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Milton's epic shares many of the conventions of earlier epics, such as those by Homer and Virgil. Though Milton wrote in English rather than in a classical language such as Latin or Greek, Paradise Lost, like the earlier epics, starts in medias res (in the middle of the action) and concerns itself with the interaction between gods and mortals. In addition, the poem shares literary conventions with earlier epics, including catalogues of places and names and epic similes, and shares the themes of earlier epics, including nationalism and providing explanations of origins.

Paradise Lost is a Renaissance epic because it puts humans, in the form of Adam and Eve, at the center of the story. The core idea of the Renaissance was humanism and the potential of humans for greatness and for creativity. Though Adam and Eve have fallen from their state of grace and must leave Paradise after they fall prey to Satan's temptations, it is clear that they will eventually produce greatness in the form of Jesus, their descendant. It is they, not Satan, whom many people consider the heroes of the story, and Milton emphasizes their capacity for greatness on their own terms rather than simply as the creations of God.

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