Renaissance literature is known for the elevation of the sonnet form and the drama. John Milton, a poet and scholar, influenced the period by ushering in the return to the epic, a longer poetic form. Milton wrote in a variety of poetic forms, including the sonnet, but is best known for the epic Paradise Lost.
As a Puritan and supporter of Cromwell in the English Civil War, Milton approached the story of Lucifer's fall from Heaven and the subsequent temptation he poses to Adam and Eve as an allegory. On one level it retells the story of Genesis with purely religious implications. On another level, he uses that very story to describe the English Civil War, with the omnipotent God representing the king, and the inspirational Lucifer, who demands equality with God, representing Cromwell.
The political and religious implications of the work influenced the culture and society of the time. Additionally, the actual poetic form encouraged a transition to longer works by Alexander Pope and others who transitioned from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment.