Paradise Lost Topics for Further Study
by John Milton

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Topics for Further Study

(Epics for Students)

Milton presents the political consequences of the Fall in Michael's preview of human history (Book XII). Discuss this presentation in light of the Restoration of the monarchy in England and the political controversies surrounding the debate concerning the merits of monarchy vs. republic.

Discuss Raphael's admonition to Adam concerning the limitations of human knowledge and his discouragement of Adam's inquiries into the movements of the heavenly spheres (Book VIII) in light of the advancements in science and the new "scientific" attitudes towards knowledge in the seventeenth century.

Research the philosophical trend towards rationalism in the seventeenth century, and then discuss Milton's view of the Fall as a failure of reason and obedience, rather than as an acquisition of "forbidden knowledge."

Book I, in part, describes the building of Pandemonium. Book IX describes the tending of Eden and the consequences of the Fall for nature. Both descriptions associate sin and the Fall with a disrupted natural affinity for the earth and the introduction of an indifference to the planet, which results in its ''wounding." Discuss this in light of present-day arguments for humanity's responsibility toward environmental preservation.