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John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds—heaven, hell, and earth John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds—heaven, hell, and earth—as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, who are motivated by all too human temptations but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love. Marked by Milton's characteristic erudition, Paradise Lost is a work epic both in scale and, notoriously, in ambition. For nearly 350 years, it has held generation upon generation of audiences in rapt attention, and its profound influence can be seen in almost every corner of Western culture.


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John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds—heaven, hell, and earth John Milton's Paradise Lost is one of the greatest epic poems in the English language. It tells the story of the Fall of Man, a tale of immense drama and excitement, of rebellion and treachery, of innocence pitted against corruption, in which God and Satan fight a bitter battle for control of mankind's destiny. The struggle rages across three worlds—heaven, hell, and earth—as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, who are motivated by all too human temptations but whose ultimate downfall is unyielding love. Marked by Milton's characteristic erudition, Paradise Lost is a work epic both in scale and, notoriously, in ambition. For nearly 350 years, it has held generation upon generation of audiences in rapt attention, and its profound influence can be seen in almost every corner of Western culture.

30 review for Paradise Lost, with eBook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    in middle school i had seen this book lying around the house and for some reason it struck me as very impressive. i didn't ever want to read it but i wanted to give off the impression that i was the type of person who would read it. i did this with a few other books too (catcher in the rye, on the road, ect.) i carried it to school so that teachers would see it in my possession and prominently displayed it on my bedside table to let friends and family know. after actually reading the book for a in middle school i had seen this book lying around the house and for some reason it struck me as very impressive. i didn't ever want to read it but i wanted to give off the impression that i was the type of person who would read it. i did this with a few other books too (catcher in the rye, on the road, ect.) i carried it to school so that teachers would see it in my possession and prominently displayed it on my bedside table to let friends and family know. after actually reading the book for a brit-lit class i realized how wrong my thirteen-year-old self was with the image i assumed i was portraying. most likely people realized that i was desperate for attention and for some strange reason was using john milton to get it, but on the off chance they did believe i was 'into' paradise lost, i must have seemed like a total psycho. the book is about a war waged in hell after satan's fall into the underworld. all of the descriptions are completely graphic and grotesque. i think i blocked a lot out but i do remember a female demon who is repeatedly raped by her sons immediately after giving birth to them. yuck. thank god i realized later that the best way to get attention is through cigarettes and promiscuity not literature.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    There's all this debate over why Satan is so appealing in Paradise Lost. Did Milton screw up? Is he being cynical, or a double-secret atheist? And why is God such a dick? But no one asks whether, say, Shakespeare screwed up in making Iago so much fun; they just give him credit for writing an awesome villain. And that's all Milton's doing. Satan is tempting for us because Satan is tempting for us. That's the point of Satan! If Milton didn't make him as appealing as possible, he'd be doing Satan a There's all this debate over why Satan is so appealing in Paradise Lost. Did Milton screw up? Is he being cynical, or a double-secret atheist? And why is God such a dick? But no one asks whether, say, Shakespeare screwed up in making Iago so much fun; they just give him credit for writing an awesome villain. And that's all Milton's doing. Satan is tempting for us because Satan is tempting for us. That's the point of Satan! If Milton didn't make him as appealing as possible, he'd be doing Satan a disservice. And Eve, for that matter. Similarly, God's a dick because God's a dick. You've read the Old Testament. He's not exactly all flowers and hugs there either. Again, Milton's just being true to his characters, and writing a great story while he's at it. There’s slightly more to it than that, yeah. For example: it's hinted a little that God sets Satan up to fall. He gives a stern warning that anyone who disobeys him or his son will be cast out of Heaven. But since there's no sin or evil at the time of his speech, why give the warning? Isn't that like saying "Don't touch these cookies while I'm gone" to a kid who didn't realize there were cookies until you pointed them out? Here’s my advice to people considering reading Paradise Lost: read the first two books. It starts with a bang, and it’s pretty amazing for a while. It slows down a bit in books III - VII, so if you’re not totally sold in the first two books (I was), you can either quit altogether with a fair idea of what Milton sounds like, or skip to books IX and X. IX is the actual temptation and fall (especially fun if you’re a misogynist), and X is an astonishing sequence where Adam and Eve contemplate suicide: "Why am I mocked with death, and lengthened out To deathless pain? How gladly would I meet Mortality my sentence... his dreadful voice no more Would thunder in my ears." (Adam, X.774 - 780) “We’ve totally mucked this up, and our kids are gonna justifiably hate us because we got kicked out of Paradise, and maybe we should just quit while we’re behind.” But really, the whole thing is worth it. Took me a while – it’s intense stuff, so I found that I had to read a book and then chew on it for a while to process it before moving to the next one – but it’s cool. In book VIII, if you’re cosmologically minded, Milton lays out the whole universe. Like Giordano Bruno, he understands that our earth is a tiny speck in the universe, and he gets that all the stars are suns like ours, and therefore could have planets like ours around them. He also thinks they might be inhabited; our species might not be God's only experiment. Elsewhere, other Adams and Eves may have faced the same test of the Tree of Knowledge - and they might have passed it. Isn't that an amazing thought? In books XI and XII, Michael tells Adam sortof all the rest of the stories in the Old Testament, which of course boil down to: “So shall the world go on, To good malignant, to bad men benign, Under her own weight groaning.” (XII 537 – 539) That’s your fault there, Adam. Nice work. He rushes through them though, and it makes me wonder whether Milton had originally intended to retell the entire Old Testament but got bored or intimidated or something. That would’ve been remarkable. Certainly Paradise Lost is better literature than the Old Testament is, and significantly more coherent. It's also better literature than almost everything else. Second-best poem by a blind guy ever.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Paradise Lost is the quintessential epic poem and its protagonist, Satan, is the quintessential anti-hero. “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” It’s almost impossible to read this without, in some way, sympathising with him. Although he is vain, full of pride and evil, he is still a fallen angel. And that’s kind of important. In the early cantos he is powerful, persuasive and godly though he, ultimately, becomes corrupted by his own selfish desires and ruins himself. He is blin Paradise Lost is the quintessential epic poem and its protagonist, Satan, is the quintessential anti-hero. “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven.” It’s almost impossible to read this without, in some way, sympathising with him. Although he is vain, full of pride and evil, he is still a fallen angel. And that’s kind of important. In the early cantos he is powerful, persuasive and godly though he, ultimately, becomes corrupted by his own selfish desires and ruins himself. He is blinded by ambition and God’s glory. He is jealous and power hungry and reals over what he will never have. He deteriorates and festers, becoming more evil as his pain increases. The hell he feels at his separation from God is projected outwards and he looses himself in maelstrom of emotions that inflict his soul. He lives in denial and becomes demented that much so he is reduced to the form of a snake. The once magnificent angel, tall and proud, now slithers on the floor with the beasts. Satan is fearless. Eternal damnation did not make him baulk. As a form of petty revenge for his perpetual banishment from heaven, Satan determines to corrupt mankind and prove that God’s creation is fallible, weak and debased. He creates Sin and Death, his children, the means of entering Earth through hell. Through temptation he has his victory, Eve eats the apple in the garden of eden because of his coercion. God punishes Adam and Eve, banishing them to Earth. Satan has achieved his goal, though his fate remains unchanged and his once noble intentions have become so distorted that he becomes the very personification of evil. “Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss” The poem interprets the idea of salvation and redemption present in the bible. Despite his crimes, Satan never attempts a reconciliation. Humanity, on the other hand, toils on earth, worships god, and seeks forgiveness. It displays the idea that obedience to God is the creed in which one should live by and that all hierarchies exist for a reason, to break them is to break the rule of God. As such, some critics see political arguments within the text, arguing that Satan represents Oliver Cromwell, the usurper, and that God represent Charles I, the lord and king of the lands. It’s an interesting reading, for sure. Like all great poetry, Paradise Lost can be read in many different ways. The religious allegory and imagery is excellent. There’s so much to say about this poem, and it has influenced so many other writers in the centuries after its original publication. I wonder how much so though. I can think of numerous examples in modern literature that would not have existed if not for the influence and pertinence of the ideas presented here. Putting aside the beauty of the poetry, and the allegories, it's a fantastic story that has permeated so many others: it's legacy endures. It’s a powerful piece, and the tragic story of Satan will always remain the most endearing aspect of it for me. Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Insta | Academia

  4. 5 out of 5

    Fergus

    THE CONQUEST OF PRIDE The road winds in Listlessness of ancient war, Langour of broken steel, Clamour of confused wrong, apt In silence. Memory is strong Beyond the bone. Pride snapped, Shadow of pride is long.... T.S. ELIOT, RANNOCH AT GLENCOE Which way I turn is Hell - Myself am Hell. SATAN, FROM ‘PARADISE LOST’ When T.S. Eliot visited the Scottish Highlands in his later years, he saw at first hand the site of the Glencoe Massacre at the time of the doomed Jacobite uprising of 1689. As he mused, who knows THE CONQUEST OF PRIDE The road winds in Listlessness of ancient war, Langour of broken steel, Clamour of confused wrong, apt In silence. Memory is strong Beyond the bone. Pride snapped, Shadow of pride is long.... T.S. ELIOT, RANNOCH AT GLENCOE Which way I turn is Hell - Myself am Hell. SATAN, FROM ‘PARADISE LOST’ When T.S. Eliot visited the Scottish Highlands in his later years, he saw at first hand the site of the Glencoe Massacre at the time of the doomed Jacobite uprising of 1689. As he mused, who knows if he also thought of his own earlier words on this poetry, poetry that was composed at a religiously fractious moment of British history in the same timeframe as Glencoe - Milton's Paradise Lost? Perhaps he was remembering his comment that Milton could never endear himself to us readers. But maybe also this great twentieth century poet called to mind, as he meditated on war and pride, his own opinion that "there is no wisdom beyond the wisdom of humility.“ Pride begins and ends all wars, and pride can be the downfall of anyone’s religion. But humility is grace. And pride is the last enemy we must defeat on the road to self-knowledge. John Milton was a proud man, and he was valiantly attempting to "work out (his) salvation with diligence" - as Eliot‘s character of the psychiatrist says in The Cocktail Party - within the confines of a religion of Love, in which his own immense ego could barely fit. A doomed enterprise. And the crushed, blind Milton of the later Samson Agonistes was still smothered in the smoky remnants of a hellish pride, as is his Satan in this work - with whom Milton subconsciously sympathizes. And that's the problem. Which is it - the humility of the Lord or the pride of Satan? It seems that as long as we, like Milton, seek a separate transcendence from our fellows in our beliefs, those beliefs will be to some extent defined by pride. Pride seeks transcendence; while humility abases itself to a state of immanence. There may be no religious faith other than the Pauline one which accepts the full weight of life’s inherent problematics. Many outside of faith, similarly, seek transcendence - some in great power, though others through idealizing their ideas of sexuality and living those ideals through their acts. If you take your life straight up without those transcendent ideals you’re on the right path, though it hurts like all get out to do that. Yet that’s what Christian existentialists like Kierkegaard and Jaspers tell us to do. Milton lived in his poetic ideals as others among us live in their sexual ideals. And so life becomes for them a game to be won ever anew, until old age puts the kibosh to all that. Yet, those who seek in resignation to live life in forever experiencing its problematic aspects, will be forever renewed in its vigour. Any form of escape will prove to be spiritual suicide. The majestic, rumbling cadences of this great work inspire our awe, but the epic doesn't satisfy, because of this inherent duality of meaning and intent. For the real meaning of Losing Paradise is found in the transcendence of pride. So, to sum up: The epic battles are incredible, but they are filled with the "clamour of confused wrong." The poetry floors us, but the ego of its author turns us off. The overall architecture is superb, but there is a crack in its cornerstone. Five stars for an otherwise incredible masterpiece of literature. A fractured masterpiece - to our more objectively wary modern eyes.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Oden

    Portions of this book were assigned for my Brit Lit class. I read about half of the assigned portions. I was distracted at the time by various events in life and wasn't yet a very good student. My professor had done his PhD work on Milton and taught with a contagious passion. So much passion that I decided, after the discussion was over, to buy the whole book. During our five day Fall break in my sophomore year I sat on the front lawn of my college and read Paradise Lost. Nonstop, getting up for Portions of this book were assigned for my Brit Lit class. I read about half of the assigned portions. I was distracted at the time by various events in life and wasn't yet a very good student. My professor had done his PhD work on Milton and taught with a contagious passion. So much passion that I decided, after the discussion was over, to buy the whole book. During our five day Fall break in my sophomore year I sat on the front lawn of my college and read Paradise Lost. Nonstop, getting up for meals and other important breaks but otherwise spending that whole break reading Milton. Hardly anyone else remained on campus. The weather was cool and breezy and beautiful. I sat under a tree and read lengthy portions out loud, which helped me get into the rhythm. Once in the rhythm of reading I tasted heaven itself. This book was an awakening for me, a trigger that opened up my soul and allowed me to understand a small portion of eternity. It was an epiphany weekend for me, one which transformed my soul, and remains in many ways an anchor for my faith. During the dark times of my soul I remembered those days and knew, knew, knew there was something to still hope for. This is a hard read and one that likely requires a lot of space, quiet and time. It takes a while to get into his rhythm and finally dance with his words, but if you can, if you can get away from this world for a while and devote yourself to Milton's work you'll find a new reality opening up. The man saw heaven. The man knew God. His writing is genius and extraordinary, far beyond anything else I've ever read. This book, literally, changed my soul and my life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    When I think of Milton's epic poem about Satan and his fall from grace, I most frequently think of two anecdotes apart from the actual work, brilliant and a foundation of modern literature as it is. First, I recall the scene from Animal House, when Donald Sutherland begins a smarmy, condescendingly pretentious question to his class about Milton's intentions for introducing Satan as such an interesting character, punctuating the delivery with a crisp bite of his apple. As the bell rings and the cl When I think of Milton's epic poem about Satan and his fall from grace, I most frequently think of two anecdotes apart from the actual work, brilliant and a foundation of modern literature as it is. First, I recall the scene from Animal House, when Donald Sutherland begins a smarmy, condescendingly pretentious question to his class about Milton's intentions for introducing Satan as such an interesting character, punctuating the delivery with a crisp bite of his apple. As the bell rings and the class dutifully escapes from his lecture, he deflates and mutters about how boring it all is. Secondly, I recall a misadventure I had in college. At the time I was an honors English student at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, back in the post ice age times of the late eighties. I unslung my Civil War musket and headed to class, knowing that I had been guilty of aggravated student procrastination. Due that very morning was a paper (we actually used to physically write out essays back then, with pen or pencil and on an essay book) and my very ambitious subject was a comparison between the literary styles of epic and tragedy, and using as examples Milton's Paradise Lost and Shakespeare's King Lear. Not only was the paper not done, but I had not completely read either work! I jaunted into class with the intention of asking for a couple of days extra, to "clean up my notes". My professor, who up to that time had been a model of undergraduate cool, now turned authoritarian and replied, "no" it was due no later than the end of the day. I could drop it off at her office by four pm. Keeping my cool, I just had to tidy up the final draft after all, I walked out of class, down the hall, and then broke into a loping, lycanthropic run for my room. To this day, almost thirty years later, I can remember the soul crushing dread of sitting down and staring at my painfully scanty notes. Well, sports fans, I turned in one for the ages, slinging more excrement than a West Texas cow rancher in springtime. Not only were Milton and Shakespeare comparable, they were best mates, tennis doubles partners and drinking buddies. The two works were like Forrest and Jenny, peas and carrots. B minus.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Natalie Monroe

    EDIT 26/12/2018: I'm not answering comments on this review anymore because I find that I have to constantly repeat myself. If you feel the need to point out Paradise Lost is a classic and was written during an era when women had few rights, please refer to the comment section. I'm fucking done. The 50-word review that launched a thousand trolls: Fuck your misogyny. Fuck your scorning Greek gods as false gods, then using its mythology left and right as metaphors. Fuck your punishing the serpent wh EDIT 26/12/2018: I'm not answering comments on this review anymore because I find that I have to constantly repeat myself. If you feel the need to point out Paradise Lost is a classic and was written during an era when women had few rights, please refer to the comment section. I'm fucking done. The 50-word review that launched a thousand trolls: Fuck your misogyny. Fuck your scorning Greek gods as false gods, then using its mythology left and right as metaphors. Fuck your punishing the serpent when You knew it was possessed by Satan. Fuck—Ah, forget it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leo .

    Is Satan coming? Are we in the End of Days? Is the Earth heating, under the Sun's Rays? Is it all make believe, manipulation, or true? Why on this wonderful Earth, is everybody blue? Are we in the Rapture? Impending Doom? Lightning strikes, sink holes and thunderous sonic booms Ebola and earth quakes, hurricanes and tornadoes too Now I can see why we are feeling blue Forest fires, tsunamis, land slides and Hail Watching the mainstream news, it looks like Hell! Fake news and propaganda, rhetoric , is it al Is Satan coming? Are we in the End of Days? Is the Earth heating, under the Sun's Rays? Is it all make believe, manipulation, or true? Why on this wonderful Earth, is everybody blue? Are we in the Rapture? Impending Doom? Lightning strikes, sink holes and thunderous sonic booms Ebola and earth quakes, hurricanes and tornadoes too Now I can see why we are feeling blue Forest fires, tsunamis, land slides and Hail Watching the mainstream news, it looks like Hell! Fake news and propaganda, rhetoric , is it all that is seen All this mayhem and misery, coming from the TV Screen Terrorism, false flags, usury and greed People living on top of each other, all race, and persuasion and creed We would get along swimmingly, if we were not controlled, Lorded over by a few Elite, cabal, hidden Knowledge kept esoteric, to us Forbidden Is Satan Saturn? The father of time. Old Nick, as in the Nick of time Are we trapped in a matrix, a primeval soup, dark matter, black slime? So dense with materialism, constricting like a snake Keeping up with this capitalism, something has to break The serpent swallowing its tail, does capitalism work? When the Elites own it all, people will go berserk Orchestrated chaos, civil unrest, no food in the stores Swallowed up like a black hole by Corporation Whores Inflation going up but, no paid work for people Replaced by Machines, useless eaters, Sheeple Is the Earth a farm? Are we the characters in Orwell's animal farm? All following the Pied Piper's musical charm In the words of the Killers, are we dancer? following in Formation, to a tune Like Lemmings, cartoon characters, loony toon Is a policeman acting? As in acting police officer, is this all a game? One is asked if we understand, or stand under, whilst having the point of blame Look around, see what is really going on, ignore BBC, CNN and SKY Make one's own decision, let them pass by After all they are reading from a script, edited and photo shopped, they have the means to fake Not some individual, who witnessed first hand, and managed to take A picture with their mob phone, it must be real Not according to MSM, its all fake, doctored and spiel What is really going on in the skies? Is the climate changing, geo engineering, or is it all lies? Is Satan coming? Is it the End of Days? Or is he already here? Been here always Armageddon, Jihad, Ragnarok, it's all the same to me Same story, different culture, that is History So what is coming? What is going to happen? To Ye and Me? One things for sure, you won't find out on the BBC By Leo.🐯👍 If he is already here, where does he reside? Is he out in the open? Or does he hide? Hmmm! Maybe it is both, hidden in plain sight The only few that know, illuminated by the false light!🐯👍 Maybe we are all Satan's children, Kids? Baby Goat of Mendes When did Children suddenly become Kids? It is Madness Yet parents call them thus Am I unnecessarily causing a fuss? Wake up and see, what words we use Words that are there, only to confuse Satan is androgynous! Both of Male and Female Sex Our children, being indoctrinated, by a Witchcraft Hex Nobody can see, this Paradigm changing fast All rational debate, or thoughts, will be our last As we move forward into this New World that is Abound The opening of Hades, a Three Headed Hound Return of the Old Ones, are we ready for this to begin? A world where anything goes, a world of debauchery and sin. 👍🐯👍

  9. 4 out of 5

    J.G. Keely

    Milton wrote this while blind, and claimed it was the result of divine inspiration which visited him nightly. There are few texts that could reasonably be added into the Bible, and this is certainly one of them (the Divine Comedy is another). Paradise Lost outlines portions of the Bible which, thanks to its haphazard combination of mythic stories, are never fully explored. In fact, most of Paradise Lost has become tacitly accepted into the Christian mythos, even if most Christians do not recogni Milton wrote this while blind, and claimed it was the result of divine inspiration which visited him nightly. There are few texts that could reasonably be added into the Bible, and this is certainly one of them (the Divine Comedy is another). Paradise Lost outlines portions of the Bible which, thanks to its haphazard combination of mythic stories, are never fully explored. In fact, most of Paradise Lost has become tacitly accepted into the Christian mythos, even if most Christians do not recognize it as a source. It also updated not only the epic, but the heroic form, and its questioning of the devil is a great philosophical exploration, even if it may ultimately prove a failure, as I shall try to explain. The question remains: even if the Vatican did not explicitly include it, why are there not smaller sects which so often spring up around such and inspiring and daring work? The answer is that one need not explicitly include something that has been included implicitly. Many readers accept Milton's view of events as accurate and that it was wholly derived from the Bible, when in fact, it is largely an original work. Under Constantine, Hell and the Devil were re-conceptualized. The representation of Hell in the Bible is often metaphorical, and does not include 'fire and brimstone'. Hell is defined as 'absence from God' and nothing more. This is supposed to be a painful and unfulfilling experience, but not literal physical torture. Much of the modern conceptualization of Hell is based upon Hellenic mythological influences and verses from Revelation taken out of context. The place of 'fire and brimstone' is where the Devil and the Antichrist are put after the apocalypse, and is never stated as being related to human afterlife. Likewise, the Devil is most commonly depicted as a greedy idiot chasing after farts. The only tempting he ever does Biblically is during Job, where he must first ask God if he is permitted to interfere. The concept of the Devil as a charming, rebellious trickster and genius is entirely Milton. He portrays him this way to align Satan with the heroic figures of Epic Poetry. This is not because he thinks of the Devil as a hero, but rather so he can show that our heroes should not be rebellious murderers as they were in ancient stories, but humble, pious, simple men. He gives the Devil philosophical and political motivations for rebelling, but has him fail to notice that God cannot be questioned or defeated. However, this requires that one absolutely believe this assertion without ever testing it. Anyone who accepts it unquestioningly (such as C.S. Lewis) is bound to believe that the Devil is foolish to question the natural order. However, Milton himself states that the Devil had no choice but to doubt, and due to our own rational minds, man cannot help doubting either. In this case, we might fall in with Blake, and suggest that Milton was the Devil's man, not because he wanted to be, but because he carried biblical rhetoric to its rational conclusion. This is illustrated in a rather shocking way in the creation of Eve: finding herself, utterly new to the world, she sees her own reflection in a puddle and, finding it beautiful, leans down naively and tries to kiss it. This amusing retelling of the myth of Narcissus indicates that God made women naturally autoerotic and bisexual. Sadly, this never made it into modern Christianity, for some reason, but it does show the strength of Paradise Lost: Milton provides rhetorical support for every idea he explores, even those he did not side with. It is a great book of questions, and a book which demands the reader think and try to understand. We are supposed to sympathize with the Devil because he is heroic and dangerous, but we also know he is the Devil. We know that to sympathize with him is wrong, and that he is supposed to be wrong. Milton here invented the concept of the Devil we cannot help but sympathize with, and who we must fight daily to overcome. He defined sin as doubt, but without realizing that doubt will always deconstruct an old answer and suggest a new one. The fact remains that metaphysically, doubt can only injure us in a realm we cannot know exists. As the enemy of any tyranny--of men, of ideas--doubt is the helpmeet of all who struggle. The Devil is the father of doubt, and the final outcome of doubt is always accepting that we are fundamentally ignorant: either in our believing, or in our not believing. He also uses the English language in an entirely idiomatic and masterful way, his is one of the few unique voices of English. Reading him sometimes proves a challenge for those without a background in Latin, since his sentence structure and particularly his verb use are stripped-down and multipurpose, taking the form of metaphysical poets to its logical conclusion. He is also one of the most knowledgeable and allusive of writers, especially when it comes to the longer form. His encyclopedic exploration of myths, reinvention of scenes, and adoption of ideas make this work one of the most wide-reaching and interconnected in English. This can make his work somewhat daunting for readers, who are often unwilling to read the books he references in preparation for tackling him, which I find rather ironic, since no one complains about having to read ten-thousand pages of Harry Potter before tackling the last book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rakhi Dalal

    “What does the word ‘Paradise’ signifies to a human being?” Is it the state of blissfulness which one acknowledges in life owing to the absence of all fears as can be experienced in this dwelling place of ours? Or is it an actual place somewhere in heaven which is the ultimate goal that humans wish to achieve? As a child, I had a profound belief in the idea of God and heaven too. Yes, and perhaps the reason I wished to believe in him was the fact that world seemed a beautiful place, a place where “What does the word ‘Paradise’ signifies to a human being?” Is it the state of blissfulness which one acknowledges in life owing to the absence of all fears as can be experienced in this dwelling place of ours? Or is it an actual place somewhere in heaven which is the ultimate goal that humans wish to achieve? As a child, I had a profound belief in the idea of God and heaven too. Yes, and perhaps the reason I wished to believe in him was the fact that world seemed a beautiful place, a place where everything was just as it should have been; Loving parents and siblings, affectionate neighbors, and an innocent belief, one which leads a child to trust even an unknown smiling stranger on the road. But that was a long time ago. Times have changed faster since then. Faster than I could get a chance to put everything together and analyze the reason why it changed. It changed almost everyday since I grew big enough to understand that not every stranger could be trusted. The affectionate neighbors or relatives were not that amiable so as to forgive an innocent childhood indulgence, that parents were not the super humans, perfect and devoid of all faults, and that, nobody was perfect, not even me. And then the whole world started to seem to be at disharmony. There were people belonging to different strata of society, people rich, and poor and in between, people belonging to different castes, creeds and countries, people fighting with each other over smaller issues like standing in a row to bigger issues like fighting for a territory in a country; Countries going at war, hatred and more hatred. Slowly the faith started to crumble and ultimately it shattered. My Paradise was lost forever. At times it makes me shiver to consider that even my son, or for that matter any child, can go through the same experience. I can personally relate to the title “Paradise Lost” as being the loss of faith in God, faith that affirms the presence of a caring and loving spirit, inaccessible but still closer to the souls of believers, something which they can hold onto. It is also a loss in the idea of necessity of human existence and of life itself. For me, the title also signifies the loss of the world as seen from the eyes of a child. This is the reason why the work fascinated me and I picked it up. “Paradise lost” is undoubtedly a great work. There isn’t much I can write to appreciate its significance as the work of an art. The book is a beautiful exploration into the biblical characters of Satan, Adam and Eve, their thoughts and conversations and their FALL. The title here signifies the loss of “Paradise” or “heaven”, which is God’s abode, for them. It is shown as the loss for ‘Satan’ as well as for ‘Adam and eve’, the loss due to their fall. Satan falls when he tries to become equal to GOD and Adam and Eve fall when they eat the prohibited fruit. (view spoiler)[ Though, it is intriguing to think that an omnipotent, omniscient and all loving God could have led to such circumstances as to let Satan allure in the desire to become equal to Him. Similarly, I couldn’t understand the need of planting a tree whose fruit should have been forbidden to Adam and Eve? Even if planted, was it necessary to warn them of the consequences of eating it? Wasn’t the warning enough of an allure? (hide spoiler)] In the end, the angel says following words to Adam to let them redeem their paradise: “This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers, All secrets of the deep, all Natures works, Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea, And all the riches of this World enjoydst, And all the rule, one Empire; onely add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith, Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love, By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess A Paradise within thee, happier farr.” May we be able to find our own Paradises within ourselves!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    (Joint review with JORDAN) [A projection room somewhere in Hollywood. Two middle-aged men are looking at a screen, currently empty:] JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: [for it is he:] Okay Mike, now you've been playing this pretty close to your chest. Show me what you've got. MICHAEL BAY: I'd love to. [The film starts. We see the Garden of Eden. Nothing much is happening. The camera pans around and finally looks at some pretty KUROSAWA-inspired clouds. On the voiceover, ANTHONY HOPKINS, as the Narrator, is reading (Joint review with JORDAN) [A projection room somewhere in Hollywood. Two middle-aged men are looking at a screen, currently empty:] JERRY BRUCKHEIMER: [for it is he:] Okay Mike, now you've been playing this pretty close to your chest. Show me what you've got. MICHAEL BAY: I'd love to. [The film starts. We see the Garden of Eden. Nothing much is happening. The camera pans around and finally looks at some pretty KUROSAWA-inspired clouds. On the voiceover, ANTHONY HOPKINS, as the Narrator, is reading Paradise Lost:] HOPKINS: Of Mans First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree, whose mortal tast Brought Death into the World, and all our woe... BRUCKHEIMER: [almost physically ill:] Mike, how could you do this to me? [BAY looks smug and says nothing:] HOPKINS: ... Illumin, what is low raise and support; That to the highth of this great Argument I may assert Eternal Providence, And justifie the wayes of God to men. BRUCKHEIMER: Tell me I'm not hearing this. [On cue, MEGAN FOX appears, walking in slo-mo and wearing nothing but an entrancing smile. Various bits bounce interestingly:] BRUCKHEIMER: Hey! Didn't she say you were like Hitler? BAY: Megan and I understand each other. [A moment later, we see ROBERT PATTINSON, dressed in similar fashion. BRUCKHEIMER suddenly brightens up:] BRUCKHEIMER: Mike, don't ever do that to me again. O-kaay. Well, this oughta pack in the Twilight fans. But are you sure we should be showing his... [BAY is way ahead of him. He gestures to the PROJECTIONIST, who immediately switches to a different shot of the same scene. Various strategically placed branches, stones, leaves etc have restored PATTINSON's modesty à la AUSTIN POWERS:] BRUCKHEIMER: Better. Wait, is he sparkling? BAY: It's just the lights. We can fix that in post-editing. BRUCKHEIMER: And I'm still not happy about the language. No one'll understand a word of it. BAY: Come on, Jerry. Think Passion of the Christ. Think Apocalypto. Think Inglourious Basterds... BRUCKHEIMER: Yeah, yeah, yeah, but they had subtitles. Okay, we'll talk about that later. Show me some of the action sequences. [Another cut. Alarums. Excursions. CGI effects. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, holding a massive laser weapon, is blasting away at what appears to be a horde of DECEPTICONS:] HOPKINS: ... Full soon Among them he arriv'd; in his right hand Grasping ten thousand Thunders, which he sent Before him, such as in thir Soules infix'd Plagues; they astonisht all resistance lost... BRUCKHEIMER: Jesus Christ. BAY: Who else? SCHWARZENEGGER: Eat wrath-of-God, muthafuckas! [BRUCKHEIMER raises an eyebrow. BAY looks defensive:] BAY: It was an ad lib. We haven't decided yet if we're going to keep it. [An awkward pause:] BAY: Do you think we should give him a halo? BRUCKHEIMER: The religious right will like that. I'd say go with it. So I guess you have Dan Craig as Satan? BAY: Budget said we couldn't afford him. Let me show you what we came up with. [Cut. MICHAEL DOUGLAS, as Satan, faces GLENN CLOSE. She looks like a rather scarier version of Cruella de Vil:] DOUGLAS: What thing thou art, thus double-form'd, and why In this infernal Vaile first met thou call'st Me Father, and that Fantasm call'st my Son? I know thee not, nor ever saw till now Sight more detestable then him and thee. BRUCKHEIMER: Who the fuck is she? I haven't read this since high school. BAY: It's Sin. His ex. CLOSE: ... Becam'st enamour'd, and such joy thou took'st With me in secret, that my womb conceiv'd A growing burden... [Flashback. A much younger version of CLOSE, with frizzy blonde hair as in Fatal Attraction, is taking joy with DOUGLAS over a celestial sink:] BRUCKHEIMER: [Doubtful:] Will the 16-24 demographic get it? BAY: Research is working on that. We're thinking she could maybe boil Eve's bunny. I'll show you another bit. DOUGLAS: [Making speech:] ... Here we may reign secure; and in my choice To reign is worth ambition, though in hell: Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven. BRUCKHEIMER: Cut it. Too talky. BAY: Yup, that's what we thought too. It's out. BRUCKHEIMER: So how do we wrap this up? I remember it had a crap ending. Total downer too. [Commotion outside. Raised voices. Suddenly, the door opens, and TILDA SWINTON strides in wearing her White Witch costume:] BRUCKHEIMER: What the... SWINTON: Eve was framed! [She raises her wand and zaps BRUCKHEIMER and BAY, who are instantly transformed into snakes:] BRUCKHEIMER: Hiss! BAY: Hiss! BRUCKHEIMER: Fucking hiss! SWINTON: [to camera:] The end.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Luís

    In the 17th century, a century after the eruption of the Reformation, the lines of demarcation between Catholics and Protestants firmly drawn. After the theologians, began to emerge a secular Protestant literature. But these austere Puritans fiercely reject the frivolity of Catholic courts, and even more, the theatre considered a place of debauchery and impiety. It is, therefore, in the Bible that they draw their inspiration. It is probable that Milton long entertained the idea of ​​writing a gre In the 17th century, a century after the eruption of the Reformation, the lines of demarcation between Catholics and Protestants firmly drawn. After the theologians, began to emerge a secular Protestant literature. But these austere Puritans fiercely reject the frivolity of Catholic courts, and even more, the theatre considered a place of debauchery and impiety. It is, therefore, in the Bible that they draw their inspiration. It is probable that Milton long entertained the idea of ​​writing a great epic inspired by the book of Genesis, and that when the time came, he threw all his strength into it. The result was this long prose poem telling the story of the creation of the world, from the fall of rebellious angels to the fall of man. There are inspirations from the Iliad and Dante, but also new forms and new ideas. Like this way of starting in flashback, for example. The book opens with Satan and his defeated faithful, thrown to the bottom of Gehenna, discovering their desolate exile kingdom. But very quickly they pull themselves together. It seems that somewhere, God would have created a new world, inhabited by a new creature. The man. The form of the text is that of the seventeenth century, and nowadays would pass for quite heavy and prolonged, but the descriptions are magnificent. The parade of demons, like towers and covered in blood, could be the founding act of the heroic fantasy! Milton adds to the list of all the gods of Egypt and Olympus. The war of angels and demons also narrated with the force of magnificence and again did not have much to the envy of a comic as 'Black Moon Chronicles'. It was difficult for me to review this book. Severe and magnificent, it marks one of the turning points in European civilisation. One can wonder if, taken by his fire, he was of faithful respect towards the original work. But this critical edition is so magnificent that it is a work in itself!

  13. 5 out of 5

    James

    Book Review 3.5 out of 5 stars for Paradise Lost, the first of a two-book series, written in 1667 by John Milton. I've only read the first book in this series, but would like to read the second piece at some point. These are epic poems telling of the battle between Satan and God for control over the human soul. It's truly an introspective piece, as I believe Milton threw so much of himself, as well as people in general, into this work. It's captured the attention of so many people, an Book Review 3.5 out of 5 stars for Paradise Lost, the first of a two-book series, written in 1667 by John Milton. I've only read the first book in this series, but would like to read the second piece at some point. These are epic poems telling of the battle between Satan and God for control over the human soul. It's truly an introspective piece, as I believe Milton threw so much of himself, as well as people in general, into this work. It's captured the attention of so many people, and not just readers. It's the foundation of several films and television adaptions. Some argue it loses focus on the religious aspects; others praise it for being very open to different experiences. It's the kind of literature that pushes you to think about voice and characters. About different sides to a story and alternative opinions. How does it feel to agree with Satan? Do you accept being disappointed in something God says because it's something you thought was OK to do? So much in the words, but also the message is even more powerful. It's a lot to digest, but if you haven't read it, look up a few passages to see if the lyrical tone is something you can absorb while reading the words. It may help give you some perspective on different aspects of life and death. About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    Who but a blind man could so vividly write of the darkness of Hell? Paradise Lost is fire and passion. It is the pinnacle and the bottomless pit. It is the struggle for all that is good. It is the struggle within the evil of all evils. In the mid-1600s John Milton, aging and gone blind, dictated his most famous work, Paradise Lost, an epic poem that harkens back to Homer and Virgil. It not only tells the so very well-known story of Adam and Eve, it also describes the downfall of Satan in dramatic Who but a blind man could so vividly write of the darkness of Hell? Paradise Lost is fire and passion. It is the pinnacle and the bottomless pit. It is the struggle for all that is good. It is the struggle within the evil of all evils. In the mid-1600s John Milton, aging and gone blind, dictated his most famous work, Paradise Lost, an epic poem that harkens back to Homer and Virgil. It not only tells the so very well-known story of Adam and Eve, it also describes the downfall of Satan in dramatic fashion. The empathy shown for this most famous of fallen angels is, for me, one of the most outstanding sections of this early work of English literature. Epic is a laughably overused word these days. However, the depiction of Mammon and Beelzebub marshaling their demonic minions for the coming war is the stuff of ancient epics. Tolkien and Lewis most definitely borrowed heavily from these passages of Milton's when penning their own epics. The language has aged. Some of this is archaic and occasionally difficult to understand. But stick with it and you shall be rewarded.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Next to Shakespeare, Milton's Paradise Lost is probably one of the best and most enduring of the English Classics. That's surprising, really, because, let's face it: not to many people in the modern crowd reads poetry these days. Or they don't try because they assume it's going to be too difficult. Of course, they're probably not trying Milton. It's not only easy to read and gorgeously crafted, but it's also FULL of action, full of thrills, and it just plain kicks ass. Don't let the topic fool you Next to Shakespeare, Milton's Paradise Lost is probably one of the best and most enduring of the English Classics. That's surprising, really, because, let's face it: not to many people in the modern crowd reads poetry these days. Or they don't try because they assume it's going to be too difficult. Of course, they're probably not trying Milton. It's not only easy to read and gorgeously crafted, but it's also FULL of action, full of thrills, and it just plain kicks ass. Don't let the topic fool you. It may have to do with the fall of Satan and then the fall of Adam and Eve, but Milton is a rockstar of the literature world. We jump right into the thick of the fall of all the rebellious angels right after an epic war in heaven. Not only is Milton courageous enough to make Satan sympathetic and he's never once referred to as "evil", but he makes Satan even persuade ME. Make a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven, indeed. We get the epic battle in heaven. We get all the dark and disturbing reasons for the rebellion. We get the jealousy, the sense of injustice, and we get it again when the same kind of predestined plot hits humanity. So many of the darkest questions are explored. And this isn't a simple epic poem. It's not all flowery language, but it IS that at its best moments. It's intense and it's fantastically rich with mythology and history and scholarship -- as you might expect -- but more than that, it's just plain GOOD. It's classic in the sense that it will never go out of style. It's good in a way that when we read it now, it is like the best of our modern fiction. Great stylistic and plot devices, fantastic characterization, and depth. Of course, when I first read this, I was in college and we were required to read the bible to get all the great references and compare the differences, and I DO recommend that if only for comparative analysis in literature, but it's not necessary. This is an action movie. :)

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I still have my old grad school copy of this work, earnestly annotated with references to Ovid and Homer and (once) Terminator 2. But through all that Milton's words shine forth, depicting the struggle between good and evil, which is a struggle precisely because Satan is so alluring and interesting (by far the most interesting character here, which of course didn't escape the notice of later Romantic writers who were themselves drawn to the anti-hero). But the struggle isn't just between mythic I still have my old grad school copy of this work, earnestly annotated with references to Ovid and Homer and (once) Terminator 2. But through all that Milton's words shine forth, depicting the struggle between good and evil, which is a struggle precisely because Satan is so alluring and interesting (by far the most interesting character here, which of course didn't escape the notice of later Romantic writers who were themselves drawn to the anti-hero). But the struggle isn't just between mythic forces, but within the human heart itself, which is what gives the work its under-girding of tender sadness--like the outcry of the "Portress of Hell Gate," who laments in Book II: "Hast thou forgot me then, and do I seem / Now in thine eye so foul, once deemed so fair / In Heav'n...." It's a tale of loss (obviously) and jealousy and narcissism (cue the Ovid references) and it's really quite unexpectedly heart-breaking at times, though I'll admit the poetry can be dense and difficult and full of allusions, which is perhaps why it didn't become a "classic" until a few decades after publication when someone produced an annotated version. Still, this is a work that can be enjoyed on its own terms--a self-consciously grand epic.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Liz Janet

    “This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers, All secrets of the deep, all Natures works, Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea, And all the riches of this World enjoydst, And all the rule, one Empire; onely add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith, Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love, By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath To leave “This having learnt, thou hast attained the summe Of wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Starrs Thou knewst by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers, All secrets of the deep, all Natures works, Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea, And all the riches of this World enjoydst, And all the rule, one Empire; onely add Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith, Add Vertue, Patience, Temperance, add Love, By name to come call’d Charitie, the soul Of all the rest: then wilt thou not be loath To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess A Paradise within thee, happier farr.” READ THIS BOOK FOR ONE OF THE MOST UNKNOWN ANTIHEROES OF ALL TIME, LUCIFER, THE PRINCE OF HELL. This is the story of the Fall of Man from Eden, the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan, and the loss of their almost tangible relationship with God, however, later on, we realize the most beautiful story, is that of the fall of Satan, his descent into Tartarus, his role in the Angelic War, and his quest to destroy God's most precious creation, humanity. Satan is the main protagonist, the protagonist of one of the greatest poems, not just of English literature, but of all time. This is not to say that it is his sole story, nor that this was Milton's purpose, but to the regular man, Satan represents most of what humanity is, a brash, arrogant, confident, flawed, curious, courageous, hypocritical, mostly all that encompasses the human experience. For his desire for more, his need to be appreciated over God's flawed creation, leads him to befall to the darkest pit of Hell, and he vows revenge, and boy does he get it. The second strength of this poem, aside Satan, comes from the magnificent black verse in which it is written. “Farewel happy Fields Where Joy for ever dwells: Hail horrours, hail Infernal world, and thou profoundest Hell Receive thy new Possessor: One who brings A mind not to be chang'd by Place or Time. The mind is its own place, and in it self Can make a Heav'n of Hell, a Hell of Heav'n. What matter where, if I be still the same, And what I should be, all but less then he Whom Thunder hath made greater? Here at least We shall be free; th' Almighty hath not built Here for his envy, will not drive us hence: Here we may reign secure, and in my choyce To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.” This traitorous angel actually managed to make Hell sound good, not amazing, but a paradise for free-thinkers apparently. he saw himself as such a saviour to those that followed him, that sometimes, in our hearts, we feel a tinny bit sad for his outcome. And then we remember it is because of him that many horrid things happen and we feel good that he is where he is again. BUT HE IS THE MOST HUMAN CHARACTERS OF ALL THE ONES IN THE POEM. “I sung of chaos and eternal night, Taught by the heav'nly Muse to venture down the dark decent, and up to reascend...” Milton wrote this for humans to have an understanding of all God did all the way to the Great Flood. Which has led many to question: Why does Satan have a political reason to rebel against God? Why was God such a barbarian? Why is Satan our temptation still? Why is Gabriel such a do-gooder and butt-kisser? Why does he give Adam and Eve such vague hope, "a paradise within thee, happier far"? WHY IS SATAN SO CHARISMATIC WHEN HE IS SUPPOSE TO BE THE BAD GUY? I am not sure we get the answers to these questions unless we look very close, I am of those that rather remain with the questions. “All is not lost, the unconquerable will, and study of revenge, immortal hate, and the courage never to submit or yield.” We are made to sympathize with the Devil, but we are also to know that doing so is wrong, and that no man should align themselves with him. The debate is left to us, we make the final choice, and choosing wrong will lead us down a similar path to Lucifer. MILTON WAS NOT A SATANIST, HE JUST WROTE A MAGNIFICENT VILLAIN ONCE AND PEOPLE HAVE NEVER LET IT DIE! Now look at this description of God's creation: “And of the sixth day yet remained There wanted yet the master work, the end Of all yet done: a creature who not prone And brute as other creatures but endued With sanctity of reason might erect His stature and, upright with front serene, Govern the rest, self-knowing, and from thence Magnanimous to correspond with Heaven, But grateful to acknowledge whence his good Descends, thither with heart and voice and eyes Directed in devotion to adore And worship God supreme who made him chief Of all His works.” Better Than Food: Book Reviews did an incredible review, it is my favourite for this book so far: John Milton - Paradise Lost The images used here were drawn by Gustave Doré, they are most beautiful. He also did Dante's Inferno and The Rime of The Ancient Mariner, all equal in beauty.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Antão

    If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Uncontrollable Madness: “Paradise Lost” by Milton Milton wrote a great poem but it's also a byproduct of its day - 1667 - and he views events and characters very much through the male gaze; as do all organized religions and which the poem references. Thus, the apple on the tree of knowledge was (imo) something a religious-minded white Portuguese male would regard as sinful. As it stands, the sin no longer applies. It is 2005, eating the If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review. Uncontrollable Madness: “Paradise Lost” by Milton Milton wrote a great poem but it's also a byproduct of its day - 1667 - and he views events and characters very much through the male gaze; as do all organized religions and which the poem references. Thus, the apple on the tree of knowledge was (imo) something a religious-minded white Portuguese male would regard as sinful. As it stands, the sin no longer applies. It is 2005, eating the apple amounts to doing just that; eating an apple. Unless you have the apple representing something else, i.e., update the sin attached to it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Incendiaryrose

    I hope no fan of Milton ever reads this review. And if you are a fan of Milton, go find one of many other reviews that will be a little better to your liking. Had I read this book with the perspective of a student, or perhaps even as a potential instructor, I suspect my view of the twelve-book poem would have been far more favorable. As it was, I did not. Rather I read it as myself, a person who is rather sarcastic and critical of most things, but especially continuity errors. I found myself stumb I hope no fan of Milton ever reads this review. And if you are a fan of Milton, go find one of many other reviews that will be a little better to your liking. Had I read this book with the perspective of a student, or perhaps even as a potential instructor, I suspect my view of the twelve-book poem would have been far more favorable. As it was, I did not. Rather I read it as myself, a person who is rather sarcastic and critical of most things, but especially continuity errors. I found myself stumbling not on the poetry, but on such things as the lengthy description of the pantheon of pandemonium being made with mined gold, wrought with comments on greed and how all those who look for such riches are doomed. This is impressed rather heavily, to be followed by the sun being made with gold and precious gems, heaven being full of similar wealth, and even Christ's chariot of 'sparkles dire' is studded with precious stones and capped with a sapphire throne (book six, line 750 starts you off on the description of the chariot). Were I reading this as a student, I could probably make excuses for the different standards of wealth. I could probably even attempt to justify why Adam and Eve seem to gain absolutely nothing from eating the fruit of knowledge. Adam says often beforehand how working in the garden is good. They are told of Satan's presence in the garden and recognize this as being something to fear. Thus, they know of good and evil. After the fruit, the only alteration is a lustful interlude, to be followed by argument over it. Another angelic intervention where they are told everything to come, and they wander away in sorrowful hope. The Angels are thus the ones who are conveyors of knowledge, not the fruit of knowledge. And so, with Milton, it might as well be the Fruit of Lust and Damnation. As it stands, and as I have read it, Paradise Lost was not what I would call an enjoyable work. I find no great epiphanies in it, or divine inspiration. I find a great deal of misogyny and even more references to classical myths that, if I didn't know it was perfectly fine in Milton's time to interweave Christianity and Greco-Roman myth, I would find a bit off. In total, it read like a rather bad biblical fanfiction with heavy crossover. That being said, Paradise Lost is still a good work to read. For even if it strains my patience and sarcasm, it also gives an excellent perspective on quite a few quotes and characterizations that were to come after. In a way, the book is less important than what people have done with it over the years.

  20. 5 out of 5

    GD

    Let's face it, John Milton was a closet devil-worshiper. Satan here is presented so sympathetically it's hard to think otherwise. He has the best lines, and even his actions would be laudable by most Christian standards (excepting, of course, starting a war in heaven). He never gives up, he fights for what he believes in, he's really clever, and he even pities humans for having to be his tools to get back at God. The good angels come off as such sissies and are always really smug and self-satisf Let's face it, John Milton was a closet devil-worshiper. Satan here is presented so sympathetically it's hard to think otherwise. He has the best lines, and even his actions would be laudable by most Christian standards (excepting, of course, starting a war in heaven). He never gives up, he fights for what he believes in, he's really clever, and he even pities humans for having to be his tools to get back at God. The good angels come off as such sissies and are always really smug and self-satisfied and say things like, "Yeah Satan, I know you're a lot better than me at everything, but remember my dad is God and if you hit me he's going to kick your ass." Gabriel and Michael are real assholes, and it makes me feel sad that Satan doesn't whip up on them some more. This book is incredibly awesome but a litle dense. It's super sweet and kick ass but you have to sit down and really spend some time with it, and you'll have to read it pretty slow. I've never understod blank verse so I just read it like prose.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    Recently, I read PL during my morning walks. Often aloud, it went surprisingly fast--about half a book per day, completed in a month. Of course, so many of the allusions, even with good footnotes and a lifetime of reading and a Ph.D. in 17C English lit, remain solidly beyond me, in a sempiternal world of classical and biblical allusion. But I read with the recognition that such allusions function as validating linkages, rather like real links online, or like Mercedes for the insecure. This may b Recently, I read PL during my morning walks. Often aloud, it went surprisingly fast--about half a book per day, completed in a month. Of course, so many of the allusions, even with good footnotes and a lifetime of reading and a Ph.D. in 17C English lit, remain solidly beyond me, in a sempiternal world of classical and biblical allusion. But I read with the recognition that such allusions function as validating linkages, rather like real links online, or like Mercedes for the insecure. This may be my fifth time through it in entirety, and I have taught principally Book 9, Adam and Eve, maybe two dozen times. Everytime through I discover a few lines that surprise me. This time, just after my retirement, I found a line I've been quoting to my still-working colleagues: "To sit in hateful Office, here confined...." This is Sin at the gates of Hell, early on in the poem, in the first three books. I have in my memory perhaps 15 minutes of Paradise Lost, maybe my fave passage, "Men called him Mulciber, and how he fell From heav'n was fabled, thrown by angry Jove Sheer o'er the crystal battlements. From morn To noon he fell, from noon to dewy eve A summer's day, and with the setting sun Dropped from the zenith like a falling star On Lemnos and the Aegean isle: thus they report, Erring."(late in Bk 1) Here we have the grand sweep and forward motion of the verse, like a chase scene. And also, the added learned footnote and correction, so Puritanical, so Miltonic. Wish I had memorized much more, as I do with Yeats, Dylan Thomas, Shakespeare, and Dickinson (about an hour each). The organ voice of Milton's verse. The reserved parodic Andrew Marvell, my doctoral subject, Milton's assistant secretary of state, Latin Secretary--for all European countries and Russia then wrote in Latin.* The stone incisions of Yeats and Dickinson. (Marvell's verse critiques other poets, so my thesis, "This Critical Age," which ushered me into Larry Lipking's Princeton NEH post-doc, "The Poet Critics.") My new book, out at the end of 2016, takes off on Milton's title, Parodies Lost. It's the growth of a poet's mind via parodying Angelou, Dylan Thomas, Ashbery, Herrick, R Wilbur, even Dickinson. And the central figure is partly my great undergrad friend, the brilliant parodist (esp of prose), Tom Weiskel, known principally for his book The Romantic Sublime--though I only hear his unique voice in a half-dozen spots in it; I have heard him parody both criticism and poetry. We lost him at age 29, like Shelley. * Some of the funniest parts of Giordano Bruno's commedia "Candelaio" are in Latin, by and about the Latin teacher Manfurio, who admires himself, and his boy pupils who thwart him. For ex, Manny (in my trans.) refuses to use the word "Robber," insists on "Surreptor" so no-one knows he's been robbed. For the scene acted at London's Bridewell theater, see Youtube: "Candelaio Final Edit."

  22. 5 out of 5

    David Sarkies

    Milton's epic tale of the fall and redemption of humanity 18 September 2011 With the exception of Shakespeare this, I believe, is the greatest work of English Literature. Paradise Lost tells the story, in epic poetic form, of the fall of mankind as outlined in Genesis 1-3. While the story is constricted to the opening chapters of the Bible, the scope of the story itself is much wider and encompasses all of human history (at least up until the death and resurrection of Christ). In fact, it is the Milton's epic tale of the fall and redemption of humanity 18 September 2011 With the exception of Shakespeare this, I believe, is the greatest work of English Literature. Paradise Lost tells the story, in epic poetic form, of the fall of mankind as outlined in Genesis 1-3. While the story is constricted to the opening chapters of the Bible, the scope of the story itself is much wider and encompasses all of human history (at least up until the death and resurrection of Christ). In fact, it is the death and resurrection of Christ that forms the pivotal turning point of the poem, though it is the fall of humanity that is reason for the redemption that is the poem's focus. A friend of mine once said that Satan that was the main character in the poem and our sympathies were to lie with him. This I cannot disagree with more. Milton was a puritan and it was not his intention to create Satan as a sympathetic character. He wanted to create a poem with a scope that was equivalent to the Odyssey, and while Satan does appear often in the poem, it is very clear that he is the villain of the piece. The central character is Christ, though he does appear to sit in the background a lot, but despite this we are always brought back to him and to his redeeming work. Like the Odyssey, Paradise Lost does not begin at the beginning, but rather after Satan's fall and his plans on wrecking God's creation. At the beginning, Earth has already been created and humanity already exists. However, like the Odyssey, the events that occur before, and after, this part of the play are narrated to us by the archangel Michael (as he tells Adam the past and the future). It is the fall of humanity upon which the play turns, and this can be seen where there is a sexual liaison between Adam and Eve both before and after this event. Like Homer, when Milton wrote the play he was blind and it is said that he narrated the play to his daughter. This raises the question as to whether it really is an epic or not. Some have said that it is a written epic, however Milton himself did not write the poem (just as the Odyssey was originally an oral tale that was written down, many believed by Homer). So, it can be argued that the poem is truly an epic for this one point. However, the poem itself was crafted by Milton, and there was not a period prior to him when the poem was recited orally. It is clear from the play that Milton was a Christian in that his focus is on the grace of God. When humanity falls, God does not want to destroy them, but knows that because he is just,punishment must be dealt. However, Christ steps in and says that he will take the punishment in their place. As such, grace is a major theme that runs throughout the poem and we are reminded that it is through grace that Christ offers himself up on the cross. As such this is not a play that is intended to exonerate and makes us sympathetic towards Satan but to remind us of where we have come from and what Christ's death really means. I must admit, though, the poetic form, and the language used, makes the play very hard to follow, though I wonder if it could be converted into dramatic form. Maybe it is possible, maybe it is not, however I have not encountered anything as such yet. Milton did write a sequel, Paradise Regained, however this poem does not need a sequel as everything that the poem needs to say, of the fall and the redemption, is within the poem itself.

  23. 5 out of 5

    J. Sebastian

    Upon arrival at the last page of this epic story, a rich symphony of beauty, expressing the loss of Paradise in gorgeous arrangements of language wherein each word is precisely chosen, I am left, book in hand, contemplating the rich tapestry of song that Milton has woven on the loom of English heroic verse; the finished whole is vast in its sweep and exquisite in its details. I am stunned by its beauty, and left speechless as I follow Adam out of Eden, ruddy with a majestic glow in expectation o Upon arrival at the last page of this epic story, a rich symphony of beauty, expressing the loss of Paradise in gorgeous arrangements of language wherein each word is precisely chosen, I am left, book in hand, contemplating the rich tapestry of song that Milton has woven on the loom of English heroic verse; the finished whole is vast in its sweep and exquisite in its details. I am stunned by its beauty, and left speechless as I follow Adam out of Eden, ruddy with a majestic glow in expectation of the birth and return of our loving King. Milton knew ten languages (Greek, Latin, Hebrew, Syriac, Aramaic, English, Italian, French, Spanish, & Dutch). Paradise Lost is full of Linguistic and literary allusions; Milton avails himself both of the words and the syntax of other languages, and makes purposeful allusions to famous passages in other books. As a minor example in Book I. 34-36, John Leonard points out the possibility of a pun in the Latin derivative deceived: Th' infernal Serpent; he it was, whose guile Stirred up with envy and revenge, deceived the mother of mankind, with 'dis-Eved' (cross-linguistic wordplay with the Hebrew chava 'life' (Eve), and thus conveying the meaning 'un-lifed', 'deprived of life'). This is in fact, trademark Miltonic multilingual artistry. Milton relishes in his languages, and uses them to great effect. This is a very small and isolated example of the gems of linguistic virtuosity that lie waiting to be discovered by the astute and careful reader as the song progresses and unfolds. In Milton's Languages, John Hale argues that Milton's choice to write in English––in an age when Latin is still the obvious choice to ensure a wide audience––was motivated by the fact that English was, among all his languages, the one that allowed for the greatest versatility in this manner of interlinguistic and intertextual allusiveness. The final work, wherein English seemlessly adopts Latin word order and idiom is a masterpiece, and places Milton eternally in the traditional line with the other great epic poets of the west: Homer (Greek), Ennius & Vergil (Latin), Dante (Italian), Milton (English). An English contemporary of Milton writes of him with national pride and affection thus: Græcia Mæonidem, jactet sibi Roma Maronem Anglia Miltonum jactat utrique parem. Let Greece her Homer, Rome her Vergil boast. England boasts her Milton equal to them both. Milton is another reason I am happy to have learned English young; he celebrated his native English, addressing it thus with love Hail native Language, that by sinews weak Didst move my first endeavouring tongue to speak, and chose it for the language of his glorious and majestic English epic. Every English speaker should someday read it.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elie F

    Paradise Lost: the failed divorce of an unhappy marriage? Adam and Eve lived a comfortable yet boring married life that pleased Adam well, but Eve was unhappy with the inequality in the marriage: Why is he enjoying conversations with angels and proximity with God while I stay at home preparing dinner? She enjoyed the love of Adam but gradually she became ever more disinterested in Adam and would rather talk to her own image mirrored in lake. Then one day the unhappy housewife encountered sexy, in Paradise Lost: the failed divorce of an unhappy marriage? Adam and Eve lived a comfortable yet boring married life that pleased Adam well, but Eve was unhappy with the inequality in the marriage: Why is he enjoying conversations with angels and proximity with God while I stay at home preparing dinner? She enjoyed the love of Adam but gradually she became ever more disinterested in Adam and would rather talk to her own image mirrored in lake. Then one day the unhappy housewife encountered sexy, intelligent Satan in the form of a serpent who encouraged her to eat the forbidden fruit which would elevate her intelligence and make her marriage with Adam more equal. After tasting the fruit herself, she felt that "Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe" so she brought the fruit to Adam who was devastated by his wife's transgression but chose to side with his wife over God, side with domestic happiness over socio-political duties. But soon Adam regretted the transgression and blamed it on Eve: "Out of my sight, thou serpent, that name best befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false and hateful...O why did God, creator wise, that peopled highest heaven with spirits masculine, create heaven with spirits masculine, create at last this novelty on earth, this fair defect of nature, and not fill the world at once with men as angels without feminine, or find some other way to generate Mankind?" After a "Men Going Their Own Way" monologue, Adam recognized that Eve was all he had now, and they decided to repent and stick with their old lifestyle in hope of a better life. Despite mutual dissatisfaction, the marriage continued, but the abyss between them was evident: "They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow, through Eden took their solitary way." Family is a microcosm of society in general, and it is through the dissolution of the institution of a family that humankind lost paradise.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Olivia-Savannah

    I’d been meaning to read this epic for a very long time, and I am not surprised that I head over heels loved it. I admit that I struggled at first – there are two editions of this novel you can get. (Well, more than two.) But you can get the one which has been edited to include modern day punctuation, or you can get the original text. I had the original text (which has since been replaced with the Penguin classic), which means there were no speech marks and I had to pay rapt attention to know wh I’d been meaning to read this epic for a very long time, and I am not surprised that I head over heels loved it. I admit that I struggled at first – there are two editions of this novel you can get. (Well, more than two.) But you can get the one which has been edited to include modern day punctuation, or you can get the original text. I had the original text (which has since been replaced with the Penguin classic), which means there were no speech marks and I had to pay rapt attention to know who was speaking when. But once I got used to the way it was written, I really liked it. I loved the wording and the beautiful language. It’s a tale I am familiar with, but Milton chose some interesting perspectives. In this epic he humanises the familiar story of the fall a particular angel and the Adam and Eve story. We get to see parts of the story which aren’t shown in the Bible but are assumed to have had happen from the arc of the original. Milton also uses symbols, juxtaposition of scenes and other literary tools when crafting this Christian epic. I loved it all. I know it’s not going to be a good read for everyone, but I certainly enjoyed it. My only critique would be that the last two ‘books’ were unnecessary. A little research later I discovered they were tacked on by Milton. He definitely did not need to do that, but I guess it is what it is.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brandon Pearce

    WOW! I had never read Milton until I was forced to in my Chaucer/Shakespeare/Milton class and I was blown away! I absolutely loved this epic poem! Milton was the best educated man in England at this time. He spoke or read every European language and even dabbled in Algonquin. He was part of the Cromwell government and wrote a lot of political tracts that contain the roots of much of the political philosophy that is the foundation of our country. In a scathing political pamphlet called The Tenure WOW! I had never read Milton until I was forced to in my Chaucer/Shakespeare/Milton class and I was blown away! I absolutely loved this epic poem! Milton was the best educated man in England at this time. He spoke or read every European language and even dabbled in Algonquin. He was part of the Cromwell government and wrote a lot of political tracts that contain the roots of much of the political philosophy that is the foundation of our country. In a scathing political pamphlet called The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates, Milton wrote, “all men naturally were born free, being the image and resemblance of God himself…and they lived so until from the root of Adam’s transgression, falling among themselves to doe wrong and violence…they agreed by common league to bind each other from mutual injury." Milton believed very strongly that governments were necessary to protect men from their own vices, but that the “power of the Kings…is nothing else, but what is onely derivative, transferred and committed to them in trust from the people, to the common good of them all, in whom the power yet remains fundamentally." While this concept of executive power is widely accepted in western society today, it was far from the mainstream for seventeenth century England; where the prevailing philosophy was that the king’s right to rule came from God alone. One of the many purposes of Paradise Lost was a medium through which Milton could present his radical political views. In it he argues that men should ideally rule themselves in small familial groups, but because of men’s vices, they must set up stronger governmental systems. He uses Satan, whom he associates with Charles II, as the model of power unrighteously wielded, and sets up Christ as the model of proper authority. In book four, Milton describes Adam and Eve’s character before the fall, “Truth, wisdom, sanctitude severe and pure / Severe, but in true filial freedom placed / Whence true authority in men." Eve is submissive to Adam (at first) and, because Adam is submissive to God, he rules gently and correctly over Eve. In this state, men are in a state of freedom. A natural hierarchy exists in the patriarchal order of the family. It is the “true authority of men” because it mirrors man’s relationship with God. Later, in book twelve, Milton makes this point clearer as Michael shows to Adam the decedents of Noah who “Shall spend their days in joy unblamed and dwell / Long time in peace by families and tribes / Under paternal rule." Milton sees this natural paternal order as the idyllic form of governing mankind, and the one that allows the most freedom and peace for the individual. Of course this peaceful set up cannot last, and in the very next sentence Nimrod “arrogates dominion undeserved” to himself and becomes the first King. This new form of authority is a rebellion from the natural power structure of family rule. It makes the many people on the bottom of the hierarchy slaves to the few on top. While this argument could be brought against most rulers throughout history, Milton implicates Charles II specifically in this description of Nimrod by saying, “from rebellion shall derive his name / Though of rebellion others he accuse." This refers to the restoration of Charles to the throne after the Commonwealth collapsed, after which many of the leaders of Cromwell’s government were hanged as traitorous rebels. Throughout Paradise Lost, Milton makes clear that he is not just critiquing monarchy, but Charles II in particular. He goes so far as to associate Charles with Satan himself. For example, in book one, Milton describes Charles’ heady lifestyle in connection with Satan's brood, “In courts and palaces he also reigns / And in luxurious cities where the noise / Of riot ascends above their loftiest tow’rs…witness the streets of Sodom." Although Milton surely disapproved of this sort of heady living, it is not the main reason that he condemned Charles’ authority. It is Charles’ claim to divine right that so irks Milton, and he uses Satan to show how spurious this claim is, “Me though just right and the fixed laws of Heav’n / Did first create your leader." Later, Adam counters this assertion with Milton’s sentiments, “But man over men / He made not lord, such title to himself / Reserving” (XII.69-71). Book five shows that Satan assembled his crew of demons with the intent that they would help him get what he wanted. In fact, he assembled his leadership together under the false story that they were going to have a council on how best to “receive our King / The great Messiah. He has no thought of the wellbeing of those who follow him, but instead beguiles them with “counterfeited truth” to fight so that Satan can become as God. Satan does not serve them, they serve him; and follow him to their eternal damnation. For Milton, the real evil in monarchy is that inevitably the king will stop seeing himself as the servant of the people, and begin seeing the people as his servants. Compare this to the approach that The Son takes. Christ willingly accepts the role as savior to mankind; knowing that it will mean his death as God’s sacrificial lamb. It is only after this acceptance to be the servant of men that God gives Christ his divine authority: “Therefore thy humiliation shall exalt / With Thee thy manhood also to this throne…All power I give thee." According to this model, an executive should have as his motivation the welfare of the people over whom he lords. It is only through his service to the people that he receives and maintains authority. This is the model that Milton would have earthly governments follow; and if the executive of the nation, whatever title he may bear, does not serve the good of the people, they have the right to select one who will. Though the Commonwealth for which Milton argued so strongly eventually failed, he, like Christ, found a greater victory in defeat. Milton’s political views espoused in Paradise Lost eventually won over England and most of western society. Thomas Paine used very similar verbiage in his extremely influential political tract Common Sense “Society is produced by our wants, and government by our wickedness; the former promotes our happiness positively by uniting our affections, the latter negatively by restraining our vices.” And then later he says. “Here then is the rise and origin of government; namely, a mode rendered necessary by the inability of moral virtue to govern the world.” This is the philosophical bedrock of the concept of a limited government. The idea that powers of government ought to be limited to only that which the people cannot do themselves, and to let people govern themselves as much as possible, is one of the foundational philosophies of the Republican Party today. One can even read Milton in our Declaration of Independence, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” The reach of his work has far surpassed the “fit…though few” audience he envisioned for it. It is a part of our everyday lives. I can’t say whether this idea originated with Milton, but his inclusion of it in Paradise Lost, with its widespread sway in England and here in the US, gave it great influence; which we still feel today. Beyond his political views I was astounded at his theology. I agreed with the vast majority of his doctrinal positions including a trinity of seperate indivduals; God the Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost (whom he invokes as the muse in good epic fasion). Jesus and several archangels make the earth under the direction of the Father. Satan rebels because of pride and attempts to usurp the Father's athourity, taking a third of the angels of heaven with him. Christ was chosen as the savior in a council in heaven. Men can only be forgiven through the stonement of Christ and through personal repentance...I could go on. He was so ahead of his time in this arena as well. The last thing I wanted to mention was his use of Satan playing the classical hero. Satatn displays the atributes of a classical hero along the lines of Odysseus, and Achiles. Milton does this so that he can show what true heroism is; as modeled by Christ. For Milton the true hero was humble, a servant of the people (which was his ideal for a governmental executive), and found his stregnth in obedience to god's will. He shows throughout the book how the new Christian heroic model is superior to the old classical model of physical prowess, cunning deception, and courtly lover. (for more on this subject I recommend Steadman's Milton and the Renaissance Hero.) It's to bad that Milton is no longer read today as much as it was from the time he wrote it to the twentieth century. It is a true classic, and contains so much that is foundational to our culture still today. If you need help on all of the allusions and classical references in Pardise Lost I recommend this website sponsored by Dartmouth College http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/read... It was very helpful with some of the obscure references.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Roy Lotz

    In poetic genius, Milton is the only English poet who could seriously rival Shakespeare. As they both were from around the same time period, they use similar language; but in style and substance, the two are worlds apart. Shakespeare has his feet firmly planted in human affairs—he can find the whole universe in a conversation on a lazy afternoon. Milton is epic in scale, taking the reader from the pit of Hell, through unformed Chaos, past Earth, all the way up to Heaven. Shakespeare’s mind trave In poetic genius, Milton is the only English poet who could seriously rival Shakespeare. As they both were from around the same time period, they use similar language; but in style and substance, the two are worlds apart. Shakespeare has his feet firmly planted in human affairs—he can find the whole universe in a conversation on a lazy afternoon. Milton is epic in scale, taking the reader from the pit of Hell, through unformed Chaos, past Earth, all the way up to Heaven. Shakespeare’s mind travels through the world like a phantom, imbuing it with his own spirit, becoming everything at once but remaining himself nonetheless. Milton, by contrast, gathers the world into himself, melts it down, and reforges it anew. This is one of the few books that repelled me on my first attempt. I was simply unprepared for the style of English, and I had too little reading experience to properly understand the many classical and Biblical references. On my second attempt, I did manage to finish the poem, though it was quite a slog. Nonetheless, many sections made a lasting impression on me, and I often found myself reminiscing about the poem. I have just completed my second journey through this book. Every time I go over a line in this epic, it yields more fruit. The poem is simply beautiful. When attempting to articulate exactly why I love it so much, my words fail me, and I am left with that over-used cliché, "beautiful," but so it goes. I usually abhor re-reading books, but I anticipate reading Paradise Lost many times during my lifetime. Part of why the poem is so compelling is Milton's portrayal of Lucifer. For those who wish to experience perhaps the best tragic character ever conceived—rivaling Oedipus, Faust, Hamlet, Captain Ahab, and King Lear—read this book. Unlike Dante, whose Satan is a dumb, savage brute, Milton's Satan is exquisitely human. The universe of Paradise Lost is not carved up into unambiguous Good vs. unambiguous Evil; it is, instead, a far more subtle, psychological realm of sin, disobedience, rebellion, lust, ambition, and folly. Satan is not evil, but ambitious to the point of insanity. And who could not identify with that? But be warned: this book is difficult. Milton is one of the most educated writers of all time; his learning was vast and deep. The language, dense; the allusions, many; the journey, nigh endless. But it is one that you will remember fondly. In Milton's own words: “Long is the way, and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.” And, when it is over, you will perhaps find that the journey was a paradise. And when you put the book down, you may mourn that your happy journey through Milton's epic has come to an end. But be not sad. For the poem will live on within the chambers of your mind, and "Thou shalt possess a Paradise within thee, happier far."

  28. 5 out of 5

    هدى يحيى

    No Idea why this part gets me every damn time! O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw‏ ‏ The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud‏, ‏ Then when the Dragon, put to second rout‏, ‏ Came furious down to be revenged on men‏, ‏ Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now‏, ‏ While time was, our first parents had been warned‏ ‏ The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped‏, ‏ Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare: For now‏ ‏ Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down‏, ‏ The tempter ere the accuser of manki No Idea why this part gets me every damn time! O, for that warning voice, which he, who saw‏ ‏ The Apocalypse, heard cry in Heaven aloud‏, ‏ Then when the Dragon, put to second rout‏, ‏ Came furious down to be revenged on men‏, ‏ Woe to the inhabitants on earth! that now‏, ‏ While time was, our first parents had been warned‏ ‏ The coming of their secret foe, and 'scaped‏, ‏ Haply so 'scaped his mortal snare: For now‏ ‏ Satan, now first inflamed with rage, came down‏, ‏ The tempter ere the accuser of mankind‏, ‏ To wreak on innocent frail Man his loss‏ ‏ Of that first battle, and his flight to Hell‏: ‏ Yet, not rejoicing in his speed, though bold‏ ‏ Far off and fearless, nor with cause to boast‏, ‏ Begins his dire attempt; which nigh the birth‏ ‏ Now rolling boils in his tumultuous breast‏, ‏ And like a devilish engine back recoils‏ ‏ Upon himself; horrour and doubt distract‏ ‏ His troubled thoughts, and from the bottom stir‏ ‏ The Hell within him; for within him Hell‏ ‏ He brings, and round about him, nor from Hell‏ ‏ One step, no more than from himself, can fly‏ ‏ By change of place: Now conscience wakes despair‏, ‏ That slumbered; wakes the bitter memory‏ ‏ Of what he was, what is, and what must be‏ ‏ Worse; of worse deeds worse sufferings must ensue‏. ‏ Sometimes towards Eden, which now in his view‎‏ ‏ Lay pleasant, his grieved look he fixes sad‏; ‏ Sometimes towards Heaven, and the full-blazing sun‏, ‏ Which now sat high in his meridian tower‏: ‏ Then, much revolving, thus in sighs began‏. ‏ O thou, that, with surpassing glory crowned‏, ‏ Lookest from thy sole dominion like the God‏ ‏ Of this new world; at whose sight all the stars‏ ‏ Hide their diminished heads; to thee I call‏, ‏ But with no friendly voice, and add thy name‏, ‏ Of Sun! to tell thee how I hate thy beams‏, ‏ That bring to my remembrance from what state‏ ‏ I fell, how glorious once above thy sphere‏; ‏ Till pride and worse ambition threw me down‏ ‏ Warring in Heaven against Heaven's matchless King‏: ‏ Ah, wherefore! he deserved no such return‏ ‏ From me, whom he created what I was‏ ‏ In that bright eminence, and with his good‏ ‏ Upbraided none; nor was his service hard‏.‏

  29. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    An epic poem deserves an epic review - I can't promise to deliver on that. But at least it's heartfelt. This poem is what made John Milton one of THE names in literature. And yes, it's a poem as long as a book. In fact, it has over 10 thousand lines of verse and consists of 12 books. I think the number of books, or chapters if you will, was different at first and the version with 12 chapters/books was a later revision and done because of Virgil's Aeneid. Milton used blank verses which is to say t An epic poem deserves an epic review - I can't promise to deliver on that. But at least it's heartfelt. This poem is what made John Milton one of THE names in literature. And yes, it's a poem as long as a book. In fact, it has over 10 thousand lines of verse and consists of 12 books. I think the number of books, or chapters if you will, was different at first and the version with 12 chapters/books was a later revision and done because of Virgil's Aeneid. Milton used blank verses which is to say the poem doesn't rhyme. He used several different stylistic features such as starting the poem in medias res: somewhere in the midst of the story, the background story being told in retrospect. There are also a few acrostics, my favourite of which was in book IX where a verse describing the serpent tempting Eve to eat the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden spells out "SATAN". *snickers* Yes, the title is a dead giveaway, it's the story of how mankind was banned from paradise so me recounting it with a few comments isn't actually going to spoiler anyone. There are two narratives in the poem: that of Lucifer (Satan) and that of Adam and Eve. In the beginning (see what I did there ;P), Lucifer and the other rebelling angels have been defeated and subsequently banished to Hell (aka Tartarus). Satan resides in Pandæmonium, the capital city of Hell, and rules thanks to his ... persuasiveness (he's good with words and, well, tempting). He thus recruits more followers from among the residents of Hell. When God has a new and favourite creation, mankind and Earth, Satan volunteers to corrupt both. How he gets to the Garden of Eden actually reminded me of some Greek myths (I shan't spoiler which). Meanwhile, the reader is taken back to the actual battle for Heaven and boy, what a truly epic war that was despite it only lasting 3 days ((view spoiler)[I was surprised that God's son (the spirit that later will enter the body of Jesus Christ) was the one to single-handedly defeat Lucifer and the other rebelling angels ... I mean, then why fight it out for 3 days?! Seems like a waste? (hide spoiler)] )! Back to Adam and Eve, freshly created after the end of the war (ironic that I've finished this book on the anniversary of D-Day): they have been given the Garden of Eden where they are to live entirely free and as rulers of all creation (yes, the entire planet Earth is the Garden of Eden apparently), except for one rule: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on penalty of death! We all know how that ends but I can tell you that Milton changed the story of the temptation and subsequent fall in quite a satisfying way ((view spoiler)[Eve is tempted through her vanity but Adam, after the two having been in a sin-free but still romantic relationship, willingly and knowingly commits the same sin because he's a romantic and a hero and if she has to die, so will he * (hide spoiler)] ). Nevertheless, spoiler alert, the two have sex after eating the apples and then we get all the negative emotions a Catholic Priest would be so proud to recount (I shan't, because it pisses me off *). Satan, meanwhile, goes home to brag and ... Well, the two kids finally find their courage and admit to God what they have done, appealing for his mercy. It's not really a spoiler that they are not, in fact, killed. "Only" cast out. But not before a vision of the future and some lecture from the Archangel Michael (I never liked the guy). * (view spoiler)[The only problem I had with the more "romantic" presentation of the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve was the noble guy sacrificing himself, from his point of view, for the woman he loves. The woman, of course, being simply vain and therefore easy enough to tempt. However, Milton apparently tried to even out the scales by pointing out that Adam was more of a sinner than Eve, technically, since he had been aware while Eve had been corrupted. What really never was to my liking is the stupid notion of love being a sin when it's "consumated" - fucking Catholics (yes, I'm allowed to say that as I was born one)! (hide spoiler)] The problem I always had with the story is that I'm on Lucifer's side. And no, not since the popular show. Way before that. Because his desire to rebel against his creator stems from his unwillingness to be subjugated by God and his Son and I completely understand that. The whole subjugation trope in Catholicism and many other religions rubs me the wrong way. Apart from my stance towards any form of religion, however, this is a work of art. Pure (or not so much) and simple (also not really). Milton himself was very eloquent, obviously, and made quite a great case in favour of Satan (he never actually says that the plan is wicked, which was even more scandalous back in the day). Some will, of course, dispute that, but it's how I indeed see it. I also like that he made marriage a central theme as that combines the "mundane" with the "epic" and made Adam and Eve more approachable instead of these weird child-like creatures that are suddenly corrupted. After all, it IS a story of mankind and how we got to this point, after a fashion. It might be "weird" for some people to read any story in verse form but all I can say is that it's totally worth it. No, this wasn't my first, but I also don't read epic poems too frequently. For those worrying, I was actually surprised how easily the verses flowed here. Admittedly, I sometimes picked up my paperback copy to read a few verses in print, but not because I wasn't able to follow - reading with my own eyes is a different process for me and I enjoy it very much so I wanted to read certain passages twice just for the hell of it (ha! another one!). I do recommend Simon Vance's audio version though as that emphasizes the beauty of the language. (No, that is not God. Hell is much more neat and organized than I expected. *lol*)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    (Joint review with JORDAN) - George? - Mm? - I had such a strange dream. - Was it scary? You were talking in your sleep. - Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer were making a movie of Paradise Lost. - OK, that's scary. The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons) (Joint review with JORDAN) - George? - Mm? - I had such a strange dream. - Was it scary? You were talking in your sleep. - Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer were making a movie of Paradise Lost. - OK, that's scary. The rest of this review is available elsewhere (the location cannot be given for Goodreads policy reasons)

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