Milton and Freedom in Paradise Lost
The originality of Milton’s <i>Paradise Lost</i> lies in its ability to transform the predominantly secular spirit of Homer, Virgil, Boiardo, and other masters of literary epic into a theological subject outside of the tradition. Although <i>Paradise Lost</i> features familiar elements of epics preceding Milton’s age -- war, splendid nature, visions of the future, formidable journeys -- his subject, the Fall of Mankind or recounting of Genesis, transforms the traditional significance of these elements, giving his epic a new aesthetic appeal as well as (what Milton believed to be) a divine purpose. In recreating God’s divine scheme of Mankind’s destiny, Milton knows his readers are aware of Adam and Eve’s fall from the start, and thus he is able to pull the focus away from ends and redirect it toward teasing out some of the fundamental conflicts of Christian doctrine. With regard to these conflicts, Milton primarily addresses an idea that Christian theologians continue to debate: what freedom means in accordance with God’s divine framework. To depict the purpose of the epic -- to make his readers better Christians -- Milton sets up a struggle between two views of freedom. Between these visions of freedom...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 754 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4849 literature essays, 1503 sample college application essays, 189 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.
Already a member? Log in