Those Rare and Solitary: Aspirations to Godliness
Paradise Lost explores the natural aspiration to stand alone and to be distinguished from the multitudes. Adam, Eve, Satan, even God himself strain to assert their superiority and godliness by attempting to wield the most visible proof of godly power: the ability to create. However, they all (including God) fail to some extent because they are motivated by their narcissistic intentions to selfishly create imitations that seek only to reinforce their superiority. They can merely create copies that are inferior to the originals, due to their inability to realize that only God can create inherent worth. The only way to progress towards a semblance of godliness is not to proudly make external, boastful imitations of oneself, but rather, to humbly make ones' spirit an intangible, spiritual imitation of God.
Throughout Paradise Lost, Satan and God try to distinguish themselves by setting themselves apart from the multitudes that surround them. Out of the whole host of demons, Satan alone offers to take the "solitary flight" through Chaos. Then, after "alone thus wandering" (3.667) and "walk[ing] up and down alone, bent on his prey/ alone"(3.441-2), he imagines himself as being "alone", even...
Join Now to View Premium Content
GradeSaver provides access to 689 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 3760 literature essays, 1272 sample college application essays, 136 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