Paradise Lost

Visual Imagery?

Can you please tell me how do I know the Visual Imagery, Auditory Imagery and Alliteration??

Sing Heav'nly Muse, that on the secret top

Of Oreb, or of Sinai, didn't inspire

That Shepherd, who first taught the chosen Seed.

In the Beginning how the Heav'ns and Earth

Rose out of Chaos

Give an example of:

- Alliteration

- Visual Imagery

- Auditory Imagery

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Example of Imagery


Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Paradise Lost is about the loss of…well, Paradise. So it's no surprise that images of paradises abound. First and foremost, we have the Garden of Eden. Milton makes it abundantly clear in Book 4 (our first view of paradise) that this is the best paradise of them all. He mentions a number of famous artistic and literary paradises, only to say that the Garden of Eden is much better than them all. In addition to Adam and Eve's Paradise, there's Heaven. It's really bright there, and it doesn't even really get dark.

Now, you might be saying to yourself, well Adam and Eve lose Paradise too. This is true, but there are two other paradises to compensate for this one. First, in Book 12, Michael tells Adam that if he lives the perfect Christian life (he doesn't call it this because Christianity hadn't been invented yet), if he learns to love God by obeying him, he shall "possess/ A paradise within…happier far" (586-587). In other words, paradise is no longer imagined as a place like Hawaii, but rather as an internal sense of peace or calm that occurs when one obeys God as one should. Finally, at the end of time those who have been saved will be able to live either in Heaven or on earth because the earth will have been turned into a paradise, and a much better one than the Garden of Eden. As Michael tells Adam: "for then the earth/ Shall all be paradise, far happier place/ Than this of Eden, and far happier days" (12.463-465).


Example of Alliteration

"Farewell happy fields

Where Joy for ever dwells: hail horrors, hail

Infernal world" (1.249-51).

Another example of alliteration;

Hail horrours, hail [ 250 ]

Infernal world, and thou profoundest (1.250-51)


Auditory imagery is the representation through language of an experience pertaining to sound.

But where is the Visual Imagery?

Clearly the vast majority of works of literature contain lots of examples of imagery, which is a term used to describe the way that authors paint pictures of what they are trying to describe with words. In particular, imagery helps to try and make us "see" the picture by incorporating as many of the five senses as possible: taste, sight, touch, smell and hearing. One example of this comes in Book I of this epic classic, when Satan addresses his despondent troops who have been unsuccessful in their attempt to overturn Heaven and depose God. Note how his soldiers respond to his exhortations:

He spake: and to confirm his words, out flew

Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs

Of mighty Cherubim; the sudden blaze

Far round illumined Hell: highly they raged

Against the Highest, and fierce with grasped arms

Clashed on their sounding shields the din of war,

Hurling defiance against the vault of Heav'n.

Note how we have strong visual images in this quote of the flaming swords being drawn, with the heat of the flames indicated as well. Likewise we have our sense of hearing used as the cherubim "rage" against God and clash their arms against their shields. Such strong images are to be found again and again in this epic poem and help us to imagine the scene before our eyes.