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Paradise Lost

by John Milton

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Paradise Lost is widely regarded as the greatest English-language poem of all time. Published in 1667, the epic is written in 12 sections of blank verse. Milton was blind when he wrote the majority of the poem, and transcribed it to his daughters. The poem is a fascinating look at the characters of the Garden of Eden. Adam, Eve, God, and Satan engage in a struggle, much like they do in the Hebrew Bible. Milton claimed his purpose in writing was to "justify the ways of God to men" and to reconcile what he saw as a gap between the free will of humans and God's omniscience. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the poem, and one profitable for long-time Christians to observe, is the fact that Adam and Eve have personalities. Milton adds several books worth of narrative about their sinless life in the garden pre-Fall, and readers catch a glimpse of their emotions - pleasure, temptation, guilt, and lust. Paradise Lost is a valuable work of literature, particularly for Christians as it addresses the age-old battle of whether free will exists for created humans. Though the poetry is challenging to read (Milton intended it to be so), those who wade their way through the tale will come away with a fresh perspective on the classic story of Eden.

Abby Zwart
CCEL Staff Writer
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About John Milton
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Born: December 9, 1608, Bread Street, Cheapside, London
Died: November 8, 1674, Bunhill, London
Related topics: Criticism, interpretation, etc., England, Fall of man, Great Britain, History
Basic information: John Milton (9 December 1608 – 8 November 1674) was an English poet, polemicist, a scholarly man of letters, and a civil servant for the Commonwealth (republic) of England under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, and is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost. Milton's poetry and prose reflect deep personal convictions, a passion for freedom and self determination, and the urgent issues and political turbulence of his day.
Popular works: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained