Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost

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 ear...

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Title:Paradise Lost
Author:John Milton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Paradise Lost Reviews

  • 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.

  • 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

    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

    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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    . 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.

  • 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,

    . 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.

    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

    . 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.

    In the end, the angel says following words to Adam to let them redeem their paradise:

  • 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. 👍🐯👍

  • 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,

    , 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,

    , 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.

  • James

    3.5 out of 5 stars for

    , the first of a two-book series, written in 1667 by

    . 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 ju

    3.5 out of 5 stars for

    , the first of a two-book series, written in 1667 by

    . 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.

    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

    , 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.

  • Natalie Monroe

    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.

  • Bookdragon Sean

    I need a new reading challenge, something big and something bold; thus, I’ve decided to tackle this behemoth of poetry.

    This one might take me a while.

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