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This paper discusses how John Milton's poem, "Paradise Lost" can be seen as an allegory condemning the political situation in England throughout his lifetime. The paper provides examples from the text of the poem to show Milton's insight into his personal ideology and the way that he critiques society and the political and religious institutions of his time.
From the Paper:"As Milton says in the opening, Paradise Lost was written to "assert the Eternal Providence, and justify the ways of God to men." However, a more in depth analysis of the text provides a less perceptible metaphor of Milton's political beliefs. The poem includes many biblical references starting with Satan's banishment from Heaven. There are two basic schools of thought arguing over whom Satan represented in the epic: Charles II or Oliver Cromwell. Either one can be supported by looking at what Satan does when he tempts Eve with the forbidden fruit. God created mankind with free-will, which means the ability to do as they please rather than be his "drones." In the claim that these new creatures are extraordinary because of their ability to reason, and then commanding them to obey him above all others, God contradicts himself. This ability to decide whether or not to obey him means risking the loss of power if they choose to "sin," something that God will not tolerate. This is a manipulation of his people and an abuse of power. By enticing Eve, and therefore sending Adam and Eve into a world of knowledge, although full of pain and suffering, Satan is proving that God may be power hungry, reigning effectively with his infliction of fear much like Charles I during his reign and Cromwell during the later stages of the Inter Regnum."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Bucholz, Robert and Key, Newton. Early Modern England 1485-1714, A Narrative History, Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
- Coward, Barry. Cromwell: Profiles in Power, London: Longman, 1991.
- Inglis, Charles, D.D., Rector of Trinity Church, The Duty of Honouring the King, New York: Preached in St. George's And St. Paul's Chapels, January 30, 1780.
- Hirst, Derek. Authority and Conflict: England, 1603-1658, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986.
- Knoppers, Laura Lunger. Historicizing Milton: Spectacle, Power, and Poetry in Restoration England. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1994.
Cite this Poem Review:
"Paradise Lost" (2008, April 10) Retrieved April 21, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/poem-review/paradise-lost-103027/
""Paradise Lost"" 10 April 2008. Web. 21 April. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/poem-review/paradise-lost-103027/>