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Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson…

Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, Samson Agonistes

by John Milton

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John Milton's Paradise Lost tells the story of Satan's fall from grace, war with Heaven, and temptation of Mankind. If the reader could describe any character as the "hero," surely it is Satan, as he is the only character that Milton fully develops and the most interesting, as the angels and god simply parrot lines from the Bible. The god of Paradise Lost, much like the god of the Bible, is an abusive, controlling, bully. When Adam asks his messenger about the working of the universe, he is told, "Think only what concerns thee and thy being; Dream not of other Worlds, what Creatures there Live, in what state, condition, or degree" (p. 180). God simply wants to control humanity's access to information. Later, after Adam and Eve eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, god tells the angels not to panic, saying, "Assembl'd Angels, and ye Powers return'd from unsuccessful charge, be not dismay'd, nor troubl'd at these tidings from the Earth, which your sincerest care could not prevent, foretold so lately what would come to pass, when first this Tempter cross'd the Gulf from Hell" (p. 224). Milton's god, based on Yahweh, knew that humanity would fail the test he put to them, and punished them for failing anyway. This creature is nothing more than a petty tyrant, deserving of neither love nor adoration.
As to Milton's style, he writes in heroic verse, much like Homer or Virgil. It seems that he anticipated this concept not appealing to a wide audience as he begins his account with a note to the reader, writing, "Rime being no necessary adjunct or true Ornament of Poem or good Verse, in longer Works especially, but the Invention of a barbarous Age, to set off wretched matter and lame Metre" (p. 17). Though heroic verse works well for the story, Milton's defensiveness implies that he doubted his own work. The work includes references not only to other stories in Christian mythology, but to Greek, Roman, and Egyptian mythology as well as astrology, thereby implying a polytheistic worldview in which Yahweh is but one of many gods.
This edition, released by the International Collector's Library, is a nice hardcover copy for the collector. It includes Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. My only complaint is about the author of the introduction, Richard Eberhart, a Milton fanboy and Christian apologist, who suggests that a reading of this text will serve as a return to traditional values in the face of vices including "the incursion of homosexuality" (p. 2). Best skip the introduction and simply read the poem as a work of literature. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 10, 2016 |
"Read also Milton’s paradise lost, Ossian, Pope’s works, Swift’s works in order to form your style in your own language." - Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 19 Aug. 1785 [PTJ 8:405-408]
  ThomasJefferson | Jul 9, 2014 |
The 5 rating is really for Samson, which is deeply important to me. "At the mill with slaves" has long been
my description of my own life. I like Paradise Lost and respect Paradise Regained, but Samson is my favorite. ( )
  antiquary | Aug 24, 2007 |
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This omnibus contains:
  • Paradise Lost
  • Paradise Regained
  • Samson Agonistes

Please do not combine it with any of the individual works, or with omnibuses that contain a different selection of works (such as Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained alone).
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