Paradise Lost By John Milton Essay

1088 words - 4 pages

As Bloom’s theory would suggest, John Milton is often credited with influencing literary figures - particularly during the Romantic period. T.S. Eliot writes of Milton’s ‘bad influence’ upon his successors while others, such as Lucy Newlyn , celebrate his impact. Many critics use Wordsworth as a perfect example of this influence and there is certainly a valid argument for his ‘emulation’ of, and ‘rebellion’ against, Paradise Lost. Throughout The Prelude, Wordsworth revises and alludes to Milton. Though there are too many links to be traced in one essay, Milton’s legacy provides an interesting point of discussion.
Initially, Wordsworth exhibits what could be called an ‘anxiety of influence’. In Book III of The Prelude, he incorporates Milton into a scene that comes to a troubling conclusion:
…O temperate Bard!
One afternoon
[…]
I to thee
Poured out libations, to thy memory drank,
[…]
…till my brain reeled
Never so clouded by the fumes of wine
Before that hour, or since...
[…] …Empty thoughts!
I am ashamed of them
The scene is arguably a metaphorical manifestation of Wordsworth’s anxiety towards his predecessor. Just as Wordsworth stands where Milton once did, The Prelude figuratively inhabits the genre that Milton occupied. As he writes, he fears that The Prelude is unworthy of Paradise Lost and that, just as with his drinking, he will feel ‘ashamed’. Bloom’s theory would then appear accurate, and a sense of ‘rebellion’ is definitely apparent.

Whereas Milton’s epic is profoundly Christian, Wordsworth secularises his poem. Adam and Eve are led by God, Nature is Wordsworth’s guide:
The earth is all before me: with a heart
Joyous, nor scar’d at its own Liberty,
I look about, and should the guide I chuse
Be nothing better than a wandering cloud
I cannot miss my way. (Prel I.15-19)
The quotes alludes to the final lines of Paradise Lost, when Adam and Eve are forced to leave Eden:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide,
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.
Wordsworth takes ‘wandering’ and ‘way’ verbatim, and his use of ‘earth’ evokes Milton’s ‘world’. Bloom’s theory of emulation has some credibility as the quote acknowledges Milton’s influence on Wordsworth’s preoccupation with ‘liberty’. Yet as mentioned above, ‘rebellion’ is also in evidence. Milton recognises God as ‘Providence’ and a ‘guide’ to humanity, but Wordsworth refrains from religious connotations. He is free to ‘chuse’ his ‘guide’ for ‘better’ or worse, and so is more autonomous from God than Adam and Eve. However, he is not entirely free. In many ways, Nature is his modern alternative to God. He speaks of his ‘religious love’ (Prel II.377) for Nature rather than heaven. Later, during the boating incident, he comments that ‘surely’ he...

Find Another Essay On Paradise Lost by John Milton

Paradise Lost by John Milton Essay Title: Is God Just?

1606 words - 6 pages John Milton's Paradise Lost has been perhaps one of the most heatedly debated works of Western literature. Critics of Paradise Lost have praised Milton for his accurate description of a divine omnipotent and just God. I intend to prove that God as depicted in Paradise Lost is not the same God that is depicted in the Bible. Milton makes a noble attempt, but he is guilty of being only human. He makes the attempt to portray God as fair and just

Paradaise Lost by John Milton Essay

943 words - 4 pages Eve in the Garden of Eden The most important characters in the epic poem, “Paradise Lost”, are Satan and Eve. These two characters are most responsible for the development and progression of events within the poem. Satan is the main figure throughout the vast majority of the plot. “Paradise Lost” follows Satan’s ultimately successful attempt to destroy God’s perfect creation, humanity, by forcing Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden. In

Heroism in "Paradise Lost" by John Milton: A Movement Forward in Morality

2580 words - 10 pages Milton defines heroism in Paradise Lost as Biblical heroism, where the hero is not defined by physical strength but rather moral strength; this moral strength permits obedience to God. The Christian form of heroism obtains glory through submission rather then the heroes of past epics which obtain glory through defiance. In Paradise Lost, Milton asserts his intention to show that the fall of humankind is more heroic than the past epics of Homer

Paradise Lost by John Milton: Exploring the Themes of Mankind's Great Fall

903 words - 4 pages Considered by many scholars to be one of the greatest poems of the English language, Paradise Lost by John Milton tells the biblical story of Adam and Eve's fall from grace in language that is a supreme achievement in rhythm and sound. Written by a very bitter, very lonely Milton in his mid-50's, the book was widely criticized by the Catholic church. People wondered whether Milton sought to justify the mysterious ways of God or merely show the

How Evil And Good Is Portrayed In "Paradise Lost" By John Milton

1258 words - 6 pages The original sin that led to humanity's fall in the Garden of Eden is by far the worst sin committed by humankind. It is this sin that led to future sins. This original sin must be emphasized by writers to depict the evil involved in it. In writing Paradise Lost, John Milton recognizes this fact and uses a variety of literary techniques to stress the evil in the story over the good. The techniques used include a series of parallels with the

John Miltons Paradise Lost

2139 words - 9 pages to carry on after falling from God. Adam sees that much good will come from his sin in the end. Bibliography: Works Cited Masson, David. Afterword “A Brief Life of Milton” Paradise Lost. By John Milton. Ed. Scott Elledge. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Scott Elledge. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1993. Wagenknecht, Edward. The Personality of Milton. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970.

Dante’s Inferno in Milton´s Paradise Lost

1589 words - 7 pages seen throughout Paradise Lost, Milton’s progression of evil and Satan are quite different from Dante. Dante’s influence on Milton is noted by many scholars and is very apparent in several instances throughout Paradise Lost, however, Milton shows a progression of evil through his own vision of Satan and creates a Hell that is less meticulously constructed than Dante’s and more open to interpretation. Several scholars have made arguments that

John Milton's Paradise Lost

1695 words - 7 pages to do so. He stated that he and the demons were self made and raised by their own strength, therefore denying the fact that they were created by God. After finding these flaws in Satan's character, and comparing him to both Aeneas and Hector, the answer to the question becomes clear. Satan was not a hero. Works Cited 1. Milton, John. Paradise Lost In Plain and Simple English. Unknown: Golgotha Press, 2012. 2. Merriam-Webster. "arrogant

John Milton's Paradise Lost

3120 words - 12 pages John Milton's Paradise Lost John Milton’s Paradise Lost is filled with fantastical tales from the depths of Hell, extravagant descriptions of the fallen angels, and a curious recitation of the council of demons in their new palace. How did Milton dream up such vivid depictions of such horrible demons as the ones we see in Book I? Most of his fallen angels originate in the form of Pagan gods condemned by the Bible, with actual historical

Reflections of Milton in Paradise Lost and On Having Arrived

958 words - 4 pages At a young age, John Milton was convinced that he was destined forgreatness. He thought that he "might perhaps leave something so written toaftertimes as they should not willingly let it die"(Text 414). For thisreason he thought that his life was very important to himself and to others.He often wrote directly about himself, and he used his life experiences asroots for his literature. In Paradise Lost and in a sonnet entitled "OnHis Blindness

The Power of Free Will in Milton?s Paradise Lost

1548 words - 6 pages with free will. Milton also adds depth to this concept by connecting the power of knowledge to free will. Works Cited Empson, William. Milton's God. London: Chatto and Windus, 1961. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Roy Flannagan. New York: Macmillan, 1993.

Similar Essays

Paradise Lost, By John Milton Essay

1191 words - 5 pages In Paradise Lost, Milton writes the creation story from the perspective of three different characters: Eve, Raphael, and Adam, in that order. Eve’s story tells of her creation and her interest in herself rather than in Adam. Adam’s story tells the creation of animals and then of Eve from his rib. Raphael’s story is more of a warning to Adam to make sure that Eve does not eat from the tree of knowledge. Raphael is sent by God because he is

Paradise Lost By John Milton Essay

712 words - 3 pages Heather R. George Professor Paige Sasser ENG 2323 May 28, 2014 Literary Analysis Essay Paradise Lost John Milton's Paradise Lost is a configuration of the biblical interpretations in Genesis written in the 17th Century. In many ways this story is like the story of Adam and Eve in the Bible; although some aspects are significantly different. Some may try and argue that this poem is about Satan wanting revenge on God; however it shows a beautiful

John Milton: Paradise Lost Essay

1533 words - 6 pages In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan seeks revenge against God and causes the fall of man. He deceives Adam and Eve and gets them to disobey God. God ends up seeming cruel because of the way He punishes Adam and Eve but, He’s not. God could have killed them for disobeying him, instead He’s giving them a second chance with life, its just going to be a harder life. God is just doing what He has to by sending them out of the Garden. He is the high

Analysis Of Paradise Lost By John Milton

1001 words - 5 pages John Milton seeks to simply “justify the ways of God to men” with his timeless tale of the war between Heaven and Hell, leading to Lucifer being exiled from Heaven to deceiving God’s creation of man in Paradise Lost. I believe Milton is attempting to demonstrate the beginning of the root of all evil by exploring the fall of Lucifer and subsequently Eve’s fall in response. He begins with describing God creating another universe with divine