15 Dec 2018

MA English Part.1, the theme of Jhon Milton s' Paradise Lost

MA English Classical Poetry,Paradise Lost by John Milton


Questions:
1.In writing the "Paradise Lost"has Milton Succeeded in justifying the ways of God to men?
2.Write critical note on the theme of the "Paradise Lost"?
3.In "Paradise Lost Milton plans to "Justify the ways of God to men."How far is he successful in doing so?

Answer:
Theme is the pivot of an epic.When one is going to write and read an epic,he spontaneously imagines a grand theme which one is going to write and read.Theme has a supreme value in an epic.This epic of Milton theme-wise excels other works in literature.Milton has grafted his epic manner on to a subject which lies outside main epic tradition.

Fall of Adam and Eve from Heaven is a major subject of universal interest.The theme is universal and action is also universal.The poet deals with the fortune of the whole human beings not that of a particular nation and country.

Milton wants to justify the ways of God to men and he also wants to discuss the act of disobedience which caused Adam and Eve expulsion from Heaven.He also tells that Gods ways are eternal and no one can change and challenge the Supremacy of God.

      "I may assert Eternal Providence,
      And justify the ways of God to men".

Coleridge comments on the theme of "Paradise Lost,he says, "It represents the origin of evil and the combat of evil and good,it contains matter of deep interest to all mankind,as forming the basis of all religions and the true occasion of all philosophy whatsoever."

In the opening twenty six lines of Paradise Lost,Milton is following the tradition of classical epic in announcing his subject and invoking the Muse.At the same time ,he asserts that his subject is greater than of classical epic,as he writes it in the following verses:

     "Of Man s' first disobedience,and the fruit;
       Of that forbidden tree,whose mortal taste,
       Brought death into the world,and all our woe,
       With loss of Eden,till one greater man,
       Restore us,and regain the blissful seat"

After that Milton tells that what caused Adam s' fall from Heaven.Adam and Eve were enjoying the pleasures of Eden.They were allowed to enjoy everything except one restriction fruit of that'Forbidden Tree'It was Satan,who prompted by feelings of envy and revenge,deceived the Eve.

    "The infernal Serpent;he it was whose guile,
      Stirred up with envy and revenge,deceived
      The mother of mankind........"

Some critics feel that there are two themes which are quite balanced,namely,the fall of Angels and the Fall of Man.The first half deals with Satan s' efforts to do something against God.The second half is the drama of Adam and Eve.But this cannot be accepted.Milton clearly said that his story dealt with the Fall of Man.Satan s' story is subsidiary to the main story of Adam and Eve.

As per Christianity , God Himself took pity on the mankind after a time and resolved to come down in human shape to save men from hell and death.So, Christ is represented as the son of God who came on the Earth and suffered himself to be crucified,thus taking on himself the sin of mankind.

Milton justified the punishment of Adam and Eve for the crime they committed.They were expelled from paradise.As every sin has to be punished so was it the lot of mankind to suffer death although they had been promised immortality by God.

However,Milton is not a pessimist.He believes in spiritual development from hope to faith.God through His goodness redeems man from sin

At the end of Paradise Lost,Adam and Eve feel repentant.They are punished in heaven by God through the angel named Michael.

Milton s' Puritanism and his great faith in the Bible made him choose his subject which was of interest to all men.His great achievement lies in making such a serious subject which is agreeable and acceptable to all.


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