Paradise Lost & Paradise Regained
by John Milton
Genres: Epic Poetry
Format: Paperback (357 pages)
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 earth - as Satan and his band of rebel angels plot their revenge against God. At the center of the conflict are Adam and Eve, motivated by all too human temptations...
This book took me a long time to read. Three months to be exact. It’s some seriously dense epic poetry. Some of Paradise Lost reminded me a lot of Tolkien’s The Silmarillion, especially the lines about flames that produced darkness and the idea of Satan doing the opposite of God but God turns it to good anyway. It was hard to get used to the language, but once I did I really liked how Milton was able to use two meanings for a lot of words – the literal meaning and a figurative meaning. It was interesting that the story is mostly told through Satan’s point of view and Milton makes him a sympathetic character. Satan is also very sarcastic. Is it wrong that I found him a little funny??
The first time I tried reading this book I gave up after about 20 pages because I didn’t realize that the plot was simple and that there’s an actual story going on. I thought the whole book was just deep random thoughts about the fall of Adam and Eve.
Another thing I found interesting was how Milton incorporated a lot of Greek mythology in the story. I’m starting to see why this book is so controversial. For example, Sin pops out of Satan’s head and they become lovers. So Sin is his lover AND daughter. That is kind of similar to Athena’s birth story.
Milton lists a lot of demons by name in Book I. One demon that really caught my eye was named Dagon and he was a mermaid. Did mermaids start out as demons!? That kind of blows my mind.
And then when, towards the end of Book I, all the demons have a council. It is more civil than any political debate I have ever heard. I found that so bizarre.
Overall, I don’t think this is a very religious text (meaning that it teaches Christian doctrine). It’s an interesting mythological twist on a bible story we all know. It was like Shakespeare meets the Bible. Honestly some parts of it really dragged, but I’m glad I read it. I feel very accomplished and a little more educated than I was before.
Paradise Regained is 50 pages long. It’s kind of like an epilogue that shows how Christ defeats Satan. It’s not as good as Paradise Lost and it’s anti-climactic. It’s skippable. I wrote up a plot summary for Paradise Regained in case you want to know what it’s about. I searched everywhere for a basic plot summary for Paradise Regained and I couldn’t find one. So I wrote my own.
Book 1 – John the Baptists announces that this is Christ. He’s baptized and God pronounces him his son. Satan hears it and has another council on what to do. Satan is going to “snare” Jesus with fraud and tricks. God professes that Jesus will send Satan back to Hell and defeat Sin and Death. Jesus meditates in the desert on how best to defeat Satan. Satan finds him and tells him to turn the stones into bread because Jesus has been fasting for 40 days.
Book 2 – Meanwhile, the people who had been baptized were still at the river Jordan. Mary his mother starts to worry about where Jesus is. Satan has another council because Jesus is not as easy to tempt as he thought he would be. Jesus dreams of prophets being fed by God. Satan tempts Jesus with riches. Jesus: No thanks.
Book 3 – Satan tries flattery and offers glory. Jesus says glory belongs to God. Satan takes Jesus to a mountain and shows him armies he can use to become King of the Jews. Jesus says he’ll wait for the right time.
Book 4 – Satan won’t quit though he knows he’ll probably lose. Asks Jesus to worship him. Jesus says he only worships God. Then Satan tempts him with knowledge. Jesus says he already knows what he needs to know. Satan sends Jesus nightmares. Then Satan tells him to throw himself off the mountain and angels with catch him. Angels come a knock Satan over and take Jesus to a safe place. They give him fruit from Paradise and the angels sing to him. THE END.
Content Rating: None.