Paradise Lost: Books I and II

Paradise Lost: Books I and II

Read FREE!

Paradise Lost: Books I and II

Paradise Lost: Books I and II

Read FREE!

Excerpt

It is doubtless possible to study the first two books of Paradise Lost by themselves with some degree of profit. They have a unity of their own. The limited field of action, the strength and simplicity of the conception which we here get of Satan and his followers, the dramatic quality of the dialogue (which seldom lapses into mere declamation), -- all these characteristics of this fragment give it an interest of its own. And yet, after all, it is only a fragment. We must go back of, and forward of, these events in order to grasp their full meaning. Here is pictured the noblest phase of Satan's nature, but it is a phase which is to be succeeded by other developments of no less interest. The episode of the interview with Sin and Death is mainly significant as a prophecy: these monsters become of importance only in the sequel. Hell is here the stage of action; but there was a former and more varied action on the greater stage of Heaven, and there is to be a later (and again more active) series of events on the lesser stage of Earth.

We shall attempt to trace from beginning to end the course of that great story of which the first two books constitute an intermediate episode. And we shall begin by quoting somewhat freely from Masson, the greatest of Milton's editors (Introduction to Paradise Lost, pp. 26-30): --

'Paradise Lost is an epic. But it is not, like the Iliad or the Ǣneid, a national epic; nor is it an epic after any other of the known types. It is an epic of the whole human . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.