“Our Destroyer or Our Hero”
Paradise Lost is an epic poem created around 1667 by John Milton, a devout Christian. The poem tells how Satan is cast out of hell, only to want to bring to fruition the fall of man. So Satan travels to earth to the Garden of Eden to tempt man (Adam and Eve) to eat the forbidden fruit, so that they can sin. After succeeding in his quest, Satan finds out that not only does he himself not possess free- will, but that God’s plan the whole time was for man to fall so they may have eternal life in heaven. However, Christianity and free-will do not go hand-in-hand; so this question arises, how does Milton prove free-will exists?
John Milton was born London on December 9, 1608, into a middle-class family. He was educated at St. Paul’s School, then at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he began to write poetry in Latin, Italian, and English, and prepared to enter the clergy. After university, he abandoned his plans to join the priesthood and spent the next six years in his father’s country home rigorously studying to prepare for a career as a poet. During his period of private study, Milton composed a number of poems. In 1642, Milton poured out leaflets opposing the control of religion; feeling their powers were based on self-interest, etc. After King Charles II took the throne in 1660, Milton was arrested as a defender of the Commonwealth and put into house-arrest. Milton lost his eyesight while under house-arrest, but then completed Paradise Lost in 1667.
Paradise Lost begins after Lucifer and the other fallen angels have been defeated by the Son and are banished into Hell. The fallen angels then get together in Pandemonium where Satan uses his skill to organize his followers with the aid of Mammon and Beelzebub. After debating who will go to God’s newly created place, Satan volunteers and flies off towards the gates of Hell. Before Satan leaves Hell, he encounters Sin and Death, who are his daughter/lover and son. They open the gates of Hell and Satan then goes into the Abyss looking for the new creation God has made. As Satan wonders through the Abyss, he meets its two Guardians, Chaos and Night, who show him the path to Earth. The story then turns towards the angelic war, where Lucifer’s army of rebellious angels and the angels of Heaven go into a battle which lasts two days. On the morning of the third day, the Son defeats the rebellious angels and banishes them from Heaven, sending them to Hell. While the fallen angels fall from Heaven into Hell, God creates the world with the use of the golden compasses as well as Adam and Eve. After creating Man, he gave them the power of freedom and the power to rule over the other creations, but he gave them one command to follow: not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Adam and Eve are in a full relationship without a single sin within them. Satan, disguised as a serpent, tempts Eve by eating the apples and by flattering her. He tells her that he is able to speak because he ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve is then tempted and takes a bite from the apple. When Eve realizes what she has done, she runs to Adam and tells him. Adam then takes a bite from the apple willingly. After eating the apple, Adam and Eve run off into the forest, and after engaging in lustful sex, they fall asleep. After waking up, Adam and Eve then argue with each other concerning their sin and God punishes Adam by making him have to work in order to support his family while Eve’s punishment is to experience labor pains. With that being said, God makes them leave the Garden of Eden. God then says their sins will be forgiven as long as they accept the Son as their Savior. While preparing to leave, Michael comes to Adam and shows him visions of the future all the way up unto the cruxcifiction of Jesus. Adam and Eve are then cast out of Eden.
Milton tries to explain that man has free-will by showing us why