"Soft she withdrew": Separation and Self-determination in Milton's Paradise Lost

UNCP Author/Contributor (non-UNCP co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Daniel P. Kimball (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke (UNCP )
Web Site: http://www.uncp.edu/academics/library
Dr. Roger Ladd

Abstract: While John Milton’s epoch was dominated by religious fervor and ongoing attempts to redefine Christianity, his epic, Paradise Lost, is dominated by his own religious fervor and his attempts to define Christianity as a religion of free will. Ostensibly a religious poem, Milton’s epic expansion of the Christian creation story is also a consolidation of his thoughts on all matters personal, political, and theological, which can be distilled down to the idea that, “Man is the occasion of his owne miseries” (The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce 934).1 In addition to its theological underpinnings, Paradise Lost, originally published in 1667, not long after the 1660 restoration of the English Monarchy, incorporates a veiled manifesto of republican political ideology, as well a suggestive primer on marriage and personal relations. The common thread that runs through all of Milton’s personal, political, and theological thinking is the importance of self-determination. Milton’s chief concern with his poem is the assertion that free will is an integral part of Christianity, that free will existed in the Garden of Eden and continues to exist up to the present as an essential part of what it means to be human, and that everything good that the Christian God stands for is based in his gift of free will.

Additional Information

UNCP, School of Graduate Studies
Language: English
Date: 2014
Paradise Lost, English Poetry, Epic Poetry, Religion and Literature, Seventeenth-Century English Poetry
Milton, John, 1608-1674.
Fall of man – Poetry
English poetry -- Early modern, 1500-1700

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