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Humanity's Fall In The Garden Of Eden In Paradise Lost

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Poetry & Poets

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The original sin that led to humanity's fall in the Garden of Eden is by
far the worst sin committed by humankind. It is this sin that led to future
sins. This original sin must be emphasized by writers to depict the evil
involved in it. In writing Paradise Lost, John Milton recognizes this fact and
uses a variety of literary techniques to stress the evil in the story over the
good. The techniques used include a series of parallels with the parallel
between good and evil being first and foremost as well, as symmetry to keep the
poem in balance. Paradise Lost is a poem essentially about the origin of sin
and evil, as a result, Milton presents evil in a more coercive manner than good.
Satan and his followers in Paradise Lost are presented as being more
evil than God and his disciples are good. God addresses the Son to be in the
likeness of himself in Book three by saying, "The radiant image of his glory sat,
his only Son."(Bk. 3, 63-64). Although this implies that the Son is a model of
perfection as is God, it does not clarify it by stating it outright. Milton
definitely portrays Satan's evil in Book four by asserting that Satan is hell
and that evil is his good because good has been lost to him. (Bk. 4, lines 75,
108-110). Satan's moral state further decays in Book nine as detailed in a
soliloquy at the beginning of the book by Satan. Satan recognizes his descent
into bestiality after once being in contention with the gods to sit on top of
the hierarchy of angels. He is unhappy with this "foul descent" and in turn
wants to take out his grief on humanity. Despite recognizing that revenge
eventually becomes bitter, Satan wants to make others as miserable as he is. It
is i n destruction that he finds comfort for his ceaseless thoughts. (Bk. 9,
lines 129-130, 163-165). Satan is described at length in an epic simile that
compares his great size to that of mythical figures. This simile drags on for
sixteen lines of direct comparison. This comparison to mythical figures makes
the reader think more about the subject therefore invoking more thought about
Satan's powerful stature. Due to the drama and persuasiveness of Satan's
rhetoric, he is the most well developed character in Paradise Lost.
Both the angels and devils and heaven and hell can be contrasted along
with Satan and the Son. Milton depicts the angels as being in a state of
eternal joy by singing, "With jubilee, and loud hosannas filled Th' eternal
regions." (Bk. 3, lines 348-349.) Nevertheless the angels are not being
presented with as much intensity as the devils are in Book one. Despite having
been cast to hell the fallen angels are still shown to continue on in their old
ways as if nothing has happened to them. Mammon leads some of the devils to the
hills to loot gold. (Bk. 1, lines 670-690.) Milton aptly describes the fallen
angels by giving the names that they were worshipped with and a succinct
description. Milton employs an epic simile in Book one to exaggerate the number
of fallen angels and hence the amount of evil: "His legions, angel forms, who
lay entranced, thick as autumnal leaves that strow the brooks in Vallombrosa."
(Bk. 1, lines 301-303.) Hell is described as the most appalling place in
existence as i t is "A dungeon horrible, on all sides round as one great furnace
flamed; yet from those flames ...

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