Shawn Fairweather's Reviews > Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost by John Milton
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Mar 02, 12

Read from February 08 to March 02, 2012

3 stars, yes three stars. I have been looking forward for some time to finally read Miltons Paradise Lost, however this is one of those works that I feel you really need to be in the right state of mind to read. Its been some time since I read my last epic....Homers the Odyssey I believe, so when I came across this, I new I was ready. Please keep in mind that as I read Paradise Lost I read and compared it within the same company as Homer and Virgil as how I believed Milton aspired to have done in his Christian "mythological" epic poem as compared with the Aeneid or the Illiad. Please dont take my use of mythological out of context.

Paradise Lost essentially gives a much expanded view of the Old Testaments book of Genesis in terms of the story of Eden and the fall from grace of Satan. In many ways Milton took the rather simplistic and arguably humble story and added much vision and detail while also incorporating his own religious and political views into the subject matter. While reading I often got the feeling that in his story telling, Milton was often trying to justify or quantify some of the amazing things or forms of life that exist on Earth to qualify his argument or view of creation(ism). One has to also like Homer read Milton with the understand of the time period it was written and all external influences he was experiencing.

Its hard to be critical of a treasured work such as this, however as stated before I am comparing this to Virgil and Homer and I tend to have more loyalty to their epics based on a bit more originality. I understand that Virgil borrowed from Homer and Homer most likely used Greek legend for his epics, however with Paradise Lost, I simply got the feeling of outright embellishment on the part of Milton. Its not to say that it isnt well written or well relayed however it didnt have the same impact on me as did the others. I also do sympathize to the fact that Paradise Lost was a very controversial work for its time being it basically plays with canonical writings which is not an easy thing to do...ask Dan Brown. The constant threat of spiritual insult will always exist when either providing your own beliefs or arguably manipulating what others have already dedicated their spiritual and moral lives to develop their faith.

All in all, it can be a bit difficult for the common reader to take on, I would suggest finding a readers guide such as sparknotes to help guide your reading as I often do, but it definately wont be a waste of time by any means.
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