1667 Paradise Lost

10 Aug 2010

I did not read the entire book, but I honestly could not get any further. There were some parts that I really liked, and some parts that I really did not. The language is somewhat of a barrier. (If you think Dickens was wordy, he’s nothing compared to Milton!) If you’re going to tackle this one, I recommend getting an edition with notes. Mine did not have explanatory notes and there were tons of references to ancient literature that I only caught a fraction of.

As far as the story itself goes, Paradise Lost is the story of Adam and Eve. It covers Lucifer’s side of the story as well, along with his fallen angels, who are named for the false gods and idols found in the Old Testament. (Which, of course, Milton meant to have the other way around, that the idols were named for the fallen angels.) I thought this part of the story was interesting. The other half of the tale I did not enjoy as much. I did not like how Milton chose to portray Adam, Eve, and God. Milton’s Adam and Eve (Eve in particular) were not all that intelligent or really likable. Milton’s God, as he struck me anyhow, only seemed to have a certain amount of foresight. He seemed to have created the earth for no particular purpose, and things turned out the way they did only because of Lucifer’s interference. (Which is kinda true, but at the same time, didn’t God have a purpose in creating the earth? Didn’t he know that Lucifer would tempt man and sin would be introduced into the world? Didn’t he plan on that happening from the beginning? Lucifer didn’t mess up God’s creation, he helped it along, though he meant to mess things up, of course.)

Anyway, that is just how it struck me, and I didn’t even read the whole thing, so my opinion is pretty much null and void. I think with some helps, like explanatory notes, or maybe even a person to read and discuss it with, or in a class setting, this book could be an interesting study topic. But tackling it alone, for me anyway, was difficult to the point of my failing to really appreciate this classic work.