Paradise Lost Short Summary: "Paradise Lost" by John Milton, critical overview of paradise lost
Paradise Lost Short Summary: The long epic poem is John Milton's endeavour to "justify the ways of God to men". He wishes to assert that God, the author of this universe, is kind and generous. He has granted man what he would not ever imagine. However, the poet also highlights certain blunders on the part of man which led to his own downfall and overthrow from the blessed seat of heaven where he once abided so peacefully with God Almighty. Milton tries to manifest that all the woes of man are self-earned owing to the enmity of Satan, the accursed fallen angel that seduced our grand-parents and led them to a world of pain, misery and woe.
"Paradise Lost" begins with the introduction of the purpose behind the poem
"I may assert th' Eternal Providence,
And justifie the wayes of God to men."
The poet begins with the question as to what led to the fall of man :
"say first what cause
Mov'd our Grand Parents in that happy State"
He asks about the role of "infernal Serpent" which is mentioned in the Bible as the real evil and enemy of mankind. He also requests the Heavenly Muse to help him describe in detail what evil revolt was attempted in vain by Satan and his partaker angels and how they were hurled into hell headlong:
"Rais'd impious War in Heav'n and Battel proud
With vain attempt."
Then the poet tells us about the condition of fallen angels and their resolve to do the evils and destroy the beloved creation of God, man.
"What though the field be lost?
All is not lost; the unconquerable Will"
Satan, though in deep pain and despair, shows his determination of revenge and hate:
"And study of revenge, immortal hate,
And courage never to submit or yield:
And what is else not to be overcome?"
Satan gathers all his host of fallen angels. They count the blessings of heaven and compare it with the dungeon horrible of hell. They feel gloom and utter state of loss. Still, they decide to revenge man instead of repenting from God while the Creator, God, leaves them to their state of being in contempt or perhaps for repentance if they wanted one. Satan and his partakers build a meeting place in hell with the help of gold they find from the depths of hell. They hold a meeting of their foul plans as to how they could destroy man.
Satan moves out of hell and on the gates of heaven Sin allows him to pass. Satan reaches Chaos and seeks direction from it. Both Sin and Chaos conspire with Satan for their gain. God looking into the universe knows what Satan has been doing. God tells Christ that man would soon fall in the hands of Satan though He created man capable of withstanding the evil attempts of the fallen angels. Satan, disguised in a vapour, enters paradise. He then enters the mind of a serpent and possesses it.
Other the other hand, Adam and Eve have been living in utter innocence amid the beauty of paradise. Eve asks Adam to let her go alone for gardening while Adam is afraid that she is weak and may fall to Satan. Against Eve's consistent pressing Adam agrees to let her go alone. Satan finds the golden opportunity. He praises the beauty of Eve. She is amazed to see a snake speaking. Satan leads her to the only plant which is forbidden by God. Satan asks her that the fruit of this plant gave him the power to speak.
Satan also told her that this plant gave him everlasting life. Eve is seduced and tastes the fruit. She soon realized her folly when her innocence is lost. She repents but fearing that she may lost Adam, she rushes back to Adam and convinces him to taste the fruit. Both of them feel the guilt and God sends them out of the paradise. God also tells them that they must live in the world followed by woe and misery. However, in the form of death they would get remedy to their fallen beings.