Paradise Lost Detailed Summary Book III Part I, Paradise Lost by John Milton Detailed Summary Book III




Milton begins with thanking the holy muse for having shown him the heights and depths of the chaos, hell and infinite time. He compares his "voluntary" adventure and the state of knowledge thus acquired with seers of olden time:

"So were I equal'd with them in renown,
Blind THAMYRIS and blind MAEONIDES,
And TIRESIAS and PHINEUS Prophets old."

God looks down into the universe and sees the human couple picking the fruits of unrivalled love and joy. But He finds Satan out of hell in search of "desperat revenge" from the newly created creation of God. He foresees the designs of Satan and their impact on humankind. God informs Christ of the dark designs of Satan. God discloses to Christ that man will fall at the hands of Satan:

"So will fall
Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault?
Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall."

God reveals that He has given free will to all his creatures and whoever has withstood evil it is their own free choice and the fall is not predestined to anyone: "Freely they stood who stood, and fell who fell." God relates that when His creatures use "Will and Reason" to their own advantage and "necessitie" not Him then they fall and cannot blame either Fate or predestination. Man cannot create either his making or his maker because he has been given the choice to decide according to his faculty but if he chooses to "trespass", he is only to blame himself in this act.

"I formd them free, and free they must remain,
Till they enthrall themselves: I else must change
Thir nature, and revoke the high Decree
Unchangeable, Eternal, which ordain'd
Thir freedom, they themselves ordain'd thir fall."

However, God does foretell of His decision of grace for man and for Satan and party none:

"The first sort by thir own suggestion fell,
Self-tempted, self-deprav'd: Man falls deceiv'd
By the other first: Man therefore shall find grace,
The other none: in Mercy and Justice both"

Here Christ humbly asks God about the fate of mankind after Satan has accomplished its task of revenge upon them:

"Yet with revenge accomplish't and to Hell
Draw after him the whole Race of mankind,
By him corrupted? or wilt thou thy self
Abolish thy Creation, and unmake"

God answers that He shall not leave man unwatched. He will pour His grace on mankind and shall raise them after their fall:

"Man shall not quite be lost, but sav'd who will,
Yet not of will in him, but grace in me"

Man will repent and pray to Him for forgiveness and mercy and for this to happen God shall put his umpire "Conscience" in man. God also makes it clear that mercy shall be only for those that remain steadfast and desire it from God Almighty: "They who neglect and scorn, shall never taste;
But hard be hard'nd, blind be blinded more,"

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