The Epic of Milton’s Creation
I would not consider myself a devout Christian. I was raised Christian, Catholic to be honest, and I thought I knew the stories well. However, what Milton has done is to put voice and characterization to the age old stories. Most people are well aware of why Satan was cast out of Heaven. Most of us understand that Satan and evil are pretty much inseparable but few of us understand the psychology behind all of this. Few of us have even thought that hard about it. Why was Satan really so evil to begin with? So, in short, Milton’s characterization really made me understand it better. While not exactly empathizing with him, he clearly is evil, but I can at least see the twisted rationale behind his motivations.
Milton’s language is reason enough to read this epic. They dance upon the tongue and flit through your mind. His poetry is a thing of eternal beauty and is as everlasting as his epic itself.
“The mind is its own place, and it itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.”
The profoundness of that phrase. It honestly gave me chills. I am a word geek, I make no apologies, words when phrased correctly give me chills. They ensnare my soul and snap my sleepy mind awake. There’s real beauty here and I am completely trapped. I dreaded this classic but now I fully see why it is a must read.
“Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.”
It’s absolute poetry at it’s finest.
There’s a chilling reality to Milton’s work, his use of language helps to paint a powerful and sympathetic portrait of Lucifer. It is part of the innate fear we have of this fallen angel, his charm can easily lead us astray. Besides who hasn’t heard the phrase “It is easier to do bad than it is to do good”? I believe that is what Milton is saying here; Satanic practices may appear to be attractive but only on the surface.
His words and phrasing appear at first to be quite antiquated but they ring as true today as they did when they were first written. Paradise Lost is a universal epic and one that, Christian or not, we can all relate to.
Chapter Challenge: Book 2