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Poetic Thesis - Milton Two Passages from Paradise Lost Before beginning my analysis of this sample of John Milton work I am sure some of you may find it interesting to note that before beginning his piece Milton makes clear his opposition to a poetic metre involving rhyme this being the invention of a barbarous age Instead he writes in what he terms English heroic verse or iambic pentameter proposing to emulate the style of Homer in Greek or Virgil in Latin This poem - and hence the two passages which I examine - were inspired by the Bible the former on the Book of Revelation and of various prophets and latter on that of Genesis and the Gospels Both of these passages as knows almost anybody familiar with English literature deal with the conflicting nature of Gods will with free will and ensuing disobedience and seem to be an attempt at setting up a groundwork for the English Churchs views which during his lifetime were the subject not only of debate and question but of Civil Wars and Revolutions Book I Lines ccxlii-cclxx The first passage I chose perhaps for its position both as the vessel of perhaps Miltons best known line in the wider public Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven and as perhaps the best framing for the dilemma of free will In this first book we see Satan and his friends in Hell following their defeat somewhat angry because they realize now that they were fighting against an omnipotent foe all along However during the course of a conference between Satan and his leftenant Beelzebub Satan decides that Hell may not be quite so terrible after all Hey he says Its true were outside his eternal bliss membership club But on the other hand we now have our own little plot of land and he cant tell us to be wholly good anymore Now we have the
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