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ENL 3230
British Literature 1616-1780

Class 8 -- VIRTUE AND TRUTH -- THE EPIC --

Reading Assignment:

Note: Books I, II, IV and IX are included in the Demaria text, pp. 42-130; supplement your readings from the on-line Paradise Lost from New Arts Library.

    John Milton: selections from Paradise Lost 1667, 1674

    Book Ten: (The Beginning of the Redemption)

      ll 706-1104

    Book Twelve: (The Fate of Adam and Eve)
      ll 466-649

Also read the headnotes to each book for a statement of the "argument."

DUE: Weekly Post #4 for Scotland and Ireland groups


Our readings for this class conclude Paradise Lost but the themes and discussion will continue throughout the semester. As you read, consider the overall impact the poem makes, the questions it raises and attempts to answer, and the many ways you can appreciate and analyze its intricate depths.



Notes and Discussion Questions:


1.

Note Adam's recriminations in book ten. How does he feel toward Eve? What is Eve's response?

Why does Adam refuse to commit suicide?

How do they bring about their reconciliation with God?


2.

In book twelve, examine Adam's amazement at Michael's report: "That all this good of evil shall produce, / And evil turn to good" (470-1). This is a central paradox of the epic. How do you understand it? What does it mean?

What is the allegorical significance of the ending of the epic: "The world was all before them"?

Consider the question, does Milton achieve his grand aim: To justify the ways of God to men?


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