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ENL 3230
British Literature 1616-1780

      Feb.7: Class 4

      Reading Assignment for 1/31 and 2/7

        Paradise Lost whatever version you own
        Book One: (The Invocation; Satan and Hell)
          ll 1-374; 523-798

        Book Two: (The Council in Hell)

          ll 1-505

        Book Four: (Satan enters Paradise; Adam and Eve)

          ll 1-775

        Book Five: (Eve's Dream>

          ll 1-135

        Book Nine: (The Fall)

          lines 1-1189

        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." There is an excellent website you can use to supplement your readings in the Norton, called Paradise Lost from New Arts Library.

      Post 2 Due - Group A Response 2 Group B

      Class Objectives:

    • Finish discussion from last week
    • Analyze Books IX, X, XII

      As you read, consider the meaning of the "Tree of Knowledge" and what the prohibition (which they transgress) signifies in Milton's poem.

      Keep in mind some of formal poetic devices so as to practice some skills in close reading the lines; in particular consider blank verse, enjambment, amplification and epanalepsis, and inverted syntax. Also consider Milton's use of epic similes.

      Notes and Discussion Questions:


      Book Nine begins with the poet's announcement of the upcoming fall. Why does Milton include this? What does this suggest about the voice of the poet? What does this suggest about the tragic scope of this epic?

      He also includes another invocation at this point. What effect does this have?

      In this important book, Milton makes many arguments. Eve will argue with Adam for her right to garden separately, and Adam will argue with Eve. Satan in the form of the snake will argue with Eve about the virtues of knowledge, and then Eve will argue with herself. One argument leads to another until after the Fall utter discord breaks out. Examine the allegorical significance of these arguments and results.

      Why does Eve ultimately decide to eat the fruit? (This question is different, perhaps, then why does Eve eat the fruit.) Why does Adam follow her example? What consequences do they consider?

      Compare the impulses described in line 1015 and on with the earlier description of pure love.

      Why do Adam and Eve know shame at this point? What is the allegorical significance? Describe their communication after the Fall and compare it to earlier.


      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?


      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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