Free Will In John Milton's Paradise Lost

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In “London 1892”, William Wordsworth says, "Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:, England hath need of thee" (William Wordsworth). From the poem, “Paradise Lost” to “When I Consider How my Light is Spent” and “On Time”, John Milton proves to be one of the most influential poets in literary history. The variety of subjects, form and literary devices used in “Paradise Lost” to “When I Consider How my Light is Spent” and “On Time”, is case for his overdue nomination for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Born in London in 1608, John Milton was raised with heavy religious influences; which is evident in his poetic works. With the goal of becoming a priest, he attended Christ’s College, Cambridge; however after a short time there, he left…show more content…
Throughout “Paradise Lost”, Milton depicts free will as being complicated and even conflicted. In lines 65-66, it is questioned, “Or from without, to all temptations arm 'd. / Hadst thou the same free Will and Power to stand?” (CITE?). There is a questioning here of whether or not everyone has the same access to free will, especially in the face of temptation. In terms of Adam and Eve, the question is whether Eve’s decision to eat off of the Tree of Knowledge was free will or the response to overwhelming temptation. This is important to Milton’s stance as a highly influential poet, because during these times it was not common practice to question things such as the Bible. However, crossing the line is something that Milton was known for as seen from his arrest for defending the Commonwealth and his writing of divorce pamphlets. Furthermore, Milton questions if “Heav 'ns free Love dealt equally to all” and that “Nay curs 'd be thou; since against his thy will / Chose freely what it now so justly rues.” (Lines 68, 71-72). Those lines show that the speaker has been dealt an unfair hand, and that his actions are anything but of free will. The speaker goes on to say how miserable he is and how it feels like he is living in hell. Milton does anything but scratch the surface of the controversial subject matter of the Bible as he dives deep into the core throughout all 12…show more content…
Milton utilizes allusion, similes, and allegory (to name a few) throughout “Paradise Lost”. His use of allusions nearly consumes this epic as they are biblical, mythological, and historical. Some of the allusions refer to Jesus, Genesis, Psalms, Matthew, Iliad, Hercules, Medusa, Galileo, the Arctic Ocean and even William Shakespeare’s, “Hamlet”. These allusions add a realness to this epic, allowing the reader to become intertwined within the poem; just as he did with the depth of his characters. One of the ways in which Milton was able to make the characters so vast and life-like is through his use of similes. In Book I, lines 27-722, he uses an intense simile for Satan to emphasize the vast intensity of his power. Satan is compared to the titans in Greek mythology while he is on the burning lake and later compared to an extremely large whale that is thought to be a small
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