Paradise Lost Hierarchy

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Cultural Hierarchy in John Milton’s Paradise Lost
Over thousands of years every society has specifically arranged its members in a hierarchy. This hierarchy tells a lot about the type of society it holds and of its culture. In the seventeenth century, John Milton took up one of the most controversial and complex hierarchies of all time and produced a legendary poem. This poem, Paradise Lost, covers how men and angles are arranged in God’s hierarchy. The seventeenth century historical and cultural circumstances caused major problems for Milton as it is not culturally acceptable to challenge the view of God, especially when it comes to the biblical story of Fall of Man.
The idea that within the spiritual hierarchy rank is merely an expression of worth holds large implications for newly created man. Among men, however, there are only two hierarchical tiers, man and woman,
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We also see some evidence of lowering oneself in hierarchical stature to bring oneself closer to God in Adam and Eve. For example, Eve after the fall prostrates herself before Adam, offering to take the punishment for both of them if God would allow it. In this we have a physical and symbolic lowering that, though unanswered by God, gives the reader a sense of possibility for spiritual renewal. Later, the pair lower themselves to the ground and weep in repentance, in a passage that stands out as being the only set of closely repeated lines in the text. Again, God does not answer these cries, but because of the hierarchical implications that were set up earlier the reader recognizes a greater significance to the scene and thus Adam and Eve effectively rise in spiritual status.
Ultimately John Milton’s Paradise Lost, created the first movements of individual thought and ideas. Milton took a major risk for criticism to write such controversial perspectives. The exposing of hierarchy allows one to understand a culture. The exposing of a religion’s hierarchy allows one to understand the
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