Paradise Lost | John Milton

Summary of: Paradise Lost
By: John Milton


Embark on a journey through ‘Paradise Lost,’ where John Milton’s epic verse captures the essence of humanity’s fall from grace. In this summary, explore the thrilling tale of rebellion, temptation, and redemption centered around Satan and the creation of Man. Encounter the passionate debates of hell’s fallen angels, unfold the mysteries of Heaven’s workings, and witness the poignant story of Adam and Eve as they grapple with their newfound knowledge of good and evil. Prepare to delve into a world brimming with vivid imagery and eloquent language, as Milton seeks to ‘justify the ways of God to men.’

The Fall and Rise of Satan

John Milton’s epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” describes Satan’s rebellion against God and his subsequent fall from heaven along with his army of demons. Despite their defeat, Satan incites his followers to rise up against God’s tyranny, leading them to build a majestic palace in Hell called Pandemonium. Milton’s epic aims to justify the ways of God to humankind and explores the themes of temptation, redemption, and free will. Through the story of Satan’s fall and eventual redemption, “Paradise Lost” teaches us about the consequences of disobedience and the power of faith.

Satan’s Plan

Satan, with his council, debates attacking Heaven but ultimately decides to build an empire in Hell to indirectly attack God. They plan to destroy or seduce the new race, Man, that God is creating on Earth. Satan embarks on the dangerous journey to Earth alone. He encounters Sin, his daughter, who had given birth to Death, and promises her and Death a new hunting ground on Earth. Sin unlocks the gates to Earth, and Satan falls into an abyss, meeting Chaos and Night, who allow him to pass. Sin and Death build a bridge to Earth for Satan.

A Sacrifice for Redemption

God’s plan for redemption involves the ultimate sacrifice and the Fall of Man.

In John Milton’s epic poem, “Paradise Lost,” God and his Son watch as Satan approaches with evil intentions. God knows Satan will succeed in tempting Man into disobedience, but does not force the Fall, as free will is necessary for meaningful love and obedience. The consequence of disobedience is death, but the Son offers himself as a sacrifice for the redemption of humanity. God agrees, and the Son’s selfless act ensures that those with faith will live in a new Heaven and Earth. However, Satan, disguised as a cherub, has already set his sights on Earth. With the guidance of Uriel, he heads towards Paradise to corrupt Man, fulfilling God’s plan for the Fall.

Milton seamlessly intertwines Christian doctrine and mythology to tell a story of the origin of sin and humanity’s path to redemption. The poem explores the concept of free will, justice, sacrifice, and the consequences of actions. Through the retelling of the Fall of Man, Milton justifies the ways of God to man and portrays the ultimate sacrifice of the Son as an act of divine love. “Paradise Lost” is a timeless classic that examines the complexities of human nature and our relationship with the divine.

The Fall of Satan

Satan, filled with fury towards God for banishing him from Heaven, views the beauty of Earth with bitterness. Upon observing Adam and Eve, he plans their downfall, envious of their love. Eve recalls her earliest memory of her creation and falling in love with Adam. Meanwhile, Uriel warns Gabriel of Satan’s presence in Paradise, and Ithuriel and Zephon find him whispering in Eve’s ear. Satan justifies his actions, claiming to seek a new place for himself and his followers, but he flees when God intercedes with a golden scale.

Warning from Raphael

Adam and Eve receive a warning through Raphael about Satan’s plan to tempt them. As Eve shares her troubling dream, Adam consoles her but remains concerned. Raphael arrives and reminds Adam of the importance of obedience. He describes Satan’s rebellion in Heaven, and how only Abdiel rejected the blasphemy. The warning from Raphael aims to prepare Adam and Eve against the inevitable temptation that they will face in their future.

Cosmic Battle

Raphael recounts the war between God’s forces and Satan’s rebels, which started with Heaven’s victory on the first day. The rebels constructed cannons and fought harder the following day, but Michael’s legion dropped mountains on them. On the third day, God sent his Son to defeat the rebels using a fearsome chariot, and they fell for nine days to Hell. Raphael warns Adam about Satan’s revenge and urges him to resist temptation and protect Eve. The summary highlights the epic cosmic battle between good and evil and the importance of remaining vigilant against temptation.

The Creation of Earth and Man

In this snippet, God empowers His Son to create a new world and populate it with creatures. Over six days, God forms the Earth, the sky, the land, and the waters, then fills it with animals. On the final day, God creates Man in His and the Son’s image, followed by Eve, granting them rule over everything. God places them in a garden with one restriction- not to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. The first Sabbath marks the completion of this new world, celebrated with a symphony of jubilation.

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