Amazon.com description: Product Description
: When John Milton set out to write Paradise Lost, he had every intention of writing a masterpiece of the English language. He felt he was destined for greatness, and his creation does not disappoint. With over 9000 lines of some of the greatest poetry every written, Milton does an incredible job of using classical and biblical allusions within a classical format to create a surprisingly modern and incredibly poignant look at the nature of God and man. Add on to this the fact that he was blind when he composed it, and you cannot call Paradise Lost anything less than a work of genius. "Paradise Lost" is the definitive English epic poem. Much more a dramatic tragedy, Milton's extension of the biblical story of the Fall of both Satan and mankind is timeless. While Milton may have woven the politics of his own time in regards to tyrannical kings and their heroic counterparts into the battle between heaven and hell, it is a situation that lends itself to any century. Many critics have often thought the 'problem' with "Paradise Lost" was the fact that Satan seems like the epic hero - the reader immediately begins identifying himself with Satan and rooting for him in his fight against God, an uneasy feeling to be sure. However, as the course of the poem unfolds, Satan's true tragic nature reveals itself and the reader can marvel in Milton's keen ability to bring to life Heaven, Hell, and Paradise (the Garden of Eden). The epic begins in Hell with the fallen angel now known as Satan rousing his troops into further rebellion against God, but the only action they can take is to pollute his newfound paradise and its brand new inhabitants, Adam and Eve. Satan undertakes the journey to spy out the land and learn how to tempt these two to sin. And while he is successful in his attempt to do so, it is a victory that gains Satan no glory, since he does not understand that he can never truly win against God. Milton set out to answer the question of what (or who) caused Adam and Eve to sin, tracing some of the blame away from Satan and examining the relationship between Adam and Eve in the garden. Milton perhaps raises more questions than he does offer any answers, but that is partly what makes "Paradise Lost" a mirror that still reflects today. Milton includes numerous classical allusions that readers of his day would be familiar with, as well as biblical accounts (including apocryphal works) to flesh out the barebones structure of the biblical account in Genesis. While parts of the poem can be tedious (especially the seemingly somewhat unnecessary books 11 and 12), "Paradise Lost" is a true masterpiece of literature that should be required reading for everyone, regardless of any religious preferences, for at its heart it is an examination of what it means to be.