Book 9 (For Elements of the Pastoral) – Language, Form and Structure

Book 9 (For Elements of the Pastoral) – Language, Form and Structure

Tragedy- Milton describes Paradise Lost as an epic greater than that of his classical predecessors. This is because there is not merely one hero but the whole of mankind. This also means that the tragedy is greater. Aristotle said that tragedy was when somebody great and noble falls from grace thus in book IX the fall of mankind happens. Milton builds up to this tragedy through the voice of the narrator and the tension that builds as Adam and Eve discuss the possibility of splitting up.

Dramatic Irony– Milton separates Adam and Eve and while Eve is eating the forbidden fruit Adam is celebrating her innocence and hard work by making laurels for her to wear in her hair like a queen. The reader knows something that Adam does not which builds tension, as we know that a big shock is coming for Adam.

Perspective- In this chapter the perspective varies between Satan as he watches Adam and Eve and Adam and Eve as they talk and garden unaware of Satan’s presence. This creates extra tension as Adam and Eve debate because the reader knows Adam is right and that Satan is out to get them.

The narrator– In Paradise Lost the reader knows all along what will happen as it is such a famous story. The narrator speaks with this in mind, condemning Eve and often talking in the future tense when describing her physically. He juxtaposes her current innocence with her future self suggesting for example that her beauty will become tempting and lusty rather than innocent and natural.

Debate- Just as in book II where the devils debate in their council, Adam and Eve debate her suggestion that the split up to cover more ground. Both are very reasonable in the argument. The narrator acts as a sort of compare over events, interjecting after each of their speeches to explain how they spoke and what effect it had on the opposition. The debate is crucial to the plot, however it is also a feature of classical epic literature.

Pastoral Imagery- The language used to describe Eden always suggests light, beauty and order. The images used such as bubbling fountains, structured gardens, and happy, singing people are all to be seen in classical pastoral literature. The picture Milton was trying to evoke was of innocent perfection, order and beauty in a natural world.