PARADISE LOST

Books I & II – Remember it, Test it!

Books I & II – Remember it, Test it!

  • Hell- where Satan is cast out, nothingness where there is only evil, fire and darkness.
  • Sin and death- guard the gates of hell, Sin is a woman and Death is a man, they come directly from Satan’s mind.
  • Politics- Satan leads a rebellion against the ultimate king -God -thus he can be linked to the rebels in the English civil war who killed Charles I. They use the rhetoric of politicians in their own council, however the lack of conclusion and Satan’s leadership makes the debate laughable. Milton did a lot of political writing and therefore most of the characters are very good and debating, explaining and arguing because Milton was.
  • Religion- the poem aims to justify the ways of God to man and we are constantly reminded of how wrong Satan is by the narrator, who has been given divine inspiration.
  • Order- God is always on high, earth hangs in the middle and hell is far below, hell is also an infinite blackness, where everything is on its head and there is no light or possible knowledge or happiness. His court is called Pandemonium; we now use the word to describe chaos.
  • Power- The poem tells of Satan’s struggle for power and God’s power over everything.
  • Key gothic elements: death, the sublime, hell, reason and disorder, grotesque, darkness and light, dialectic, sexuality, terror.

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Test It!

  1. Consider the way Paradise Lost presents order.
  2. Why do you think Milton uses the rhetoric of politicians when the rebel angels speak?
  3. How does Milton create a sense of terror in Paradise Lost? Can you link it to the gothic genre of the 18th century?
  4. How does the narrator contribute to the way we read this poem?
  5. How have the imagery and themes of Paradise Lost (and other 16th /17th century texts) influenced the gothic genre that began with the Romantics and continues to be used today?

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Some top tips!

  1. Print out the Test It! Questions – it will allow you to replicate exam conditions and also allows you to give your eyes a rest from the computer screen whilst doing your crucial revision.
  2. Make a copy of the Remember It! Section and put in a place that you often look at. i.e. front of a journal, next to a mirror, on a kitchen cupboard door, etc.