Notes to Books I & II of Paradise Lost

Terms: blank verse, art epic, epic simile, allusion, in medias res, catalog, hero, antagonist, soliloquy, colloquy, enjambment

The first 26 lines are 2 sentencesólook at Miltonís terrific variations on syntax and his use of enjambment carefully. The thesis of the poem is expressed in ll. 22-26; this is the Puritan ethic of justification through faith.

Book I

27 ff

Rhetorical questions; we already know the answers

36-44

Satanís hamartia

50

What is the grammatical subject of this sentence?

53

Look up confounded in the OED

62-63

Hell is "darkness visible"ól. 66, the place where hope never comes. It is known as Pan-demonium

75

Look at the understatement in this line

80

Note the compression in Beelzebubís vice-presidential speech

84-97

Satan speaks; the sin of pride; he is implacable. This is how I was made and I wonít change.

88

"Glorious Enterprise" was a term used (sarcastically) by Protestants to describe the Restoration of Charles II and the monarchy

105 ff

A very famous speech. Note the use of apposition.

125

Look at the contrasts here

133

Beelzebub implies God may have gotten lucky in the war against Lucifer

138

Description of the rebels in Hell

156

Satanís response: resolve to go on rebelling

195

Look at the epic similes in this physical description

211

Comments by the narrator

240-41

Probably a snide comment about Charles II

242 ff

A big speechóhail/hell probably rhymed in Miltonís English

285

Reference to Galileo; Milton may have met him while he traveled in Italy

302

Famous epic similes

330

Call to the devils; images from the English Civil War

341

Great line!

370

Puritan view of the Cavalier High Church Anglicanism. Remember Lycidas.

381

Uses the epic device of the catalog to introduce the devils

423

Miltonís comments on angelic life. Twelve devils= 12 anti-apostles?

527

Note how Milton undercuts Satan here

535ff

Description is drawn vividly from Charles IIís coronation procession (see Pepysí Diary). 544 image is of army on the march.

571

Look at the modulation here.

591

Foreshadowing

598

This line almost cost the poem the license to be published!

600

Fallen Angel

645

The plot thickens; the rumor of man (662)

666

Significant number: the vision of the devils

768

Undercuts devils by showing how they are diminished