The first thing I do when I allow my mind to wander towards this epic is sigh. It’s not a sigh of disgust nor is it a sigh of delight. It’s a sigh of…something in between. The fact of the matter is, I’m not sure if I should adore or abhor this poem, so for clarity’s sake, I’ll conclude that it was not the most alluring piece I’ve ever read.
Before I delve into my personal opinions on this less-than-facile chronicle, I must admit that I read it not out of mere inquisitiveness. Rather, Paradise Lost was a crucial component of a set of required readings which I comply with in order to achieve a degree of erudition as well as freedom from an educational institution which may or may not be high school or college (I will refrain from asserting which).
Paradise Lost is an epic that completed in 1667 by John Milton, who composed the entire poem while blind (amazing, I know!). The poem beings in medias res, as most epics do, and starts off with Satan in Hell – what an auspicious beginning! Anyway, Paradise Lost tells of the fall of Adam and Eve. It was written in hopes of becoming a ‘Great Christian Epic’ as well as a ‘Great English Epic’ to replace earlier epics such as The Faerie Queene by Spencer. There is no doubt that Milton succeeded, though Paradise Lost isn’t considered fashionable reading material anymore.
Milton’s story did not captivate me as The Faerie Queene did. It was more of an account of a past event than a fairy-tale with brave Knights and delicate Ladies. But unlike Spencer, Milton had a way of enchanting me with his words. They glided through my mind like a cool breeze on a hot summer day and I relished Milton’s descriptions of the flora and fauna in the Garden of Eden. I often find it difficult to read complicated poetry in mind, so I often mouthed the words as my eyes passed over them. Reading Paradise Lost aloud was an marvelous at times, all because of Milton’s exquisite expressions.
Rating this epic was difficult, seeing as I’m in between some levels. But I’m going to give it a try anyway….Paradise Lost is a Cardboard Box! ( I feel bad putting an exclamation mark there, but I had to put down what was going through my mind!) Anyway, I highly doubt that I’ll ever pick up Paradise Lost again, but I’m positive that I was not a waste of time.
*Oh, and if you’d like to see the rubric I use to rate my books, scroll to the bottom of the post!*
Despite my low-ish rating, I think anybody who has some time on their hands should give this poem a try. It’s extremely fulfilling to finish a book or two from the epic, not to mention the entire thing! I also think reading it for pleasure will leave you with an entirely different impression of the poem. I had to finish it in a couple weeks, so I rushed through it and didn’t take time to assiduously savor the story or thoroughly ponder it’s deeper meaning.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. I borrowed the cover picture from: