Paradise Lost

By John Milton

John Milton

John Milton is the author of the famous epic, Paradise Lost. He was born in London on December 9th, 1608, into a middle-class family. He was educated at Christ's College, Cambridge, where he began to write poetry in Latin, Italian, and English, and prepared to enter the clergy. After he finished college he decided against joining the priesthood. He spent the next six years in his father's home in Buckinghamshire doing independent study to prepare to be a poet as his choice of career. During his period of study, Milton composed a number of poems. He then married Mary Powell who bore him three daughters and a son before her death in 1652. Milton later married twice more to Katherine Woodcock in 1656, who died giving birth in 1658, and Elizabeth Minshull in 1662. In 1667 he completed the blank-verse epic poem Paradise Lost. This epic is widely regarded as his masterpiece and one of the greatest epic poems in world literature.

Summary of Paradise Lost

The story starts when Satan and his followers are recovering from defeat from losing a war they started with God. They council to determine whether to return to battle or not. Instead they decide to plan revenge, but only Satan undertakes the mission. Satan enters the new floating universe near Heaven. When God sees Satan coming, his son offers himself for man's salvation. Satan then flies to the sun where he ends up tricking an angel, Uriel, into showing him the way to earth.

He becomes jealous of Adam and Eve when he sees them in the Garden of Eden. He overhears them speak of God's commandment that they should should not partake of the forbidden fruit. Uriel warns Gabriel and his angels of Satan's presence. Satan is then banished from Eden.

As a serpent, Satan returns to earth. He finds eve alone and tempts her to eat the fruit off of the forbidden tree. To follow Eve, Adam also eats the forbidden fruit. Their innocence is lost and they become aware of their nakedness. The son of God comes down to earth to judge the sinners, but delays their death. Sin and Death, then builds a highway to their new home, earth. Satan and his followers are turned to serpents as a punishment for their revenge against God. In sadness, Adam and Eve are sent away from the Garden of Paradise.


Main characters: God, the son of God, Adam & Evan, and Satan

Satan's followers:

Beelzebub- Satan's second-in-command

Belial- one of the principal devils in Hell

Mammon- devil known in the Bible as the epitome of wealth

Mulciber- devil who builds Satan's palace in Hell

Moloch- irrational, muderous devil

Sin- Satan's daughter

Death- Satan's son by his daughter

God's angels:

Gabriel- one of the archangels of Heaven

Raphael- one of the archangels of Heaven

Uriel- an angel who guards earth

Abdiel- angel who considers joining Satan, but later returns to God

Michael- the chief of the archangels

Folk or Literary?

This epic poem is a literary poem because John Milton is portrayed as the author.

4 Elements of Poetry

Epic Hero

Satan is shown to be the epic hero because how his biggest struggles are to overcome his own doubts and weaknesses. He is also having to go against God to accomplish his goal.

Epic Quest

Satan's epic quest is him taking revenge on God for banishing him to Hell by trying to corrupt humankind. The beginning of Satan's quest or journey is to go to the Garden of Eden and try to persuade Eve and Adam to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge.

Epic Conflict

Satan's biggest conflict is his pride. With Satan's pride in his way he, and his followers are banished to Hell. Satan's biggest obstacle is going against God thinking he can over throw God's display of tremendous vanity and pride.

Divine Intervention

Satan's divine intervention is his followers.Which are the rebellious angles that followed before Satan in his war against God, and follows Satan being banished from the heavens. They are also there with Satan to help seek his revenge on on God and try to distory humankind.


~ Adam's wreath- it represents his love for Eve and attraction to her. The dropping of the wreath symbolizes that his love and attraction for her is falling away.

~ The scales in the sky- symbolizes the fact that God and Satan are not truly on opposite sides of a struggle.


Heaven & Hell, God & Satan, good & evil, and light & darkness.