full title · Paradise Lost
author · John Milton
type of work · Poem
genre · Epic
language · English
time and place written · 1656–1674; England
date of first publication · First Edition (ten books), 1667; Second Edition (twelve books), 1674
publisher · S. Simmons, England
narrator · Milton
point of view · Third person
tone · Lofty; formal; tragic
tense · Present
setting (time) · Before the beginning of time
setting (place) · Hell, Chaos and Night, Heaven, Earth (Paradise, the Garden of Eden)
protagonist · Adam and Eve
major conflict · Satan, already damned to Hell, undertakes to corrupt God’s new, beloved creation, humankind.
rising action · The angels battle in Heaven; Satan and the rebel angels fall to Hell; God creates the universe; Satan plots to corrupt God’s human creation; God creates Eve to be Adam’s companion; Raphael answers Adam’s questions and warns him of Satan
climax · Adam and Eve eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.
falling action · The Son inflicts punishment; Adam and Eve repent; Adam learns about the future of man
themes · The Importance of Obedience to God; The Hierarchical Nature of the Universe; The Fall as Partly Fortunate
motifs · Light and Dark; The Geography of the Universe; Conversation and Contemplation
symbols · The Scales in the Sky; Adam’s wreath
foreshadowing · Eve’s vanity at seeing her reflection in the lake; Satan’s transformation into a snake and his final punishment
Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!