Paradise Lost

by: John Milton

Book VI

The style of battle does not resemble the warfare of Milton’s day, but rather the feudal warfare of earlier epics. Milton presents the warring factions each lining up with their spears and shields across a battlefield. The battlefield discussions between the two sides before battle are reminiscent of scenes in Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid. Then, amid classical style warfare, the rebel angels employ what was in Milton’s time a relatively new and dangerous weapon of war: a gunpowder cannon. Milton introduces this discrepancy in modes of warfare to allude to his society’s advancements over those of the classical age. Satan’s invention of the cannon is an unexpected development, signaling Milton’s belief that gunpowder is a demonic invention and that so-called advancements in war are futile and worthless.