Paradise Lost

Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  Paradise Lost

author  John Milton

type of work  Poem

genre  Epic

language  English

time and place written  16561674; 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