Paradise Lost

by: John Milton

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