Paradise Lost Research Paper

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My thesis is that Milton uses the figure of Galileo in Paradise Lost to construct similes that echo the Augustinian conclusion that rationality and the new scientific developments of his age could play no role in leading us to salvation. Milton uses twin pillars of binary contradiction and hazy incertitude to cast doubt whether any true scientific understanding is possible and whether we can ‘nothing know’. Some time in the year 386, Augustine and Alypius were spending time in Milan. It was during an outdoor meditation that Augustine was converted: “The nub of the problem was to reject my own will and to desire yours” (Augustine Bk IX.i). This epiphany and subsequent salvation occurred when Augustine rejected the metaphysics of Neoplatonism…show more content…
C.S. Lewis suggests in his Preface to Paradise Lost: “Milton's version of the Fall story is substantially that of St Augustine, which is that of the Church as a whole” (Lewis 66). The lesson that Lewis identifies as being carried from Augustine to Milton is that readers: “…must just accept Milton's doctrine of obedience as they accept the inexplicable prohibitions in Lohengrin, Cinderella, or Cupid and Psyche” (Ibid 72). Similarly, in Milton and Augustine: Patterns of Augustinian thought in Paradise Lost, Fiore identifies man's redemption in Paradise Lost as rooted in Augustine's theological emphasis on: "the hope and optimism that spring from God's mercy" (Fiore 11). For Milton, as for Augustine: Grace - not studied rational deliberation or metaphysical learning - leads to…show more content…
We move on to lines 287: “Hung on his shoulders like the moon...”. This short quote introduces two important ideas: the shield is like the moon; and Satan is wearing it backwards. Good soldiers are trained to keep their weapons and their shields at the ready in a forward-facing position. Satan’s posture is not only unready – it is the obverse of convention. These two ideas introduce the shield simile as dysfunctional and contrary to established convention. We now are introduced to Galileo: “…whose orb / Through optic glass the Tuscan artist views / At evening…” (PL 1.288-289). Patricia Barker identifies Milton’s evening as: “The function of evening... is here again a Miltonic, poetic version of the Augustinian description of the mediate or “evening” vision of the creature, and of that middle space which may lead either down into night or to the dawning…” (Barker 325). In this simile, evening is a time of lengthening shadows and decreased visibility that portends a choice of sin or

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