Thursday, October 10, 2019

Internal Conflicts in Paradise Lost Essay

John Milton summarizes the content of the entire poem in the first thirty-two lines. However, the reader is left with uncertainty when he declares: â€Å"That to the height of this great argument / I may assert Eternal Providence, / and justify the ways of God to men† (I. 24-26). Milton is unclear about which ways of God he wants to justify. The cause and effect text structure in lines 1-32 adds to the confusion as Milton contradicts himself when he says that he will try to â€Å"assert Eternal Providence† and â€Å"justify the ways of God to men. In Milton’s attempt to explain the ways of God to man with â€Å"this Eternal Providence,† he provides a contradictory tone to the reader as he focuses more on Satan, his evil, and the reasons why he would do something so ignorant. Rather than providing an explanation to men of the â€Å"Eternal Providence,† which is the basic knowledge man possesses of the difference of good and evil, he provides nothing more than a narrative and uncountable allusions to Genesis. Milton’s contradiction becomes more evident towards the end of Book One because there is no resolution or explanation to man as the poem embodies the â€Å"fall† of Adam, Eve, and Satan, not mankind. Milton not only reveals his own internal conflict, but also the internal conflicts of mankind through rhetorical devices, such as a series of questions that he answers. He asks a rhetorical question: â€Å"And mad’st it pregnant: what in me is dark† (I. 22). Through this question Milton identifies the lifelong conflicts of all of mankind: good versus evil and the reason why people do bad things. When Milton states, â€Å"I thence / Invoke thy aid to my advent’rous song, / that with no middle flight intends to soar,† he praises and explains God’s purpose through his adventurous song, yet he already knows the questions that he asks are the same as those asked by all men (I. 12-14). If Adam and Eve had it so great, why would they disobey God? He needs an explanation for himself, but understands that for his work to be great, he must be able to explain the unexplainable. The question of good versus evil has been a conflict man has had since Adam and Eve lived, however it has never really been resolved. The only explanation for the conflict between good and evil is justice; God’s justice. Without a doubt, Milton’s Paradise Lost is an epic poem that addresses the complexity of good versus evil. However, through the use of rhetorical devices, allusion, and many other literary elements, the reader begins to question ot only themselves but the rest of mankind and the good as well as the evil that lies in everyone. The effects that this poem has are clear. By questioning God, Milton allows us to question others and ourselves. Although an answer from God is not always necessary, the explanation of the â€Å"Eternal Providence† and the justice God provides is something man cannot explain. Perhaps that is why God does not answer Milton; he needed to find the answers in himself.

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