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John Milton

John Milton was born in London in 1608, learnt Latin Greek and Italian. While he was at university he wrote “the Nativity Old” his first religious poem. Some of the most important Milton’s poem were written between 1632-1637 and he published many poems as L’allegro and il Pensieroso.
After 1637 he visited Galileo in Fiesole, near Florence and when he come back his sympathies were with Cromwell. Milton supported with his writing Cromwell’s policy and approved his religious tolerance, instead of the austere Presbyterians who insisted on the doctrine of the predestination.
In 1642 he married Mary Powell who didn’t like the intellectual stature of her husband. In fact Milton divorced with his wife and wrote Doctrine and Discipline of the Divorce.
The years 1642-1643 marked the end of the Milton’s first period spent during the reign of Charles I
In Milton’s second period he became Latin Secretary to the Council of State and he used Latin as the language of diplomacy.

In 1652 he lost his sight and he dedicated his life to the poetry and he continued to write anti-monarchy poem until 1660 the year of RESTORATION.
Milton’s third period was that of personal defeat and disillusion caused by the restoration of Monarchy. During this years he wrote his three most important poem: Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. He died in London in 1674


Paradise lost:
Summary: The book open with the narration of the rebel Angels into Hell as consequence of their defeat in the war in Haven. After the scene in heaven where God has a long homely on human’s destiny. His son offers himself as ransom for mankind and God accept his sacrifice. After there is the war in heaven and the narration continues with the creation of the earth and the universe. Satan persuades Eve to eat the forbidden fruit and after God expellees her and Adams from the heaven. Satan returns to Hell in triumph and God transforms him and his followers in serpents. In the end Adam and Eve abandon the heaven to gone on the earth.

Milton for his masterpiece used the epic genre. He chose that because epic genre his the oldest form of poetry and his masterpieces had Iliad and Odyssey’s theme but his characters was altered by Milton to changing spirit of the age: no warrior as Achilles who searched glory in battle but a philosophical hero.
Although Milton knew Copernican cosmology, the sun in the center of the universe, he based his universe on Ptolemaic system. In Milton’s heaven God sits on his throne and around him there are 9 orders of angels; instead Hell was dominated by Chaos and it is in antithesis to God’s world.
The Milton's hero in this poem is Satan in fact he has some characteristics of the epic hero: leadership, initiative courage to escape from Hell and attack God’s creation. Milton put a great deal of his personality in this character in fact he was aggressive against the political authority of the king and the religious authority of the Church of England.

Finally the style of this poem is elevated and Milton used a new kind of Blank-Verse and in its there are Latinisms, inversions and circumlocutions.

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