|Michael Casts out|
all of the Fallen Angels
The poem concerns the Christian story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton's purpose, stated in Book I, is to "justify the ways of God to men" and elucidate the conflict between God's eternal foresight and free will.
Milton incorporates Paganism, classical Greek references, and Christianity within the poem. It deals with diverse topics from marriage, politics (Milton was politically active during the time of the English Civil War), and monarchy, and grapples with many difficult theological issues, including fate, predestination, the Trinity, and the introduction of sin and death into the world, as well as angels, fallen angels, Satan, and the war in heaven. Milton draws on his knowledge of languages, and diverse sources — primarily Genesis, much of the New Testament, the deuterocanonical Book of Enoch, and other parts of the Old Testament. Milton's epic is generally considered one of the greatest literary works in the English language.
The story was revised into twelve books after initial publication, following the model of the Aeneid of Virgil. The book lengths vary—the longest being Book IX, with 1,189 lines and the shortest, Book VII, having 640. In the second edition, each book was preceded by a summary titled "The Argument". The poem follows the epic tradition of starting in medias res (Latin for in the midst of things), the background story being told in Books V-VI.
Milton's Paradise Lost Book 2 audio
Scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost Part I
Scenes from Milton's Paradise Lost Part II