Discussion of Paradise Lost
1. The explicit purpose: “To justify the ways of God to men”
2. Plot Summary:
Book I: Satan, vanquished leader of the Fallen Angels, regroups his followers in Hell and summons a council to renew a “Vain War with Heaven”
Book II: After discussion by the devils, Satan’s plan is adopted to annoy God by annexing the newly created World. Satan preempts the mission of reconnaissance and travels through Chaos toward the World. (The episode of inversion of the Trinity: Devil, Sin, Death)
Book III: From his Heavenly throne God perceives Satan’s invasion and informs His Son of Satan’s future success in seducing mankind. The Son of God offers himself as ransom for man.
Book IV: Satan contemplates the beauty of the Created World. Eavesdropping, he learns of the Forbidden Fruit from the talk of Adam and Eve. At night in the form of a toad Satan whispers temptation to Eve.
Book V: On the next morning Eve relates her dream to Adam and is comforted. After morning prayers they attend to their pleasant duties in the Garden. The archangel Raphael is sent by God to warn Adam and Eve: he explains how Lucifer, jealous at the promotion of Christ, incited angels to rebel against God.
Book VI: Raphael recounts the three days’ war in Heaven: the surge of the Son of God against the rebels, the casting of the rebels out of Heaven to Hell’s torment, and the triumphant return of the Son to the throne of God.
Book VII: Raphael describes the six days of creation, after Satan’s downfall.
Book VIII: Adam inquires from Raphael about the structure of the universe, receives some answers, and is told to concern himself with his own affairs. Adam tells Raphael what he remembers about his own creation and also about his first meeting and nuptials with Eve. After admonishing Adam against passion, Raphael departs.
Book IX: Encountering Eve alone, Satan persuades her to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Adam, knowing better, eats of the fruit in his loving resolve to share her fate.
Book X: God sends His Son to pronounce judgment and in pity to clothe the pair. Sin and Death invade the Created World, and Satan returns to Hell nastily to boast of his triumph. After lamentations, Adam and Eve are reconciled and plead to God for mercy.
Book XI: Sent to dispossess Adam and Eve from Paradise, the archangel Michael reveals to Adam the course of history up to the Flood.
Book XII: Michael reveals to Adam the mission of the Son of God and