Welcome back to my Read Along With Me Challenge!
Today I’ll be discussing chapters 4, 5 and 6 of Paradise Lost (by the end of this post we’ll be a whopping half way through!).
You can read Chapter 4 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 4 in modern English here:
Satan reaches the garden of Eden and for a moment, doubts himself. It isn’t too late to repent, surely. Earth is so beautiful; it would be a shame to destroy it…
Satan comes to his senses and decides that after all, he is the embodiment of all evil and Hell, and could never bow to God. He spies on Adam and Eve in an attempt to work out how to trick them, but he is caught by the Archangel Gabriel. A fight almost breaks out, but Satan realises he would inevitably lose and be sent back to Hell, so runs away.
By Chapter 4, I’m slowly grasping more the plot, and I definitely think recapping what I’ve read after each chapter is helpful to my understanding. The archaic language is still very tricky, and I still find the parts which follow the Biblical account the most interesting and easy to read, whereas the bits Milton has added to or adapted with creative license were less interesting and more difficult to follow.
You can read Chapter 5 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 5 in modern English here:
In Eden, Eve wakes up from a nightmare, where unbeknown to her, Satan was willing her to eat from the Tree of Life, which they have been forbidden to do.
In Heaven, God tells the Archangel Raphael to warn Adam and Eve about the danger of being tempted by Satan. He goes down to meet them, and the three of them have a lovely meal together (as you do). Raphael explains how blasphemous and horrid Satan was, revolting against God in Heaven and starting a war. He also explains how God gave mankind free will, so that they will serve God out of genuine love, rather because of slavery, and urges them to not be led astray.
Chapter 5 was very long, and I felt that the discourse between Adam and Raphael could have been over quicker than it was, had it not used lots of lengthy and complicated language. Most of Raphael’s dialogue was another retelling of Revelation 12 from The Bible. Also, I’m almost halfway through the book, and that makes me feel happy! I can definitely sense the build-up to Adam and Eve’s fall, and despite the language and form, I still enjoy the story and want to know what happens next.
You can read Chapter 6 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 6 in modern English here:
Raphael continues his story of the first conflict between Satan and the Father. He tells Adam about the war between God and Satan, which goes on for a few days, before The Son defeats Satan triumphantly. The Son, endowed with the power of God, surrounds the rebel angels, Satan included, and drives them out of the Gate of Heaven through a hole in Heaven’s ground. They fall for nine days through Chaos, before landing in Hell.
To close his tale, Raphael warns Adam that Satan has begun to plot the doom of mankind… (hint hint, be on your guard).
Wait, what is going on? I struggled to understand this chapter until I was about halfway through. I had to use Sparknotes to help me write that summary, because the main points just wouldn’t stay in my head. My mind kept wandering for some reason and I just couldn’t engage with the text. I’m annoyed because I thought I was getting more used to the language of Paradise Lost and now I’m struggling again! The only part that was really obvious was the retelling of creation, found in Genesis 1 and 2, because the wording was really similar to the AV Bible.
Thanks for reading this post!
Phew, I’m halfway through. Join me tomorrow to read chapters 7, 8 and 9!
That’s all for now!