Welcome back to my Read Along With Me Challenge!

It’s the final post about Paradise Lost! Honestly, I’m so glad because it’s a tough beast of a book to work through.

Chapter 10

You can read Chapter 10 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 10 in modern English here:

Plot Summary:

God watches Adam and Eve from Heaven, and sees their Fall. The Son goes down to Eden and tries to find them. Out of shame, Adam and Eve hide, revealing to The Son what they’ve done. He punishes Adam and Eve. He tells Eve that childbirth will be painful and that she must submit to her husband. For Adam, the ground will not be as fertile as it once was.* Finally, The Son curses the Serpent, for deceiving Eve. Adam and Eve have an argument because of the woe that is to come on then, but eventually make up and keep their relationship intact.

Meanwhile, Satan returns from Eden, where Sin and Death are chatting and create a bridge between Earth and Hell, making it easier for the demons of Hell to roam the Earth. Satan meets the others in Hell and relays his triumphant story of The Fall and expects applause, but instead hears hissing. One by one, the demons have turned into serpents and become outraged with Satan.

*Shmoop Summary

My Thoughts:

Again, Chapter 10 was a really long chapter and it really emphasised he tragedy of Adam and Eve’s actions. I felt sympathy towards Adam, who seems so full of remorse, as well as a yearning to have some kind of relationship with God, his Creator. Again, I was impressed by some of Milton’s vivid descriptions – I really liked the metaphor of the bridge between Heaven and Hell created by the character Sin (i.e. because of sin, humans are condemned to Hell, and will subsequently “meet” Death). I also liked the symbolism of turning Satan and his soldiers into serpents, and it highlights how God has power over Satan, even in the depths of Hell.

Chapter 11

You can read Chapter 11 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 11 in modern English here:

Plot Summary:

Adam and Eve repent and pray to God for forgiveness. God decides to be merciful and plans that The Son will eventually sacrifice himself to redeem them and re-establish a full relationship with Him again. However, God decrees they must leave the Garden of Eden – they are now tainted by sin, and cannot live in a perfect place. The Archangel Michael flies down to give them the news, which is received with wails and cries by Adam and Eve. However, to encourage Adam, Michael shows him a series of visions which foreshadow later events in the Old Testament, promising a hope for the human race.

My Thoughts:

There were lots of classical references in this chapter which I did not understand at all, and skipped over most of them. The theme of sadness and woe was still present in this chapter, although there were glimmers of a brighter, more hopeful future – a “silver lining”, if you like. When Adam was shown visions of the future, it very much reminded me of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and suggested there would be both positive and negative changes.

Chapter 12

You can read Chapter 12 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 12 in modern English here:

Plot Summary:

Michael continues to show and tell Adam the events of the Old Testament (in a very condensed way), touching on the genealogies until he reaches the birth of Jesus, which is recorded in the New Testament.  This narrative leads into fundamental Christian theology; he explains how Jesus is both God and Man, who died for our sins – suffering the punishment so we don’t have to. With these joyful news, Adam and Eve lovingly part from the Garden of Eden, to live their lives for God on Earth…

My Thoughts:

I’ve finished Paradise Lost! I’m so proud of myself! With regards to Chapter 12, I thought it was okay to read – a lot of it I could blitz through, like other parts of the poem, because it was summarising Biblical accounts which were already familiar to me. I think it’s definitely worth reading some of the Bible passages Milton draws from – The Creation and The Fall, as well as Satan’s fall from Heaven are all heavily featured in Paradise Lost – and it doesn’t matter if you’re religious or non-religious: what matters is understanding the text.

If you’re interested in reading any passage of the Bible (in any translation – modern or old) I would recommend biblegateway.com – it’s an easy to use website that is really helpful in finding the bits of the Bible you want.

And there we have it! Thank you so much for following me on this journey, whether you’ve been reading Paradise Lost alongside me or just following my commentaries. If you’ve missed any of the posts you can catch up here, or if you’d like to read some of my other challenges, you can find them here:

I suppose the crucial question is, after following my blog posts this week, do you think you’ll pluck up the courage to read Paradise Lost for yourself? Let me know your thoughts!

– Judith


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