Paradise Lost III

Relations to this Semester’s Reads

This morning, as I read Book 11 of Paradise Lost, either my “relative cap” was on, or it was mere coincidence that the first 6 pages of this book contained three similarities to previous readings from this semester.

The initial relation I made was on page 580: “Yet [Adam and Eve’s] port / Not of mean suitors, nor important less / Seemed their petition…”  When reading this passage, I immediately compared “mean suitors” with those from The Odyssey, who, unlike Adam and Eve (who “repentent[,] stood praying” to God), were demanding and rude in inquiring their desire–Penelope as a wife.

Three pages later (583), I read, “And on the east side of the garden place, / Where entrance up from Eden easiest climbs, / Cherubic watch…”  The words “easiest climbs” made me remember how easily Dante and Beatrice ascended, or “climbed,” the spheres in Heaven in Dante’s Paradise.  Reverting back to Paradise Lost, in considering the fact that the climb from “the east side” was the “easiest,” I thought of the belief that Christ will come again from the East; in a way, our daily “climb” as Christians is the “easiest” if we stay focused on the East–that is, Christ, and not other directions “the world” points us towards.

The final instance of relations, was comparing Milton’s description of the morn on pages 584-5: “…The morn…begins / Her rosy progress,” in addition to describing a “blush of morn” to  The Iliad‘s description of the sunrise as “Dawn,” and “her rose-red fingers.”

Whether or not Milton intended any of these similarities, it is a blessing enough that each of these quotes (though, mainly the latter two) tell beautiful stories in themselves.  I am glad to have been granted the privilege to read, absorb, and enjoy all of these epic poems!

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