Symbolism in Paradise Lost

John Milton presents an analysis of evil in his collection of poems, Paradise Lost. It analyses the Biblical story of the downfall of humans. The verses narrate how the fallen angel Satan deceived Adam and Eve, leading to their expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Milton, 17). In composing the lines, Milton had the intension of showing the ways of God to humans. He has utilized various symbols and allegories in explaining his concept in the poems. The paper will explore the relevance of the symbols that Milton uses to analyze evil in the poems.

The evils in the universe expressed in the poem are a result of the activities that man did, the repercussions of such evils is hell. The first line of the poem is ‘man’s first disobedience,’ in this line Milton explains how Adam and Eve disobeyed God. The reasons behind the disobedience and the how it happened are all explained. However, Milton puts the whole scenario in a larger context than the Garden of Eden, that of Satan’s rebellious activities and the resurrection of Jesus. In the verses, Raphael talks to Adam about Satan’s disobedience to inform him of the threat posed by Satan (Krishnan, 104). Understanding the threat meant that Adam had a warning of falling into the trap that Satan came with, he could also not escape the ultimate punishment, which is hell.

The first humans to disobey God were Adam and Eve; however, Satan was the pioneer of all the disobedience among all the Gods creation. The action of Satan to stage the disobedience did not come from any outside influence or pressure. The decision was from within himself. Despite his fall into hell, he continued to disobey God. The act of disobedience complicated the chances of him obtaining forgiveness from God. Milton presents hell as a punishment for the disobedience against the will of God (Milton, 28). However, there is an opportunity for seeking forgiveness through repentance. Adam and Eve decided to seek forgiveness for their wrongdoing. Their action was to redeem their generations from God’s punishment.

In the question of order of the universe, Satan positions himself as the second in the ranks after God. The hierarchy shows that God is at the top then the Son and the angels; however, Satan refused to accept this arrangement. Therefore, he positions himself as the second in the ranks. He questioned the hierarchy. Milton also presents Satan to have a group of angels in his camp that joined him in the rebellion (Milton, 21). The idea was to dissolve the positions that God created since they believed that the hierarchy was unfair. The punishment they got for all the disobedience was banishment from heaven.

Satan alongside the angels in his camp believed that when they land on Hell, they could establish their hierarchy; however, their presence on the face of the universe still puts them in the lowest rank in Gods hierarchy. Milton presents hell as the worst places that only suit those who disobey God and do not repent and ask for forgiveness (Lowry, Jill, Ron, and Kenneth, 19). God’s punishment is to sends all those who disobey Him to hell as a form of punishment. The evil on earth spreads when Satan establishes a hierarchy on earth and corrupts the ways of life of humans.

The universe has four major parts, heaven, hell, chaos, and earth. Heaven is glorious since it is where God dwells, the earth is young and at risk of sustaining the evils ways of Satan. Hell, on the other hand, is dreadful; death awaits you at the gate. The revelations about the difference between hell and heaven occur at the opening scenes. The characteristics of hell are sin and death. Sin leads to punishment, which is death. The author establishes good and evil in the two regions of the universe (Milton, 16). The regions represent the two extremes, such as light and darkness. Those who disobey God and fail to repent and ask for forgiveness have a home in hell to experience the consequence of spreading evil on earth.

In conclusion, Milton uses hell to show the kind of punishment that people who do evil in the society go through when they fail to repent their sins and ask for forgiveness. In the poem, Satan is the root causes of all evil that befall humans on earth. When God banished them from heaven, they landed on earth and began corrupting the humans into sinning. Adam and Eve, however, were able to repent and ask for forgiveness.

Prologue of the Canterbury Tales

The general prologue is the leading part in the narration of the Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer begins through a series of descriptions of spring. The April weather gives people the feeling to go on a pilgrimage. It is through this desire that many English pilgrims set off on a journey to distant holy lands; some people choose to travel to Canterbury (Kimpel, 78). The pilgrims were engaged in a tale-telling content, where the host set the criteria for determining the winner. The essay will explore the how the general prologue satisfies the criteria chosen to determine the best tale.

The host gave criteria for determining the best tale, which was the tale with the best sentence and most solas. This indicates that each tale would be examined sentence by sentence to determine the one with the best sentence. The narrator in the general prologue commences with a clear explanation of the spring; it situates the narration in a certain time and place (Manly). The speaker employs cyclical and cosmic terms to provide the narration, which appreciates the liveliness and fullness of the spring. The expression in the first line gives the general prologue a timeless, ambitious quality that does not depict the narrator’s initial intentions (Kimpel, 81). He describes the pilgrimage that he took instead of telling the love story.

The narrator describes the pilgrimage whose intention was to visit the remains of Archbishop of Canterbury, Saint Thomas Becket whom the knights of King Henry murdered in 1170.  He became a popular saint in England after his death. The pilgrimage is however not entirely a holy occasion; it offers the pilgrims a chance to leave work and go on a vacation. The narration in the first sentences tries to bring in the importance of vivid description into the present situation.

The narrator changes tune in line 20 by inserting his identity, expressed in the first person. He abandons the initial point of view, which was too descriptive and unfocused. In this line, the narrator identifies himself as an actual individual, narrating how he encountered the pilgrims. In the subsequent lines, the narrator identifies himself as one of the pilgrims when he constantly uses the word ‘we.’ This confirms the narrator as a member of the group (Kimpel, 79). The sentences that end the introductory part indicate that the narrations were written after the events had occurred. Therefore, it only describes the memory and the characters.

The sentences reveal that the author met and interacted with the pilgrims but wrote the story sometime later. In some cases, the narrator describes the pilgrims as he or she, which shows that the narrations did not only come from his memory but also from his opinion of the members of the Pilgrim (Boyd, 29). The narrator is quite calculative; he puts himself in the position of neutrality between the two factions, one side is the pilgrims, and the other is an audience. The narrator was a member of the pilgrims, while the audience is the people he addresses in line 34 and 38. The sentences give the narrator the roles of a mediator between his audience and the pilgrims.

The declarations that the narrator articulates about the traits of the victims shows that his revelations rely on the personal opinions and facts. The narrator is keen to classify the members of the Pilgrim according to their social classes. The classification shows that the pilgrims represented various unique classes of the 14-century society (Boyd, 15). The clergy, military, and laity all make up the cross section of the English society. The squire and knight represent the military class. Prioress and the three priests represent the clergy, while Franklin and Plowman represent the laity.

In conclusion, the sentences that Chaucer uses to describe the characteristics of the various social groups and their roles show the impact of the old genre sarcasm on the society. The author is calculative on how he depicts the characters that form the social classes; the intention is to reveal how strong the literature pieces were in influencing the way of life in the medieval period. The sentences used to narrate the general prologue of Canterbury tales are different from line to line, while the first ten lines describe the spring and the longing to go on a pilgrimage, the subsequent sentences are focused on the discussion the characters in the various cross-section of the English society.

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