Paradise Lost Book 1: Short Questions & Answers

1: How does Milton start Paradise Lost?

Milton begins his epic poem Paradise Lost with an invocation to a muse. He does this for two reasons: he believes the muse will help him write, and invoking a muse is a convention of epic poems such as Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid. He wants the muse to sing about man’s first disobedience.

2:  What is Milton’s purpose in writing this poem?

Milton explains that Paradise Lost is the story of Man’s first disobedience to God in eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge and his expulsion from Paradise. He is of the view that his purpose in writing this poem involves justifying the ways of God to men.

3: Where does the scene shift soon after the poem starts?

The poem’s action shifts to hell, where Satan and his confidante Beelzebub have just been thrown. Lying in a fiery lake, Satan and Beelzebub debate whether they should try to get revenge on God by force or guile. Beelzebub feels that God cannot be overcome, but Satan is confident of his victory.

4: How was Satan feeling just after falling from Heaven?

Satan looks around bewildered; apparently, he’s just fallen from Heaven and hasn’t quite adjusted to his new surroundings. It’s hot, and there’s a weird "darkness visible” all around.

5: What does Satan tells Belzeebub?

Satan tells Beelzebub that "the mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heav’n of hell, a hell of heav’n.” Satan tries to make the best of the situation in hell, explaining "better to reign in hell, than serve in heav’n.”

6: What is Pandemonium?

Pandemonium is the palace of Satan, built in hell after he and his followers were thrown into the abyss. Pandemonium was built by Satan and his followers which will serve as the location of Satan’s throne and a meeting place. This is an example of the ways in which Satan and his followers attempt to mimic the glory and splendor of heaven in hell.

7: What do you about the Tree of Knowledge?

The tree of Knowledge is the tree in Paradise from which Adam and Eve must not eat, or else they will become mortal. But they ate from this tree and were sent out of Paradise.

8: What are the figures of speech in Milton`s Paradise Lost Book1?

Rhyme scheme, main idea, technique, similes, and metaphors are the major figures of speech that Milton has used in Paradise Lost Book 1.

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9: Who has created the universe?

God has created the universe, heaven, hell, angels and man. He is omnipresent and omnipotent but bestows man with free will to decide his actions. Satan rebels against God, doubting his omnipotence and challenging his authority.

10: Write a brief note on the character of Satan.

Satan is God’s adversary. He was once one of the highest-ranking Archangels in heaven. His pride and rebellion cause him to be thrown down into hell, where he rules and establishes Pandemonium. He eventually destroys Paradise by assuming the shape of a serpent and tricking Eve into eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. He is the father of Sin and Death.

11:  Write a brief character sketch of Adam.

Adam is the first human, created by God. He is e husband and ‘ruler’ of Eve, who was created from his rib. He is warned by Raphael not to transgress. He decides to join Eve in her mortality and against his better knowledge, follows her and eats the forbidden fruit. His punishment includes hard labor in the field and mortality.

12: Write a brief character sketch of Eve.

Eve is the second human, created from Adam’s rib.  She is Adam’s wife. She is tricked by Satan into eating the forbidden fruit and receives the punishment of becoming mortal and suffering pain in childbirth.

13: Who is Beelzebub?

Beelzebub is a fallen angel and Satan’s biggest supporter. He is a big advocate of the plan to sabotage Paradise and mortal man.

14: What do you know about Memmon?

Mammon is a fallen angel. He argues that it doesn’t make any sense to worship someone you hate, and thinks that the fallen angels should make the best out of hell.

15: Who is the protagonist of Paradise Lost?

The poem is called Paradise Lost; well, it was Adam and Eve’s paradise that was lost, and they lost it.  Thus, surely, they are the protagonists of the poem.

16: Who is the antagonist of the poem, Paradise lost?

Satan vows early in the poem either to destroy God’s new creations (Adam and Eve) or seduce them to his side. He’s clearly up to no good. In fact, he has a history of this kind of thing. He was (and still is) God’s antagonist during the battle in Heaven described in Paradise Lost.

17: Briefly describe Satan’s speech to Beelzebub delivered in lines 84-127.

Satan acknowledges how utterly his confederate, Beelzebub, has been changed, for the worse, by the devils’ defeat, but stresses the fact that they are still united in their fall. He recognizes God’s superior strength but points out that he now knows the extent of God’s power.

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Despite the change they have outwardly undergone, Satan stresses the unchanged nature of his attitude to God’s Son, “the potent Victor”. “All is not lost” because Satan will never submit freely to God’s authority. Satan suggests that God’s rule was endangered by his revolt, that he will never sink to the indignity of asking forgiveness, and outlines his intention of conducting further warfare against God.

18: What does Satan resolve in his second speech?

When Beelzebub bewails the loss of Heaven, Satan replies that the devils’ task must be never to do any good, but always to strive to pervert to evil ends whatever God does, turning to evil His good actions. Satan suggests leaving the lake of fire in which they lie, and reassembling their forces.

19: What does Beelzebub say to Satan when they leave the lake of fire?

Satan and Beelzebub leave the lake of fire and fly to land. Milton compares Satan with the sea monster, Leviathan, and stresses the fact that it is only with God’s permission that the devils quit the lake. Satan acknowledges the horrible nature of Hell but argues that it is better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven. Beelzebub repeats Satan’s suggestion, advising him to call to other angels, who will be revived by the sound of their leader’s voice.

20: Give a brief account of Satan’s speech to the devils.

Satan opens his address to his followers by praising them, claiming that none save the Almighty could have matched their strength. He claims that it is hard to believe the fallen angels will not re-ascend to Heaven. Satan blames God for apparently holding His position by “repute” and the ready submission of the angels, while concealing His true strength, thereby tempting the followers of Satan to rebel. Satan mentions the rumor, heard in Heaven, of the creation of a new world. He finishes by insisting that war of some kind “must be resolved”.

21: What is an epic?

An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Iliad and Odyssey by Homer, Aeneid by Virgil, The Metamorphoses, by the Roman poet Ovid and Paradise Lost by John Milton are some notable epic poems.

22: Describe Paradise Lost as an epic poem.

Milton writes Paradise Lost in the tradition of a classic epic poem. All epic poems contain some common features. Milton follows this outline with great precision and style. His poem uses the guidelines of an epic. Milton uses the key points of an epic poem when he traditionally invokes a muse to speak through him, including great deeds of valor, long speeches, and a list of the protagonists. The subject of the poem is universal rather than cultural or national. Milton builds his epic out of views of the past and uses every feature of epic poetry that can possibly be used.

23: What is an Angel?

An angel is a supernatural being that serves God by praising and adoring Him and by carrying out special missions that assist humans. Angels have the additional task of opposing and punishing devils. Devils are angels cast out of heaven because they rebelled against God. The word angel derives from the Greek word Angelos, meaning messenger. The major religions: Christianity, Judaism, and Islam—all accept the existence of angels.

24: What has Addison said about the first speech of Satan?

Along with other aspects of Paradise Lost, Satan’s speeches delivered to his follower and fallen angels have also been the favorite subject of criticism. The first speech has also attracted critics and Addison is one of them. He has said,” Satan’s first speech is one of the best things in Paradise Lost”.

25: Write a brief note on Milton’s imagination revealed in Paradise Lost Book 1.

Milton has an excellent power of imagination through which he makes things alive to the extent that we feel them moving before our eyes. He reveals his power of imagination in the use of similes.  In Paradise Lost, for example, he presents a lucid picture of the Bottomless Pit, the vast and horrible Lake of Fire, and the huge Pandemonium where the fallen angels gather. The similes he has used bring out the sense of vast space and size.

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