Short summary - Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books - John Milton

British literature summaries - 2020

Short summary - Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books
John Milton

The poet reflects on the reason for the disobedience of the first four people who violated the only prohibition of the Creator of all things and were expelled from Eden. Admonished by the Holy Spirit, the poet names the culprit of the fall of Adam and Eve: it is Satan, who appeared to him in the form of the Serpent.

Long before the creation of the earth and people by God, Satan in his exorbitant pride rebelled against the King of Kings, involved a part of the Angels in rebellion, but with them was cast down from Heaven into the Underworld, into the region of pitch darkness and Chaos. Defeated, but immortal, Satan does not accept defeat and does not repent. He prefers to be the lord of Hell rather than the servant of Heaven. Calling Beelzebub, his closest ally, he convinces him to continue the struggle with the Eternal King and to do only Evil against His sovereign will. Satan tells his minions that the Almighty will soon create a new world and inhabit it with creatures whom he will love along with the Angels. If you act by cunning, then you can capture this newly created world. In Pandemonium, the leaders of the army of Satan gather for a general Council.

The opinions of the leaders are divided: some favor the war, others against. Finally, they agree with Satan’s proposal to verify the truth of the ancient tradition, which speaks of the creation of a new world by God and the creation of Man. According to legend, the time for the creation of this new world has already come. As soon as Satan and his angels are closed the path to Heaven, one should try to seize the newly created world, expel or entice its inhabitants to their side, and so take revenge on the Creator. Satan embarks on a perilous journey. He overcomes the abyss between Hell and Heaven, and Chaos, her ancient lord, shows him the path to the new world.

God, seated on his highest throne, from where He sees the past, present and future, sees Satan, who flies to the new world. Addressing his Only Begotten Son, the Lord predetermines the fall of Man, endowed with free will and the right to choose between good and evil. The Almighty Creator is ready to have mercy on Man, but first he must be punished for violating His prohibition and daring to be compared with God. From now on, man and his descendants will be doomed to death, from which only he who can sacrifice himself for their redemption can save them. To save the world. The Son of God is ready to sacrifice himself, and God the Father accepts it. He commands the Son to incarnate into mortal flesh. The angels of heaven bow their heads to the Son and glorify Him and the Father.

Meanwhile, Satan reaches the surface of the extreme sphere of the Universe and wanders through the gloomy desert. He passes Limb, the Gate of Heaven and descends into the Sun. Having taken the form of a young Cherubim, he discovers from the Ruler of the Sun, Archangel Uriel, the whereabouts of Man. Uriel points him to one of the countless balls that move in their orbits, and Satan descends to Earth, to Mount Nifat. Passing the paradise fence, Satan in the guise of a sea raven descends to the top of the Tree of Knowledge. He sees the couple of the first people and reflects on how to destroy them. Having overheard the conversation between Adam and Eve, he learns that under pain of death they are forbidden to eat from the fruits of the Tree of Knowledge. Satan’s cunning plan is ripening: to kindle in people a thirst for knowledge that will make them violate the Creator’s ban.

Uriel, having descended in the sunbeam to Gabriel guarding Paradise, warns him that at noon the evil Spirit from the Underworld was heading in the form of a good Angel to Paradise. Gabriel performs in the night watch around Paradise. In the forest, weary of day labor and the pure joys of sacred marriage love, Adam and Eve sleep. The angels Ituriel and Zephon, sent by Gabriel, discover Satan, who, under the guise of a toad, lurks above Eve's ear in order to act on her imagination in a dream and to poison her soul with unbridled passions, vague thoughts and pride. Angels lead Satan to Gabriel. The rebellious Spirit is ready to fight them, but the Lord reveals to Satan a heavenly sign, and he, seeing that his retreat is inevitable, leaves, but does not give up his intentions.

In the morning, Eve tells Adam her dream: someone like celestials seduced her to taste the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and she ascended over the Earth and experienced incomparable bliss.

God sends Archangel Raphael to Adam to tell him about the free will of man, as well as about the proximity of the evil Enemy and his cunning plans. Raphael tells Adam about the First rebellion in heaven: Satan, inflamed with envy for the fact that God the Father magnified the Son and called Him the anointed Messiah and the King, carried the legions of Angels to the North and persuaded them to rebel against the Almighty. Only Seraphim Abdiil left the camp of the rebels.

Raphael continues his story.

God sent the Archangels Michael and Gabriel to oppose Satan. Satan convened the Council and, together with accomplices, devised devilish machines, with the help of which he pushed aside the army of Angels devoted to God. Then the Almighty sent his Son, the Messiah, to the battlefield. The son drove the Enemy to the fence of Heaven, and when their Crystal Wall opened, the rebels fell into the abyss prepared for them.

Adam asks Raphael to tell him about the creation of this world. The archangel tells Adam that God longed to create a new world and creatures for his settlement after He cast Satan and his minions to Hell. The Almighty sent his Son, the Omnipotent Word, accompanied by the Angels, to complete the work of creation.

Answering Adam's question about the movement of celestial bodies, Raphael carefully advises him to deal only with such objects that are accessible to human reason. Adam tells Rafail about everything that he remembers from the moment of his creation. He confesses to the Archangel that Eve has inexplicable power over him. Adam understands that, surpassing him with external beauty, she is inferior to him in spiritual perfection, however, despite this, all her words and actions seem beautiful to him and the voice of reason is silent before her feminine charm. The Archangel, while not condemning the love affairs of the couple, still warns Adam from blind passion and promises him the delight of heavenly love, which is immeasurably higher than earthly. But to the direct question of Adam - in what love is expressed by the heavenly Spirits, Raphael answers indefinitely and again warns him from thinking about

Satan, under the guise of fog, penetrates Paradise again and dwells in the sleeping Serpent, the most cunning of all creatures. In the morning, the Serpent finds Eve and in flattering speeches inclines her to taste the fruits from the Tree of Knowledge. He convinces her that she will not die, and talks about how, thanks to these fruits, he himself gained speech and understanding.

Eve succumbs to the persuasion of the Enemy, eats the forbidden fruit and comes to Adam. A shocked spouse, out of love for Eve, decides to die with her and also violates the Creator's ban. Having tasted the fruits, the Ancestors feel intoxicated: the consciousness loses clarity, and in the soul awakens uncontrolled voluptuousness alien to nature, which is replaced by disappointment and shame. Adam and Eve understand that the Serpent, which promised them inescapable delights and unearthly bliss, deceived them, and reproach each other.

God sends His Son to Earth to judge the disobedient. Sin and Death, formerly seated at the Gates of Hell, leave their refuge, seeking to penetrate the Earth. Following the trail laid by Satan, Sin and Death build a bridge over Chaos between Hell and the newly created world.

Meanwhile, Satan in Pandemonium announces his victory over man. However, God the Father predicts that the Son will conquer Sin and Death and restore His creation.

Eve, desperate that a curse should fall on their offspring, invites Adam to immediately find Death and become its first and last victims. But Adam reminds his wife of the promise that the Seed of the Wife will erase the head of the Serpent. Adam hopes to propitiate God with prayers and repentance.

The Son of God, seeing the sincere repentance of the Ancestors, intercedes for them before the Father, hoping that the Almighty will soften his harsh sentence. The Lord Almighty sends the Cherubim, led by the Archangel Michael, to expel Adam and Eve from Paradise. Before fulfilling the order of God the Father, the Archangel elevates Adam to a high mountain and shows him in a vision everything that will happen on Earth before the flood.

Archangel Michael tells Adam about the future destinies of the human race and explains the promise given to the Ancestors about the Seed of the Wife. He talks about the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension of the Son of God, and how the Church will live and fight until His second Coming. The comforted Adam wakes the sleeping Eve, and the Archangel Michael leads the couple out of Paradise. From now on, the entrance to it will be guarded by the flaming and constantly turning sword of the Lord. Guided by the Providence of the Creator, cherishing in the heart the hope of the coming deliverance of the human race, Adam and Eve leave Paradise.