Paradise Lost, along with its companion piece,
Paradise Regained, remain the most successful attempts at Greco-Roman style epic poetry in the English language. Remarkably enough, they were written near the end of John Milton's amazing life, a bold testimonial to his mental powers in old age. And, since he had gone completely blind in 1652, 15 years prior to
Paradise Lost, he dictated it and all his other works to his daughter.
The main work represented in this recording, Paradise Lost, is divided into roughly three sections. In the first section, covering books one through four, we are shown how Satan manages to regroup his followers after their defeat in Heaven, how they decide to renew the struggle with God, how Satan escapes from Hell and makes his way to earth to do mischief, and how God discovers Satan's new plot and decides to allow it to unfold.
The next section, books five through eight, take place on earth as we are introduced to Adam and Eve, their discourses with God's angels, and a retelling of the battle between God and Satan as rendered by the angel Raphael.
In the last section, books nine through 12, Eve is seduced by a disguised Satan and eats the forbidden fruit. Adam, distressed at the event, yet unwilling to be parted from Eve, decides to eat the fruit and share her fate. God sends His Son to earth to render punishment, but only after the Son pleads successfully on their behalf for mercy. He descends and tells Adam that they can no longer remain in Eden, but then takes him to a place and shows him a vision of mankind's future.
Paradise Regained follows the Gospel of Luke in presenting the story of Satan's temptation of Jesus in the wilderness. In striking contrast to Adam and Eve, Satan is utterly foiled in his attempt to corrupt the Son of God.
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