Posted at 05.22.2017
John Milton’s 17th-century masterpiece Paradise Lost is an epic poem of biblical proportions. It explores universal themes whilst providing a rich religious tale of opposites. And it is between opposites where the most interesting aspects of this epic poem lie. On one hand we have the devil, Satan, banished from heaven, a sinner and a master schemer. It is her who ultimately one must hold responsible for the fall of man. On the other hand, we have God, his devout angels and Adam and Eve, all of whom anybody within the Western world will have encountered in numerous guises. On one side, there is sin and on the other there is purity. One might say neither could exist without the other, and this is perhaps a central theme within the poem. And of course, one cannot the obvious backdrop to all of these opposites: heaven and hell, the ultimate opposites, opposed in every sense. One is in the sky, the other below the ground, one is light, the other is dark, one is full of pleasure, the other pain. It is the ultimate way in which to symbolise opposition. Good and evil, right and wrong. But what about between these opposites? What lies these? Of the many thesis topics one could use to write about Paradise Lost, or indeed, simply to write essays on Paradise Lost , the notion of opposites and the abyss which lies between those opposites is a vast plain, one in which one can attempt to find the complicated and uncomfortable truths within Paradise Lost, the flaws of man and the flaws of purity, the flaws in our perception of the wholly evil. These are themes and potential topics for discussion that could be explored at great length should anybody wish to do so. One possible example of an effective thesis topic might be an exploration of the character of Satan, simultaneously the hero and the villain too, embodying and occupying both paradoxical positions in the poem as our flawed antihero, hellbent on destroying the purity of man and of God’s earth in general, whilst also obtaining a degree of sympathy from the reader thanks to Milton’s humanisation of an eternally cursed and epically feared creature. is Satan evil? Is Satan a hero? Is God, rather than the devil, actually the villain? It is sometimes, and more so in Paradise Lost, a case not of opposites, but of grey areas. Grey areas that pervade through a seemingly black and white universe.
A Paradise Lost essay, of course, cannot be complete without a deep discussion of religious ideology, and namely Christian religious doctrine, without which many of the poems integral themes, characters and the plot would not be understood in the way it is. And this is the same for any essay, be it a Paradise Lost essays or just a generic essay , the context in which any given work was written, the influences that had an impact on the work, and the motivations of the person who produced it must be scrutinised and understood as best one can in order to sharpen the insights one can have into the work being studied. Paradise Lost essays will inevitably pay a great deal of attention to the characters, who are icons and symbols of concepts that have a powerful place in our shared collective conscience, but perhaps a more astute student should also pay close attention to Milton’s relationship with Christianity and with politics at that time. Some have stated that Milton himself, the poems author, was very critical of the monarchy, and his apparent support, or the painting of Satan in a rather flattering light, is a byproduct of his own dislike of the monarchy, in the poem, possibly represented by God and the other angels. Where he and the other rebel angels scrutinise God’s decisions, God’s loyal subjects, the angels in heaven and then subsequently Adam and Eve give God all of the respect one might royalty; it is unquestionable loyalty, free from doubt and sense. Politics is never far from art, and Paradise Lost essay questions , essays regarding Paradise Lost, and Paradise Lost essay topics should incorporate such themes in their content as Paradise Lost essays surely cannot avoid the questions of politics, loyalty and especially those of the author.
If one plans to write a reaction paper on Paradise Lost, one should know first and foremost, a great deal about the source text, and also a great deal on how to write a reaction paper . Like any academic essay, such as an apa essay or any other formatted essay that will face academic scrutiny, a great deal of knowledge must be possessed in order to write it well. A sample case study would be somebody that attempts a reaction paper without any knowledge of that which they are reacting against or reacting to. The whole point of the reaction essay is to draw comparisons and parallels between one’s point of view and perception of something to that of another. Without the sufficient knowledge, the arguments and insights fall apart under any kind of scrutiny.
A Paradise Lost essay is no different. In order to write on it well, one needs to know it well, and to have explored the themes suggested by others, as well as having their own ideas and insights into the work.