[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

Carl Bellinger bcarlb at comcast.net
Wed Sep 9 16:49:49 EDT 2009


Jim, you write::

> Jeffery -- assuming Milton is sincere in his claim to "justify the
> ways of God to man," I think Milton gave us his answer by explaining
> to his readers the very purpose of his poem.  If he makes that claim
> ironically, then of course that changes the entire tenor of the poem.

But it seems to me to go too far to say Milton is making this "claim." He 
doesn't make the claim, but rather petitions the Muse to aid him in the 
adventure of his grand singing-project. Moreover, to my ear there is an 
ironic aspect to the super-heightened style of the opening twenty-six line 
invocation. The language in those lines seems to me more purple than perfect 
decorum would allow, and this is a form of humility. As is also the final 
"men" rather than "man."

Best,
Carl


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 12:38 PM
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation


> Jeffery -- assuming Milton is sincere in his claim to "justify the
> ways of God to man," I think Milton gave us his answer by explaining
> to his readers the very purpose of his poem.  If he makes that claim
> ironically, then of course that changes the entire tenor of the poem.
> And yes, in this case Milton should be read as a very sophisticated
> Gnostic author writing a story about another fallen creator-god.  You
> may believe that is true about the Jewish and Christian God, but was
> that Milton's belief?
>
> I'm fairly confident, however, that Milton's readers would know God
> was good and Satan was not to be trusted even without Milton telling
> them.  Seems like he does, though, here and there, does he not?   Even
> apart from these widespread assumptions, doesn't Satan come to seem
> very small and petty well before the end of the poem?  Even Shelley
> didn't think he was a fit subject for his own mythological poem.
>
> Jim R
>
> On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Horace Jeffery
> Hodges<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
>> Jim Rovira wrote:
>>
>> "This reasoning assumes that God is indeed God, of course, which is an
>> assumption that I think Milton held."
>>
>> But it's an assumption that Satan questions, and brings Eve to question, 
>> so
>> Milton must be raising the issue, too. Satan and his fallen companions 
>> are
>> shown openly questioning whether or not the God who has defeated them is
>> truly God -- or merely a superior angel who happened to come into being
>> before the rest of them and thereby had an advantage.
>>
>> What answer does Milton provide to this question?
>>
>> Jeffery Hodges
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