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Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Jessica Martin: Does 'Paradise Lost' really attempt to justify God's ways?



Within 30 lines of his opening, Milton states the boldest possible intention: he plans to "justifie the ways of God to men". So it is hardly surprising that his theodicy has undergone disproportionate scrutiny by his readers. There are two hostile positions to take on it. One, that it's a piece of poetical trespassing on divine ground, a hubris that fails and deserves to fail. Two, that whether he intends to or not his argument indicts God as careless and cruel. Sometimes these positions are combined. Either way, the accusation only has force if the reader believes Milton has actually carried out his plan. The whole poem really has to be a justification (successful or not) of God's ways. But is it? Is Milton really putting himself where he can vindicate God's perspective on things? Read more...






http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2011/dec/12/john-milton-paradise-lost-gods-ways

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