Evaluation on whether Milton is a scholar or an artist when considering: Paradise Lost
Paradise lost is a poem written by a renowned English poet in 17th century known as John Milton. It is an art work that concerning Christian explanation of how man diverted from the ways of his creator. He bases his storyline from the genesis stories of creation in the bible. He aims to justify the things that God does to men and to clarify the ultimate difference that exists between His forethought and the self-rule. This shows that to some extent the author is a biblical scholar. In the biblical context he argues that it was man who diverted from God’s plan in the Garden of Eden(Milton).
Milton’s work though it starts with a biblical orientation, he latter integrate paganism in the poem. The paganism comes out since he employs the use of classical references in the book making him some sort of an artist rather than a biblical scholar since for a biblical scholar, they tend not to mix these two aspect.
In the poem, he therefore deals with different topics which include: marriage, monarchy, and politics. He also seem to fight with various theological issues which includes destiny, doom, the Trinity, and the introduction of sin and death into the world, as well as angels, fallen angels, Satan, and the war in heaven. He uses his familiarity of languages, and different sources – chiefly Genesis, great part of New Testament, the deuterocanonical Book of Enoch, and other chapters of Old Testament. His classic is in general well thought-out as one of the supreme fictitious works in the English language. This makes him more of an author than a biblical scholar(Lonestar).
Milton characters can tell or show to the best if he is a scholar or an artist. He creates a character Satan in an artistic nature as a beautiful, young person and uses the words “"Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" in order to describe him. Artistically the poem flows since it start with Satan in heaven where he tries to rebel against God and consequentially he is sent to hell. This shows the ability of Milton to create a dramatic scene within this poem. He also points out the reasons behind this turn of events. This is what we learn in each artistic work. He creates this character is such an artistic manner and carefully points out his charismatic and persuasive nature. Milton tends to use critics which are a tool in art in criticizing the heavenly kingdom by pointing on the unfairness.
He uses Satan in order to be a driving strength in the paradise lost in order to evoke a debate from his readers. This is more of an artistic style rather than a way scholar could address the issues. If we term him as a bible scholar, then he would not have capitalized the role of Satan in order to properly understand the bible.
In the issue of Adam, Milton deviates from the actual content of the bible since he portrays Adam as a character who can easily be manipulated by Eve’s charms and good looks which is completely different from the biblical portrayal of Eve as the one who is subservient to his husband. He seems to show Adam as a man who easily worships eve because she looks good. This shows that he has created more dynamic of power in his poem than in the bible. This implies that the Adam created in the poem is completely different from the one in the bible. And in this case we can classify this as an art of work rather than the study of the bible(Ryken).
Milton presents eve as a model of a God subject and as a good wife who trusts his husbands authority in their association but when she meets Satan she diverts from her ways. Here Milton basically establish his basics in the bible but his analysis is quite artistic in the since that even the way he describes the obsession of Adam by her. He creates her an exaggerated manner since from the poem we can tell; that she is even obsessed with herself.
He also brings complexity that we cannot find in the genesis stories of creation in the sense that he suggests that Adam ate the fruit because she did not want to lose eve. In this poem he seems to suggest that it is the fear that eve will die that triggers Adam to eat the fruit so that he would also die rather than to live without eve.
He even goes ahead to bring a story that is not in the bible that when Adam realized that death did not occur, he starts blaming her wife and as a result Eve gets to her knees to beg to be forgiven and Adam forgives her and accept to take the blame too all because of love. This is completely out of the story that is given in the bible since we do not see any where in the bible where this incident happened and thus a good support that Milton is purely an artist rather than a biblical scholar. This makes this poem more of work of fiction than the real documentation in the bible(Williams).
Milton portrays God the father as the creator as in the bible but he fails to accept that God created the universe out of a word of mouth. He believes God’s creations were out of Him not out of nothing. As per this poet, God owes his supremacy and power and authority form the fact that he is the one who authored creation. Milton shows this when Satan tries to validate the reason for the rebellion under the grounds of self creation.
The loss of paradise in this poem is quite different from the one that occurs in the biblical context. In the poem the only thing that happens to the couple is that they are only chased out of the garden but in the bible we are told that they were chased from the garden of Eden and other curses followed that were uttered by God himself
I can therefore conclude that the work of Milton has some biblical aspect in it but it is not that he is a biblical scholar, I can attribute this to the fact that his main aim was to present a poem that was to be about creation and the one to point out the cause of death, marriage and the one to answer so many questions that remain unanswered in today’s world. And hence he bases his story in the genesis stories of creation.