English Literature » Notes » Justify “Paradise Lost” as an epic
Paradise Lost

Justify “Paradise Lost” as an epic

Alt question: What epic conventions does Milton follow in his Paradise Lost book 1?

Epic is generally classed among the highest kind of poetry. The Universe of literature has given birth to some of the greatest national epics, such as the Iliad and Odyssey, Beowulf, Aeneid, The Faerie Queene etc. Milton’s Paradise Lost can also be properly grouped among greatest epic poems. It is undoubtedly one of the highest efforts of political genius with majesty and sublimity, fully capable to qualify as a great epic of the English literature.

First, following the classical tradition of epic writing by Homer and Virgil. Milton at the beginning of his epic attached and invocation which which is the most vital requirement of an epic poem.

Secondly, to be an epic poem the theme or the subject matter should be magnanimously grand. So in Paradise Lost also it is clearly perceived that Milton uses the grand subject matter of the “Fall of Man” entirely taken from the Holy Bible.

Thirdly, with a sublime theme the characters also in a traditional epic are generally propagated as a man of heroine propagations. All the major characters of Paradise Lost are never found common creatures. Rather they are Angels and Gods for above the the limit of common human dimension. Milton’s Satan still today remains and unmatched character among all the epic heroes.

Fourthly, Milton’s use of epic similes prove his creation undoubtedly as an epic. All the the Grand similes have been used in Book 1. So grandly that they reach to the status of the similes using by Homer Virgil Spencer and others.

Fifthly, the entire Paradise Lost is replete with some great classical allusions the names of various place, battles and many more have been alluded by Milton in his epic.

And Finally, Milton followed the Epic convention by writing his poem in a style that is truly elevated or sublime, generally known as ‘Grand Style’. The way Milton uses his words, sentences rhetorics, allusions all can be summed up in the world sublimity, a style, lofty, grand and majestic truly suited for an epic.