15 - Paradise Lost, Books V-VI
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The description of human sexual hierarchy in Book Four of Paradise Lost is contrasted with the depiction of angelic hierarchy in Book Five. Both the Archangel Raphael's and Satan's accounts and theories of creation are examined. The poem's complex and vacillating endorsement of arbitrary decree, on the one hand, and egalitarian self-determination, on the other, is probed. The nature of matter and physical being in Heaven and Eden are explored with particular emphasis placed on the poem's monistic elements. Overall, Milton's willingness to question accepted religious, social, and political doctrine, even that which authorities in his own poem seem to express, is stressed.
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Published 10/08/09
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