“AS one who in his journey bates at Noone,
Though bent on speed, so heer the Archangel paus’d
Betwixt the world destroy’d and world restor’d,
If Adam aught perhaps might interpose;
Then with transition sweet new Speech resumes.”
Continuation of Adam’s visions, book 12 of Paradise Lost by Milton throws light on the lives of blessed people like Abraham and Jesus who fight the evil forces Nimrod and Israelites to earn God’s favours and blessings. The last book in the Paradise Lost series highlights the fact that the virtue and good always win over the evil and sin.
Critical Analysis of Paradise Lost Book 12
Beginning with Adam’s vision about the evil King Nimrod who tries to reach Heaven by building the Tower of Babel, the poem brings forth the issue of good versus evil. The twelfth book informs the readers that since the fall of Adam and Eve from Eden, both good and evil forces are in conflict with each other.
Good tries to serve God in a better way by helping humanity while evil tries to dissuade humankind from the right path. Adam also sees the pious Abraham in his vision guiding his people toward the path of righteousness. In his last vision, Michael tells Adam about Jesus Christ, also known as the Messiah, who will be resurrected by God to defeat the forces of evil.
Jesus will first be taken alive by God to Heaven after bearing the persecution of Israelites and then God will send him again on Earth to defeat Sin and Death; thus, ultimately destroying Satan and his dark forces forever.
Adam feels delighted to hear about the brave feats of Jesus and believes that there exists hope for humankind despite their disobedience and betrayal. The poem reaches its final conclusion with the departure of Adam and Eve from Eden. They both take each other’s hands and set out from Heaven to begin a new life in an unknown world.
“O goodness infinite, goodness immense!
That all this good of evil shall produce,
And evil turn to good; more wonderful
Then that which by creation first brought forth
Light out of darkness! full of doubt I stand,
Whether I should repent me now of sin
By mee done and occasiond, or rejoyce
Much more, that much more good thereof shall spring,
To God more glory, more good will to Men
The poet has employed the literary device called allusions to make his final book worth- reading and worth-remembering. Allusion, in literature, refers to the technique of using the names of important events, personalities or situations in a literary fiction to add to the significance of the subject matter. Milton has alluded to the lives and deeds of Abraham, Noah, Jesus and Nimrod in the poem to present before his readers the conflict and struggle between virtue and vice.
“O Prophet of glad tidings, finisher
Of utmost hope! now clear I understand
What oft my steddiest thoughts have searcht in vain,
Why our great expectation should be call’d
The seed of Woman: Virgin Mother, Haile,
High in the love of Heav’n, yet from my Loynes
Thou shalt proceed, and from thy Womb the Son
Of God most High; So God with man unites.”
Diction and Language
Milton has used stylized diction and flowery language in Paradise Lost to enhance the importance of the grave issues like Man’s Fall from Eden, Satan’s rebellion and the hardships faced by Man on Earth after his Fall.
Milton’s Paradise Lost falls in the category of most popular and acclaimed poem in the literary history owing to its portrayal of the history of humankind in an artistic and accurate manner.
“The World was all before them, where to choose
Thir place of rest, and Providence thir guide:
They hand in hand with wandring steps and slow,
Through Eden took thir solitarie way.”