Paradise Lost: Books V-VIII (Editorial Summary)

John Milton

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NOTESOther poems by Milton ...The poet's life and works ...In BOOK V Eve recounts to Adam the dream, prefiguring her fall, which Satan hasinspired; then the Archangel Raphael appears, sent by God to satisfy man's legitimatecuriosity, to put him on his guard against Satan and thus to render his disobedienceinexcusable. Here commences the "antecedent action," the account of what hastaken place prior to Satan's determination to direct his effort against man. In BOOKS V and VI Raphael narrates how the Father declared in Heaven the divine honoursto be paid to the Son; how this inspired Satan's jealousy; how he seduced theAngels under his command to rebel--all except the seraph Abdiel, who remainedfaithful to God; how for three days of indecisive battle the faithful Angels underMichael opposed the Satanic host, and how victory was reserved for the Son, whothen rode forth in the "chariot of paternal Deity" and drove the terror-struckrebels before him, expelling them from Heaven to fall through the Chaos tothe fiery lake of Hell, where they were discovered in Book I. But more remainsto be told. In BOOK VII Raphael recounts God's creation of the world and itsinhabitants, shaped from the first matter of the Chaos by the agency of the Sonand Spirit. And in BOOK VIII he describes the Ptolemaic universe, which Miltonadopts as the setting of the human drama, and, after listening to Adam's account ofthe creation of Eve, exhorts him to remain obedient and happy, and departs.

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