The Fall of Man in Paradise Lost by John Milton

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Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost is a book which was authored by John Milton in the 17th century. It is a classic masterpiece with great resemblance to the creation story from the book of Genesis in the Bible. Its first version was published in 1667 and the second version followed up in 1674. The main purpose of the poem according to the author was to justify the ways of God to man. With the resemblance of the creation story, this piece of literature vividly describes the story of the fall of man.

The Banishment of Lucifer

The story consists the banishment of Lucifer who is Satan from heaven with his angels who had rebelled against God. They were defeated by God and his Angels, and they were thrown into Tartarus which is hell. In the story, it said that the war between God and Lucifer lasted for three days. After God's victory, he created the world and Adam and Eve were made the custodians of nature. As in the first book of the Bible, Adam and Eve were created with a resemblance to God. Mankind being God's beloved creature becomes the target of Lucifer and his team as they work tirelessly to poison the relationship between man and God. With Adam and Eve living in the Garden of Eden, they became Lucifer's target as he seeks revenge. God sends his archangel Raphael to warn man of the coming of Satan. He warns them of the level of jealousy that Lucifer has over them for being created by the image of God. After the departure of the angel of God, Satan appeared to Eve in the form of a serpent. He convinces her to take the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Adam consumes too after he learned what Eve had done. He claims that they were bound to each other and whatever befalls his wife should also befall him. God got angry with their actions and sends angel Raphael to expel the man from the Garden of Eden. That signified the fall of man. The themes of good and evil dominate the whole story from the beginning to the end. God is behind the good things in the story while Satan is behind the evil.

The Themes of Good and Evil

First, the themes of good and evil are used in the story as the shifting forces that God and Satan use to oppose each other. The conflict between the two is signified with goodness from God and the Evil deeds of Satan. These themes act interchangeably as God and Satan try to overpower each other. Every good deed done by God is outdone by an evil deed from Satan. It is evident in the story that God is performing actions which make us question his goodness and at the same time Satan always comes around with his evil to spoil the good relationship between God and man.

The Origin of Evil

On the other hand, the first evil deed was experienced in heaven after Satan disobeyed God and led a rebellion against his kingdom. Additionally, Lucifer continued to disobey God and failed to plead for forgiveness even after he was thrown out of heaven. Consequently, the man's evil deed to disobey God followed in the Garden of Eden. God was angry with man and threw him out of the garden but still demonstrates his goodness after he forgave Adam and Eve. Unlike Satan, Adam and Eve understood that disobedience to God would only amount to harsh punishment on earth.

Warning from the Angel of God

In the story, the virtue of good and evil is revealed to Adam by the angel of God who is sent to warn them of the impending danger of the coming of Satan. The angel of God warns Adam that Satan is plotting to deceive them as a form of revenge. The angel of God tells Adam of the war that took place in heaven that saw Lucifer and the rebel Angels thrown to hell. This makes Adam curious about how evil Lucifer might be, "something so imaginable a hate in heaven and war near the seat of God In bliss" (paradise lost 7:54-55). The perception of hate in heaven disrupts Adam to the extent that he doesn't receive the warning of the impending danger of Satan in heaven.

The Forbidden Fruit

Additionally, the forbidden fruit was the fruit of knowledge between evil and good. The serpent tricks Eve to eat from the fruit and the lost contact with God. Eve is deceived by the serpent of the mental equality between him and Adam if she consumes the fruit. Adam was still having a conversation with the Angel of God who was sent to warn them. Satan was able to persuade Eve through her sweet voice and attractive serpent body. Eve eats the fruit in the attempt to equal the mental capacity of Adam. This gives birth to evil and all of a sudden they realize of their sexuality infidelity.

Satan's Speech

Also, in the second book, Satan holds a meeting with his angels where in his speech he acknowledges that God is behind the manipulation of evil to construct something good. "A universe of death, which God by uses curse/create evil, for evil only good" (paradise lost 2: 622-623). By this statement, Lucifer tries to create a perception that God himself must possess evil in him, and he uses it to construct well. This completely differs with the previous notions that God is only made of goodness. It also contrasted with the notion that anything that is not from God is evil. In support of this statement, the author challenges why God would go ahead and create Lucifer knowing that one day he would lead a rebel against him. The evil in Lucifer has no description. In this second book, he admits that he is so evil in a manner that he would lead a rebel again if given a second chance to be back in heaven and accorded the position of second in power. This indicates that Satan chooses to remain evil as long as God is good, "Evil is thou my Good" (paradise lost 4: 110). The acknowledgment of Lucifer that he is evil then it directly indicates that God is good. According to the author, then the existence of good and evil between the two is by personal choice and not destiny.

The Separation of Good and Evil

"...him who disobeys mee breaks the union, and that day cast out from God, and blessed vision falls into utter darkness...without redemption, without end" (Paradise Lost 5: 607-615). By this statement, God completely separates himself from evil. He also separates evil from good and draws a line to separate the two. Additionally, God sends a warning to everyone who will choose the evil way and indicates that the union between him will break. Even with the warning, Lucifer goes ahead to disobey God, and it is evident that he has become evil through personal choice. On the other hand, the author perceives God as the manipulator of the free will, as he gives no option to his opponents.

The Choice Between Good and Evil

Lastly, the choice between good and evil is manifested when Adam also chooses to eat the fruit. He knew that it was evil to eat the fruit and that would amount to God's punishment. Adam is blindfolded by the love he has for Eve, and he ends up choosing evil rather than goodness. The love they previously had was transformed by the evil into the carnal act. This broke the sacred relationship between man and God. It is evident that Adam chose to follow the message from the serpent rather than the message sent to him by God through his angel. God and Satan being the representation of God and evil, then Satan was able to win a follower by deceiving Eve, and Adam falling into the trap.


Summing up, the book of 'Paradise Lost' is an epic masterpiece that relates to the story of creation as accounted for in the Holy Bible. In his book, Milton has indicated that the manifestation of goodness abounds in the following of God's commands. The evil has manifested itself through Satan who has been the antagonist of goodness in the book. It is also evident that there are consequences of the choices that one decides to make. If one follows the evil way like Adam, then punishment befalls him or her.

Work Cited

Milton, John. Paradise lost. Pearson Education, 2007.

August 21, 2023




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