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Milton's Paradise Lost

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John Milton challenges the common belief that chaos and Satan are purely evil entities, and asks readers to consider whether God is capable of possessing evil himself. This entry discusses the common themes that are often seen in Milton's writing, and adds valid comparisons of his theories to the Christian bible.

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This entry gives a brief synopsis of the themes outlined in John Milton's Paradise Lost, and discusses the conflict involved in defining the terms "good" and "evil". Readers will learn why it is so difficult to define the terms: good, evil, Satan, chaos and God—and how they all fit together in Milton's Paradise Lost.

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For centuries, there have been heated discussions about when and how the earth, universe and humanity were created. Some believe in the big bang theory, some believe in evolution, and others believe that God is the ultimate creator of everything. Wars between countries have even taken place because of different beliefs about politics, religion and the creation of the universe. Milton took great interest in disproving many of the "myths" that people believed about God and religion. In Paradise Lost, Milton challenges his reader's beliefs about the creation of the world, humanity, and good and evil. He was scrutinized, banished and ostracized for several of his beliefs because many weren't ready to receive and accept a new kind of enlightenment. In Paradise Lost, Milton proposes that before anything was made, there was chaos. To most, the definition of chaos means disorder, confusion, or evil and it contains a negative connotation. The challenge that Milton presents to his readers is one that forces them to ponder whether chaos can be good. Through Paradise Lost, and Milton's interpretation of chaos, readers get a chance to experience what it really means to be a creation of God and they also get to understand God's thought processes.

Even though definitions of chaos exist, there is no way to really define it. Milton portrays chaos as a "first matter" that has been in existence from the beginning of God's existence or maybe even before the time of God. Through chaos, God created the heavens, the stars and moon, the earth and even the heavenly beings. Because chaos is without order, it is viewed as being without form. Chaos existed, but was nothing until God made it something. As stated before, chaos is defined as something without order, and it only gained a sense of order and being once God desired to shape and mold it. When God decided to create order within chaos, it didn't change it's make up; it just made it more beautiful. "...Milton's chaos is virtually 'defined' by its lack of definition, its limitlessness... Chaos is an 'illimitable Ocean without bound, Without dimension, where length, breadth, and highth, And time and place are lost (Schwartz 12).'"

Everything that God created came from chaos. Because chaos is considered the first matter and was in existence before anything else was created, there was nothing else to create from. Because chaos was molded by God and everything stems from it, any creations that were formed as a result of that event are considered orderly and "good," as stated in the following quote: "as the divisions that mark creation are 'good,' their absence suggests the opposite" (Schwartz 12). Therefore, God created everything from chaos with some having more order/good than others. This raises ...

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