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Does Milton attempt to describe the indescribable? To what extent does he succeed?

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  • Essay length: 992 words
  • Submitted: 13/11/2003
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Does Milton attempt to describe the indescribable? To what extent does he succeed?

Milton uses numerous literary devices in his attempt to describe the apparantly undescribable in Paradise Lost. The beginning of Paradise Lost is similar in gravity and seriousness to the book from which Milton takes much of his story: the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. This can be construed by the reader to be almost a statement of intent from Milton, who it appears is likening Paradise Lost to the Holy Bible. He seemingly seeks to elevate himself above other epics as he attempts to 'assert eternal providence, and justify the ways of God to men.' From the very outset, this appears to be a rather fanciful and audacious task, and it is dubious as to whether any mortal is able to justify such a thing. The first two sentences, or twenty-six lines, of Paradise Lost are extremely compressed, containing a great deal of information about Milton's reasons for writing his epic, his subject matter, and his attitudes toward his subject. By invoking a muse, but differentiating it from traditional muses, Milton tells us a lot about how he sees his project. In

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