Milton’s Use of The Classics

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Milton's Use of The Classics Milton imitates some scenes from classical authors in his Paradise Lost. Three examples of Milton's use from the classics are, Adam and Eve, how he describes Satan, and Eve looking at her reflection in a pond. For these examples he imitates scenes from Homer's Iliad, Vergil's Aeneid, and Ovid's Metamorphoses. One scene that Milton uses from a classical author is the scene with Adam trying to seduce Eve. Once he has seduced her he takes her into the bushes to make love.


This shows that Milton imitated the concept of seduction from Homer. Another scene that Milton gets from a great writer is what Satan looks like. In Milton's book he describes Satan as a serpent with rising folds and a neck of verdant gold with circling spires. In Vergil's Aeneid there is a description of a serpent, which is described as having trailing seven huge loops, encircling the tomb, and with scales that gleam of gold (Vergil, 5.84-90).


This scene is similar to Ovid's Metamorphoses when Narcissus gazes at himself in the reflection of water. He falls in love with his own reflection, which sounds like Milton's scene with Eve looking at her reflection. Milton's use of ideas from different authors invites a more diverse perspective. He gives a new interpretation of old ideas. In Milton's Paradise Lost he imitates scenes from Homer, Vergil, and Ovid. He imitates the scene of Adam seducing Eve from Homer, the description of Satan from Vergil, and Eve looking at her own reflection from Ovid. Many classical authors used other sources for ideas, and Milton was no exception. Doug Underwood SIN # 9231

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