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John Milton (1608-1674)

Paradise Lost: Books V-VIII: Editorial Summary


In BOOK V Eve recounts to Adam the dream, prefiguring her fall, which Satan has inspired; then the Archangel Raphael appears, sent by God to satisfy man's legitimate curiosity, to put him on his guard against Satan and thus to render his disobedience inexcusable. Here commences the "antecedent action," the account of what has taken 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 honours to be paid to the Son; how this inspired Satan's jealousy; how he seduced the Angels under his command to rebel--all except the seraph Abdiel, who remained faithful to God; how for three days of indecisive battle the faithful Angels under Michael opposed the Satanic host, and how victory was reserved for the Son, who then rode forth in the "chariot of paternal Deity" and drove the terror-struck rebels before him, expelling them from Heaven to fall through the Chaos to the fiery lake of Hell, where they were discovered in Book I. But more remains to be told.

In BOOK VII Raphael recounts God's creation of the world and its inhabitants, shaped from the first matter of the Chaos by the agency of the Son and Spirit.


And in BOOK VIII he describes the Ptolemaic universe, which Milton adopts as the setting of the human drama, and, after listening to Adam's account of the creation of Eve, exhorts him to remain obedient and happy, and departs.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Milton, Paradise Lost. 2nd edn. (1674).
First publication date: 1674
Publication date note: (in ten books.)
RPO poem editor: Hugh MacCallum, A. S. P. Woodhouse
RP edition: 3RP 1.279.
Recent editing: 1:2002/6/8


Other poems by John Milton