Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2016

Document Type

Thesis

Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors

Department

English

First Advisor

Katherine Eggert

Second Advisor

Rolf Norgaard

Third Advisor

Jeremy Green

Abstract

Curiously, though the ostensible crux of John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost is Original Sin, “man’s first disobedience” (I.1) that “brought death into the world” (I.3), its principal actors are not the human Adam and Eve. Rather, pursuing “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme” (I.16), Milton directs the poem’s focus toward the physical embodiments of Good and Evil – God and Satan, respectively – whose enormous presences and conflicts transcend the limits of “human imagination” (VI.300). Milton’s ambitious objective to “assert eternal providence, / And justify the ways of God to men” (I.25-26) faces the challenge of translating a highly metaphorical and philosophical battle between theological abstractions into concrete, visible images that the limited human imagination can actually grasp.

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