Milton Paradise Lost Commentary

1955 Words May 22nd, 2011 8 Pages
The Renaissance era represents a complete break with the Middle Ages on a political, philosophical, scientifical and theological scale. Indeed, the discovery of new territories and the expeditions of explorers such as Francis Drake, the resurgence of classic writtings, the new scientific outbreaks of Copernicus, Newton and Galilei as well as the Protestant reformation led by Luther and his 95 Theses, triggered a will for knowledge and a quest for truth, thus putting an end to the intellectual hegemony of the Roman Catholic Church in Western Europe. Intellectuals of this era began to think on mankind, looking for answers outside of the Religious constraints. Written during this context of political and religious upheaval, Paradise Lost, an …show more content…
On verse 498 to 502 the snake is described as a “circular base that towered folds above folds a surprising maze [...] with burnished neck [...] erect amidst his circling spires”. Thus the snake appears as a symbol of virility, a phallic form erecting from the ground and can be understood as another strategy of Satan to cajole Eve into trusting him. On the other hand this links made by Milton between sensuality and religion can be seen as a hint of the influence of the metaphysical poetry on his writting: this link beeing one of the interest of the metaphysical poets who were contemporary with Milton.
Then the snake can be analysed as a symbol of corruption and of perfidy. Satan uses a disguise, a snake to talk to eve. He uses his beauty, his eloquence to seduce her. His wave movements, looking like a dance, and his attitude (“Fawning, and licking the ground whereon she strod” on verse 526) can be interpreted as a nuptial parade with the snake playing on the primal instinct (which are restricted by religion) of Man to attract Eve in his trap. It is also interesting to note that the occurence of the word Satan is, as Satan himself, disguised in this passage. Here Satan is refered to as “the snake” or “the enemy of mankind” on verse 494. The word Satan can only be seen if the reader looks closely at the poem: an acrostic is hidden from verse 510 to 515. This clever technic reflects the vicious strategy of the Devil in the passage.
Satan’s main