What is Heaven without Hell? in Paradise Lost by John Milton

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Paradise Lost by John Milton thrives off the implicit and explicit aspects of Hell offered by the narrator and the physical and psychological descriptions offered by various characters. Their separate perspectives coincide to expose the intentions of Milton and the purpose Hell serves in this epic poem. Each character adds a new element to the physical and psychological development of this alternative world. The narrator and Satan provide the greatest insight into the dynamics of this underworld by attempting to redress the issues of accommodation. The similarities and differences between Heaven and Hell give meaning to Hell physical and emotional presence. As the audience analyzes the physical descriptions of Hell given in…show more content…
Initially, the narrator only offers physical descriptions of hell. The narrator portrays hell as “A Dungeon horrible, on all sides round / As one great Furnace flam’d, yet from those flames / No light, but rather darkness visible / Serv’d only to discover sights of woe, / Regions of sorrow, doleful shades,” (Paradise Lost, Book I, lines 61-5). The audience is introduced to a new land that evokes misery from every angle. Yet, in order to comprehend why the narrator fosters such a specific, horrid description of Hell, it is imperative to understand who the narrator truly is. The epic poem is told through a third person omniscient perspective. Therefore, the narrator severs as an external observer who is able to give us the thoughts and feeling of each character present in the epic poem. This is crucial to the audience because it allows for the exposure of a character’s internal perspective. The audience is able to contemplate and predict the plot and gain information the other characters are not immediately exposed to themselves. During conversation, the narrator is able to reveal the inner thoughts of all characters. This is especially important in regards to Satan’s first interaction with Zephon as he caught intruding in paradise. The narrator states, “Abashed the devil stood/ And felt how awful goodness is and saw/ Virture in her shape how lovely, saw and pined/ His loss, but chiefly to find here observed/ His luster

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