No Man Can Serve Two Masters: Classical Influence in Paradise Lost

Milton’s epic, Paradise Lost, brings together Christian and Classical myth in order to draw attention to a foundational part of the Christian origin story. Milton uses his Classical education to connect his epic with other foundational texts of western society such as The Iliad and The Odyssey and to reiterate the importance of Christian studies alongside the Classics. Milton brings the Greek and Roman Gods into the story of Adam and Eve both to ornament the story and to reinforce themes with Classical parallels. Even the most fleeting reference to Classical myth creates a tapestry or parallels and meaningful connotations within the text. When discussing the repetition of a particular ritual in Homer’s Odyssey, Jennifer Clavore states, “The repetition marks the ritual as ritual, as repeatable; it exists as a form out of time, to be fulfilled in time” (Clavore 31.) The advent of Christianity in Western society occurs as a result of Roman imperialism, and the Roman Empire was built off Greek ideas such as democracy. Because of Western society’s origins in Roman and Greek thought, Greek and Roman myth have the quality of feeling older than Christian myth when viewed from this perspective. Therefore, Milton’s repetition of Classical references and rituals create temporal distortion in a story of the beginning of the universe. This distortion gives the Classical repetitions much more power than they would have already had. The inclusion of the name of the Roman Goddess, Aurora, although it appears only once in the text of Paradise Lost, acts as ritual repetition of Classical thought both as ornamentation and opposition to the Christian message contained within Milton’s text.

John Milton Begins Book V of Paradise Lost with a reference to one of Homer’s stock lines about the rosy fingered dawn (Milton V.1.) Milton’s line, “Now Morn her rosy steps in th’ eastern clime…” (V.1) corresponds closely to Homer’s line, “When young Dawn with her rose red fingers shone once more…” (Odyssey II.1.) According to New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics, “Homer uses these prefabricated metrical building-blocks to facilitate rapid composition of long narrative poems in an oral setting” (Epithet 378-379.) In Homer’s day, epic poems are committed to memory and sung to a live audience. The use of stock lines and repeated epithets are necessary to help with memorization and to keep the recitation to a standard meter. By Milton’s time, reading and writing is much more common, and it is no longer necessary to compose and store poetry solely through memorization. Milton has the benefit of written composition which gives him the luxury of time that allows for the revision of lines to rework rhythm and diversify the imagery to avoid unnecessary repetition. Therefore, when Milton incorporates Homer’s imagery of the “Dawn with her rose red fingers,” he does so not as a stock line intended to initiate the meter but as an invocation of Homer’s verse to locate his Christian epic within the context of the Classical epic tradition. In essence, Milton calls back to Homer’s stock line to invoke the blind poet as his Classical muse and use the image of Aurora as a de facto invocation of the muse.

In live performance, the invocation of the muse serves as a queue for the audience to suspend their disbelief. It allows the audience to believe that the poet is not some fallible person standing in front of them relating stories of pointless fantasy but a conduit of the Gods relating the secrets of the universe and is therefore a ritual to invoke holy revelation. According to Elizabeth Minchin:

[T]he initial appeal serves a practical function: it announces the performance. It is the signal for the audience-to-be to stop talking amongst themselves and to listen to an extraordinary tale. […] By implication he assures his audience that his story will be a story worth telling; its divine source is a guarantee of its authenticity and its quality. […] [H]e offers a bare outline of the story to come. (Minchin 1995)

As there is no performer to disrupt the illusion of Milton’s telling of the poem, an invocation to the muse actually serves to disconnect the reader from the experience of the poem rather than draw him or her in. And in a decidedly Christian poem like Paradise Lost invoking the muse runs the risk of at least confusing or at worst alienating the reader.

Minchin believes that this disconnection can be beneficial to the telling of a long poem such as an epic. Minchin says, “[T]he effect off the invocation […] is metanarrational, in that it interrupts the story to comment on, or draw attention to, some aspect of the tale or its telling” (1995.) Milton uses the metanarrational quality of the invocation of the muse to overcome the disrupting and alienating quality that accompanies such an anachronism. He uses the invocation to reiterate the Christian quality of his epic. Milton allows his narrator to explain directly that the invocation of the muse is purely metaphorical. The narrator says, “Descend from Heav’n Urania…/The meaning, not the name I call” (Milton VII.1, 5.) In this metanarrational flourish, Milton makes it clear that his epic is not intended to create some Pagan/Christian hybrid of a foundational Christian myth, but he intends to use the references to Classical myth for its richness of connotation as a metaphor for Christian truths.

Milton’s repetition of Homer’s words is used to iterate on previous imagery and to drive home important points similar to the way Homer’s repetition of rituals works within The Odyssey. Homer strictly details the rituals to be performed then shows them being performed in strict compliance to the instructions. According to Clavore:

In The Odyssey, the repetition brings back our memory of the earlier description, and gives shape thereby to the intervening narrative. In Paradise Lost, the repeated passages follow each other so quickly that nothing has had a chance to happen in between—neither for the reader, nor for Adam and Eve themselves. The return is too pat. (Clavore 31)

While the ritual and repetition that Milton’s characters perform falls flat, Milton’s narration performs successfully the ritual return to Classical tradition and myth. Homer sets the ritual and opens his epic with a call to the muse (Odyssey 1.1-12.) More than two thousand years later, Milton opens Paradise Lost with a call to the classical muse, Urania (Milton 1.1-49.) In this repetition of ritual, Milton does not return too quickly, nor is his repetition too pat. Milton fills his repetition of the invocation of the muse with Christian intention.

Milton continues to use references to Classical Myth throughout the epic as a kind of a teaching ritual that develops the Classical references into powerful Christian symbolism. Yet, Ernst Robert Curtius says, “[Milton] is […] unsuccessful […] in filling the Christian Urania with life. She remains the product of an embarrassing predicament” (Curtius 244.) According to Curtius, the Classical muse is incompatible with a distinctly Christian story like Paradise Lost. But maybe that was Milton’s point. If Urania does not come across as a real character, she must be metaphor for something else. John Himes says:

With a little careful thought it is possible in most cases to determine with certainty what moral quality each of Milton’s characters is intended to represent. The form, stature, attire, words and actions of each are always consistent with its central nature. Each is also associated with some force, agent, or phenomenon in the material world which suggests and illustrates it. (Himes 528)

Following Himes’ logic, Milton’s muse—though more of a metaphor than a full-fledged character—stands in for the spirit of God. The narrator begins the poem with an invocation of the heavenly muse. The narrator says, “Sing Heav’nly Muse, that on the secret top/of Oreb or of Sinai, didst inspire…” (Milton I.6-7.) In the book of Exodus, Horeb is referred to as the mountain of God (Exodus 3:1.) And Sinai is described a mountain of smoke and earthquakes (Exodus 19:18.) On both Horeb and Sinai, God appeared to Moses as a burning bush then again as a cloud of smoke and fire (Exodus 3:2, 19:18.) Therefore, the reference to Oreb and Sinai reconfigure the connotations of the Heavenly Muse from Greek Goddesses of inspiration into the fiery spirit of god that gave his laws to the Israelites through Mosses. In Book III., Milton changes the imagery of the muse from God’s fire to holy light. The narrator says, “Hail holy light, offspring of Heav’n first-born,/Or of th’ Eternal coeternal beam/May I express thee unblamed? Since God is light…” (Milton III.1-3.) By book III, Milton is asking God directly to inspire in him the knowledge that only God can know.

According to William Hunter, the light that is God is also just an aspect of God. Hunter writes, “I wish to urge that the collocation of the two images light-sun and stream-fountain reveals that Milton had in mind the identification of this Holy Light with the Son of God” (Hunter 589.) Hunter indicates that the light coming from the Father is the Son because the ray of light that comes from the emanation of light is both an aspect of the emanation of light and the emanation of light itself. Similarly, he explains, the Son is an emanation of the Father and the Father and the Son are one. Therefore, in Book V, the light of dawn coming in the east is the Son. Milton iterates on his image of the muse as the fire of God changing it to the light of God which is God. Therefore, the mention of Aurora (Milton V.6) is actually the Son personified in the rising light of day, and the Son announces and makes ready for the Father, like Aurora, personifying the dawn announces and makes ready for the sun, the source of the light of day. And the rosy light of the dawn similar to the light one might see coming from a flame draws back on the imagery of the spirit of God as fire.

Milton uses the line “Now Morn her rosy steps in th’ eastern clime/Advancing, sowed the earth with orient pearl…” (V.1-2) to develop Homer’s “When young Dawn with her rose red fingers shone once more…” for a Christian audience. Personifying the morning strengthens the separation between author and inspiration as the morning is the one sowing the inspiration of God as pearls in the earth. Connecting Gods light from book III and the rosy light of dawn, Milton reasserts his intention to narrate from the omnipotent position of God rather than that of a fallible human author, and the reference to Homer’s stock line about the beginning of a new day becomes a powerful Christian symbol as well as a reassertion of the invocation of the muse.

The image of the pearl works both as a physical manifestation of God’s influence, and as a reference to Christian scripture. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matthew 14.45-46.) In Milton’s depiction of earth before the fall, the pearls of God’s kingdom are given freely to all of the earth that is reached by the dawn not just the land within the garden paradise. The morning sowing the pearls of light in the earth shows that in the eyes of God all of the earth, before the fall, is perfectly made in God’s image. But earlier in the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” (Matthew 7.6.) With this verse in mind, Milton’s mention of the morning sowing pearls hints at the possibility of man’s fall as it states that dogs and swine are not worthy of the gift of God’s kingdom. And to reinforce this interpretation of Aurora’s dawn as the promise of God’s kingdom being free to all, after the fall the image of the coming morning no longer bears the rosy imagery. The narrator says, “To resalute the world with sacred light/Leucothea waked, and with fresh dews imbalmed/The Earth” (Milton XI.134-136.) While the footnotes in the Modern Library edition of Paradise Lost describes Leucothea as a Goddess of the Dawn (Milton 367,) Lemprière’s Classical Dictionary defines her as a Greek Goddess of the sea (Lemprière 321.) In this passage, the coming of morning is accompanied by Leucothea rather than Aurora, the Goddess of the dawn. And the change in Deity bringing on the light of day signifies a change in tone consistent with the ushering in of death into the world. The morning is no longer brought along by a willing Goddess liberally sowing the pearls of the kingdom of God, but is forced up out of the ocean by the Goddess of the sea who embalms the dying earth trying to stave off its decomposition.

When the imagery associated with Aurora recurs in Book VIII, it connects God’s light with marital love. After Adam discusses his and Eve’s creation and marriage, he asks Raphael if Angels form unions as man. The narrator says, “To whom the angel with a smile that glowed/Celestial rosy red, loves proper Hue, (Milton VIII.618-619.) Then Rafael says, “Easier than air with air, if spirits embrace,/Total they mix, union of pure with pure/[…] As flesh to mix with flesh, or soul with soul” (VIII.626-627, 629.) The rosy red blush on the angle’s smile (VI.1) symbolizes the light of God within Rafael and is a recurrence of the imagery associated Aurora. As Eve is the first created female and as no female characters have been introduced in Paradise Lost other than Aurora, Leucathea, and Urania (who are clearly classical stand ins for God) and Sin (who is an allegorical personification of vice), there is no evidence to support the existence of female angels within the story of Paradise Lost. Therefore, the union of angles that is discussed would be much like the union between the father and the son. As emanations of the father, angels like air can mix soul with soul in an angelic approximation of how Adam and Eve mix flesh with flesh and soul with soul. The repetition of Adam and Eve’s union in the union of angels lends strength to the thematic importance of the union between Adam and Eve.

Even though the occurrence of Aurora at the beginning of Book V of Paradise Lost works as a rhetorical stand in for the Son of God, it is also an image that adds strength to the importance of Eve’s role in God’s plan. Much like the depiction of Eve, Aurora shows up as a beautiful woman in a pastoral setting sowing pearls in the earth everywhere the light touches (V.2.) If the pearls are the kingdom of God, there must be people to be governed over. Eve, like the image of Aurora sowing pearls, is expected to sow the seeds of the kingdom of God on earth by initiating the population of the planet. However, the ritual repetition of Classical traditions through the reference to Aurora does more than simply facilitate a multifaceted string of evolving metaphor, it also brings along all the baggage of Aurora’s place within Classical myth.

Homer’s story of Aurora embedded within Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite stands out as a classical counterpart to the story of Adam and Eve. Isabel Rivers says, “[The Gods] were moral allegories of human conduct and foreshadowings of Christian truth […] Pagan myth both adorns and reveals [these truths] […]” (Rivers 24-25.) While Himes agrees that one can come to a conclusion as to what moral quality the Classical reference represents (Himes 528,) the certainty of the conclusions begins to breakdown when discussing the story of Aurora and Tithonos. When used to do more than simply ornament the story of Paradise Lost, Homer’s rendition of the story of Aurora and Tithonos clouds the Christian message of Milton’s text in a dense fog of competing moral messages.

In Homer’s Hymn to Aphrodite, he tells of the tragic love affair between Eos, the Greek counterpart to the Roman Aurora, and Tithonos. Aphrodite says:

In much the same way was Tithonos abducted by Eos [the Dawn Goddess], she of the

golden embroidery.

He too belonged to your family line, looking like the immortal ones.

Then she went with a request to the Son of Kronos [Zeus], him of the dark clouds,

asking that he [Tithonos] become immortal and live for all days to come. (Aphrodite 218-221)

Because of the numerous similarities and differences between the story of Adam and Eve and myth of Aurora and Tithonos, the connection of the two myths causes a dizzying array of interpretative possibilities. In Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton, David Quint says, “Narrative emplotment requires a middle constituted by repetition that, because of the dual nature of repetition itself, may short-circuit and collapse upon itself rather than proceed to a desired ending […]” (Quint 51.) The echoes of the story of Aurora and Tithonos within the text of Paradise Lost cause repeating and conflicting implications that do short-circuit and collapse in on themselves. A discussion of these competing implications exemplifies the referential distortion that is created by this short-circuited repetition.

Aurora’s story mirrors that of Eve’s story reversing the roles played by Adam and Eve. Aurora is a goddess, and while she falls in love with Tithonos and takes care of him, she holds him against his will. Eve, on the other hand, is subordinate to Adam. He was created first, and she was created from a part his rib. However, Eve does hold some power over Adam similar to the way Aurora holds power over Tithonos. Milton’s narrator uses references to powerful mythical creatures to describe the power of Eve’s beauty over all those who see her. Eve is described as a wood-nymph, a goddess feigned (Milton V.381), and goddesslike (VII.59.) While Aurora literally is a Goddess, Eve maintains a heavenly air about herself that holds Adam in her spell. Adam says:

All higher knowledge in her presence falls

Degraded, wisdom in discourse with her

Loses discount’nanced, and like folly shows;

Authority and reason on her wait,

As one intended first, not after made […]. (VIII.549-555)

Despite Adam’s superior role in the chain of being, Eve is able to assert her superior charms and live together with him as equals.

The echoes of the imbalanced relationship between Aurora and Tithonos reinforce Eve’s insecurity that leads to her being seduced by the serpent’s lies. Eve fears that Adam will begin to feel burdened by Eve’s inferior position that way that Aurora feels burdened by Tithonos. Aphrodite says, “[S]he nourished him, keeping him in her palace,/with grain and ambrosia. And she gave him beautiful clothes” (Aphrodite 231-232.) As Aurora is completely superior to Tithonos, their relationship develops from lovers into caretaker and dependent. In fact, Aurora becomes so overwhelmed with the amount of work required to take care of Tithonos that the love is lost from their relationship. Aphrodite says, “But when the first strands of gray hair started growing/from his beautiful head and his noble chin,/then the Lady Eos stopped coming to his bed” (228-230.) The signs of ageing on Tithonos’ head are an unavoidable reminder of Tithonos’ inability to bring anything meaningful into their relationship.

The Story of Aurora also prefigures the temptations faced by Eve while she is seduced by the serpent to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and Aurora’s story rehearses Eve’s fall. After Eve eats the fruit, the narrator says, Eve has “expectation high/Of knowledge, nor was Godhead from her thought” (Milton IX.789-790.) The narrator speaks the temptations that ultimately convince Eve to disobey God’s injunction against eating the fruit. Eve says, “[R]ender me more equal, and perhaps […]/Superior; for inferior who is free” (IX.823, 825.) In fact, the reason that Eve had worked separate from Adam was because she had wanted to prove herself equal to Adam (IX.285-287.) Yet, the fact that Adam gives in and allows her to leave when Adam, as the authority figure, deems it unwise is proof of her equality. Just the same, when fantasizing about the possibility of becoming a God, Eve says:

But to Adam in what sort

Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known

As yet my change, and give him to partake

Full happiness with me, or rather not,

To keep the odds of knowledge in my power

Without copartner? (IX.816-821)

As demonstrated by the story of Aurora, if Eve were to step so far above Adam as to be a God in love with a mortal, she would end up in the role of a caretaker causing her charge to wither and die as a result of the overabundance of care she would be able to give. Aphrodite says, “[S]he put him in her chamber, and she closed the shining doors over him./From there his voice pours out—it seems never to end—and he has no strength at all,/the kind he used to have in his limbs when they could still bend” (Aphrodite 236-238.) Tithonos’ immortality is an allegorical representation of Aurora’s smothering love, and it is her doting on him and providing everything for him that weakens him.

The comparison between the story of Adam and Eve and the story of Aurora and Tithonos helps to demonstrate that the healthy relationship between Adam and Eve is based on more than just Eve’s beauty despite how much it may overwhelm Adam. Adam and Eve have a fellowship based on rational delight where Aurora’s relationship with Tithonos is based off Tithonos’ beauty and Aurora’s sense of duty. Nowhere in Aphrodite’s story of Aurora is Tithonos consulted about the questions that decide his fate. He is abducted and placed in Aurora’s palace as if he is an object. While in the palace, he is fed and clothed as if he is an animal, and one could imagine that if he is asked, he might have a similar request as Adam has when he asks God for a companion. Adam says:

Thou hast provided all things: but with me

I see not who partakes. In solitude

What happiness, who can enjoy alone,

Or all enjoying, what contentment find? (Milton VIII.363-366)

Of course this conversation never occurred between Aurora and Tithonos as he was never anything more than a beautiful trinket to be enjoyed while it was new than locked away in a vault when it has lost its lustrous shine. Therefore, a conversation like this one must have occurred between Zeus and Aurora. The scene must have been much like watching Aurora asking Zeus for her plaything to be made into a real boy.

For Aurora the huge chasm in the chain of being between mortal and immortal Goddess would make her relationship with Tithonos particularly unfulfilling. Tithonos’ mental capacity would appear to Aurora as if he were an infant in the body of a God. Aphrodite says, “[S]he put him in her chamber, and she closed the shining doors over him./From there his voice pours out—it seems never to end—and he has no strength at all […]” (Aphrodite 236-237.) In these lines, Tithonos becomes like an infant. He cannot move or take care of himself, and while his voice remains, there is no recognition in the text of what he says. For all intents and purposes Tithonos can only be heard and not understood because like a fed up mother with an infant child that won’t stop crying, Aurora closes Tithonos up in her room hoping that the door will muffle the sound just enough for her to get some peace. Therefore, Tithonos’ ability give fellowship and rational delight is hampered by Aurora’s inability to understand his words and give proper care for his needs.

Aurora’s paradise weakens both Tithonos’ body and mind causing him to wither into a freakish version of a human child. According to James Rovira, “Activities sustaining the human body sustain the human mind, the seat of reason, thus turning “corporeal” food into “incorporeal” thought, the physical sustaining the spiritual, the rational. Milton didn’t present the corporeal and incorporeal facets of human existence as completely separate but as part of a larger, organic whole” (Rovira 90.) Milton’s organic whole shows the interconnectedness of mind and body. Thus, when Aurora takes Tithonos away from everyday struggle not only does she weaken his body from lack of required exercise but she also weakens his mind. The body contains the mind much like the mind contains the spiritual connection to God. And this weakened spiritual connection to God is shown by Aurora’s increasing isolation from Tithonos. The story of Tithonos and Aurora, warn of the possible weakening of the spiritual connection between Adam and Eve and God that could be brought on by a perpetual life of ease in the Garden of Eden

Instead of submitting to life on its own terms, Aurora and Eve take rash measures to live within an equal partnership with their spouses. Aurora attempts to raise Tithonos up as an equal to herself, and Eve attempts to raise herself up to an equal to Adam. Aphrodite says that Aurora’s mistake was asking Zeus simply for Tithonos to gain immortality when she should have asked for eternal youth (Aphrodite 223-224.) Yet, Aphrodite finds herself in love with a mortal man and instead of having him granted immortality and eternal youth, she opts to except life on its own terms and allow her lover to live and die as a mortal (239, 244-245.) Aphrodite’s choice to let nature work itself out through its own means is backed up by Raphael’s conjecture on the ascension from man to angel. In conference with Adam and Eve, Raphael says that if they obey God they will eventually be raised up to angles. He says:

And from these corporal nutriments perhaps

Your bodies may at last turn all to spirit,

[…]

If ye be found obedient, and retain

Unalterably firm [Gods] love entire […]. (Milton V.496-497, 501-502)

While Aphrodite’s actions on their own seem to show that movement up from one’s station in life is impossible, Raphael’s conjecture overturns this belief and shows that differences of rank can be overcome by long suffering and obedience.

The story of Aurora and Tithonos shares many of the same characteristics of Homer’s story of Odysseus on Calypso’s island, and, therefore, the story of Adam and Eve bears resemblance to Homer’s story as well. In the story of Odysseus and Calypso, the idea of paradise is refigured as a type of prison: Tithonos is abducted by Aurora, held in her palace and eventually locked away in her chamber; Odysseus is shipwrecked on Calypso’s island and is not allowed to leave even though it is in her power to allow him to leave; And Adam and Eve are held by God within the bounds of the paradise of the Garden of Eden. While the story of Adam and Eve differs in the fact that they are not held against their will, they are held under threat of death.

While it is hard to know what Tithonos is thinking due to his point of view being ignored in the story as told by Aphrodite, it can be assumed by his unending and unanswered cries that he wishes to return to his life outside of paradise. In the Odyssey, Homer lets Odysseus act out the longing to escape paradise that Tithonos is never allowed to show. Homer’s narrator says:

[Hermes] found [Odysseus] there on the headland, siting, still,

weeping, his eyes never dry his sweet life flowing away

with the tears he wept for his foiled journey home […]

But all the days he’d sit on the rocks and beaches,

wrenching his heart with sobs and groans and anguish,

gazing out over the barren sea through blinding tears. (Odyssey V.167-169, 173-175)

Adam’s longing for more than what paradise has to offer is not quite as obvious as outright weeping. After God parades the animals past Adam so they can receive their names, Adam Says, “[I]n these/I found not what methought I wanted […] (Milton V.354-355.) Even though it turns out that what Adam feels deprived of is a mate and God provides Eve for him, Adam’s desire for more than what a direct relationship to God and life in paradise has to offer shows that paradise is not fulfilling in and of itself. Adam goes on to say:

Which must be mutual, in proportion due

Giv’n and received; but in disparity

[…]

[S]oon prove

Tedious alike […].” (V.385-386, 388-389)

Adam’s complaint about the unequal relationship between him and the animals will eventually hold true between him and Eve. While it is true that Eve has qualities that make up for her being of lower rank than Adam, Eve’s inferiority is pointed out several times within the text.

The connection between Aurora and Tithonos and Adam and Eve emphasizes the difficulty finding happiness in paradise. The possibility of unhappiness in paradise should not be particularly surprising as according to Quint, “[Human Freedom] must be contingent in order to be free. This contingency makes the way constantly difficult, rather than ready and easy, for man and women to stand in godliness […]” (Quint 300.) Therefore, the inclusion of Aurora as a Classical reference foreshadows the loss of paradise as Adam and Eve could not have maintained a fulfilling and happy life without the struggle and unhappiness that comes from life outside of the Garden of Eden.

Milton’s Classical reference to Aurora and all the other Classical connections that come along with it do help add texture to the story of Paradise Lost, but at the same time the constant back and forth of Classical and Christian references creates a disorienting reading experience. The large number of Classical references contained within a story that takes place at the beginning of time creates a temporal distortion yanking the reader back and forth through time as well as in and out of Christian and Classical thought. The level of disorientation achieved, at times, matches those as found in books like Don DeLillo’s White Noise, or Jorge Borges’ Labyrinths. Whether or not Milton intended such an innovation, Paradise Lost looks back at the beginning of time using the literary techniques of a future time.

Works Cited

Clarvoe, Jennifer. “Poetry and Repetition.” Antioch Review, vol. 67, no. 1, Winter 2009, pp. 30–41. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=36066764&login.asp?custid=magn1307&site=lrc-live&scope=site&custid=magn1307.

Curtius, Ernst Robert. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. Translated by Willard R. Trask, Princeton University Press, 1973.

“Epithet.” New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry & Poetics, Jan. 1993, pp. 378–379. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=18911809&login.asp?custid=magn1307&site=lrc-live&scope=site&custid=magn1307.

Himes, John Andrew, and University of Virginia. Milton’s Angels. Generic NL Freebook Publisher, 1997.

Homer. Hymn to Aphrodite. Translated by Gregory Nagy, Hymn to Aphrodite, http://www.uh.edu/~cldue/texts/aphrodite.html.

—–. The Odyssey. Translated by Robert Fagles, Viking Penguin, 1997.

Hunter, William Jr. “The Meaning of ‘Holy Light’ in Paradise Lost III.” Modern Language Notes, vol. 74, no. 7, 1959, pp. 589–592. JSTOR, http://www.jstor.org/stable/3040304.

Lemprière, John, 1765?-1824. Lemprière’s Classical Dictionary of Proper Names Mentioned in Ancient Authors Writ Large: With a Chronological Table. Routledge & K. Paul, 1984. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=edshlc&AN=edshlc.001331723.7&authtype=sso&custid=magn1307&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Edited by Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg, Oxford University Press, 2008.

Minchin, Elizabeth. “The Poet Appeals to His Muse: Homeric Invocations in the Context of Epic Performance.” Classical Journal, vol. 91, no. 1, Oct. 1995, pp. 25–33. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=hlh&AN=15766118&authtype=sso&custid=magn1307&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Rivers, Isabel. “Chapter 2: The Pagan Gods.” Classical & Christian Ideas in English Renaissance Poetry, Taylor & Francis Ltd / Books, 1994, pp. 21–33. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=17365216&authtype=sso&custid=magn1307&site=eds-live&scope=site.

Rovira, James. “Gathering the Scattered Body of Milton’s Areopagitica.” Renascence, vol. 57, no. 2, Winter 2005, pp. 87–102. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=16201335&login.asp%3fcustid%3dmagn1307&site=lrc-live&scope=site.

Quint, David. Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton. Princeton University Press, 1992.

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