Tag Archive: Paradise Lost

In William Blake’s Milton: Book the First, Blake critiques John Milton’s intents in Paradise Lost. Despite, his admiration for Milton, Blake believes that Milton’s idea that relegating revolutionary energy was diabolic. Instead, he thinks that was diabolic was Milton’s “selfhood” or self righteousness, to put in other terms. In Line 8-11 he states:

The Eternal Great Humanity Divine planted his Paradise
And in it caus’d the Spectres of the Dead to take sweet forms
In likeness of himself. Tell also the False Tongue! vegetated
Beneath your land of shadows

Blake is both mockingly (and maybe sincerely?) calling Milton “the eternal great humanity divine”, and interestingly using the adjective ‘to plant’ in reference to Paradise Lost. Maybe who he is calling “the eternal great humanity divine” could also be god because he is describing the planting of eden, or creation. The ‘sweet forms’ that the spectres of the dead link the spiritual world and the physical word if we take ‘sweet forms’ to be something related to fruits(plants). The ghost of the dead then are taking likeness of Milton. Unless he is taking the likeness of the ghost of the dead? It’s interesting that the “False Tongue” is “vegetated” beneath the land of shadows. In this line, Blake again creates connections between the spiritual world (land of shadows) and something that is vegetates (or of the physical world). Los and Emitharmon oppose Milton which causes The Shadowy Female to oppose Milton, in this case the shadows mentioned in this passage could be in connection to this character, and her godliness.
Blake is also pointing out in this passage that the mistake Milton made was make Paradise Lost an endeavor that is self righteous. However, this is ironic because he wrote a work titled Milton, which gives Milton even more reason to be self righteous. Blake also participates in this ‘selfhood’ that is so harmful by writing his own work The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.
-Beyanira Bautista


Milton and Satan, tragic heroes

In considering how Milton in William Blake’s Milton a Poem is like or unlike Satan, I first contemplate how to define the Satan figure that we are discussing. My first assumption is to compare Milton to his own Satan in Paradise Lost, but I quickly question this narrow interpretation. In my mind, there are at least three potential Satans to compare Milton to, a Christian Satan and some Blakian Satan. I will deal with this final version of Satan separately. Both Milton’s Satan and Satan in Christianity are fallen angels and thus I find the character of Milton in that he returns to Earth from Heaven. I also found Blake’s characterization of Milton similar to Milton’s characterization of Satan, detailed, confusing, and odd. Like Milton’s Satan, Blake’s Milton is complex and multidimensional. Milton is “synister” as he enters Blake through his left food, but simultaneously includes a redeemable qualities. Likewise, Milton’s Satan possesses humanizing characteristics that make him incredibly accessible to readers. I would argue that both are heroes of their respective works.  I am interested in exploring what a Blakian Satan would encompass. I find the Blakian Satan similar to the characters of Milton and Satan in that I imagine he would be equally complex. Moreover, all three have include contraries that exist simultaneously.