This introductory chapter provides an overview of John Milton's Paradise Lost (1667). Paradise Lost tells the story of two falls. There is the unending fall of Satan and his followers, and there is the Fall—and spiritual regeneration—of Adam and Eve. Satan's story is the old epic dispensation, the search for temporal power as a zero-sum game driven by envy and the desire for glory above one's peers. It can only culminate in kingship, war, and destruction—and in alienation from God in a literal or mental hell. The fall of Adam and Eve tells the story of the new dispensation of Milton's epic: of how love between human beings, here exemplified in marital love, enables the love of God; of the experience of spiritual goods that exceed finite temporal ones; of hope for an existence beyond the finitude of death.
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