Essay On Free Will In John Milton's Paradise Lost

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In his epic Paradise Lost, John Milton details through excellent storytelling some of the debates and anxieties of 17th century England. Milton’s writing was heavily influenced by his own views, both political and religious. The resulting story is a series of arguments put forward by the characters, and in reality, Milton’s own views and questions. One of the themes heavily referenced is the ability for human beings to think for themselves and act on those thoughts. Throughout Paradise Lost the characters all have decisions they need to consider and act upon, all while wondering whether or not they really have any agency. When one thinks of free will, the first example that comes to mind is usually Adam and Eve. In truth, they are not the …show more content…
One different choice in the story would have significantly altered the course of the story being told by Milton. Satan decided to rebel because of his jealousy towards the Son and God, as well as not wanting to follow God’s plan to redeem mankind. Had Satan instead decided to swallow his pride and be obedient, there would never have been anything to tempt Eve into eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. If Eve had decided to be loyal to her creator and not eat any of the fruit, there would have been no fall from paradise and mankind would have lived on forever in Eden in the form of Adam and Eve. Despite the fact that all of the characters in Paradise Lost have free will and the ability to think for themselves, God knew exactly what each would do and made his plan accordingly. The commandment not to eat the fruit was put in place solely so that Adam and Eve would disobey it and be cast out. The Fall was necessary so that they could have children and grow as human beings. Throughout the poem there is the underlying question; do we as human beings really have free will if there is an all knowing god watching over us? The only answer that Milton had was that we do not

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