- Created by: Pip Dan
- Created on: 20-09-17 16:58
Freedom is a major theme of the poem, perhaps because Milton himself took part in the English Civil War on the side of the rebel Puritan force, serving under Cromwell. England was changing from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional monarchy. Ideas of freedom and democracy were under discussion, including Milton’s own treatises on various topics:
- In Areopagitica, Milton’s great defends of the concept of a free press.
- In Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Milton expresses his belief that people should be free to divorce and that any sort of incompatibility, be it sexual, mental, or spiritual, justifies divorce.
Adam’s despair over human history mirrors Milton’s, especially since his own political aspirations for freedom had failed. It did not seem possible to fix the wrongs of the world through revolution (Cromwell’s Commonwealth). Book XII thus concludes that the only solution is a new covenant with God (Christ’s redemption). At the end of time, the faithful will once again be free with God.
- The poem opens with Satan’s view of freedom. He has just fallen from heaven and claims 'Here at least we shall be free'. From the beginning he has the illusion that freedom means freedom from God. He rebels against 'the oppressor' in heaven and blames God for imprisoning him in Hell, though he is the one who separated himself from God, claiming he is 'self-begot'.
- Satan thinks he can create his own heaven: 'The mind is its own place, and in itself/…