by John Milton
'Paradise Lost' Summary
Satan, formerly called Lucifer, is the first major character introduced in the poem. He was once the most beautiful of all angels, and is a tragic figure who famously declares: "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven"
Adam is the first human created by God. Adam requests a companion from God:
Of fellowship I speak
Such as I seek, fit to participate
all rational delight, wherein the brute
cannot be human consort.
Eve is the second human created by God. God takes one of Adam's ribs and shapes it into Eve.
The Son of God
The Son of God is the spirit who will become incarnate as Jesus Christ, though he is never named explicitly because he has not yet entered human form. Milton believed in a subordinationist doctrine of Christology that regarded the Son as secondary to the Father and as God's "great Vice-regent"
God the Father
God the Father is the creator of Heaven, Hell, the world, of everyone and everything there is, through the agency of His Son.
Raphael is an affable archangel whom God sends to Eden:
half this day as friend with friend
Converse with Adam, [...]
and such discourse bring on,
As may advise him of his happie state,
Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free Will, his Will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warne him to beware
He swerve not too secure: tell him withall
His danger, and from whom, what enemie
Late falln himself from Heav'n, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence, no, for that shall be withstood,
But by deceit and lies; this let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonisht, unforewarnd.
Michael is an archangel who is preeminent in military prowess. He leads in battle and uses a sword which was "giv'n him temperd so, that neither keen / Nor solid might resist that edge" (6.322-23).
God sends Michael to Eden, charging him:
from the Paradise of God
Without remorse drive out the sinful Pair
From hallowd ground th' unholie, and denounce
To them and to thir Progenie from thence
Perpetual banishment. [...]
If patiently thy bidding they obey,
Dismiss them not disconsolate; reveale
To Adam what shall come in future dayes,
As I shall thee enlighten, intermix
My Cov'nant in the womans seed renewd;
So send them forth, though sorrowing, yet in peace.
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