This second lecture on Paradise Lost looks at hell and its inhabitants, as depicted in Books I and II. Milton's struggle both to match and outdo his literary predecessors is examined by way of allusions to the works of Homer and Edmund Spenser, particularly the cave of Mammon episode in Book Two of The Faerie Queene. The presence of classical mythological figures, such as Medusa and Mulciber, in the Christian hell of Paradise Lost is pondered, along with early distinctions in the poem, frequently blurred, between good and evil, beautiful and ugly, and heaven and hell.
A study of Milton's poetry, with some attention to his literary sources, his contemporaries, his controversial prose, and his decisive influence on the course of English poetry.
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