Journal Article

DOING GOD'S WILL: MOTIVES INTENTIONS AND THE CHARECTERS OF <i>PARADISE LOST</i>

Patrick Swiden

in Literature and Theology

Volume 12, issue 4, pages 363-378
Published in print December 1998 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online December 1998 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/litthe/12.4.363
DOING GOD'S WILL: MOTIVES INTENTIONS AND THE CHARECTERS OF PARADISE LOST

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This is general agrrement among critics of Paradise Lost that the dramatic interest of the characters varies with the positions they occupy in the poem's human and Super hirerrchies. The essay accepts this view of Paradise Lost, and examines how aspects of the grammer of their speeches tells us interesting things about the relation between the characters' dramatic and theological status. This in turn has a pronounced effect on reader-character relations. In particular, it goes some way towards explaining why God's articulation of his power and presence affects the reader less positively than Satan's or Eve's does of theirs This happens in spite of the reader's acknowledgement of God's superior status in the theological economy of the poem.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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