Book 12 Notes from Paradise Lost

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Paradise Lost Book 12

Michael tells Adam, "you have seen one world begin and end and man as from a second stock proceed." Book 12, line 7. This second stock is Noah's progeny, who live in fear of God, but will lead mostly just and right lives working the land. But, generations later, one (Nimrod) will rise too proud as a tyrant. He tries to build the Tower of Babel up to heaven, and God punishes him for this boastful act by making man now speak all sorts of different languages so no one can understand each other. Adam criticizes this man, since God said man should rule over other beasts, not man. Michael says it's right to criticize him, but true liberty was lost in the fall, and God will not prevent tyranny. Some nations may even forsake God for idol worship. God chooses one of these idol worshippers, Abraham, to travel to Canaan, the Promised Land. His children eventually end up in Egypt enslaved by the pharaoh, and Moses leads them through the parted Red Sea on the way to Canaan.

Michael explains how much later the Israelites will become more and more sinful, until one of King David's descendants, Jesus, appears. Michael says "the law of God exact he shall fulfill both by obedience and by love." Book 12, lines 403-4. He will be crucified, but resurrected within 3 days and then ascend to heaven. Then Michael describes that Jesus will have a Second Coming to earth, and on Judgment Day will reward the good and punish the bad.

Adam is content with this knowledge, and Michael tells him to inquire no more but have faith, virtue, patience, temperance, and love - then he will possess an inner paradise happier than Paradise.

Topic Tracking: Authorship & Possession 12

Michael tells Adam to descend the hill and wake up Eve, who has had dreams that everything will turn out well. Michael leads them to the gate of Eden, and brandishes a blazing sword to bar the entrance. A teary Adam and Eve await their future: "the world was all before them, where to choose/ their place of rest, and Providence their guide:/ They hand in hand with wand'ring steps and slow,/ Through Eden took their solitary way." Book 12, lines 646-9.

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