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Milton's AngelsThe Early-Modern Imagination$
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Joad Raymond

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199560509

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560509.001.0001

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Angels in Paradise Lost

Angels in Paradise Lost

(p.256) 10 Angels in Paradise Lost
Milton's Angels

Raymond Joad

Oxford University Press

This chapter lays aside scepticism about Milton's inspiration and reconstructs his visions of angels from the details of the poem. As far as possible, it detaches the imaginative narrative from the concerns with politics and theology. The four main activities of angels in Protestant doctrine are to praise God, bear messages, and to act as ministering spirits and as witnesses. Milton's angels do these things, but his narrative mode requires that he asks what they do the rest of the time, and whether their consciousness and freewill require other activities. Paradise Lost is an epic of space travel. The movement of angels is followed from the empyreal heaven through Creation to its centre, earth, down through chaos to hell, the furthest extreme from God. Though angels are remotely stationed in distant places, as local guardians, heaven is their collective home.

Keywords:   Paradise Lost, Aquinas, Raphael, Milton's angels

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