Concepts of time and space as organizing principles in Paradise Lost
Moore, Harry Virgil
Master of Arts
In Paradise Lost Milton creates a world of time and space, and he also deals systematically with such ideas as pride, humility, reason, free will, and the Fall of Man. The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate by analysis some patterns of correspondence between the world of the poem and the ideas the poem treats. Chapter One defines the approach, suggesting that the richness and wholeness of Paradise Lost consists, in important ways, In concepts of time and space. Chapter Two explores the concept of vertical space, demonstrating by an analysis of vertical imagery in the Fall of Satan and the Fall of Man that vertical structures and movements reflect the Judeo-Chrlstian paradox that pride leads to abasement and humility leads to exaltation. Chapter Three explores the connection between cyclical movement and time. The thesis of this chapter is that the rhythms, cycles, and balanced opposites of Paradise as it is described in Book IV are in effect a supra-temporal level of time and that these ceaseless rhythms reflect both the larger cosmic order which governs the action of the poem and the cyclic shape of man's history in his Fall and Redemption. The thematic structure of the fortunate fall is thus reflected in the rhythms of the physical vorld in the poem. In Chapter Four I conclude that the asethetic "wholeness" of Paradise Lost consists, in part at least, in three patterns: the structure of paradox, especially as it derives from the Judeo-Christlan tradition; the principle of correspondence; and the identification of idea with object and movement.