[[quoteright:253:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gustav-dore-satan-smitten-by-michael_173.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:253:I've fallen and I can't get up.]]

->"''What in me is dark''\\
''Illumine, what is low raise and support'';\\
''That to the height of this great argument''\\
''I may assert eternal Providence'',\\
''And justify the ways of God to men''."
-->--'''Book 1, Line 22-26'''

''Paradise Lost'' is Creator/JohnMilton's sprawling [[NarrativePoem epic poem]] exploring the Fall of Man, and attempting to reconcile the idea of {{God}}'s omniscience with Free Will. First published in ten books in 1667, the twelve-book version modern readers will be familiar with came out in 1674. Notably told largely from the perspective of {{Satan}} himself, though other scenes focus on {{God}} or Adam and Eve. ''Almost'' a {{Prequel}} to Literature/TheBible, though chronologically most of the action (''all'' of it, if you don't count the lengthy {{Flashback}} to the War in Heaven and Michael's summary of postlapsarian history yet to come) takes place entirely during the third chapter of Genesis. In epic theory (and yes, such a thing exists), ''Paradise Lost'' is the final epic, as it has elements of everything from ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' up through ''Literature/TheDivineComedy'' and ''TheFaerieQueene''.

It's well-known as a source for ''mountains'' of literary criticism and a host of {{Alternative Character Interpretation}}s. Many think the poem [[DesignatedVillain makes a better case]] for {{Satan}} than {{God}}. [[MisaimedFandom This was almost certainly not Milton's intent]], but while most critics acknowledge this, [[DeathOfTheAuthor some assert that his intent is not the point]]. Ever since forty years ago and Stanley Fish's ''Surprised By Sin'', other academic critics assert that this ''is'' the point; the author intended to subvert MisaimedFandom by making the reader sympathetic to Satan in the opening part, but then surprising the reader by finding out that Satan was lying and is evil all along in the later parts. By this argument, the reader re-enacts the Fall by reading the work. The multitude of different ways to read it are undoubtedly part of the appeal for scholars and literature buffs alike -- it helps that this opens limitless doors for [[FanWank reasonable argument]]. [[FirstInstallmentWins They could read the sequel]] but wanking is more fun.
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!! ''Paradise Lost'' contains examples of:

* AllLovingHero: The Son, aka Jesus.
* AnthropomorphicPersonification: Sin and Death.
* AntiVillain: The most prevalent interpretation of Satan in both sides of the argument. He is mostly considered a [[SlidingScaleOfAntiVillains Type III]] by most people, at least during the beginning, where he sincerily believes in his rhetoric, while he later degrades to a Type II as his constant failures and suffering erode away his principles.
* ArchangelMichael: As a total {{badass}}.
* ArchangelGabriel: Also a {{badass}}, and the trumpeter and chief guard of all the angels.
* ArchangelRaphael: MrExposition where Adam is involved.
* ArchEnemy: Satan's MeaningfulName is derived from the Semitic "Shai'tan" meaning "adversary."
* AuthorAppeal: The poem is filled with references to light, illumination, and color - appealing to John Milton for bittersweet reasons.
* BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad: Satan famously proclaims, "Evil be thou my good."
* BittersweetEnding: "The world was before them, where to choose their place of rest, and Providence thir guide. They hand in hand with wandering steps and slow, through Eden took their solitarie way."
* BlackAndWhiteMorality[=/=]BlackAndGrayMorality[=/=]GreyAndGrayMorality[=/=]EvilVersusEvil: The book has been interpreted countless ways over the centuries.
* BlindSeer: Milton himself was blind, and as the narrator he makes a few allusions that seem to cast him in this role.
* ByronicHero: Satan.
* CardboardPrison: The physical location of {{Hell}} is actually pretty easy to get out of, and Satan slips out to mess around with Earth. The demons are also free to return to God's graces at any time. They simply choose not to.
* CardCarryingVillain: After realizing [[YouCantFightFate he can't fight fate]] and he isn't willing to say he's sorry, {{Satan}} gives a memorable speech which includes the line "Evil, be thou my good."
* TheChessmaster: Satan fancies himself one.
* ConsummateLiar: Satan.
* ContemplateOurNavels: Eve gets bored and steps out when Adam starts doing this during Raphael's visit.
* CrossoverCosmology: {{Subverted|Trope}}; only the Christian creation story is portrayed as ''true'', but Milton names many of the TheLegionsOfHell after preexisting pagan gods. It was common at the time for Christians to claim that pagan gods were actually demons.
* CrushBlush: Eve, "blushing like the morn" on becoming Adam's wife.
* CurbStompBattle: God makes things interesting by only fielding exactly as many angels as Satan has demons to keep the battle at a stalemate until the Son takes the field and wipes the floor with the entire rebel army on his own. The Son is so terrifying that the demons throw ''themselves'' into Hell. Thematically, that's very important.
* DarkIsEvil: A frequent image, starting early in the poem.
-->''No light, but rather darkness visible''
* DeadpanSnarker: “To whom thus Satan with contemptuous brow./Gabriel? thou hadst in Heaven the esteem of wise,/And such I held thee; but this question asked/Puts me in doubt (Book IV, 883-886)." Satan is such a catty bitch.
* DespairEventHorizon: Satan gets one when two cherubs rebuke him for having changed into his demonic self:
-->''Abashed the devil stood''\\
''And felt how awful Goodness is''\\
''And saw Virtue in her shape how lovely''\\
''Saw, and pined his loss...''
* TheDevilIsALoser: The underlying characterization of Satan. Despite his fancy rhetoric and impressive figure, he's just posturing as an epic hero and making self-defeating arguments that even he admits are bogus. He's simply too proud to ask for forgiveness and admit his mistakes in front of all his loyal followers. Even in the battle scene he gets clobbered unconscious the moment he takes the field. Of course, there are a lot of people who [[MisaimedFandom see him as exactly the epic hero he presents himself to be]].
* DistractedByMyOwnSexy:
** Eve sees her reflection and is stunned by its beauty, although she doesn't realize it's her at first.
** Satan is turned on by his near-identical daughter, named [[AnthropomorphicPersonification Sin]].
* DrivenByEnvy: Satan, and arguably Eve.
* EarnYourHappyEnding: The human race after being kicked out of paradise.
* EldritchAbomination: Chaos and Old Night.
* EvilCounterpart: God, the Son and the Holy Spirit face the Anti-Trinity of Satan, Sin and Death. Satan is Sin's father. Sin is Death's mother. Satan is Death's father. It is appropriate to feel {{Squick}}y once you realize what it all means. Of course, this is very much intentional, portraying a perverted Trinity.
* EvilMakesYouUgly: The angels cannot recognize Satan as Lucifer, owing to his changed looks.
* ExternalRetcon: For Literature/TheBible and for various myths from other cultures.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: Not in the poem itself, but in the paintings of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Martin_%28painter%29 John Martin]] inspired by it, the {{Pandemonium}} (Palace of Demons) looks suspiciously [[TheRomanEmpire Roman]] and {{Satan}} Himself [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/38/Pandemonium.jpg is depicted as a man (not as the traditional horned monster) in a Roman Emperor's ceremonial uniform]].
* {{Flashback}}: Three full books of it, documenting the War in Heaven and the creation of Earth, all of which is being told to Adam and Eve by the angel Raphael.
* ForegoneConclusion: Satan will fall, and humanity will sin.
* FullCircleRevolution: Satan leads a revolt against God and the Son in the name of equality, and, of course, puts himself on a pedestal and appoints himself leader after the revolution.
* GambitRoulette: JustifiedTrope. God's plans for the universe are extremely long-term and mind-boggling circuitous but unlike a mortal planner, he [[TheOmniscient already knows how all of it is going to work out]].
* GlamourFailure: When Satan is despairing, his angelic disguise "slips."
* {{God}}: Actually quite a minor character.
* GodIsEvil: [[BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad According to Satan]], ''the'' ConsummateLiar.
* GodIsGood: He put down an arrogant hypocrite's rebellion and is more than willing to reconcile with that rebel if said rebel would come home.
* GoodIsNotNice: The other main interpretation of God.
* GoodNeedsEvil
* GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex: Yes, Milton shows pre-fallen Adam and Eve had lots of sex in Eden, and were planning to have children (more hands to help in the garden). The crucial part is that this was sex without carnal lust: they were not at all in a hurry. After the fall, the very first thing they do is run off into the bushes.
* HealingFactor: The angels have this, making the war in Heaven pretty brutal. Becomes an instance of AndIMustScream when the rebellious angels are cast into the lake of fire.
* HellInvadesHeaven: It's the trope codifier/forerunner by depicting Satan's rebellion against God.
* HellOfAHeaven: After losing the war, Satan states that "The mind is its own place, and in it self. Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven."
* AHellOfATime: Pandæmonium in particular sounds like a nice place to visit, and Mammon suggests tidying up around {{Hell}} and building a good place to live there.
* HijackedByJesus: Milton places the gods of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks in Satan's army, reflecting common beliefs of his time.
* HopeIsScary: Satan refuses to let this trope affect him:
-->''So farwel Hope, and with Hope farwel Fear''
* HumanSacrifice: Moloch is particularly pointed out for this.
* HurricaneOfPuns: Although there is wordplay throughout, Satan and Belial have the most impressive example of this when they make a long series of puns about their cannons, pretending they are talking about negotiation but using terms that also have artillery-related meanings.
* HypocriticalHumor: Appropriately for the UrExample of the ConsummateLiar, almost every sentence Satan speaks is contradicted by his subsequent actions or the narrator's comments on his true emotional/mental state.
* IfICantHaveYou: Eve's motive for giving the apple to Adam is murder -- so he will not be happy with another woman.
* IgnoredEpiphany: Satan is deeply moved by the beauty of Earth when he sees it for the first time and contemplates how happy he might have been if he hadn't rebelled. However, he decides that he's gone too far to turn back and makes the lame excuse that he'd probably turn evil again anyway. Ultimately he's just too proud and cowardly.
** And when Satan falls in LoveAtFirstSight with Eve, leaving him so enchanted that, for a moment, he becomes "stupidly good". But then he realises he can never have her and carries on with his original plan out of spite.
* IncestIsRelative: This is how Death is created by Satan and Sin. Death then rapes his own mother.
* InMediasRes: The story begins with the immediate aftermath of the War in Heaven, which is retold in the middle of the story. This is just one of many thematic devices used to tell the Fall of Mankind as a classical epic.
* IronicHell: When Satan returns, a copy of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil appears in Hell, but when the demons try to eat the fruit, they taste ashes.
* ItsPronouncedTroPAY: Raphael was actually pronounced Ray-fee-al in Milton's time.
* JesusSaves: He also kicks ass in a chariot with a bow and arrow.
* KirkSummation: When Satan gathers the angels under his command to make his campaign speech for rebelling against God, Abdiel is the only one present who refutes his arguments and declines to join the rebellion.
* TheLegionsOfHell: Satan gives his NewEraSpeech to them.
* LetsSplitUpGang: Eve suggests that she and Adam can get more gardening done if they work separately. This is just after they have been warned that Satan is somewhere in the garden.
* LibertyOverProsperity: Satan would rather reign in {{Hell}}, than serve in {{Heaven}}, and his minions go right along with him. They are all in a literal SelfInflictedHell, and can go back to Heaven at any time they wish, yet are staunchly determined to remain "free".
* LightIsGood: Frequent imagery, both for the unfallen angels and the pre-fallen demons.
* LightIsNotGood: The name "Lucifer" literally means "light bearer" in Latin.
* MaleGaze: Yes, in literary form, with Eve. Repeatedly.
* ManipulativeBastard: Satan even has readers in our world [[ComicallyMissingThePoint believing his lies]] that he wants to protect us from a tyrant even while he simultaneously plots how he's going to destroy us and make us suffer (Book IV) in a RevengeByProxy scheme, sacrificing mankind's welfare to [[{{Pride}} his own ego.]]
* MotiveDecay: {{Satan}} opens with a lot of stirring rhetoric, but by the later books he's mostly just trying to piss off {{God}} in any way he can, no matter who he has to hurt to do so. Interestingly, this may have been [[JustifiedTrope intentional]], as part of the story's philosophy is that evil degrades the sinner--as he sins Satan is becoming less of a person, and thus less developed. Also note his size throughout the books: he starts out as indescribably large, larger than Titans or Leviathan (both have no definite size), but he shrinks down bit by bit, until he takes the form of small creatures on Earth.
* MotiveRant: Part of justifying the ways of God to Man is giving a clear a picture of God's (and Man's) enemy, which means explaining the ArchEnemy's motive in full.
* TheMuse: John Milton asks for Urania, muse of astronomy (and thus, knowledge of God's creation) to inspire him. He clarifies that he's not actually invoking a pagan goddess, just the represented idea.
* {{Narcissist}}. Satan, whose pride causes the fall.
* NewEraSpeech: {{Satan}}'s "to reign in Hell" speech in Book I.
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: Nice job eating the fruit, Adam and Eve!
** And if you interpret Satan as the AntiHero, nice job for him rebelling against Heaven and basically condemning himself and his followers to their own hells!
* NobleDemon: Some readers interpret the demons this way because they believe in their cause. The more established reading is that they're spineless followers under Satan's spell, who will ultimately do whatever he tells them to do.
* OddNameOut: For the angels we have Abdiel, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, etc. (Hebrew Names) aaaaand Lucifer (The Latin One).
** The Hebrew version is Lucifel, in case you were wondering.
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: {{God}} gets one.
* ParentalIncest: Not intentionally.
* PlayingTheVictimCard: Satan casts himself as a victim of God's totalitarian regime, but later admits to himself that God's authority is just, deserved and easily followed.
* PopCulturalOsmosis: The book is so well-known that the old arguments about Satan as the book's hero are PlayedForLaughs in an early scene in ''AnimalHouse''.
* {{Pride}}: Satan's stubborn refusal to accept his own flaws or make any effort to improve upon them pretty much starts the whole story.
* PrideBeforeAFall: We meet TheLegionsOfHell just after they fall from Heaven; Raphael tells us about Lucifer's disastrous [[RageAgainstTheHeavens War in Heaven]] in Book VI.
* PyrrhicVillainy: Satan, who knows and laments the fact, but just can't let go.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: {{Satan}}'s entire arc. It doesn't end well for him.
* TheReasonYouSuckSpeech: Delivered by Abdiel to Satan before the battle begins in Book 6.
** Satan gets one earlier in Book 4, when two Cherubs fail to recognize him and he calls them on it. One angel, Zephon, rebukes that Satan was no longer the brilliant, beautiful archangel he once was and thus unrecognizable. At that moment, Satan realizes what he'd lost.
* RebelliousRebel: Abdiel.
* RedRightHand: The devils are all marred somehow by the Fall. Belial actually uses the phrase to refer to God's anger, a ShoutOut to Horace.
* RevengeByProxy via RevengeThroughCorruption: Satan can't hurt God, so he'll go after His beloved Adam and Eve instead.
* RousingSpeech: Beezelbub in the first book
* {{Satan}}: Generally read as either a ByronicHero, an AntiHero, or just a VillainProtagonist. Maybe more than one.
* SatanIsGood: In his own mind, and from the PerspectiveFlip because BadIsGoodAndGoodIsBad. The larger arc confirms that GodIsGood.
* ScaledUp: A seminal example -- Satan turns into a large snake when tempting Eve with the Forbidden Fruit. He also (involuntarily and temporarily) turns into a snake in Hell when cursed by God, as do the LegionsOfHell.
** SnakesAreSexy: Satan and Eve's interaction comes across as quite sexually-charged, with Satan taking a while to drink in Eve's beauty, beguiling her with his own gorgeous appearance (at which point the metaphor of [[FreudWasRight snakes as phallic symbols]] undeniably comes into play), then proceeding to flatter and pervert her. Blake's illustrations even show the snake wrapped around Eve while [[IndirectKiss feeding her the Fruit of Knowledge with its mouth]].
* ScienceIsWrong: Averted. Milton accepts the Copernican view, though he recognizes the theological value in the geocentric one.
* SelfInflictedHell: The main point of Satan's story is to show that damnation is the will of the sinner, not God, who is always ready to forgive. Satan and his angels pointedly cast ''themselves'' into Hell after losing the War in Heaven. Satan fully understands that he can, at any moment, return to Heaven if he wanted to, but chooses damnation out of pride and fear.
* ShapeShifting: The devils can do this.
* ShootTheDog: God, when He has no choice but to let mankind fall: it is predestined, because He can see past, present and future at once.
* SnakePeople: Satan's [[ParentalIncest daughter/lover]] Sin is one of these.
* SoleSurvivor: Abdiel
* StartMyOwn: Used almost word-for-word when the demons propose creating a "Heaven in Hell" as an alternative to rebelling against God. [[WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}} Had blackjack and hookers existed at the time, they certainly would have been signature attractions]].
* StartOfDarkness: Both Satan's fall and mankind's "original sin."
* StrawmanHasAPoint: Probably deliberately invoked, as Milton wanted Satan to sound as persuasive as sin. In fact, Satan argues against God by invoking democracy, free speech and egalitarianism, casting God's authority in the light of a dictatorship. It does, however, have the flaw that he expects the angels who obey him to keep obeying.\\
This subject matter hit close to home for Milton, who was an outspoken critic of earthly censorship and autocracy. However, Milton believed that God's divine authority is beyond mortal judgment, as he argues in ''Tenure of Kings and Magistrates''.
* SympathyForTheDevil: Literally, though not everyone feels it.
* ThatManIsDead: The reader is frequently reminded that the names of all the fallen angels have been erased from heaven, and that what they are called is what humans have named them to be, not their 'real names'.
* ThenLetMeBeEvil - "So should I purchase dear short intermission bought with double smart. This knows my punisher, therefore as far from granting he as I from begging peace"
* TheseAreThingsManWasNotMeantToKnow: How angels "[[DoubleEntendre express]]" love.
* ThisIsYourBrainOnEvil: The ForbiddenFruit makes you feel happy, invincible, and horny, and leaves you with a WhatHaveIDone-hangover the next morning.
* ToCreateAPlaygroundForEvil: Satan's goal for the world.
* ToHellAndBack: Sort of -- the whole thing opens on TheLegionsOfHell immediately after being tossed down there, but {{Satan}} ''does'' come back as far as Earth.
* TropeNamer: Lent the very ''word'' "pandemonium" to the language. We use it in English to mean chaos, but in the story it's actually an ordered, reasonable place. One demon suggests it so as to make a Heaven out of Hell.
* TheUnapologetic: Satan refuses to repent since he's an arrogant whiner. He'd rather take over Hell.
* VillainousBSOD: After he first enters Eden, Satan has one and starts questioning his actions. It passes pretty quickly.
* VillainProtagonist: Much of the poem is from {{Satan}}'s point of view. Milton makes Satan's point of view so sympathetic at times that it's lead to several centuries of {{Alternative Character Interpretation}}s.
* WellIntentionedExtremist: How Satan portrays himself to the other fallen angels, though toward the end he admits to himself that he doesn't buy his own bullshit.
* YouCantFightFate: {{God}} knows exactly how all of {{Satan}}'s schemes will fall apart before he even thinks of them, and talks at length about it.
* YourPrincessIsInAnotherCastle: Satan returns to Hell expecting cheers of praise to greet his triumph over humanity, only to find he and his legions of Hell have all been turned into serpents and scorpions, and his fellow demons aren't too happy about that...
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