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Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost


by John Milton

Paradise Lost Innocence Quotes

How we cite our quotes: Book Number, Line Number

Quote #4

"O innocence
Deserving Paradise! If ever, then,
Then had the Sons of God excuse to have been
Enamored at that sight" (5.445-8)

This passage recalls 4.388-9, where Satan "melts" at the sight of innocence. Milton suggests something similar here, suggesting that one cannot help being "enamored" with the sight of innocence. The "Sons of God" refers to a race of lustful men from Genesis 6, which makes this passage strange because it sounds like Milton is saying it was OK for them to be obsessed with her.

Quote #5

"and now
Led on, yet sinless, with desire to know
What nearer might concern him" (7.60-2)

Milton reminds us that Adam is still innocent, except he doesn't say "innocent" but rather "yet sinless." Why conceive of Adam's innocence in terms of sin? As with the rose passage discussed above, it seems as though the only way Milton (and we his readers) can conceive of the innocent, pre-fallen world is through the sinful lens of the fallen world.

Quote #6

"But they, or under ground, or circuit wide
With serpent error wand'ring, found their way,
And on the washy ooze deep channels wore" (7.301-3)

Even though Milton describes the primordial waters as "wand'ring" with "serpent error," we aren't supposed to read anything sinful into them. This is the pre-fallen world, and words like "serpent," "error," and "wand'ring" have not yet accrued their negative (i.e., fallen) connotations yet. This is yet another example of Milton's attempt to recreate an innocent universe by purging negative words of their negativity.

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