by John Milton
Paradise Lost Innocence Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Book Number, Line Number
"Flours of all hue, and without thorn the rose" (4.256)
One mark of the purity and innocence of Paradise is the fact that the rose is "without thorn." Notice, however, that the only way Milton (and, by extension, his readers) can conceive of the rose is in terms of its one thorn (even if just to say that it doesn't have one). It is almost as if the fallen version of the rose is the only one we can ever know.
"Nor those mysterious parts were then concealed:
Then was not guilty shame, dishonest shame
Of nature's works, honor dishonorable" (4.312-14)
Milton reminds us that in Paradise Adam and Eve walked around naked, but he also seems to criticize his own, contemporary cultural practices, referring to them as "dishonest shame […] honor dishonorable." Does Milton think people should walk around naked? Not really, but he implies that the fuss made about "mysterious parts" is misguided.
"And should I at your harmless innocence
Melt, as I do" (4.388-9)
Even the hard-hearted Satan cannot help "melting" at the sight of pure, "harmless innocence." It seems that Satan is almost a figure for the reader, at least in the fact that he has a strong, emotional reaction to the sight of "harmless innocence." But he's still Satan; does that mean we shouldn't "melt" at the sight and that we should respond in some other way that is different from Satan's?