Book 1 part 1
Milton starts by talking about the Adam and Eve story from the book of Genesis. Because they ate the forbidden fruit(original Sin) and went against God's word humans suffered death for the first time. We lost our spot in paradise until Jesus comes to purify humans. Milton then invokes a muse, which brings poetic inspiration. The same muse that inspired Moses to get the Ten Commandments. Miltons Muse is the Holy Spirit. The holy spirit can accomplish more than all of the classical poets. Milton's speaker asks it to fill him with knowledge of the beginning of the world b/c the Holy spirit played a role in creating the universe. He wants this knowledge b/c he wants to show that the fall of man into death and sin is part of God's greater plan and the plan is justified
Book 1 part 2
Milton than goes into talking about the reason why Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit is in part because of the deception that the serpent caused. Milton argues that the serpent is actually Satan. The poem than joins Satan in his followers in Hell after they have been placed there after being defeated by God. Satan is with his second hand man Beelzebub. They are in a lake of fire that gives off darkness instead of light. Satan is mad but does not regret going against God. They discuss gathering again for another attack. Beelzebub now believes that they cannot overpower God. Satan does not go against Beelzebub but believes that they can change gods work from good to evil. They fly to dry land next to the flaming lake (only allowed to do this because god allowed them to loose their chains). All the devils that follow satan are fallen angels and god intends to turn their evils towards good. Satan becomes more comfortable with their situation and tells his devils "his legions" to come to the dry land. Among the notable fallen angels is Moloch, known as the god requiring human sacrifices. Also Belial the lewd and lustful god. Satan continues to convince his devils that their delight will come from doing evil not good. Not easy for Satan to continue his determination because that just witnessed the power of god. Satan notes that he rather be a king in hell than a servant in heaven. Satan believes his mind is as god and powerful as gods. Satan believes the mind can make a heaven into hell or hell into heaven. Satan gets his followers together to discuss if another war is a good idea. His legions begin digging and uncover gold and minerals. they create a temple and call it Pandemonium (which means "all the devils" in greek). Hold a meeting of hundreds of thousands of demonic troops
Satan begins the debate in Pandemonium saying that heaven is not yet lost. And that the next battle will be better of the fallen angels can rise and work together. Moloch is the next speaker who is pro-war. He fought during the first war and was one of the best fighters and they will fight the next war with weapons from hell. They reason that have nothing to loose during the attack because nothing can be worse than hell even if it means their destruction. Belial contradicts Moloch because he believes that god has not released his full punishment upon them yet. And the punishment might be worse if they go to war again. God already freed them from the fiery lake therefore one day he might forgive them. And its better if they just live with what they have now. Although he is saying this he does not truly advocate peace. Uses his intelligence and excuses to not go to war. Mammon speaks next and refuses to ever bow down to god again. He prefers to go on peacefully and encourages the devils to be productive and industrious in hell. If they work hard they create their own kingdom in hell to mimic heaven. This is met with support from the rest of the fallen angels. Then Beelzebub begins to speak, and prefers freedom as well. He says there is a new world that is going to be created filled with a race called man. God will favor man more than the angels. Beelzebub will seek revenge through corrupting and destroying this new race. Satan volunteers to scout this new world. Devils break into groups to discuss the debate. While satan flies to find the gates into hell. he discovers there are actually 9 gates three each of iron, brass, and adamantine. two strange shapes guard the front. One shape is a woman but the waste down is a serpent with a pack of dogs standing around. She explains who they are and says that they are satins own offspring. When Satan was an angel she came out of his head and was named sin. Satan impregnated her and gave birth to a son named death. Death raped his mother sin and gave birth to the dogs that torment her. sin and death now guard the gates of hell and hold its keys. Satan forgot about this and tells them about the plot. After Satan explains the plot against god to sin and death, they are eager to help. Sin unlocks the gates which open to dark abyss which is night. Satan flies out and begins to fall until he is caught by a cloud of fire. He is carried on a cloud toward a great noise, which is chaos the ruler of the abyss. Chaos is joined by night, confusion, and discord. Satan explains his plot against god to chaos. Chaos agrees to point the way to where earth was recently created and they will build a bridge for the evil spirits to travel on to tempt mortals
address milton's second muse, "holy light". Milton asks that the light can fill him with divine knowledge to share with his readers. God has been watching all the events that are going on in hell with his son sitting in his right hand. He sees satan flying towards the earth and the parents of human kind. God can see everything, the past, the present, and the future. He sees that man will fall, because of their own fault because god gave them free will. god determines he will act upon what man has done with love and mercy. Gods son appreciates the love that god is showing but also does not understand how to show mercy without achieving justice. God says he needs a suitable sacrifice. Someone has to be willing to die for mans sins. The son immediately offers himself. He will become mortal so god can yield to death and conquer hell. God is overjoyed by his sons decision. It is good to sacrifice his son for the salvation of the human race, in order for justice and mercy to be served. Those who have faith in the son of god will be saved the ones who don't will be doomed to hell. The angels soon thereafter break out into song. The poem then returns to Satan. he lands on earth in what is now china. There are not any living things there yet and nothing that will distract mind from god. Satan sees a large gate in the distance. the gate is the entrance to god which at that time was visible from earth. When satan gets a better view he sees gods creation. he sees an angel on a hill. He changes into a cherub(low ranking angel). he recognizes one of the angels as Archangel Uriel. Satan addresses him and said he just came down from heaven. Archangel is please that he is showing interest and asks for the way to paradise. Satan goes off with evil intentions.
Satan lands on mount Niphates, which is located just north of paradise. Seeing the beauty and innocence of earth, he is reminded of what he once was. He wonders if he could be forgiven if he repented. Satan wants to ask for forgiveness but if he went to heaven he could not bear to bow down to god. His confession would be false. Knowing he could not be forgiven/redemption/salvation he continues on his journey to commit sin and evil. During the debate in his head he revealed his devilish nature. He was being observed by Uriel. Uriel concludes he could not be a cherub. Satan closes in on Eden which is surrounded by a thicket wall. Satan sees great trees including the tree of life and the forbidden tree of knowledge. Satan perches in the tree of life like a sort of bird. He notices two creatures walking upright among the many animals. They walk naked and without shame. Satan's pain and envy intensifies after seeing all this beauty. Satan could have loved them but instead he choses to destroy them out of revenge of his damnation. He continues to watch them and the man Adam speaks. He tells Eve not to complain about the work since god has given them so much. They only have one constraint and that is to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. When Eve was first placed there she found a river. She followed the river and followed it to a lake where she saw her image. She was told she was going to be the mother of humankind. As Satan watches Adam and Eve he sees his opportunity. He thought since god gave them one rule to follow why not try to get them to break it. Satan leaves to learn more from the angels. Meanwhile, Archangel Uriel meets with Archangel Gabriel at the gates of Eden and tells him about the shape changing spirit he saw. They suspect it might be one of the fallen ones. Gabriel promises that if it is in the garden, they will find it by the morning. Adam and Eve go to their leafy bower, praising God and each other for their blissful life, and after a short prayer, they lie together—making love without sin, because lust had not yet tainted their natures. At night Gabriel sends search parties into the garden. Two angels find satan disguised as a toad whispering in the ear of Eve as she sleeps. They bring him before Gabriel and demand why he is in paradise. Satan acts innocence b/c they have no proof he was doing wrong. He knows satan is a liar and threatens to drag him back to hell. Satan prepares to fight after the threat. The two square of to battle until they see a sign from heaven. in the sky there was a pair of golden scales and stops them. Satan recognizes it as a sign that he could not win and flies off.