Paradise Lost and English Civil War.docx - Shmooping the...

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Shmooping the Connection between Paradise Lost and World History John Milton wasn't just a poet; he was a wanted man. In the 1640s a civil war was raging in England. On one side were the Royalists, a group of people that supported King Charles I (royalty, Royalists). On the other side were the Parliamentarians, the men of Parliament (think: Congress) who represented different parts of Britain. As you can probably guess, the Parliamentarians were fed up with their king and wanted Parliament to play a more important role in English politics and government. The young John Milton was all about the Parliamentarians and wrote a lot of pamphlets supporting their positions. In one very famous pamphlet, he actually defended Parliament's right to behead the king should the king be found inadequate. According to Milton, the king exists to serve the people and Parliament; if he doesn't fulfill his end of the bargain, they should be allowed to kill him. As it turns out, Charles I didn't fulfill his end of the bargain and literally lost his head in 1649. There was no king until 1660. At that time, Parliament realized things weren't working out so well, so they decided to bring back Charles's exiled son, Charles II , and make him king. The return of Charles II from exile to assume the English throne is called the Restoration, because the English monarchy was restored. As you might expect, Charles II wasn't too happy about his dad's death and he executed many of those responsible. While Milton wasn't directly involved in the beheading, he was still a wanted man. He spent some time behind bars, and almost found his way to the chopping block, but, thankfully, he was eventually pardoned with the help of influential friends like fellow poet Andrew Marvell . By this time Milton was totally blind as well, and the thing for which he passionately fought (a better English government) was in ruins. In many ways, he was in the perfect position to write a poem about the loss of Paradise, seeing as how his own aspirations for a brand new government had gone up in smoke. People have often commented on
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