Research Library

Part of the Edifice Project involves making the best of student writing and thought available to future classes.  Writing assignments will be designed specifically to draw upon this existing research library formed by the students of previous years, overlapping their work without repeating it.  The links below will lead to a library of papers based on class and subject.  I have edited these papers for minor spelling and grammatical errors and standardized their citations of Milton’s poetry and prose.

In-page Menu:

Milton and Patriarchy
Milton and Gender
Milton’s Holy Spirit
Milton and Fanfiction
Milton’s Jesus
Milton and Poetry
Milton and Women
Milton and Reason
Milton’s Satan
Fate and Free Will
Milton’s God
Parents and Children
Adam and Eve, Men and Women
Good and Evil

Milton and Patriarchy: Spring 2023

A Household on Shaky Ground: Adam, Eve, and an Undefined Household, Kade Adcox
Abstract: The relationship between Adam and Eve is…complicated, and it’s only further complicated when looking at how they each view their relationship before and after the fall. Adam views Eve as an equal, yet Eve sees herself as below Adam. Then, they disobey God; as they fall from grace, their prelapsarian perceptions become their postlapsarian punishments.

God’s Failure as the Ultimate Patriarch in Paradise Lost, Abby Armstrong
Abstract: This paper presents evidence for the argument that Milton’s presentation of God as a failed patriarch serves as a critique to the patriarchal system. The argument focuses on Adam and Eve’s ignorance, the information they were presented with along with their interpretations of said information, and God’s role as a patriarch and judge of the law.

Moses as Patriarch: An Unlikely Model, Grayson Cole
Abstract: This essay seeks to establish Moses as a successful patriarch and as a model for other mortals to follow, as his story, which includes his interaction with subordinates, use of reason, obedience to authority and mercy, follow God’s (and the Godhead’s) example and expectations of the patriarchy.

Self-sacrifice as the Balancing Factor in Patriarchy, Ana Giron
Abstract: This paper argues that patriarchy does not itself push one towards damnation and corruption, but only does so when self-sacrifice is not a central aspect of it patriarchy fails. Following the example of the Father’s immediate household of Him and the Son, we see that selflessness is the necessary balancing factor that holds patriarchy together. I argue that is due to an unwillingness to be self-sacrificial that characters fall, not merely because of the patriarchal structure.

Patriarchy in Milton’s Eden and Beyond, Sarah Teague
Abstract: This paper discusses patriarchs and their households in Milton’s Paradise Lost. What are the roles of a patriarch? What makes a successful one? Did Adam fail as a patriarch and ultimately cause the Fall of Man? What do patriarchal relationships look like now? And how does reason and free will complicate all of this? This paper addresses all those questions and more and argues that the patriarchy was not flawed before the fall, did not cause the fall, but is broken now and will consistently fail.

Milton and Gender: Spring 2022

Domestic Adam: How a Reversal of Gender Roles in Paradise Lost Caused the Fall, Tyde Lacher
Abstract: This paper explores how Adam, who initially desired an equal partner, failed to treat Eve as his inferior, provoking her to question Adam’s place over her in God’s hierarchy, ultimately leading to a dangerous reversal of the couple’s gender roles in book nine that proves the main cataclysm responsible for their fall.

To Beget or to Breed: How Adam Broke the Design before Eve Ate the Apple, and How Jesus Righted It, Alicia Pautienus
Abstract: Abstract: By design, mankind was meant reproduce asexually. Then Adam screwed it up, which made the Fall necessary. Jesus, per usual, had to fix it. Thaddeus Parker’s “Evil as Justification for Redemption” mentioned to bolster the argument. Fight me.

The Union of Gender in Angels: Oneness as Divinity, Kaitlin Seeger
Abstract: If everything derives from God, including gender, then why does the Father present as only one gender, male, and how does this answer alter our understanding of the angels’ gender presentations? This paper argues that, as divine metaphysical beings, the angels possess both genders and are a union of the roles assigned to them, presenting these masculine and feminine aspects as either dominant or secondary, external or internal.

Milton’s Holy Spirit: Spring 2021

Note: The Spring 2021 semester took place during the ongoing pandemic, with class conducted online.

Urania: Heavenly Spirit or The Heavenly Spirit?, Kara Adams
Abstract: This essay argues that Urania, the “heavenly spirit” Milton invokes throughout Paradise Lost, is a representative of the Holy Spirit. The argument is largely based on the language Milton uses when describing Urania in Book 7, as well as the nature of Urania’s actions throughout the poem and the similarities between how she and the Holy Spirit function.

The Devil on One Shoulder: Satan, Humanity, and the Holy Spirit, Connor Bloem
Abstract: This paper seeks to explain the oppositional relationship that exists between Satan and the Holy Spirit as beings who influence the actions and values of their subjects. The methods of exerting influence and motivations of these two beings throughout Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained are compared and contrasted in order to better understand their respective roles in relation to both God and one another. Ultimately, it is argued that Satan, through his reliance on reason as a means of opposing God’s will, plays the part of a hypothetical “Unholy Spirit” when viewed in relation to the faith reliant Holy Spirit working in accordance with God’s will.

The Urania Connection: The Christian Muse Excised from the Classics, Ethan Hurst
Abstract: Milton employs the holy muse Urania as the internal inspiration for Paradise Lost, but her pres-ence in the poem is at best ambiguous and at worst confusing. What does Urania represent? In this essay, I argue that Urania is a reflection of the Holy Spirit and a further reflection of the trini-tarian belief system that Milton may or may not have supported.

The Holy Spirit in Paradise Lost, Robert Smith
Abstract: This essay attempts to show how the Holy Spirit is represented in Paradise Lost, and the way in which the Spirit works through Milton. I argue that the various spirits Milton invokes throughout the poem are all the Holy Spirit and that the Spirit works through Milton on the poem itself. I make the point that Milton’s ability to create this poem comes from the gifts given to him by the Holy Spirit to serve God’s purposes in spreading the truth.

Star Spirits, Mercedes Taliancich
Abstract: This paper explores how the spirit whom Milton repeatedly refers to as Urania could actually be serving as a metaphor for the Holy Spirit. In addition to the use of language highly indicative of the Holy Spirit, Milton utilizes Urania’s position as the muse of astronomy to better convey his ideas regarding the abstract and expansive nature of the Holy Spirit as well as its function as a spiritual guide, source of inspiration, and messenger of God. Through Adam’s contemplation of the mechanics of the universe, he is also able to express the idea that the Holy Spirit is not able to be wholly understood by mankind.

The Angel, The Spirit, and The Formation of Community in Paradise Lost, Emily Wallace
Abstract: This paper deals with the community-building power of the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit acts in relation to the children of Israel in Book 12 of Paradise Lost. Drawing from Milton’s poem as well as Lauren Alexander’s paper, “The Actions of Good and Evil,” the necessity of the Spirit will be discussed regarding humanity’s inability to live in communion with God in a fallen world. The figure of the Angel that travels alongside the Israelites during their exodus will be analyzed as being the personification of the Holy Spirit accomplishing the function of guiding and maintaining the community.

Similarities Between the Holy Spirit and Satan’s Method of Influence, Makala Worrell
Abstract: This essay contains the comparison of the Holy Spirit and Satan’s similar ways to influence beings as well as how different their separate purposes are. This essay will investigate Milton’s spirit versus Satan as the anti-spirit and the similar ways in which they impact humankind, while showcasing the different viewpoints that they each represent. I pull from Paradise Lost, The Bible, and references to a previous research paper, and form my opinion based upon these texts.

Milton and Fanfiction: Spring 2020

Note: the Spring 2020 semester was disrupted by COVID-19. As a result, the final essay became optional, which is why there were fewer submissions this year.

Milton’s Gift of Autonomy, Marie Burns
Abstract: This essay delves into why Milton chose to tell Eve’s side of the story of The Fall in Paradise Lost in order to relieve some of the blame she has been shouldering for centuries. The essay looks at the influence of the male characters’ masculinity and control of Eve, Milton’s gift of narration to Eve, and Eve’s characterization in regard to her decision to eat the fruit and cause The Fall. Together, the analysis provides insight as to how and why Eve made her decision to eat the fruit.

Satan the Son: A Filial Ship, Jacob Camden
Abstract: This paper discusses Satan in Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained as the Father’s son, emphasizing his filial jealousy and rebelliousness and ultimately tackling the question of his redeemability through a comparison with the prodigal son. By fleshing out Satan’s motives and role and in particular by addressing his redeemability, this paper hopes to humanize Satan and offer a way to comprehend him, in line with Milton’s mission to get us somewhere toward understanding “the ways of God.”

Satan and The Temptations, Kaeley DeLuca
Abstract: This paper analyzes the degree of influence Satan’s temptations have on both Jesus and Eve. This paper compares Eve’s disobedience in Paradise Lost to Jesus’s obedience in Paradise Regained and further discusses whether Milton’s God gave humans free will, or predetermined their original sin. It investigates the parallel between Eve’s decisions and eventual fall to temptation, and Jesus’s actions and his salvation of humanity. Conclusively, this paper asserts that Eve and Jesus represent the opposite ends of the spectrum of humanity.

Milton’s Jesus: Spring 2019

Two Forces, Both Alike in Divinity, Rachel Hanby
Abstract: This paper highlights Milton’s characterization of Satan and how it relates to our understanding of Jesus. In this analysis, the motivations and personality of these two characters reveal a greater struggle: a battle between good and evil. Through Satan and Jesus, readers can understand what qualities Milton defines as “good” and “evil.” Within this framework, Milton crafts a narrative of redemption entirely reliant on two opposing figures.

The Will and the Good, Jeremy Lindlan
Abstract: This essay seeks to establish an understanding of the Son in Paradise Lost through his relationship with Satan at specific, parallel moments of apparent ‘pause.’ Both characters are inextricably linked to this essay’s definitions of ‘Good and Evil’ in their respective adherence to the Father’s will. Ultimately, the Son is argued to be the epitome of Goodness and Satan the epitome of Evilness; both their examples have implications upon the conduct of the Christian individual in relation to the Father’s moral system.

Son and Satan: Hero and Epic Hero Compared, Leslie Mann
Abstract: This paper deals with the characterization of both Satan and the Son as heroes. Looking into both of their actions and characteristics, it is shown that Satan is an epic hero while the Son is a true hero. Milton exemplifies these heroes as foils of one another.

A Comparative Analysis of Satan and the Son as Justification of God’s Character, Keerthana Manoj
Abstract: This paper examines parallel moments between Satan and the Son in Paradise Lost, and how subtle differences in those moments highlight the Son’s nobility and divinity. It argues that the Son serves as an intermediary in understanding God, so understanding the Son through Satan ultimately justifies the ways of the Father.

Fighting for Dependence, Tazi Buchholz
Abstract: This paper explores the supposed inaction of the Son, and later Jesus, both in Heaven and on Earth as the ultimate form of strength through his faith in the Father’s will. His character has been contrasted with Satan, who appears more heroic with his independent action, but who Milton marks for failure through the larger implications of both Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. It covers the parallel nature of the Son and Satan’s characters through Paradise Lost before tackling the difference in character that arises in Paradise Regained upon the manifestation of the Son as Jesus. Ultimately, this paper argues that the Son’s action in both poems comes from his consistent choice to glorify the Father and trust in His will, though it does not appear to be explored in great detail on the page.

The Complexity of Balance, Emma Vujaklija
Abstract: This paper explores the Son and Satan, the stereotypical examples of good and evil, and how they stray from their known roles in Paradise Lost. It argues that good and evil cannot be purely separated into two beings and that everyone has some of each inside of them.

To See Thy Face: Love and Leadership in a New Paradise, Wiley Elebash
Abstract: This essay argues that, though the Son in Paradise Lost is mostly untried, his form of prayer establishes him as the inchoate definition of perfect agape love not to be completed until Jesus of Paradise Regained charters a new leadership on Earth. Moreover, John Milton’s contrast of the nature of Adam and Eve’s prelapsarian eros with the Son’s perfect agape in Paradise Lost show that the first family’s foundational fissures in the expression of love through prayer ultimately leads to their fall, rather than solely Satan’s temptation. For greater understanding of the Son’s character and his promulgation of the new covenant’s regime, this argument looks to the Pauline definition of love and Milton’s allusions to his own previous works within both epics.

Milton and Poetry: Spring 2018

Power in the Poetry: The Poetic Differences Between God and Satan’s Speech, Hannah Brawley
Abstract: This essay explores the power dynamic between God and Satan through Milton’s poetic detail. Although God and Satan are paralleled in Books 2 and 3, the poetics of their language reveal the power disparity between them; furthermore, this disparity elucidates Milton’s challenge against the conventional protagonist and antagonist to reveal that God has no counterpart.

Paradise Lost and Human Nature,” Tim Derrington
Abstract: This paper argues that, while God may represent the highest form of beauty, Milton presents Adam’s aspiration to grasp at that beauty as the central element of Paradise Lost even though the human Adam must ultimately fail.

Eve’s Transformation as Examined Through Satan, Hannah Dillashaw
Abstract: Through a thorough examination of the characters’ dialogue and the poetic elements that comprise it, this paper argues that readers can physically see Eve decide to fall in both her words and the written form of the poem as it shifts from something that is distinctively Eve’s into a dialogue that is nearly identical to that of Satan.

Paradise Lost: Definitions,” Reed Gossard
Abstract: This paper attempts, by close examination of the character of Satan, his diction, and his philosophy as revealed by his encounter with other characters, to explore certain themes of Paradise Lost; especially the theme of free will under the binary of good and evil and the greater message Milton may have alluded to through his character’s exploration of this theme.

“Poetic Beauty as an Aesthetic and a Tool in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Brittany Johnson
Abstract: This paper seeks to define poetic beauty as it exists in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, while focusing on a particularly beautiful passage from book three that captures a conversation between God and the Son as they discuss free will regarding to the fall of man. Ultimately, I argue that the definition of poetic beauty is best understood (and experienced) through Milton’s masterful use of poetic devices in the text. What’s more, the beauty that Milton crafts serves not only an aesthetic purpose, but also a utilitarian one: one of Milton’s most beautiful passages also provides clear insight into the complicated Biblical doctrine of free will and God’s larger intentions for mankind in the fall.

“Milton’s Paradise Lost, Paradise Regained, and Ancillary Creation,” Jeremy Jones
Abstract: This paper attempts to justify God’s choice to allow for free will in the actions of beings lesser than himself through the exploration of said actions and God’s reaction and inaction. Poetry is discussed as a human invention, and is integral to the discussion of the Paradise Lost series, but is therefore endorsed by God through the idea of the chain of command in relation to the idea of the great chain of being.

“Weak Leadership and Opening Rationalizations,” Andrew Westholz
Abstract: This paper seeks to analyze God and Satan’s opening speeches as examples of an inner similarity towards persuasive rationalization away from blame and self-justification for their inaction and actions, respectively; and this analysis is done through the lens of various poetic and rhetorical devices. Furthermore, it will be argued that this innate similarity in characterization between God and Satan serves to fundamentally undermine God’s authority as a good, effective leader. Selections from Julia Miller’s essay “Is God Complicit in the Fall of Man?” are used to help bolster this argument.

Milton and Women: Spring 2017

“The Consequence of Independence,” Tyler Hubbert
Abstract: This essay analyzes Eve’s character and argues that her independence, coupled with the lack of recognition from those around her, leads her to eat the fruit. It argues that her curiosity and individuality lead her to grow and become increasingly more independent throughout the text; however, Adam and those around her fail to acknowledge her independence, providing Satan an opportunity to offer her this independence at the cost of falling.

“Humanity’s First Artist: Milton’s Creative Relationship to Eve in Paradise Lost,” Annemarie Lisko
Abstract: This paper examines the role of creativity in Paradise Lost. It argues that Eve’s misunderstood creative identity, and resulting isolation from the epic’s other characters, provides the pressure point by which Satan enacts the Fall. Further, it interprets Milton’s own self-characterization of his poetic process as a refiguration of Eve’s original creative actions, in which he appreciates her talent, understands her tragic situation, and presents human creativity as a double-edged sword equally capable of achieving the most painful and the most beautiful outcomes.

“How a Damaging Inferiority Complex Led to Eve’s Fall,” Anna Michaels
Abstract: This essay explores the factors that convince Eve to surrender to Satan’s temptations. The masculine characters that surround Eve in Eden perceive her to be weak, but Milton characterizes Eve as highly intellectual and ambitious. These figures control and manipulate Eve to betray her natural inclinations in order to fit into their idea of how she should behave. Dismissed as inferior to Adam, Eve falls because of the stifling restrictions put upon her due to preconceived notions about the limitations of her femininity.

“Like Father, Like Son,” Brian Pritchard
Abstract: This essay will look at Milton’s definition of a fit partner as presented in Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce and how Adam falls short of being a fit partner for Eve. Specifically, this essay will focus on Adam’s lack of understanding of communications reciprocal nature, how this misunderstanding rendered him an unfit partner by Milton’s own standards and how by being unfit help, Adam inadvertently contributed to the conditions that led to man’s fall inside Paradise Lost.

“Mysterious Ways: Eve and the Problem of Evil,” Nick Summers
Abstract: Tracing the causes of the Fall, Eve’s Temptation, and some of the more troubling events that God allows to unfold in Eden, this paper argues that the Fall is fortunate; that Eve’s decision to eat the fruit, while mistaken, is free from moral blame; and consequently that Eve, rather than being the source of our woe, is instead a paragon of humanity.

“Eve: Humanity’s First Scapegoat,” David Swayne
Abstract: While society traditionally blames Eve for the fall of man, Milton implies that God created a flawed Eve whom he designed to sin. Throughout the story, all characters treat Eve with disrespect as Adam’s “weaker” except Satan, who exploits the flaws and characteristics God instilled in her. God enables Satan’s wicked behavior and, because of his obsession with free will, damns all humanity.

Milton and Reason: Spring 2015

“Eve’s Lack of Mentor: An Analysis of Eve’s Character and the Effects of Divine Intervention,” Sarah Harden
Abstract: This essay explores how Eve’s lack of a heavenly mentor leads to the fall of humanity. Because Eve receives no recognition as an individual and lacks the divine knowledge that is often imparted to Adam, she is more susceptible to Satan’s temptation. Through the causes such as Eve’s craving for attention, Adam’s failure as a mentor, and the appeal of Satan’s temptation, Eve’s lack of a heavenly mentor leads to her sin.

“To Stand or to Fall: Responses to Temptation and Subservience in Paradise Lost,” Arwen Hutchison
Abstract: In Paradise Lost, Milton explores the nuances of temptation and subservience with four major characters: Adam, Satan, Eve and Abdiel. While Adam, Satan and Eve fall, Abdiel remains steadfast and perseveres in his adoration of God. Interestingly, although Eve falls, she bridges the gap between angel and man, heaven and hell, in her logic and action. By comparing her reasoning for standing and falling against others who are also tempted, readers gain a deeper appreciation of God’s professed wish to be worshipped freely versus the aptitude necessary to fulfil God’s request.

“Poisoned with Pride: How Adam Became Truly Like God,” Madison King
Abstract: This essay argues that, contrary to the assertion purported by God, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil makes the consumer “like God,” as Satan tells Eve, by creating in the consumer a character of pride, selfishness, disdain, and apathy. This argument is explored by examining the lines of reason employed by Adam towards Eve before and after the fall of humanity juxtaposed with the lines of reason employed by God towards Satan after his fall from Heaven.

“Three Cheers to Eve: A Defense of the Desire for Knowledge,” Madison Santana
Abstract: This essay presents Eve’s inherent distance from God and Adam as her primary tool in her development of a sense of reason and logic separate from the two. Eve’s formation as a being closer to the Earth and Creation in effect gives Eve a clearer mind to reason separate from God; her appreciation of sensuality and the physical and concrete give her a nuanced understanding of the world unlike other characters in Paradise Lost. The consequences of Eve’s actions in relation to God’s established hierarchy within Creation are discussed, as are the implications of her “transgression” on the future of logic and choice within the poem and outside of Eden.

Milton’s Satan: Spring 2014

“Milton’s Satan and Eve’s Temptation,” Tucker Godek
Abstract: The contrasts between Adam and Satan are most identifiable and compelling in their respective relationships to Eve. This paper argues that Adam is not a figure of patriarchal constraint to Eve, and that Satan offers a truer sense of restriction for Eve by exploiting the nature of her creation. Satan does not conceive of a benevolent, progressive end for Eve, while Adam has no choice but to support Eve. Satan represents a perversion of Eve’s agency and identity as a woman, while Adam acts as a force of preservation.

“Composite Satan and Heroism,” Jacquavious James
Abstract: This paper considers Satan of Paradise Lost and his actions in contrast to traditional epic hero characteristics and tragic hero characteristics, finding concordance within both. Defining the unity found therein “composite heroism”, the paper outlines the effects in terms of audience reaction and Satan’s character development.

“Falling Pawns: An Argument Against God and His Conniving Ways as Evidenced by Satan and Eve,” Mariah Lawrence
Abstract: This essay argues that Satan did not intend to bring harm to Eve by causing her fall. In fact, neither nor Satan nor Eve had the free will to intend anything. Every action they took was orchestrated by God, who planned to crush his own creation underfoot to give rise to his own glory.

“The Language of the Spirit: An Analysis of Divine Diction in Paradise Lost,” Jared Powell
Abstract: In this paper, the author analyzes the diction of God with regards to Satan, as well as Satan’s own self-descriptions, and shows that there are unexpected patterns regarding the expected evil nature of Satan. After spending some time discussing the implications of the characters’ word choice, the author also relates the issues of good and evil as debated by Satan to Milton’s argument from Areopagitica that the reader must work through such issues on an individual level instead of accepting passed down “truths.”

“Better to Reign: Satan as a Tragic Hero,” Aaron Tinker
Abstract: This essay takes a look at Satan as a tragic hero by exploring his character in relation to six fundamental conventions that defy all tragic heroes. Along with quotes from the text, and with the assistance of Lauren Alexander’s 2013 essay, “The Actions of Good and Evil,” this paper argues that Milton’s Satan is indeed the tragic hero of Paradise Lost. Therefore, this essay strives to examine issues concerning Satan’s position in the hierarchy of both Heaven and Hell, Satan’s tragic flaw, Satan’s increase in awareness, Satan’s free will, Satan’s punishment, and finally, Satan’s emotional connection to the reader.

Fate and Free Will: Spring 2013

“The Actions of Good and Evil,” Lauren Alexander
Abstract: Digs into the discussion of free will and the consequences of the actions chosen by Milton’s characters in Paradise Lost. Free will is intrinsic and gives individuals the choice to build their own character, whether that is good or evil. Faith in God is a motivating factor of good choices, but does not determine that the good choice will always be taken. Milton’s Satan and Adam are examples of actions at work and how their free will gives them the opportunity to be good or evil.

“Faulty Machinery: An Examination of Eve’s Fate as it Relates to Her Creation,” Jacob Boyd
Note: This paper mistakenly involves external research instead of reference to the course research library.
Abstract: In this essay, the author considers the problem of free will in Milton’s Paradise Lost by positing that Eve, though ultimately in control of her actions, makes a logical decision in her eating of the fruit, and causing the fall of mankind. The circumstances of her creation, conducted on God’s word, lead her to possess desires which are gratified directly by her partaking of the fruit, rendering her decision rational, despite their disobedience.

“Free Will or Willed Folly?” Callan Buck
Abstract: This essay explores the question of free will in regards to Adam and Eve’s fall. Upon closer examination, it becomes evident that God did not simply create man with the ability to fall based on free will; instead, He deliberately acted to ensure their downfall and guarantee the glorification of his one and only Son Jesus.

“The Fall of Man: Fated or Chosen?” Cayman Caven
Abstract: This paper argues that Adam and Eve have free will. They are sometimes fated to be put in certain situations, but they have the free will to decide how to act within those situations. Eve consciously chose to eat the fruit and convince Adam to eat the fruit, which led to the fall of man. This argument takes into account evidence from Paradise Lost and Maggie Espino’s paper, “Eve: Defective by Design or Disobedient by Decision?”

“Choice in Milton’s Paradise Lost: A Discussion of Adam’s Free Will,” Karrie Elpers
Abstract: This paper defines free will as the ability to choose between two or more possible options. This definition is used to argue that Adam does have free will because his personality, specifically his devotion to Eve and his curiosity, motivates his choice to eat the forbidden fruit. While God may create Adam’s personality in this way in order to cause him to eat the fruit and thereby fulfill His own design, because Adam is allowed to choose what he thinks is best, it is determined that he has free will even if he is fated to fall.

“The Restraint in Freedom in Paradise Lost,” Olivia McDermott
Abstract: Milton attempts to explain in Paradise Lost that there is true freedom only in following the ways of God, and the freedom to disobey Him can only cause pain and suffering. There is free will and fate with God, and there are also irreversible moments in history God does not allow to change.

“Fate and Free Will: The Decrees and Punishments from God,” Brett Saunders
Abstract: This essay looks at fate and free will and how the commands of God seem to either be arbitrary or have a purpose in relation to Adam, Eve, and Satan. It argues that many of the decrees and punishments made by God do have a purpose, using evidence from Paradise Lost and Julia Miller’s essay, “Is God Complicit in the Fall of man?”

Milton’s God: Spring 2012

“Humanity As Art,” Bill Caudell
Abstract: Argues God creates artistically and that humanity exists as independently of God as one of God’s artistic works, free to fall on its own.

“The Freedom of God and Man,” Clay Greene
Abstract: The author considers the question in Paradise Lost of God’s free will and justice as applied to the choices and experience of his creations and himself, clears his “justice and wisdom from all imputation,” and establishes God as the seat of unities in the poem, whereby a full understanding of him can be the measure of all other aspects of the work.

“Is God Complicit in the Fall of Man?” Julia Miller
Abstract: In this paper, the motives of God are explored in relation to the degree of responsibility He should share with Adam and Eve regarding their crime of disobedience. Quotes and summaries from Paradise Lost as well as Thaddeus Parker’s paper, Evil as Justification for Redemption, are used to argue the idea that God should share blame in the loss of Paradise.

“Milton,” Kendall Ray
Abstract: My essay is engaging with the discussion about the Father’s fault, if any, in the Fall of mankind. After exploring some other works in the research library as well as the Bible itself, I compiled this work. It is obvious that the Father is not complicit in the fall of man. No excuse of man can absolve him of his guilt.

“Milton’s God and his Eternal Providence,” Patrick Rogers
Abstract: In this paper I will attempt to prove that Milton’s God is justified in his lack of interaction with man.

Parents and Children: Spring 2011

The Tuscaloosa tornado of Spring 2011 resulted in only a single submission for the website, as final paper assignments were made optional for all students.

“The Unnecessary Fall.” Thomas Cassidey
Abstract: The Fall of man, or of any of God’s creatures is not necessary. Good and Evil exist as possibilities together in God’s creation, and several characters are able to know evil without disobeying their Father.

Adam and Eve, Men and Women: Spring 2010

“Is Free Will Damning?” Mary Elizabeth Adams
Abstract: This essay asserts that Eve is capable of making her own decisions due to free will. By using texts from Paradise Lost, I prove that it is not free will that corrupts humanity, but certain choices of the individual.

“Eve’s Defective Character,” Katelyn Carr.
Abstract: “Eve’s Defective Character” analyzes and examines the between-the-lines defense provided by John Milton for the character of Eve in his epic poem, Paradise Lost. The paper argues that, “[Eve] is imbued with a strong female curiosity and a drive to reach a level of equality with Adam, but [that] she lacks the makeup to fulfill these lofty aspirations– inherently she is nothing outside of a companion for Adam, and it’s this faulty composition that dooms her.” Outside of analyzing Paradise Lost itself, the paper considers Jeff Davis’ “On Bending,” and Kori Hensell’s “The Shifting Concept of Good and Evil in Paradise Lost” as concurring and supporting opinions.

“Eve: Defective by Design or Disobedient by Decision?” Maggie Espino
Abstract: Some readers of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost might view Eve’s character as “defective-by-design,” created with inherent flaws leading to her downfall. However, though Eve was made subordinate to Adam, she was originally made perfect. She was imbued with God-given free will that she exercises based on a rational reasoning process leading to the Fall.

“The Roles of Teacher and Student Expressed in Paradise Lost,” Ryan McHale

Abstract: “The Roles of Teacher and Student Expressed in Paradise Lost” takes the stance of Adam and Eve’s relationship as one of a student-teacher relationship by focusing on Eve’s piety as dependent on her role as a student and the authority she chooses to submit to as a student. The argument takes into account textual evidence from Milton’s Paradise Lost as well as supporting evidence from Kori Hensell’s essay “The Shifting Concept of Good and Evil in Paradise Lost.”

“Prisoners of Fate: Man’s Sudden, but Inevitable, Betrayal of God’s Instruction,” Jessica Morgan
Abstract: This paper presents the argument that in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, God, not Eve, was at fault for the Fall of mankind. It uses theories and ideas from the work itself, and also from papers on the Edifice website to try to characterize Milton’s use of predestination and free will in Paradise Lost.

“Milton’s Match Made in Paradise,” Jessica Lauren Stephenson
Abstract: In Paradise Lost, Eve is created as Adam’s inferior rather than his helpmeet. She is told to be content with her role as woman, all the while being constantly reminded that her position is not as dignified as man’s. It is Eve’s natural inferiority and search for meaning and purpose outside of her husband that will turn a match made in paradise into a sort of wrestling match for knowledge and power.

Good and Evil:  Spring 2009

(Note: Abstracts for these papers were written by students in later classes for extra credit.)

“How Good Led to Evil and Evil Created Good,” Becca Ansorge

“On Bending,” Jeff Davis
Abstract: “On Bending” offers a reading of the creation of Evil inside of Paradise Lost, taking a step by step progression of the underlying logic to explain the ways that Satan was able to become evil and tear away from the Creator’s plan. Stating that evil only exists as a bending of God’s creation, the paper argues the fall of man is inevitable, but not God’s responsibility.

“Candle in the Dark,” Troy Farsoun
Abstract: This paper analyzes the contradicting parallel of evil existing in a world ruled by a seemingly perfect and good God. It argues that good and evil naturally coexist – one cannot exist without the other. Ultimately, this paper suggests that the good/evil parallel is a necessity for mankind to choose the right path to salvation.

“The Shifting Concept of Good and Evil in Paradise Lost,” Kori Hensell

“And He saw that it was good,” Jennifer Jeffcoat
Abstract: This paper explores the reason why God would allow evil to exist within the world he created and argues that although God seems evil by creating evil beings, his intentions came from love and goodness and the desire to establish free will. By considering the operation of free will and preordination, it argues that evil is necessary if created beings are to be allowed to choose to be good.

“Evil as Justification for Redemption,” Thaddeus Parker

“Blindsided: Finding the Good in Paradise Lost,” Johnathan Speer

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