On Tuesday, November 27th 2012, Bilkent ELIT graduate Ezgi Kıraçlı (2001) delivered a talk on John Milton's epic Paradise Lost as part of the ELIT 355 Major Writers of the Renaissance class. There were about twenty students in the room (T268) and our teachers Assist Prof Dr Patrick Hart and Dr Gül Kurtuluş were also present; as well as Kıraçlı's advisor, Dr Peter Starr, who have taught some of the students World Mythology and Appreciation of Literature in their freshman and sophomore years.
Kıraçlı's talk is entitled “Paradise Lost: The Metaphorical Mind of John Milton,” and the idea that the Satan's state of mind in Milton's work show similarities between Milton's was of central importance to her argument. Kıraçlı started her speech by giving substantial historical background information about Paradise Lost, explaining the great influence of 17th century English politics on the work.
According to Kıraçlı, the Satan embodies Milton's critique of the monarch and the monarchy. She says that the work implies it is better to rule in hell rather than to serve in heaven. She also adds that Satan does not act like a tyrant, but that the King of Heaven does. Therefore, the Satan thinks the people in heaven accepts subjection and are bewitched by all kinds of superstitions and idolatry. At this point, Kıraçlı adds that this matches with Milton's view of idolatry: he denounces it.
I think Kıraçlı successfully summarizes such an extensive work in one class hour. I respect her argument that Milton in a way describes his ideal society by favoring the constitutional parliament model and the freedom of speech in the hell, and that the King should share his power. Nevertheless, I would appreciate what kinds of reactions Paradise Lost got when once it was published, and what is its significance in the English Renaissance (if there was any English Renaissance, since we have shown by our instructor Assistant Prof Dr Patrick Hart that there are controversies about that describing this era as Renaissance can be problematic) period, as is the case in some others.
İpek Çakaloz (ELIT III)