Milton tells us in Paradise lost Book 1 his aim was to attempt, things unattempted yet in prose or verse. But this does not mean that he has discarded the epic tradition. He has strictly followed the tradition of epic.
An epic is a long narrative poem divided into twelve books. Paradise lost is also a long poem divided into twelve books. Thus Milton has followed the tradition of great epic poet.
Its appeal Cosmic and Universal
The subject of an epic is universal and taken from the legend and history of the country concerned. Homer and Virgil and other epic poets have taken their subjects from the history and legend of their country. Milton on the contrary has taken his subject from scriptures (Bible). He deals not with the history of any one nation but the history mankind itself. Its subject is of interest, not to any one nation but to all mankind. Milton’s epic is not merely national but universal in its appeal. In its range and sweep, it transcends the very bounds of human imagination.
Heroic Action
The epic poet narrates the adventures and war-like exploits of the hero of his epic, and his fate, victory or defeat is of significance. In Paradise Lost, there is enough of movement, action and war. For example, there is a war in heaven resulting in the overthrow of Satan and his followers. Thus in book1 Satan flies from the lake of fire to the solid land, then he calls his followers there, myriads of banners are unfurled forests of spears are risen up, drums and trumpets are sounded and shouts of wars are raised. The pandemonium is built, a great conference is held, war-like speeches are made and it is resolved that they would wage war against the Almighty.
Religious and Scriptural theme
However the real action of the epic consists of war between good and evil, with an ultimate triumph of the good and the defeat of the evil, and evil to good from hell to heaven and vice versa. Virtue suffering patience and martyrdom are shown.
Milton’s theme is religious and scriptural, while his form is classical. In this way he has transformed the classical, secular epic into a theological one. Herein lies Milton originality and his universal appeal.
The Roll of Supernatural
In the classical epic there is supernatural intervention at crucial moments in the action. God and goddess watch over the fate of human actors and come to the help of the hero, when he is in trouble. Milton’s characters are both human and superhuman. There are Satan and his followers and the son of God the angels and the messengers of God. As a matter of fact there are only two human characters___ Adam and Eve. There is paucity of human character.

The Epic Manner
Contrary to the tradition of the classical epics, Milton plunks straight into the middle of the story, instead of beginning. Milton begins the story very dramatically, i.e. at the most vital part of the story, the awakening of Satan from grogginess and holds conference in pandemonium.

Invocation To The Muse
In the manner of the epic poets, Milton’s beginning is also with the invocation to the muse and the statement of the theme. Milton firstly invokes urania (the heavenly muse) and after that the holy spirit of God.
Grandeur and sublimity are the key notes of an epic and Paradise Lost is more grand and sublime than any other epic. This grandeur arises from the essentially moral nature of his theme. Thus in writing Paradise Lost Milton has not only followed but also enriched and transformed the tradition. It is a curious example of the fusion of tradition and individual talent.

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