Milton famously claims that in Paradise Lost he will “assert eternal providence, / And justify the ways of God to men.” Does he succeed? This article argues that Milton's epic, by the criteria of Immanuel Kant, for whom Milton was an immensely influential predecessor, inevitably fails as a philosophical theodicy. On the other hand, the article argues that Paradise Lost succeeds as a narrative of a fall that readers can experience as free rather than determined, and moreover that it succeeds as an example of what Kant termed “authentic theodicy.”

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