ABSTRACT

Paradise Regained in part depends on Milton's manipulations of two very different concepts of time and on the resulting interreactions of alternate chronologies for divine and human history. From one point of view, time is linear in its nature, and on the line are unique moments, never repeatable, when God chose to intervene in history. From another point of view, time is not linear but cyclic, always and necessarily repetitive as recurrent intervals replace one another. Milton employs linear time, since the Wilderness Temptation of Christ was a unique event, but he adds other moments to the line, some of which are unorthodox. Milton also uses repetitive time in an unusual way since his cycles spin round with enormous rapidity. The point is that linear and cyclic time schemes, divine plans and human experience, must be compatible with one another for the work of salvation to occur and for paradise to be regained. If so, then Milton's views in the poem, however idiosyncratically, approach those of the Anglican church. Indeed, the church's prayer for the Wilderness Temptation supplies a surprisingly satisfactory statement of one of Milton's meanings.

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