“It is through a man’s acts that one shall know him.” (Peter Lang, 2000). Judith Butler writes that “identity is performative”, alerting us to the fact that identity can be seen as a series of masks that we present to the exterior world, which hide the self within. Discuss the twofold public and private nature of personal identity in one or more of the texts we have read.”
“What lies behind us and what lies before us – are small matters compared to what lies within us,”- these words of great American poet, Waldo Emerson should be always kept in mind by today’s generations, because today’s society is spending too much thinking about its mistakes, which were made in the past, or building unrealistic future dreams. People are more likely to look back at the years that have already gone. They regret and suffer from mistakes they are not able to correct. However, these people forget about their present – who they are today, and what they are doing right now. Present is much more important: your present inner world, your present mood or your present actions. However, your past teaches you, it gives you a precious experience in order to become smarter and repeat your faults again. People often live by hiding their selves deep inside, never showing their real nature.
So, the following question arises: “if these individuals never show who they are, then how can we understand what their personality is like?” This issue can be solved by reading complicated psychological books and studies on the interpretation of body’s language or hidden people’s motives, however, there is much more effective and accurate method, which is used by the majority of world’s population. To understand person’s inner world one should observe this person’s behavior in the society, his or her reactions in different situations. The way a person acts on public helps to understand his or her way of thinking, psychology. No doubt, placing a person into problematic situation and watching the way he or she copes with it, will reveal the most hidden parts of his inner nature.
There is a statement, that each of us has a great number of masks, which we present to the external world in various situations. This statement basically refers to the fact that the nature of a person is two folded and he or she rarely shows real nature in the public. These words are rather controversial and can be a matter of debate, and to find out whether it can be considered as right or wrong “Lost Paradise” of Millton will be studied in this paper.
The Role of Bible
“The story is as old as creation. Adam and Eve are chased from the Garden of Eden. The world will never be the same. And yet, banished to the edge of paradise, the forlorn poet pines for yesterday’s universe. So John Milton wrote his epic, Paradise Lost,-” these words best introduce this masterpiece of Milton ( Rake, 2003, p.246)
It should be remarked that Bible, including the New and the Old Testament, has a significant impact on this particular writing and most of his works: “Milton’s poetry is consistently rooted in the Bible, not by way of static allusion but in such a way as to involve interaction or carryover between the two texts”(Park, 2000, p.1). To be more precise, Bible is a source of “Lost Paradise”, and also serves as a model of his techniques and style. Whether this is a positive or negative impact still remains a matter of debate, however many writers of that time have written their masterpieces on the basis of Bible, its texts.
Undoubtedly, the Bible is the first book, which was devoted to the person, discovering person’s good and bad sides, advising directly or indirectly models of behavior in certain situations. Until nowadays there is no similar guide to our life created. People tend to live properly, though the luxury of today’s opportunity bacons sins made by people. Bible is a book that went through so many centuries, so many times and nations, teaching God’s creations how to live. And, still, Bible remains the main guide and example of a perfect serving to God. So, the fact that this writing is based on the texts of Bible will only help research deeper the subject of this paper- person.
“Paradise Lost” is a masterpiece of Milton which main idea lies in salvation. This story is about the fall of man, Adam, and any of us can be associated with this man and his sin. Adam has a two fold nature too in spite of the fact that he is the first man: his soul is pure, he has no bad intentions; however, when he committed the first sin and was severely punished for that. The same situation takes place in the society, when those people who do not have bad intentions suddenly change their mask of decent citizens to the mask of violence and cruelty. Only one step towards sin made Adam fall deep from the Heaven, as well as it changed the lives of millions of people.
Analyzing this writing, it can be also noted that the issue of people changing the light and pure road of staying with God to the road of the darkness and sin can be found throughout the history of humanity. The fall of Adam can be compared with Elizabethan traditions, when people refused to live according to the Bible, falling even deeper than the first man.
According to Milton, the more sin person is committing the closer he or she approaches the Satan, the greatest evil in the world. Today every culture possesses certain beliefs and understanding of God and Satan, goodness and evil, however, less and less these values are implemented in real life. Many people perceive the Bible not like a holy book with essential values, but as a book with controversial advice.
So, maybe, the cause of two fold nature of individual lies in the necessity to behave certain way in the society; however this necessity disappears when this person is not in public and can not be judged by surrounding people.
Another aspect, which is reflected in “Lost Paradise”, is the idea that Adam and Eve have a chance for repentance. It is shown, that they have committed a great sin and have paid for this sin, however the first people deserved the repentance. This theory can be applied in today’s world- all people are changing and on their way of evolution they can make mistakes or sin. However, ever person deserves the second chance of turning to the right way and staying on it as long as possible.
In terms of this writing it can be concluded that every person should stay sincere and true to God and to him/herself on the first place. There is no need to wear masks trying to hide the real nature, because God will see the real face and the real intentions in spite of the untruthful words, just like He saw the sin of Adam and Eve.
“Paradise Lost” title does not reflect fully the end of the writing, because Adam and Eve have received their own paradise, although they are not allowed to enter the saint Garden any more, their inner world is already their “garden” and “paradise”.
This conclusion in the writing is very important for those who have sinned a lot and think that there is no way of gaining repentance or forgiveness. They feel totally devastated for the fact that their soul will never be saved. They consider themselves to be malicious sinners and do not even try to gain repentance. So these people give up trying to change their lives and commit more and more mistakes. However the further they go the harder it is to turn back on the way to the darkness. This is one of the most significant mistakes in our society and nevertheless the most common. Each person has a rich inner world, which can become the paradise or, on the contrary, the hell. Milton described angels in light and devils by shadowy darkness. As so, people are free to choose their path: weather to stick to Satan or open their hearts to light, carried by God. However dreadful it may sound, people sinned, they do now, and, no doubt, will continue doing it in the future. Partially because of the easiness of Satan’s philosophy, on the other hand because a person has a two folded nature and will forever remain so. People always have a choice which sometimes makes their life complicated and confused. But, anyway, the only thing remains unchangeable: paradise in the soul can be created through life with sincerity to yourself and good attitude towards the other people.
Miner, William Moeck, and Steven Jablonski, eds. Paradise Lost, 1668-1968: Three Centuries of Commentary. Cranbury, NJ: Associated University Presses, 2004.
Park, Youngwon. Milton and Isaiah: A Journey through the Drama of Salvation in Paradise Lost. New York: Peter Lang, 2000.
Rake, Timothy. “Keeper of the Keys : Paradise Lost?.” World and I Dec. 2003: 246.