Given that Milton has spent much more time and effort thus far in portraying Satan’s character and plight, what do you make of the portrayal of God and the goings on in heaven in the beginning of book III? What do you think are the implications of Milton’s less complex and less powerful portrayal of God? Feel free to draw in a particular moment, detail, or example.
At the beginning of Book IV, Satan reminisces about who he once was amidst a deep internal conflict before entering the Garden of Eden. Has your opinion of Satan’s character changed from Books I and II? Do you now see him as more tragic and sympathetic or is he just more evil for going along with his plan?
After having suffered defeat at the hands of God, Satan has now settled into his life as king of the underworld. What similarities and differences are revealed by the juxtaposition of God as the ruler of Heaven and Satan as the ruler of Hell? How so?
Who does Satan meet at the gates of Hell? How does he get through the gates? What does Satan end up learning from them?
Describe Satan’s character in book 1 of Paradise Lost. How is Milton’s description of him different than how you would envision Satan? Or is it the same?
Satan and his followers wage an ill-fated war against God, only to be subsequently doomed to a life of unending pain by Him. In your opinion, is Satan, in Paradise Lost, inherently evil, or is he more of an anti-hero? Could he even be considered a hero? How so?
Each of the poets has a different voice and style; how are these different from one another? How are they similar? What are some differences between these 16th and 17th century poems and poetry from previous times; what innovations have been made? How have these poets and their poetry influenced each other’s work, as well as the poetry of today?
Compare and contrast the tone of the poems between each author. What are some prevailing themes and how is nature depicted in both positive and negative ways in certain poems?
In what respects is Prospero the author of the story from within? Does he have a god complex, fueled by his ability to control the fates of those around him, or is he merely a man with power that enables him to fulfill his own sense of justice? In what ways is Prospero like or dislike a god/author figure, and is the resolution truly a just ending? What does the ending say about Shakespeare’s thoughts on happy endings?
How is Prospero’s transformation since the beginning of the story significant? Is this story postcolonial and what evidence from the last act supports you argument?