John Milton – “Paradise Lost” Book 11 (ctd.)

The next vision is that of people having a lot of good time and illicit sex, and only one just man trying to admonish them. When they don’t listen to him, he goes away and builds an ark, after which God sends the flood and drowns all the wicked. Adam is himself in floods of tears when he sees it and he wishes he had never seen it, as he is sure it means the doom for all his descendants, because what chance does Noe have in his tiny boat? Michael explains to him that the drowned people are those whom he saw earlier fighting. Now, after the war, the winners became too comfortable with their success, while the losers cooled in their religious zeal, finding that God was of no help to them and deciding to focus on making the best lives for themselves under the circumstances. (The Helpful Footnote thinks it might be Milton commenting upon his fellow Puritans’ loss of revolutionary zeal after the death of Cromwell and welcoming the Restoration.) But Adam should not lose heart, because the sole just man with his family are going to be saved.

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