John Milton – “Pardise Lost” Book 12 (ctd.)

Michael says that Adam is correct to abhor royal power, but the thing is, after the fall human nature is tainted and not ruled by pure reason and thus people are ready to lose their natural liberty over and over again. That’s why after some time God gives up on all mankind and decides to focus on just one nation. That is why he picks Abraham, whom now Michael can see, but Adam can’t. Michael relates to Adam his vision of Abraham leaving his home, receiving the promise of multiplying his descendants, then the story of Jacob travelling to Egypt and Israelites leaving Egypt. At this point Milton drops the strange convention of not naming people by their names. I’m sure there is some very learned explanation about it, but he just doesn’t seem to me very consistent. First he doesn’t use any names and his readers have to rely on their knowledge of the Bible to guess to whom he refers; then he describes the geographical surroundings of the Promised Land, with Michael interjecting “things by their names I call, though yet unnamed”, and then he seems to realize using place names and omitting personal names doesn’t make sense, so he starts calling people by their names as well.

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