This study examines the themes of alchemy and transformation in Paradise Lost and seventeenth-century thought. Beginning with an overview of the historical roots of alchemy, this study analyzes the ancient, underlying philosophical concepts that marital union produces the birth of the soul and that destruction is necessary for this birth. Alchemical references identified in Paradise Lost include animal lore and direct alchemical images, which demonstrate Milton’s knowledge of alchemy and his deliberate use of the alchemical metaphor. These themes support the proposal that Milton, a Christian humanist, uses alchemy as a metaphor described in this study as “divine alchemy,” which begins with his belief that Christians, inheriting original sin, must submit themselves to a transformative process similar to transmutation to restore right reason and, ultimately, achieve salvation.
|Commitee:||Blakemore, Steven, Leeds, John|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 51/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||British and Irish literature|
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