Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid stand as the models of the classical epic traditions in the Western literature. And despite the fact that these poems were written in “pagan” cultures, these classical works have an inestimable power on future literary works, particularly during the Renaissance culture. In fact, they directly influenced some of the greatest enduring works of those times, like Dante’s Divine Comedy and Milton’s Paradise Lost; these later works would not have been possible without the guiding influence of Homer and Virgil. At the center of the classic’s lasting power is its unique role in determining the history of culture. This paper looks at the influence of Homer’s Iliad on Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Paradise Lost is an epic, the grand epic poem in English. Milton intentionally endeavors to write what for him and countless other poets is accepted as the utmost test to the poetic genius and which he believed if he succeeded would make him equal to the classical great poets particularly Homer.
“A long narrative poem presenting characters of high position in a series of adventures which form an organic whole through their relation to a central figure of heroic proportions and through their development of episodes important to the development of a nation or race.” (Thrall and Hibbard 294)
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