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Here is John Milton's follow-up to his epic masterpiece Paradise Lost, which dramatized the story of man's fall. The theological drama of Paradise Regained centers on Satan's temptations of Jesus Christ. Satan has returned to Pandemonium and rejoices triumphantly in the fall of mankind. He confers with the other devils about how to ensnare Jesus, and realizes that this challenge may call for new methods of deception. Meanwhile, following his baptism Jesus wanders for forty days in the wilderness, during which he does not eat. At the end of the forty days, Satan appears to Jesus disguised as an old man and tries to persuade Jesus to eat. Jesus, however, recognizes Satan for what he is and asserts his belief and patience in God's will. This first temptation sets the confrontational tone for later temptations, which grow increasingly elaborate as the stakes are raised. Time and time again Satan, growing desperate, tries to trick Jesus with his wily rhetoric, but Jesus manages to frustrate Satan's attempts. As the poem builds to its final scene of trial, Satan becomes increasingly upset over his failures—not only to trick Jesus, but to determine his true identity. This question is ours and Jesus's as well: does Jesus recognize himself as the true Son of God?
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Opening Lines (Experimental)
And Eden raised in the waste Wilderness.
And unrecorded left through many an age:
Worthy to have not remained so long unsung.
From Heaven pronounced him his beloved Son.
Destined to this, is late of woman born.
Things highest, greatest, multiplies my fear.
And what will He not do to advance his ...
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