"Worthiest to be obeyed": Right learning and pedagogy in Paradise Lost

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0009-0000-9980-5738
Slansky, Alexander, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Rush, Rebecca, AS-English (ENGL), University of Virginia

Instructors and their practices are so essential to the project of Paradise Lost that the text uses explicit instruction at essential stages of its narrative progression. As a text that is therefore not just poetic but also pedagogical in nature, Paradise Lost provides key examples through Adam and Eve, who must venture into the wider world beyond Paradise, of an education that prepares its pupils for social integration. However, because knowledge can be an instrument of both obedience and rebellion, as Milton’s opus repeatedly demonstrates, mere learning is insufficient for this end. Instead, the poem argues that instructed reason proves essential to proper learning. This, then, is the instructor’s role in a Miltonic pedagogy: to help instruct reason by serving as a preparatory guide and inuring students against the inevitable trials of their sojourn into the wider world.

MA (Master of Arts)
Paradise Lost, John Milton, pedagogy, obedience, pedagogical technique, critical thinking
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