Water Imagery in Paradise Lost

Date of Graduation

Fall 1975


Master of Arts in English



Committee Chair

Robert Henigan


Milton brilliantly uses water imagery throughout Paradise Lost to present an orderly poem which portrays the order of God when the hierarchal authority is obeyed, and the disorder of evil when the Chain is violated. Water in itself is good, and even though it is affected by the fall of both angels and man, it finally supports restoration and renewal. In his prayers of invocation to the Muses in Books I and III, Milton wished to participate in the healing waters of the Pool of Siloam, which, as Cope notes, carried a "cure of the blind man." The blind poet prays that the Celestial Light will "Purge and disperse" "all mist" from his inner sight, put there, Milton believed, by the fall. And if the reader believes at all in prayers to Muses, he must feel after a study of Paradise Lost that Milton's petition was granted.

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


© Twila J Edwards