Justin Tackett

Andrew W. Mellon Undergraduate Fellow in the Humanities

20062007 Forum on Travel

Justin Tackett

English and Philosophy

College '07

"What matter where?": Epic Geography and the Defense of Hell in Milton's Paradise Lost

In Paradise Lost, we are presented with a vision of Hell that is both complex and purposeful. On the one hand, Milton follows the classical tradition of the Odyssey and Aeneid by saturating his descriptions with geographical references and toponyms. On the other hand, his Hell is a distinctively seventeenth century one that highlights interiority and the psychological torment of the damned. How has Milton transmogrified the classical tradition and previous conceptions of Hell? What does the physicality of his "Hellscape" have to say about the religious beliefs (and heresies) of his contemporaries?