Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Stephen Dobranski

Second Advisor

James Hirsh

Third Advisor

Paul Voss


The thesis investigates the role of nature in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. By looking at seventeenth-century texts concerning the decay of nature by Godfrey Goodman and George Hakewill, this thesis strives to determine how Milton’s poetry engaged in a contemporary debate. The thesis begins with an examination of Goodman and Hakewill’s texts alongside Milton’s On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity, Naturam Non Pati Senium, and Lycidas. The second and third parts of the thesis examine the role of nature in pre- and postlapsarian Eden in Milton’s epic, while keeping in mind the seventeenth-century debate explored in the first section.