John Milton's "Paradise Lost" as Drama, Part 1

Milton's Paradise Lost as Drama: Part 1

This production of John Milton's Paradise Lost is entirely based on speeches taken from the epic, which Milton originally intended to take the form of a drama, as shown here. The episodes are no longer presented as flashbacks or prophecies, as usual in the epic form, but follow Shakespeare's mode of chronological sequencing. Thus Milton himself introduces his work first, and the causes of the revolt of Satan are presented next, and so on. The performances of Paradise Lost at UC Berkeley in 1985 may have been the first live, fully theatrical staging of Milton's work before a public audience, recorded for educational use, as seen here. It was not a professional production but was developed in a Milton class taught by Hugh Richmond, who drafted the script, and it was directed by Paul Shepherd. The setting was the Maude Fife Room in Wheeler Hall, a hall designed in a Renaissance style as was often adapted for such performances in Milton's time (for example, for his masque Comus at Ludlow Castle). This performance text has been published by Peter Lang (1992) as John Milton's Drama of "Paradise Lost." This clip is the first of nine.



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Paul Shepherd



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