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But unlike Aeneas, Adam's primary heroic act is not heroic at all: it is the first act of disobedience.
These three genres of poetry have existed since ancient Greece, and by Milton's time they carried with them a set of connotations and expectations that most educated people recognized.
Milton's concern about which genre to choose, therefore, was not simply a matter of seeking the perfect medium for his story, but the anxiety of a writer seeking to place himself within a centuries-old poetic tradition.
Formally, ; it concerns heavenly and earthly beings and the interactions between them; it uses conventions such as epic similes, catalogues of people and places, and invocations to a muse; and it contains themes common to epics, such as war, nationalism, empire, and stories of origin.
Milton's range of variations on epic conventions contribute to has no easily identified hero.
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The hero is not the only epic tradition to be reconfigured in contains elements of many other genres: there are elements of lyric poetry, including the pastoral mode, as in the descriptions of Paradise, the conversations between the unfallen Adam and Eve, and their joyful prayers to God in the Garden ( 4.618-33, 5.209-19, 9.205-225).
There are also elements of tragedy, as in Book 9 when Milton, preparing his readers for the fall, writes, "I now must change / Those Notes to Tragic," and continues throughout the book to employ tragic conventions, as when he apostrophizes Eve ( 9.782-4 and 9.1000-4).
Like Raphael, Milton solves the problem by expressing the infinite in terms of the tangible by portraying God as if he were an individual, when he is really something much greater.
Therefore, although Milton credits God with speech and with enough form that the Son can sit "on his right," everything relating to God in 3.62).