Written 350 years ago, John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost is considered fully researched. However, the work attracts the attention of scientists to this day - Miranda Fael of Tufts University in Massachusetts found a new literary pattern in it. This is an acrostic, a well-known technique that has already been encountered in this poem, but Fael was lucky to find a new one. It remains to figure out its meaning.
The acrostic is built from the first letters of words of a series of consecutive lines that are added to a word. With its help, the author wants to point to something, to emphasize a certain nuance. Fael drew attention to the following passage from Book 9, while Eve was arguing with Adam:
From his surmise prov'd false, find peace within, Favor from Heav'n, our witness from th'event.
And what is Faith, Love, Virtue unassay'd
Alone, without exterior help sustain'd?
Let us not then suspect our happy State
Left so imperfect by the Maker wise
As not secure to single or combin'd.
Frail is our happiness, if this be so
The first letters add up to "FFAALL", and if you read from bottom to top, you get "FALL" - "fall". The first word in which the letters are doubled is the extended version of the main word. According to Fael, this is an indication that there were three falls. First of all, Adam and Eve fell, but the tempter, Satan, fell with them. Three falls, but two lost paradises.
Like many acrostics, he almost diametrically reverses the meaning of the lines from which it is composed. And this, usually, is the author's brilliant idea, which leaves the reader the opportunity not only to analyze the details of the plot, but also to look at what is happening in a detached manner. The acrostic serves as a warning, a hint at the true essence of things happening in the narrative.