Sutherland’s Differential Association and its nine propositions

Edwin Sutherland’s theory of Differential Association evolved from the Chicago School of sociology, which observed that crime occurred more frequently in areas lacking social organization and institutions of social control (Gomme, 37). Crime was usually explained by multiple factors – such as social class, age, race, and urban or rural location. Sutherland developed his theory […]

Robert Merton’s personal adaptations to anomie (aka “strain theory”)

Like many sociologists and criminologists, Robert Merton was interested in explaining the root of social deviance; however, unlike most theorists, who posited that crime and deviance arise from individual causes (such as a biological “defect”) (Cullen & Agnew, 171), Merton argued that certain groups participate in criminal behaviour because they are“responding normally to the social […]

Seductive Evil in Milton’s “Paradise Lost”

Some have criticized Paradise Lost for its sympathetic portrayal of Satan as a heroic and appealing character. At times, Satan’s actions seem somewhat justified: he considers himself to be an innocent victim, suffering alienation once exiled from Heaven. This begs the question: why is Milton’s Satan not more obviously “evil”? Why has the stereotypical, red, horned “Devil” been replaced by a somewhat sympathetic, fallen angel? Does this imply that Paradise Lost failed at its task of moral education, or that perhaps Milton’s own understanding of evil was ambiguous, unclear or incomplete? What Milton demonstrates in his sympathetic depictions of the devils, rather, is a far more complex understanding of the essential nature of evil as a strong, seductive force that one must resist with vigilance.

Milton’s just, merciful and redemptive God

William Empson’s book Milton’s God is an account of Paradise Lost that associates God with a Stalinist tyrant (146). The primary association for this understanding is located in Empson’s critique of Milton’s God as a “neurotic parent” (116) who exposes his children to certain temptation, and ultimately orchestrates their Fall. For this author, it appears […]