A simile makes an imaginative comparison for purpose of explanation, allusion or ornament introduced by a world such as “like,” “as”, as such. The long and sustained simile is known as epic simile. The use of similes is the most characteristic of Milton in his epic “paradise lost”. Milton has drawn similes from the classical mythology. The similes employed are Homeric as he has taken some of them from Homer and his own similes form contemporary life called Miltonic similes.
Describing the palace of hell he says that it beyond the magnificence of “Babylon or Great Aleairo” and the army of the fallen angles exceeds those: “that fought at Thebes and Iluim, on each side mixed with auxiliar gods.” sometimes the similes are negative. Describing the beauty of paradise he says:
Not that fair field
Of Enna, where prospine gathering flowers
herself a farier flowers, by gloomy dis
was gathered which cost cared all that pain
to seek her through the world, not that sweet grove
of Faphire by Orontes and that inspired
Castaier spring migh with this puro-dise
Of Enna strive.”
Milton has also drawn similes from contemporary ;life. Satan entry into paradise is described:
As when a prowling wolf
Whose hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey
it hurdled cotes amid the field secure
Leaps o’vr the france with ease to fold.”
Generally epic similes have quality of super human permanence and vastness about them. “his figures many be called heroic parallels whereby the names and incidents of human history are made to elucidate and ennoble the less familiar names and incidents of his prehistoric theme.” Similes greatly contribute to the style of Milton especially when he uses similes for purposes of ornamentation.