As mentioned (in that badly HTMLed writeup above) John Milton wrote Paradise Lost as an explanation as to why bad things happen to good people. To quote him directly,

"I may assert th' Eternal Providence,
And justify the ways of God to men."

John Milton was probably quite interested in dealing with this question in that he himself had his share of tragedy.

His first marriage was unhappy and consequently ended,
his second wife died in child birth,
his third wife died as well.

At the age of 25 he started to go blind and was completely blind by age 45. Obviously, this would be devastating for such a prolific writer as John Milton was.

How was Paradise Lost written then? John Milton would dictate his works while one of his daughters would write. Coincidently, because of this, his daughters deeply resented him.

No wonder he doubted his faith and wrote this work of art.

Interesting Notes about Paradise Lost - Beelzebub is most often considered another name for Satan. However, in Paradise Lost, Beelzebub is represented as Satan's lieutenant who was "One next himself in power, and next in crime".

Another point of interested would be the fact that Paradise Lost was written in what is often referred to as high style. High Style is when the sentance structure is formed after Latin grammar. This is why it reads a lot like the Bible and why most people find Paradise Lost to be incredibly boring.
Some quotes that I found interesting (All by John Milton)-
  • "I may assert th' Eternal Providence, And justify the ways of God to men."
  • "The mind is its own place, and in itself, can make heaven of hell or a hell of heaven."
  • "In Arms not worse, in foresight much advanc't, We may with more successful hope resolve To wage by force or guile eternal War Irreconcilable, to our grand Foe, Who now triumphs, and in th' excess of joy Sole reigning holds the Tyranny of Heav'n." - Satan
  • "Had ris'n or heav'd his head, but that the will And high permission of all-ruling Heaven Left him at large to his own dark designs, That with reiterated crimes he might Heap on himself damnation, while he sought Evil to others, and enrag'd might see How all his malice serv'd but to bring forth Infinite goodness, grace and mercy shewn On Man by him seduc't, but on himself Treble confusion, wrath and vengeance pour'd."
  • "Here we may reign secure, and in my choice To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n." - Satan
  • "to try what may be yet Regaind in Heav'n, or what more lost in Hell?" - Satan

Please feel free to correct me if any of the information posted here is incorrect. I have tried to make this as factual as I possibly could and am pretty sure that everything that I have personally stated is. However, I am certainly no English or History major.