I believe “Paradise Lost” is a realistic description for the most part because it talks about the fall of mankind and where it all began with Adam and Eve. Milton’s purpose was to explain God’s way to men. Man believed that God was spiteful and there was reason to every sickness or bad fortune that was put upon a person, and that they needed to ask for forgiveness. Milton did not want people to think God was spiteful. I believe there is a reason for everything that happens to us, but God does not do it out of evil intent.
He is good and wants the best for us and desires that we follow His Will. The result of not choosing to follow him will result in an eternity in Hell.
Milton’s description of hell is, “A dungeon horrible, on both sides round as one great furnace flamed, yet from these flames served only to discover sights of woe, regions of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace and rest can never dwell, hope never comes that comes to all; but torture without end still urges , and a fiery deluge, fed with ever-burning sulphur unconsumed: such place eternal justice had prepared for those rebellious, here their prison ordained in utter darkness, and their portion set as far removed from God and light of Heaven as from the center thrice to the utmost pole.
O how unlike the place from whence they fell!”
This passage from “Paradise Lost” is very vivid.
I believe it is hard for humans to grasp a furnace without light. Hell is a dark place and there is nothing good about it. The passage talks about there being no hope and lots of sorrow in hell. Hell is also as far from Heaven as possible. These angels, including Satan, were kicked out of Heaven into a completely different world in a sense because of how the “world” they once knew was about to change drastically. Heaven was such a miraculous place and they were kicked out to a place that is unbearable and very hard to imagine. Hell is complete darkness, but Heaven is just the opposite of that. Heaven is light. Heaven is pure, and Heaven is a perfect place with no sorrow. The angels were also a source of light as well, but not comparable to God.
In my opinion, the descriptions of Heaven and Hell are both out of human grasp because of how painful Hell is and how perfect Heaven is. We as humans, a lot of the time, do not believe things until they are seen and these two places are out of our reach until after death. I think that is another reason why these descriptions are so hard to comprehend.