In response to 'A Magnificent Failure': Yes, Milton was arrogant, and his language certainly does get high-flown...but it is often very beautiful, to my taste anyway. I especially loved the descriptions of Milton's world--Hell, Eden, and Heaven--in the first few books. After that the poetry isn't quite so sublimely beautiful, but it remains quite pleasurable, and Milton's play with ideas kept me interested anyway. It is true that Eve isn't a well-drawn woman (nor is Adam really a well-drawn man in terms of psychological realism) and the male fantasy-fulfilment that contributed to her character is distracting. Nevertheless, by the end of the book I wasn't as disturbed by the character of Eve as I thought I might be. By my own 21st century standard Milton's views on women are deplorable, but his attitude seems to me more ambivalent than uniformly misogynist. You can't expect Milton to be completely independent of his culture, and 17th century England was itself ambivalent about women. Eve is one of the three dominant personalities in the book (well, four if you include Milton's!)and as a woman her role in Milton's universe is quite important, if limiting to her by modern western standards.
Overall, as long as the reader keeps in mind that he or she need not agree with Milton's ideas, reading Paradise Lost can be a pleasurable and thought-provoking experience.