John Milton was the second oldest child born to the union of senior John Milton and Sara Jeffrey. He was born December 9, 1608 in London. Milton lived with his family in a home located very near to St. Paul’s Cathedral. John Milton Sr. was able to afford a private tutor for John because he acquired some wealth through his work as a legal secretary. Milton’s father prepared and notarized legal documents, was a loan officer, and served as a real estate broker. Milton Sr.’s income allowed him to provide Milton with an education in the classical languages (Joiken).
Milton was taught at home until he was twelve years old. He was admitted to a college in Cambridge five years later where he was suspended after a year for an altercation with his tutor (Joiken). Milton spent the next six years at home self-studying a postgraduate course (Kermode 1206). It was during this time and absence from Cambridge that he began to write poetry. Milton earned his bachelor’s degree from Christ’s College (Kermode). He eventually received his master’s degree from Cambridge in 1632 (Joiken)
Milton married Mary Powell in 1642 and was separated after only three months of marriage. She returned three years later, but died while giving birth. Their marriage lasted ten years (Kermode 1207). Milton then married Katherine Woodcock four years after his first wife died. They remained married for two years until her death four months after their infant daughter’s, Katherine’s, death. In 1663, Milton married his third wife, Elizabeth Minshull. They remained married until his death (Shawcross x-xi).
To support the family, Milton opened a school in London to give private lessons. Initially, he only had two students who were his nephews (Kermode 1207). Milton’s listened to music daily, listened to a chapter from the Hebrew Bible, studied until noon, interacted with music, studied again, and then entertained guests before he retired to bed (McDonnell 278-279). Milton didn’t focus on being a school master for long because his attention shifted to matters of the government (Kermode 1207). Milton’s home was rented to the government during the civil wars. They did not pay him as agreed. He went broke, but later recovered some wealth when he became “Latin secretary” (McDonnell 279) Milton was “blind, and poorer than he had been with a state salary to augment his inheritance…, and yet he was able to concentrate all of his visionary and creative energies for a poetic accomplishment…” (Hollander 709).
Milton wrote tracts that condemned different religious practices. It might be stated that Milton’s marriage to Powell influenced his writing of tracts. “…Milton wrote tracts in favor of divorce on the grounds of disharmony rather than only for adultery…” (Kermode 1209). Milton’s political views were those much like Republicans, “founded in an envious hatred of greatness, and a sullen desire of independence…” Although Milton’s family was composed of all women, women are described in his writings...