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Reflections Of Milton In Paradise Lost And On Having Arrived.

958 words - 4 pages

At a young age, John Milton was convinced that he was destined forgreatness. He thought that he "might perhaps leave something so written toaftertimes as they should not willingly let it die"(Text 414). For thisreason he thought that his life was very important to himself and to others.He often wrote directly about himself, and he used his life experiences asroots for his literature. In Paradise Lost and in a sonnet entitled "OnHis Blindness," Milton speaks indirectly and directly of his loss of vision.Also in Paradise Lost, he uses the political situation of his time as abase for the plot, and he incorporates elements of his own character intothe character of Satan. In "On Having Arrived at the Age of Twenty-Three",he speaks plainly about the course of his life.In the latter part of his life, Milton lost his vision. This loss wasvery traumatic for him because he had not yet completed his mission ofwriting a memorable work of literature. Soon after, he continued his workwith the help of his daughters. He dictated to them a sonnet he called "OnHis Blindness" in which he asks how God expects him to do his work blind.Milton's ambitious side says that his writing talent is "lodged with [him]useless"(Text 417). His religious side soon realizes that he is"complaining" to God and he takes it back. He discovers that God will notlook down on him if he does not write a masterpiece. He granted Milton agreat talent, and he expects Milton to be happy. He has to learn to do hiswork in a dark world. This poem was not the last time Milton referred tohis condition in his writing. In book one of Paradise Lost, while invokingthe Muse, Milton says "what in me is dark illumine"(Hndout 22). He asks tobe granted the power to work through his blindness. He obviously thinks ofhis blindness as a major weakness. Later in the text, he describes Hell ashaving "no light, but rather darkness visible"(Hndout 270). It is Milton'sway of almost subliminally implying that his condition is comparable tobeing damned to the underworld. His blindness was something that heconstantly had to deal with and he managed to include it in most of hisworks.At the prime of Milton's life, the political situation in England wasvery unsteady. Charles I was overthrown, and the Puritan dictator OliverCromwell installed himself as the "Lord Protector." Being a Puritanhimself, Milton supported this new government, and he even held a jobwithin it. But, England became tired of the strict Puritan rule, andCromwell's son was defeated, and hastily replaced by Charles II. Everyonewho supported Cromwell and the civil war was sentenced to death. Becauseof his standing in the community, Milton was allowed to retire in peace.As punishment he lost everything he had including his reputation. He woulduse the events of his life to help him form the story for book one...

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