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Milton undertook 5 years of self-directed private study after receiving his M.A degree.
Milton composed his famous poem “Oh Shakespeare”, during this time.
Milton was almost done with his studies in April 1637, when his mother died (Jokinen).
Milton wrote his first poem at the age of 21, entitled “On the morning of Christ's Nativity.”
A few years later, Milton wrote a masque, which he presented in 1634 at Ludlow Castle.
In 1637, Milton’s good friend, Edward King, drowned. Milton was asked to contribute and write a poem in his memory. Milton wrote a famous poem entitled “Lycidas” (Rowan).
In Greek mythology, Comus or Komos is the god of festivity, revels and nocturnal dalliances. He is a son and a cup-bearer of the god Bacchus. Comus represents anarchy and chaos. His mythology occurs in the later times of antiquity. During his festivals in Ancient Greece, men and women exchanged clothes. He was depicted as a young man on the point of unconsciousness from drink. He had a wreath of flowers on his head and carried a torch that was in the process of being dropped. Unlike the purely carnal Panor purely intoxicated Bacchus, Comus was a god of excess.
“ On the Morning of Christ’s Nativity”
Milton’s first major work in English.
Displays elements that are constant in Milton’s poetry: allusiveness, revisionism, mixture of genres, stunning originality, cosmic scope, and prophetic voice.”
Demonstrates a conflation of different genres (Luxon).
Lycidas first appeared in a 1638 collection of elegies entitled “Justa Edouardo King Naufrago.”
Commemorated Edward King, a friend of Milton from the University of Cambridge.
The body of Lycidas is composed of three movements that run in parallel pattern. This means that each movement begins with an invocation, and ends with a conclusion to Milton’s “emotional problem” (Luxon).
"Samson the Athlete“: a Tragedy by John Milton, published in the same volume as his epic Paradise Regained in 1671. It is considered the greatest English drama based on the Greek model and is known as a closet tragedy (one more suited for reading than performance). The work deals with the final phase of Samson's life and recounts the story as told in the Old Testament Book of Judges. Himself blind when he wrote Samson Agonistes, Milton depicts Samson, the once mighty warrior, as blinded and a prisoner of the Philistines ("eyeless in Gaza at the mill with slaves"). Samson conquers self-pity and despair, however, and is granted a return of his old strength. He pulls down the pillars that support the temple of the Philistine god Dagon, crushing himself along with his captors.
Paradise Lost : Milton’s Long Epic
First published in 1667.
Paradise Lost is an epic poem in blank verse. It is considered by scholars as one of the greatest poems of the English language.
Tells the biblical story of the fall from grace of Adam and Eve.
Main characters in the poem are: God, Lucifer, Adam, and Eve (Napierkowski).
Paradise Lost : Adam and Eve
This famous poem is about Adam and Eve, and how they came to be created, and how they came to lose their place in the garden of Eden, which is also called Paradise.
The poem also includes the origin of Satan. Originally he was called Lucifer, who was an Angel in heaven who led his followers in a war against God, and was sent to hell (Napierkowski).
Adam and Eve
This engraving is one of Dürer's most famous engraved works. It draws on the sum of his four-year study of the ideal proportions of the human body. His interest in the biblical narrative is subordinate to his depiction of Adam and Eve as ideal female and male nudes in imitation of classical sculptures. The elk, hare, cat and ox symbolize the four humours into which the human soul divided after the Fall of Man. The contrasting cat and mouse embody the tense relationship between the genders, the parrot represents Mary as a second Eve and the ibex in the background represents the infidels.
Milton uses language to create the character of Satan as a gallant figure that inspires and commands the legion of angels at his requisition. Satan’s dark, and ultimately evil façade, is overshadowed by his charismatic, dominant and powerful affectation. He becomes an extremely attractive and compelling figure to the fallen cherubs.
Milton: a Poem
“ Milton: a Poem” is an epic poem by William Blake, written and illustrated between 1804 and 1810. Its hero is John Milton, who returns from heaven and unites with Blake to explore the relationship between living writers and their predecessors, and to undergo a mystical journey to correct his own spiritual errors.
Milton was Blake's longest published poem to date, and was printed in Blake's characteristic combination of etched text and illustration supplemented by watercolor.
Satan Arousing the Rebel Angels
William Blake illustrated Paradise Lost more often than any other work by John Milton, and illustrated Milton's work more often than that of any other writer. The illustrations demonstrate his critical engagement with the text, specifically his efforts to redeem the "errors" he perceived in his predecessor's work.
Satan, Sin, and Death
Satan, Sin, and Death: Satan Comes to the Gates of Hell : an illustration by William Blake to Milton’s Paradise Lost c. 1806. That’s Satan on the left, Sin (she is half serpent) in the middle and her half-transparent son Death on the right.
Dore’s The Fall of Lucifer
“ At once as far as angel's ken he views The dismal situation waste and wild, A dungeon horrible, on all sides round As one great furnace flamed, yet from those flames No light, but rather darkness visible Served only to discover sights of woe... ” (I.59)
Paradise Regained , the mini-epic sequel to Paradise Lost , expounds on the redemptive work of the Son of God, to regain the lost Paradise that Satan stole. John Milton demonstrates how everything lost in his first epic is won back in his second mini-epic. Milton divided this sequel into four books.
After 1660, Milton retired to private life and returned to writing poetry.
He had gone blind and sat composing poems in his head, and dictated each day to his daughters.
It was in this retirement that Milton composed his most famous work: Paradise Lost .
John Milton passed away November 8, 1674 (Rowan).
“ A good book is the precious life-blood of a master-spirit embalmed and treasured up on a purpose to a life beyond life.”
Jokinen, Anniina. "Life of John Milton." Luminarium . 21 June 2006. 19 March 15 2009. http:// www.luminarium.org/sevenlit/milton/miltonbio.htm
Luxon, Thomas H. "The Milton Reading Room". 2008. April 1 2009.
http:// www.dartmouth.edu/~milton .
Napierkowski, Marie Rose. "Paradise Lost". 2006. April 1 2009. http:// www.enotes.com /paradise-lost .