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Milton 12

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English (Arts)
ENGL 316
Maggie Kilgour

Oct 1 - clearly drawn to the story of King Arthur - trying to decide what kind of poetic genre would be most appropriate to him - Milton was interested in the idea of writing a tragedy - Milton thought about making his great work a drama, a medieval morality play - how can you put God on stage? you can't. you just have to be like "sorry, you can't see anything, you're all too sinful," which meant that it really wouldn't work as a play (sucks the drama out of drama) - Johnson says that Paradise Lost is unrelateable-to, meaning that the reader has little natural sympathy - why will this seem relevant to us? how will we imagine it? - by writing an epic, he makes the archetypal characters more like human beings - he's dealing with how writers write about things that are beyond human experience - this is equally a religious poem, relatable to one of the fundamental problems of Christianity - the model of Christ's incarnation is very much like what writers do when they try to embody abstract concepts into forms that we can recognize - poets use the things of our world to help us understand the things of another world - every kind of genre is brought together into this whole - epics were associated with nationalism: poets wrote epics to prove that they were poetically mature, and every nation needed an epic to ensure itself as a nation - in Areopagitica Milton has a sense that the English are an embodiment of true Christians, however by the time he gets around to Paradise Lost, he's sort of disillusioned with England - usually poets tell things about their nations, but Milton goes even further, trying to encompass everything - Milton is kind of a crash course in mythology and classical lit - Paradise Lost is full of classical figures which are in many ways not appropriate for the subject matter - Iliad is a story about a fall caused by desire - Achilles is the hero, he's kind of a macho, proud, Arnold type, but there are a lot of baby-like qualities to him - if you characterize
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