Iterate and the Individual in Early Modern Masterpieces ENG 106 April 27, 2015 Literature and the Individual in Early Modern Masterpieces In the early modern masterpieces, John Milton was known for his unique ability to write in multiple languages and multiple styles Of literature. One Of his most famous pieces of literature was Paradise Lost. Milton was a man of deep faith, most specifically the Protestant faith. It was because of his faith that he had no fear of expressing his views on religion and the individual; he did this even when they were not in line with what was the popular view.
Today we can see that Milton had a significant influence on the American mindset in his day, in ours, and he will continue to influence those in the future. Earlier Works Milton was very educated in a wide range of subjects, to include philosophy and theology. It was his educated background that allowed him to respond to the earlier works of literature. Milton took the opportunity to meet other great writers of the day, writers like Galileo.
He chose to focus on political and religious writings that would help the Puritan Reformation, of which he was a supporter. He had strongly held beliefs and outlooks on politics and religion and encouraged others to accept these same beliefs. It was this quality of his work that gives Million’s work its classical authority, which can be seen when seen in the same light as earlier authors like Homer, Virgil, and Shakespeare. While Million’s focus was on Puritan writings, he did publish a poem that was in Shakespearean Fourth Folio (Damrosch & Pike, 2008).
It was in this poem, the English version of the epic poem, that he made references to earlier authors like Homer and Virgil, references that were included in his cost famous work, Paradise Lost considered one of the most influential pieces of literature that Milton penned. Paradise Lost is an epic poem, like the Iliad and the Ended which tell a story about godlike heroes and villains. John Milton follows the three prominent traits that make up the classically epic poem; asking for a muse to inspire his writing, having supernatural warfare, and engaging a character in a dark voyage.
Milton writes, “Of my Celestial Patroness, who deigns her nightly visitation implored, and dictates to me slumbering, or inspires” (Damrosch & Pike, 2008, peg. 772). Like earlier writers, Milton petitions the muse and asks for her to come to him while he sleeps and inspire his words. Literary’ Qualities It was Million’s deep religious beliefs that molded the literary qualities of his work. He proudly stood up for his beliefs, not changing to the match the beliefs of the unjust rulers of his day, the monarchy.
He believed in individualism, so much so that after the death of King Charles he published works that expressed his views on the right of the people to remove and punish those who ruled with tyranny. This led to his being put on trial and imprisoned, later to be released and ordered to pay a huge fine. Million’s strong Protestant beliefs and individualism influenced his theological beliefs, which influenced his writing of Paradise Lost. Paradise lost was a representation of the Puritans, their belief in purity and truth in a corrupt society (Parry, 2008).
He was not afraid to question his faith and ask the difficult and probing questions that so many in his day were afraid to ask. Another literary quality of Million’s Paradise Lost was his invention of over 600 new words, just as Shakespearean creation of more than 2000 words and expressions (Grace, 2008). The words he created were regular words that were given new and different meanings. It was his knowledge of many different languages that helped him to create new words, giving readers a new perspective on the world around them.
By creating new words, he was also able to bring a new perspective to literature, both his own and that of others (Grace, 2008). Lesson for Today There is much that can be learned from great pieces of literature from those like Milton, contributions to the rights of the individual and the English language. His epic poem helps us to imagine and reach for the things we are old are unobtainable, freedoms and rights that should be for all not just those in positions of power.
Some of the rights we have today can be said to have been propelled into reality because of authors like Milton, those who spoke out against the tyranny of those in power even at great cost to themselves. The many writings of Milton have forever changed society by initiating debate on a variety of religious, political and social issues that had not been addressed before (Why Milton Matters, 2008). Without the contributions of authors like Milton, our English language and our individualistic society would be very different from the one we see today.
Conclusion We should appreciate and admire authors such as John Milton, he stood up for the rights of the individual even when it cost him his freedom for a time. Milton took the works of earlier writers, like Homer and Shakespeare, and built upon them. He brought the Greek epic poetry and created one in English, creating new words and expressions in the process. He took his views Of an idealistic society and created masterpieces that have endured. His courage to question the things he was not supposed to are the reason we eve the rights and freedoms as individuals today.