John Milton Essay, Research Paper
Although John Milton was raised in London, his father was raised in Oxfordshire. So Milton had a city background as well as a rural one. Not only did he have the knowledge of two different cultures he was brought up in the difference of religious beliefs. His father, John Milton Senior, was raised by a devout Roman Catholic. However, later in life, John Milton Sr. switched his beliefs to the Protestant Religion. John Milton Jr. knew first hand the bitter differences that divided his fellow countrymen. Later, he would also join the cause of the Puritanical society. Protestantism is a faith in which it is believed that salvation depends not on human effort or merit but only on the freely given grace of god. Good works are not disdained but regarded as the result of God s grace working in the life of the believer. John Milton and other Puritans believed that the Catholic faith put too much emphasis on the need for believers to gain merits. To Protestants this seemed to make the redemptive sacrifice of Christ unnecessary and to leave human beings, all of whom are necessarily sinners, in doubt of their Christianity.
John Milton grew up in the great epoch of Literature of John Donne, Shakespeare, John Webster, and Ben Johnson. These great literary authors greatly influenced John Milton s career. As a young boy, Milton showed a great talent in writing, especially poetry. He treated his gifts seriously, he looked at his life and his career as something dedicated to God and the service of his country. Milton felt that he was called to serve God from the pulpit and through poetry. Milton felt that a poet himself to be a true poem, that is a composition and pattern of the best and honourablest things, not presuming to sing high praises of heroic men or famous cities unless he have in himself the experience and the practice of all that which he is praiseworthy. John Milton s work is marked by cosmic themes and lofty religious idealism. John Milton s work can be broken in to three major periods.
The first is compiled of his early poems. Such as On the Morning of Christ s Nativity , On time , as well as many others, and his elegy Lycidas.
His second period, from 1640 to 1660, was devoted chiefly to the writing of the prose tracts that established his as the ablest pamphleteer of his time. In these pamphlets Milton attacked the institution of bishops and argued in favor of extending the spirit of the English Reformation. He also wrote pamphlets that divorce should be granted for incompatibility, and pleas for a freedom of the press, and the justification of the execution of Charles the First.
In Milton s third writing period, he wrote his greatest masterpiece, which is one of the greatest poems in world literature, Paradise Lost. Although, Satan was looked upon as a romantic hero by critics and the general public, this was not Milton s intention. Satan was looked at as a romantic hero because he rebelled against a higher power, and even though he lost, he would still rather rule in Hell then serve in heaven, and forgiveness is impossible for him because disdain forbids him to repent. Adam and Eve can find forgiveness because, having sinned, they can admit their fault and reconcile their wills to that of God in striving to overcome it, but Satan never gets to that of God in striving to overcome it, but Satan never gets beyond a bitter indictment of God for having wronged him. Milton s announced aim was to justify the ways of God to men. The only way Milton could achieve this was showing that man, not God, is responsible for the world s evil. Milton also believed that righteousness and evil have no real meaning unless man is free to choose between them. Milton s next project was paradise regained. This tells of human salvation through Christ, and of his temptation