Monday, 28 March 2016

Context in a Nutshell- John Milton

John Milton was born in 1608 in London to a wealthy family of a composer and scrivener. His strong appreciation for religious values and Puritan traditions influenced his writing.

Milton was very well educated and studied humanities at Cambridge university and graduated with a masters degree in 1632. In 1638 he visited France and Italy, He gave up prospects of training to be an Anglican priest in favour of becoming a poet.

Poetry= serving God and propagating Puritan ideas. He wanted to convey messages of the way of God, to praise morality and to picture disdain for sensuality and baseness.

Keen supporter of the republican movement and in opposition to Royalists.

He had radical thoughts which were controversial at the time but was admired by Republicans for his courageous works.

His vast knowledge of foreign languages meant that the political leader Oliver Cromwell appointed Milton as the Secretary for Foreign Tongues in the Commonwealth of England- the republican state created after King Charles I was executed. After the Civil War in 1642, King Charles was executed in 1649. Milton was devoted to writing republican propaganda and pamphlets

After Cromwell's death in 1658, there was confusion around the government and the ideas of how it should work. Society did not want or need anymore political upheaval but wanted to return to a pre-war 'normality'. Therefore the restoration of the Monarchy took place in 1660 and Charles II came back from exile.

Return of the monarchy left Milton disillusioned. However, he continued writing political tracts on the lack of need for a monarch in England.

Republicanism was no longer the general thought in England therefore he had to hide and was imprisoned for a short time.

Milton eventually became blind and in 1667 dictated Paradise Lost to his daughters.

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