UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The resolution of dualities in Milton's English poetry Nelson, Margaret V. 1966

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THE RESOLUTION OF DUALITIES IN MILTON'S ENGLISH POETRY  by  MARGARET V. NELSON B.A., The U n i v e r s i t y  of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1963  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  MASTER OF ARTS  i n the Department of English  We a c c e p t t h i s required  t h e s i s as conforming to the  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August, 1965  In the  presenting  r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced  British  C o l u m b i a , I agree  available mission  f o r reference  f o r extensive  representatives,.  cation  Department  of  fulfilment of  s h a l l make i t f r e e l y  I "further  copying of t h i s thesis  agree  that  f o r f i n a n c i a l gain  permission.  £ N Cr \~ I S H Columbia,  f\U&-UST i <? Q  b~  that  per-  for scholarly  by t h e Head o f my Department  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h V a n c o u v e r 8 , Canada, Date  partial  the L i b r a r y  I t i s understood  of this thesis  w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n  that  m  d e g r e e a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f  and s t u d y ,  p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d his  this thesis  o r by  copying, or p u b l i -  shall  n o t be a l l o w e d  Table of Contents  Page  Introduction  .Chapter One:  Chapter Two:  Chapter Three:  E a r l y Minor Poems  Comus  Paradise Lost  Chapter F i v e :  P a r a d i s e Regained  Bibliography  17  Lycidas  Chapter Four:  Chapter S i x :  5  3  7  4-7  .  73  Samson A g o m s t e s  86  1  0  0  Abstract  M i l t o n ' s p o e t i c thought  e s p e c i a l l y as expressed  c o n s i s t s of three b a s i c elements, as a Seventeenth-century  i n Paradise Lost  God, man, and the E v i l One.  For M i l t o n  C h r i s t i a n the f i r s t and l a s t of these two elements  a r e a b s o l u t e s w h i l e M i l t o n ' s adherence t o Renaissance  humanism means t h a t  man a l s o has a p l a c e of prominence i n the poet's view of the t o t a l i t y of things.  Each of the t h r e e elements i n M i l t o n ' s i n t e l l e c t u a l  i s i n p o l a r t e n s i o n w i t h each of the other two. man and God a r i s e s  From the t e n s i o n between  the c o n f l i c t of human concerns w i t h d i v i n e  r e s u l t i n g i n such d u a l i t i e s a s :  and  of God, reason and r e v e l a t i o n ,  s a l v a t i o n by d i v i n e g r a c e .  imperatives  body and s o u l , matter and s p i r i t ,  p l e a s u r e s of the f l e s h and the demands of the s p i r i t , ture and the w i l l  framework  the  1  s e c u l a r human c u l -  s a l v a t i o n by human e f f o r t  The t e n s i o n between good and e v i l i n v o l v e s  c o n f l i c t s between human s i n and d i v i n e r i g h t e o u s n e s s and between human s u f f e r i n g and the u l t i m a t e b e n e f i c e n c e and j u s t i c e of God.  These d u a l i -  t i e s occur i n M i l t o n ' s p o e t r y w i t h a frequency which suggests c o n s t i t u t e a c o n t i n u i n g problem m T h i s t h e s i s attempts sought  the poet's  t h a t they  l i f e and thought.  to show t h a t i n h i s p o e t r y M i l t o n c o n s i s t e n t l y  to u n i f y and r e s o l v e these d u a l i t i e s but t h a t the means by which  he t r i e d  t o do so and the e x t e n t t o which he was s u c c e s s f u l d i f f e r  from  one poem t o another. In the f i r s t group of poems, which i n c l u d e s a l l the e a r l y minor poems w r i t t e n b e f o r e Comus and L y c i d a s , d u a l i t i e s tend n o t to be v e r y felt  or v e r y f i r m l y p r e s s e d .  opposites, strenuous  Where r e s o l u t i o n i s necessary between two  t h i s r e s o l u t i o n i s , as a r u l e , effort.  deeply  complete and i s a c h i e v e d  without  In  the second  a r e deeply f e l t  group of poems, which i n c l u d e s Comus and L y c i d a s , there  o p p o s i t i o n s which c l a s h s t r o n g l y throughout  the poems.  These d u a l i t i e s a r e , on the whole, not completely r e s o l v e d i n the course of  the i n d i v i d u a l poems; much t e n s i o n remains a t the end of each work and  o p p o s i t i o n s a r e o f t e n simply juxtaposed w i t h o u t  resolution.  t i o n as does r e s u l t i s a c h i e v e d by o b l i q u e and unexpected The and  final  means.  group of poems i n c l u d e s P a r a d i s e Lost, P a r a d i s e Regained  Samson A g o n i s t e s .  These three poems a r e as f u l l  the two works which immediately as deeply f e l t as m energy  Such r e s o l u -  the e a r l i e r  precede  them.  of d i c h o t o m i e s as  The o p p o s i t i o n s a r e a l s o  two poems b u t by v a s t e x p e n d i t u r e s of  a r e triumphantly r e s o l v e d and h e l d i n dynamic b a l a n c e .  The r e s o -  l u t i o n s a c h i e v e d i n these three poems a r e complete and a r e a t t a i n e d i n d i r e c t ways.  Introduction  Much of M i l t o n ' s poetry Lycidas,  Paradise  pears to be another:  full  Lost,  (especially  Paradise  Regained, and  Samson A g o n i s t e s )  of d u a l i t i e s or p a i r s of o p p o s i t e s  s p i r i t and  flesh  (Comus, P a r a d i s e  ( P a r a d i s e Regained), f a i t h and gained) , the n a t u r a l and  free w i l l  and many o t h e r s .  These d u a l i t i e s are not i s t h e i r occurrence  b a s i c s t r u c t u r e of the poet's  evil  Paradise  (almost  Lost,  RePara-  a l l the poems),  so v a r i o u s or u n r e l a t e d i n M i l t o n ' s poetry  as  i n any  Rather they a r i s e i n e v i t a b l y from  the  thought.  M i l t o n ' s p o e t i c thought appears i n i t s c l e a r e s t and Lost.  culture  good works ( P a r a d i s e L o s t , Comus), p r e d e s t i n a -  sense a c c i d e n t a l or haphazard.  form i n P a r a d i s e  apor  L o s t ) , r e l i g i o n and  (Comus, P a r a d i s e  ( P a r a d i s e L o s t ) , good and  they might seem, nor  of one k i n d  knowledge ( P a r a d i s e L o s t ,  the s u p e r n a t u r a l  d i s e Regained), grace and t i o n and  such major works as Comus,  Whatever j u s t i f i c a t i o n  there may  most a m p l i f i e d be i n the  various  a t t a c k s which accuse M i l t o n of a s s o r t e d h e r e s i e s , the b a s i c framework of h i s theology  as i t appears m  P a r a d i s e L o s t and  other works i s c e n t r a l  to the C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n .  T h i s framework assumes t h r e e b a s i c elements:  God,  For  Man,  and  the E v i l One.  C h r i s t i a n of M i l t o n ' s are u n q u e s t i o n a b l e  the C h r i s t i a n (and  time) the f i r s t and  absolutes.  e s p e c i a l l y f o r the  l a s t of these  primal  elements  A l t h o u g h C h r i s t i a n s have d i f f e r e d as  to  the importance of the human r a c e i n the d i v i n e scheme of t h i n g s , M i l t o n , as a C h r i s t i a n humanist, and i n the s e r i o u s n e s s prominence.  m  of the F a l l ,  Each of these  s p i t e of h i s e s s e n t i a l l y c l e a r l y g i v e s man  orthodox b e l i e f  a p l a c e of  three elements i n the poet's  special  intellectual  -2-  framework i s thus m  p o l a r t e n s i o n w i t h each of the o t h e r two.  This  b a s i c s t r u c t u r e of three a b s o l u t e s i n c o n f l i c t w i t h each other u n d e r l i e s not only M i l t o n ' s g r e a t e s t poem, P a r a d i s e L o s t , but a l s o most of h i s  i' other major poems, and indeed i s the b a s i s of h i s whole p h i l o s o p h i c a l outlook.  Thus i n both h i s thought and h i s poetry numerous d u a l i t i e s  are i n e s c a p a b l y p r e s e n t . An important group of them a r i s e s from the t e n s i o n between the p o l e s of Man  and God.  The  M i l t o n ' s adherence to p l a c e man which,  source of the c o n f l i c t  to both Renaissance humanism, which  l i k e medieval Roman C a t h o l i c i s m , uncompromisingly While always  God and h i s c l a i m upon man, freedom  of man,  helplessness.  M i l t o n n e v e r t h e l e s s a s s e r t s the d i g n i t y  and the concerns of God.  i n c u l t u r e and  learning  traditionally  stand opposed  limitations,  of the human faith  Lure of w o r l d l y fame  The C h r i s t i a n concept of  the Renaissance awareness of man's imper-  on the other hand, r a i s e f u r t h e r  o p p o s i t e ways of s a l v a t i o n a r i s e : through h i s own  often anta-  to the demands of  supposedly transcends or even d e n i e s r e a s o n .  Satan, on the one hand, and  self  and  P a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the a r t s  The achievements  c o n f l i c t s w i t h promise of heavenly reward.  Two  and  From t h i s t e n s i o n a r i s e s u n a v o i d a b l y the c o n f l i c t between  g o n i s t i c to man's c r e a t i v e endeavour.  f e c t i o n and  s e t God a t the  i n s i s t i n g upon the a b s o l u t e n e s s of  thus c o n f r o n t e d by the c l a i m s of r e l i g i o n ,  intellect  Christianity,  r e f u s i n g to reduce him to a s t a t e of u t t e r d e p r a v i t y  the concerns of man  which  sometimes tended  a t the c e n t r e of the u n i v e r s e and to P u r i t a n  c e n t r e of the w o r l d .  is  can no doubt be found i n  reason and w i l l ,  problems.  s a l v a t i o n p r i m a r i l y by man and  salvation solely  him-  through the  -3-  grace of God. is  Another  r e l a t e d d u a l i t y which occurs m  M i l t o n ' s poetry  the o p p o s i t i o n between body and s o u l or between matter and s p i r i t .  T h i s o p p o s i t i o n i s a g a i n t r a d i t i o n a l and has r o o t s i n both C h r i s t i a n and Greek thought.  M i l t o n i n s i s t s on the r e a l i t y and v a l u e of both  elements.  The o t h e r two important p o l e s between which t h e r e i s much t e n s i o n i n M i l t o n ' s thought and p o e t r y a r e of course good and e v i l ,  i n t o which  c o n f l i c t man i s a l s o drawn, a t t r a c t e d and r e p e l l e d by b o t h .  A g a i n the  poet r e f u s e s to r e j e c t e i t h e r element f o r M i l t o n , always always  m  the c o n f l i c t .  Moral e v i l i s ,  powerful and o f t e n a t t r a c t i v e , human s u f f e r i n g i s  r e a l and t e r r i b l e ; y e t M i l t o n ' s God i s always  In M i l t o n ' s p o e t r y (and even m  ultimately  supreme.  some of h i s prose) the d u a l i t i e s  j u s t d i s c u s s e d a r e of course r e p r e s e n t e d , n o t a b s t r a c t l y and t h e o r e t i c a l l y , but c o n c r e t e l y and d r a m a t i c a l l y .  They a r e o f t e n a s s o c i a t e d  specifically  w i t h i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r s and w i t h c e r t a i n space a r e a s - - s u c h as heaven, e a r t h , h e l l - - w i t h m the t o t a l  s e t t i n g of each of the poems.  the v a r y i n g forms i n which they a r e expressed,  Yet d e s p i t e  the t h r e e b a s i c  elements  of M i l t o n ' s cosmos and the d u a l i t i e s a r i s i n g from them occur i n succeedi n g poems w i t h a frequency which suggests t h a t these d i c h o t o m i e s r e p r e sented a c o n t i n u i n g problem I t w i l l be the purpose poetry  the forms m  to r e c o n c i l e them.  i n the poet's l i f e and thought. of t h i s t h e s i s t o e x p l o r e i n M i l t o n ' s E n g l i s h  which these o p p o s i t e s occur and the poet's  attempts  A l l M i l t o n ' s major works and some of h i s minor ones  w i l l be c o n s i d e r e d and the poems w i l l be examined i n c h r o n o l o g i c a l o r d e r . In the d i s c u s s i o n of each poem I s h a l l be concerned  to d i s c o v e r which  d u a l i t i e s a r e e v i d e n t and which of these a r e most prominent,  how these  -4-  d u a l i t i e s are represented  through  what e x t e n t and i n what way  c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n and s e t t i n g , and to  they a r e r e s o l v e d .  Chapter One:  E a r l y Minor Poems  The f i r s t poem of i n t e r e s t i n r e s p e c t to M i l t o n ' s attempt d i c h o t o m i e s i n h i s thought i s "At a V a c a t i o n E x e r c i s e . . . . " lies  not so much i n i t s e l f  poetry. of his  In t h i s e a r l y  s h o r t poem we  find  suggested the b a s i c in classical  " n a t i v e Language"''" M i l t o n f i r s t r e j e c t s  p r e s s i o n and prays f o r language had r a t h e r ,  Its interest  but i n what i t a n t i c i p a t e s i n M i l t o n ' s l a t e r  P a r a d i s e L o s t , expressed, i t i s true,  ...I  to r e s o l v e  terms:  cosmology Addressing  superficial facility  of ex-  s u i t a b l e f o r h i s h i g h thoughts.  i f I were to choose,  Thy s e r v i c e i n some g r a v e r s u b j e c t use. Such as may make thee s e a r c h thy c o f f e r s round, Before thou c l o t h e my fancy i n f i t sound: Such where the deep t r a n s p o r t e d mind may soar Above the w h e e l i n g p o l e s , and a t Heav'n's door Look i n , and see each b l i s s f u l D e i t y How he b e f o r e the thunderous throne doth l i e , L i s t e n i n g to what unshorn A p o l l o s i n g s To t h ' touch of golden w i r e s , w h i l e Hebe b r i n g s Immortal N e c t a r to her K i n g l y S i r e : Then p a s s i n g through the Spheres of w a t c h f u l f i r e , And misty Regions of wide a i r next under, And h i l l s of Snow and l o f t s of p i l e d Thunder, May t e l l a t l e n g t h how green-ey'd Neptuner r a v e s , In These appear  pagan d e i t i e s are c l e a r l y analogous  bute of thunder. analogous  The god who  t h r o n e " i s of course Jove, t r a d i t i o n a l l y  F a t h e r whom M i l t o n m  to God  (29-44)  to C h r i s t i a n f i g u r e s who  i n P a r a d i s e L o s t and P a r a d i s e Regained.  "thunderous the  Heav'n's d e f i a n c e m u s t e r i n g a l l h i s waves.  later  s i t s on the  linked with  P a r a d i s e L o s t endows w i t h h i s B i b l i c a l  God attri-  A p o l l o , here as elsewhere i n C h r i s t i a n thought, i s the Son, w h i l e Hebe, the c l a s s i c a l goddess of y o u t h  and  John M i l t o n , "At a V a c a t i o n E x e r c i s e . . . , " , Complete Poems and Major Prose, ed. M e r r i t t Y Hughes (New York, 1957), 1. A l l subsequent r e f e r e n c e s to M i l t o n ' s p o e t r y by l i n e number are to t h i s e d i t i o n . Ref e r e n c e s to f o o t n o t e s and c r i t i c a l comments on the t e x t by Hughes w i l l be i n d i c a t e d by the e d i t o r ' s name, f o l l o w e d by the page number on which such c r i t i c a l notes o c c u r .  -6-  the cupbearer  to the gods c l e a r l y  suggests  son of the T r i n i t y not s p e c i f i c a l l y tics.  Finally  the Holy  Spirit,  endowed w i t h m a s c u l i n e  the d e f i a n t Neptune b r i n g s t o mind Satan,  the only percharacteris-  the a n c i e n t  a n t a g o n i s t of God. Another e a r l y poem, "On the Death of a F a i r I n f a n t Dying i s important  p r i m a r i l y because of what i t p o i n t s toward i n M i l t o n ' s  l a t e r poetry, lamenting case,  of a Cough"  particularly Lycidas.  As i n the l a t e r poem M i l t o n i s here  the death of a young person whom he knew p e r s o n a l l y ( i n t h i s  the three y e a r o l d daughter  of h i s s i s t e r ) .  blems a r e r a i s e d here as i n L y c i d a s ( t h e tragedy t i o n a l involvement  Although  similar  pro-  of e a r l y death), the emo-  of M i l t o n i n the poem i s n o t n e a r l y so g r e a t as i n  the elegy to Edward K i n g . Good and e v i l a r e r e p r e s e n t e d i n c o n v e n t i o n a l C h r i s t i a n  terms.  Satan i s seen as the b r m g e r of " b l a c k p e r d i t i o n " (67) and o f the " s l a u g h t e r i n g p e s t i l e n c e " (68) . ever, r e s o l v e d e a s i l y  The problem of the e v i l o f s u f f e r i n g  i n the a l l - e n c o m p a s s i n g w i l l  i s , how-  of God the F a t h e r .  I f M i l t o n ' s s i s t e r a c c e p t s w i t h p a t i e n c e her a f f l i c t i o n , God  That  till  the world's  w i l l an o f f s p r i n g g i v e l a s t end s h a l l make thy name t o l i v e . (76-77)  As f a r as the r e l a t i o n s h i p between body and s o u l i s concerned, appears  to s u b s c r i b e to a N e o p l a t o n i c d u a l i s m .  The s o u l of the young  maiden does n o t share i n the c o r r u p t i o n of the body but f l e e s l a s t i n g d e l i g h t e i t h e r i n the Primum M o b i l e or i n the E l y s i a n f i e l d s of c l a s s i c a l "sordid world"  (63) below.  Milton  to e v e r -  of the P t o l e m a i c u n i v e r s e  literature  l e a v i n g i n s c o r n the  The s o l u t i o n t o the v a r i o u s d u a l i t i e s which  -7-  appear i n t h i s poem i s thus l i t t l e unresolved  simple and s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d and leaves v e r y  tension.  The''Nativity^Ode"is  the f i r s t poem i n which appear i n s i g n i f i c a n t  form most of the major d u a l i t i e s w i t h which M i l t o n i s concerned i n h i s l a t e r works and a t the same time there i s l i t t l e q u e s t i o n b u t t h a t i t i s , 2 as Barker  d e s c r i b e s i t , " t h e f i r s t of M i l t o n ' s i n s p i r e d poems."  we f i n d p r e s e n t e d  such o p p o s i t e s as good and e v i l ,  the n a t u r a l and the s u p e r n a t u r a l . stands by  of  One.  evil  i s represented  mainly  the " o l d dragon" (168) and by the pagan gods whom C h r i s t i a n  t r a d i t i o n had long i d e n t i f i e d w i t h Evil  body and s o u l , and  C h r i s t r a t h e r than God the F a t h e r  f o r the supreme good i n the poem w h i l e  Satan,  Here  the f a l l e n angels,  f o l l o w e r s of the  There i s no s i n g l e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of mankind b u t the e f f e c t  the advent of C h r i s t on the human c o n d i t i o n i s c o n s t a n t l y kept Throughout the poem, C h r i s t i s p i c t u r e d as the g r e a t hero who  umphs over a l l the e v i l s which a f f l i c t the human r a c e . the c o r r u p t i o n i n t o which nature has l a p s e d a f t e r  i n mind. tri-  He overcomes  the F a l l .  In h i s  presence Nature i n awe to him Had d o f f ' t her gaudy t r i m , With her g r e a t Master so to sympathize: I t was no season then f o r h e r To wanton w i t h the Sun, h e r l u s t y Paramour. Only w i t h speeches f a i r She woos the g e n t l e A i r To h i d e h e r g u i l t y f r o n t w i t h i n n o c e n t Snow, And on h e r naked shame, P o l l u t e w i t h s i n f u l blame, The S a i n t l y V e i l of Maiden w h i t e to throw, Confounded, t h a t her Maker's eyes Should look so near upon h e r f o u l d e f o r m i t i e s .  of  (32-44)  A r t h u r Barker, "The P a t t e r n of M i l t o n ' s N a t i v i t y Ode," - U n i v e r s i t y Toremto Q u a r t e r l y , X (1941), pp. 167-181.  His  coming b a n i s h e s war  from a l l the w o r l d .  No War, or B a t t l e ' s sound Was heard the world around.... But p e a c e f u l was the n i g h t Wherein the P r i n c e of l i g h t His r e i g n of peace upon the e a r t h began. Stanzas IX to XIV  c e l e b r a t e the harmony which C h r i s t b r i n g s to heaven  and e a r t h , a harmony capable of w i p i n g out s i n and evil  (53-54; 61-63)  thus e f f a c i n g  the  e f f e c t s of the F a l l . For i f such Holy Song Enwrap our fancy long, Time w i l l run back, and f e t c h the age of g o l d , And s p e c k l ' d v a n i t y W i l l s i c k e n soon and d i e , And l e p r o u s s i n w i l l melt from e a r t h l y mold, And H e l l i t s e l f w i l l pass away, And l e a v e h e r - d o l o r o u s mansions t o the p e e r i n g day. (133-140)  F i n a l l y Christ brings victory  over Satan and  the pagan gods.  Many of  these gods a r e r e p r e s e n t e d i n P a r a d i s e L o s t ( I , 392-521) as the c o h o r t s of  Satan.  In t h e " N a t i v i t y Ode" these gods are vehemently  r e p u d i a t e d as u t t e r l y f a l s e and c r u e l , y e t as we  denounced and '  examine the  passage  which d e s c r i b e s t h e i r d o w n f a l l a t the hands of the Son of God we s t r u c k by the c u r i o u s f a c t M i l t o n ' s c h a r a c t e r s who  t h a t these pagan d e i t i e s ,  like  of  these heathen  other of  a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the p r i n c i p l e of e v i l ( f o r  example, Comus and Satan), have t h e i r a t t r a c t i v e a s p e c t . r e g r e t expressed,  are  f o r i n s t a n c e , i n stanzas XX and XXI  temptation cannot be s a i d f u l l y  unmistakable  t h a t the beauty  gods has passed away suggests a c e r t a i n  towards them i n the poet's mind.  The  ambivalence  A l t h o u g h M i l t o n ' s f a v o u r i t e theme of to e n t e r h i s poetry u n t i l  i t appears  in  1  -9-  Comus, one senses  t h a t these gods of t h a t c l a s s i c a l w o r l d which M i l t o n  so much l o v e d were a temptation which he d i d n o t succeed completely w i t h i n t h i s poem. conclude that, problem  of e v i l .  Although  stanzas XVI and XVII remind  us that the u l -  l i e s beyond h i s death and r e s u r r e c t i o n i n the  judgement, and a l t h o u g h M i l t o n ' s e v i d e n t a t t r a c t i o n toward the  pagan gods s t i l l  l i n g e r s i n c e r t a i n stanzas of the poem, the dominant  mood of the poem remains and  C o n s i d e r i n g the poem i n g e n e r a l , we can  on the whole, M i l t o n manages to r e s o l v e s u c c e s s f u l l y the  timate v i c t o r y of C h r i s t final  i n overcoming  one of j u b i l a n t  triumph  over the e v i l s of s i n  suffering. The b i r t h of C h r i s t b r i n g s b e f o r e man the p o s s i b i l i t y n o t only of  the d e f e a t of e v i l but a l s o of the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of the n a t u r a l world of man w i t h the s u p e r n a t u r a l w o r l d  of God.  Christ i s pictured  the poem as the Lord of n a t u r e which s i n c e the F a l l ,  throughout  i t i s suggested  ( p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the f i r s t two stanzas of the body of the poem), i s e v i l if  l e f t t o i t s e l f b u t which puts on a new p u r i t y a t the coming of i t s  " g r e a t Master."  (34) .  Through C h r i s t alone, i t i s i m p l i e d , the n a t u r a l  order i s r e c o n c i l e d w i t h the s u p e r n a t u r a l o r d e r .  Hearing  the music which  i s brought by the Son of God, n a t u r e Now was almost won To t h i n k h e r p a r t was done, And t h a t her r e i g n had here i t s l a s t f u l f i l l i n g ; She knew such harmony a l o n e Could h o l d a l l Heav'n and E a r t h i n h a p p i e r u n i o n . (104-108) T h i s s a l v a t i o n f o r man and n a t u r e from the e v i l  r e s u l t s of the F a l l  comes from C h r i s t alone, both b e i n g otherwise h e l p l e s s to save  themselves.  -10-  A c e r t a i n d u a l i s m between s o u l and body ( r e c a l l i n g  the N e o p l a t o n i s m  of e a r l i e r poems p r e v i o u s l y d i s c u s s e d ) i s suggested i n Stanza I I of the i n t r o d u c t i o n , where a t h i s n a t i v i t y , we a r e t o l d ,  Christ  Forsook the Courts of e v e r l a s t i n g Day, And chose w i t h us a darksome House of m o r t a l  Clay. (13-14)  The  l a s t few words -of the second l i n e quoted r e c a l l r  saying  t h a t the body was the " p r i s o n - h o u s e of the s o u l . "  implied  Regarding M i l t o n ' s  general  to the whole of c r e a t e d handling  Greek  Any n e g a t i v i t y  i n these l i n e s i s swept away, however, by the stanzas  the harmony which C h r i s t b r i n g s  Ode,"  the a n c i e n t  proclaiming  reality.  of the d u a l i t i e s i n t h e " N a t i v i t y  the p r e v a i l i n g note i n the poem i s of serene harmony and u n i t y .  A t no p o i n t i n the poem a r e there  s t i r r e d up the deep t e n s i o n s  s e t t i n g emotions w i t h which M i l t o n has to d e a l i n L y c i d a s l e s s e r extent  and up-  (and to a  i n Comus).  One would suppose t h a t a poem w r i t t e n by M i l t o n on the s u f f e r i n g s and  death of C h r i s t would be e x c e e d i n g l y  treatment of d u a l i t i e s , In "The Passion,",  particularly  relevant  the o p p o s i t i o n  however, M i l t o n f a i l s  The reason i s not f a r to  M i l t o n demonstrates an extreme r e l u c t a n c e here and l a t e r i n  Paradise  Lost  to dwell  on the s u f f e r i n g s of C h r i s t .  t r a t e s r a t h e r on h i s own f e e l i n g s . himself Lycidas. his  of good and e v i l .  t o come to g r i p s w i t h the pro-  blem or to produce any s o l u t i o n whatsoever. seek:  t o a d i s c u s s i o n of h i s  i n the p l a c e  M i l t o n was a p p a r e n t l y  of C h r i s t as he was l a t e r  The poet was c l e a r l y a t t h i s p o i n t ,  concluding  The poet concenunable to put  to do i n the case of as he h a l f suggests i n  note, unable to handle the problem of e v i l  on such a  -11-  large  scale. M i l t o n ' s poem, "An E p i t a p h on the Marchioness of W i n c h e s t e r , " was  one of s e v e r a l poems w r i t t e n by Cambridge students f o r Jane P a u l e t who  3 d i e d i n 1631 a t the age of twenty-three. the  As i n h i s e a r l i e r poem, "On  Death of a F a i r I n f a n t Dying of a Cough", and i n h i s l a t e r work,  L y c i d a s , M i l t o n here f a c e s the problem of the death of a young person b e f o r e he or she had been a b l e to e x p e r i e n c e the complete of  life.  It is full  compliments,  fulfillment  of the u s u a l c o n v e n t i o n s i n c l u d i n g n i c e l y turned  and the i n e v i t a b l e a p o t h e o s i s a t the c o n c l u s i o n o f the  poem, b u t i n comparison w i t h L y c i d a s t h e r e i s a g a i n v e r y l i t t l e  emo-  t i o n a l involvement of the poet i n h i s poem. Two poems which, w i t h i n themselves little  (at least),  ambivalence or c o n f l i c t a t a l l a r e " L ' A l l e g r o " and " I I Penseroso."  Each poem p r e s e n t s an i d e a l i z e d k i n d of l i f e  as a harmonious  Each i s concerned s o l e l y w i t h the i n n o c e n t enjoyment t h i s i s the case, e v i l  f u r t h e r m o r e no r i g i d  the  s u p e r n a t u r a l order of r e a l i t y ,  dividing  Nor i s p l e a s u r e i n i t s e l f  Since There  or between the f l e s h and the s p i r i t . i n the p l e a s u r e s of the senses  dancing e t c . ) and those of the mind  m o r a l l y wrong, though  of p l e a s u r e .  l i n e s between the n a t u r a l w o r l d and  both poems t h e r e i s equal enjoyment  (nature, music,  whole.  cannot be s a i d to e n t e r the poems a t a l l .  are  In  seem to suggest  (poetry, drama e t c . ) .  ( i n e i t h e r poem) scorned as i n some sense  t h i s problem c e r t a i n l y a r i s e s i n l a t e r poems.  " L ' A l l e g r o " M i r t h i s g i v e n a pagan geneology--she  In  i s the o f f s p r i n g of  Venus and Bacchus--yet she b r i n g s i n h e r r i g h t hand " t h e Mountain Nymph,  Hughes, p. 65.  -12-  sweet L i b e r t y " (36) and M i l t o n d e s i r e s to l i v e w i t h both of them " i n unreproved or  pleasures f r e e " ( 4 0 ) I t  i s interesting  to compare M i r t h ,  Euphrosyne w i t h Comus; both are f a t h e r e d by Bacchus (though  the  s i n i s t e r C i r c e , not f a i r Venus, i t i s true, i s the mother of Comus), but M i r t h i s to be approved  of by  the reader, w h i l e Comus, f o r a l l h i s  a t t r a c t i v e n e s s , must, because of the s t r u c t u r a l framework of the poem, be r e j e c t e d by  the r e a d e r .  pure" i n " I I Penseroso", (Vesta and  S a t u r n ) , and  Melancholy  i s c a l l e d a "nun,  devout  and  y e t her p a r e n t s are a l s o pagan d i v i n i t i e s there i s l i t t l e  poem because of t h i s f a c t .  The  sense of i n c o n g r u i t y i n the  c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r i n the poem can  thermore enjoy and b e n e f i t from both  the l i t e r a t u r e and  fur-  philosophy  of  the pagan Greeks and Romans and a s e r v i c e i n a C h r i s t i a n church which " b r i n g s a l l Heav'n b e f o r e Granted is  that l i t t l e  [ h i s ] eyes."  (166)  c o n f l i c t e x i s t s w i t h i n each of these two  there meant to be a d e f i n i t e o p p o s i t i o n between them?  t h i s seems to be the case a t f i r s t jecting  the mood of the o t h e r .  c h e e r f u l man  and  But  Certainly  g l a n c e , f o r each poem begins by r e the a t t i t u d e s and behaviour  those of the t h o u g h t f u l man,  p o i n t e d out, are not m u t u a l l y  of the  as C l e a n t h Brooks has  exclusive opposites.  . . . M i l t o n c o u l d not a f f o r d to e x p l o i t mere c o n t r a s t . I f he had, the two h a l v e s would have d r i v e n p o l e s a p a r t . They would have ceased to be twin h a l v e s of one poem, f o r the sense of u n i t y i n v a r i e t y would have been l o s t . We are almost j u s t i f i e d i n p u t t i n g the matter t h i s way: by choosing the obvious c o n t r a s t between m i r t h and melancholy, M i l t o n o b l i g a t e d h i m s e l f to b r i n g them as c l o s e t o g e t h e r as p o s s i b l e i n t h e i r e f f e c t on the mind.  U n d e r l i n i n g my  own.  poems,  -13-  F o r the t e n s i o n between the c h o i c e s depends upon t h e i r p r e s e n t a t i o n as c h o i c e s which can appeal t o the same mind.... Thus the p l e a s u r e s of M i r t h are not r i o t o u s and u n r e s t r a i n e d but reproved". There may is  " I I Penseroso"  the w o r l d l y , p u b l i c man  engaged i n s e c u l a r i n t e r e s t s and  the withdrawn, p r i v a t e man  s p i r i t u a l matters un  concerned w i t h  but i n r e a l i t y both men  and a r e c u r i o u s l y / i n v o l v e d i n the two  not the m i s e r a b l e  seem to be a c o n t r a s t s u g g e s t i n g t h a t the speaker  i n " I I Penseroso" and  i s the t h o u g h t f u l man  i n , the a c t i v i t i e s  "unman.  i n "L'Allegro" the  speaker  religious  are mere s p e c t a t o r s of,  of the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s  poems.  Both poems furthermore p r e s e n t an i d e a l i z e d w o r l d which represents< a p r o j e c t i o n of the poet's f a n c i e s , not a d e f i n i t e event events i n the past as a l l M i l t o n ' s l o n g e r poems do. and  the l o g i c a l  fact.  time.  The verb  tense  s t r u c t u r e of both of the poems i s i n d i c a t i v e of  The b a s i c argument of each can be reduced  then...."  or s e r i e s of  to the words  this "If...  Many of the v e r b s a r e oddly i n d e f i n i t e i n r e g a r d to mood and  Rather  than i n the more f o r c e f u l ,  simple i n d i c a t i v e ,  i n such l e s s d e f i n i t e forms as the c o n d i t i o n a l and  they  occur  infinitive:  And i f I g i v e thee honor due, M i r t h , admit me of thy crew To l i v e w i t h her, and l i v e w i t h thee, In unreproved p l e a s u r e s f r e e , To hear the Lark b e g i n h i s f l i g h t O V A l l e g r o , " 37-41) The  p r e s e n t and p a s t p a r t i c i p l e s are f a i r l y  common,  Some time w a l k i n g not unseen By Hedgerow Elms, on H i l l o c k s green....  (56-57)  as w e l l as the i m p e r a t i v e mood:  " L i g h t Symbolism i n 'L' A l l e g r o * a n d ' l l Wrought Urn (New York, 1947), p. 53.  Penseroso ,", 1  The W e l l -  -14-  And ever a g a i n s t e a t i n g Cares, Lap me i n s o f t L y d i a n A i r s . . . .  (135-136)  And when the Sun begins t o f l i n g His f l a r i n g beams, me Goddess b r i n g To arched walks of t w i l i g h t g r o v e s . . . . Sometimes the verb i s omitted a l t o g e t h e r .  O f l l Penseroso," 131-133)  Above a l l ,  both the c h e e r f u l  man and the t h o u g h t f u l man a r e the r e c i p i e n t s r a t h e r than the doers of action.  A f u r t h e r sense of m d e f m i t e n e s s i s added by the f r e q u e n t p r e -  s e n t a t i o n of a l t e r n a t i v e s ;  the word " o r " occurs even more o f t e n i n these  two poems than i t does elsewhere  i n Milton's poetry.  As a r e s u l t of a l l these f a c t o r s , we do n o t f i n d the d r i v i n g  i n these two poems  energy and a s p i r a t i o n which i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of n e a r l y a l l  of M i l t o n ' s o t h e r poems.  The poet seems to have detached h i m s e l f from  the w o r l d of both " L ' A l l e g r o " and " I I Penseroso .'" 1  r e a l c o n f l i c t because M i l t o n ,  The two poems l a c k  s u r e l y , was n o t deeply committed to e i t h e r .  They a r e simply i d e a l i z e d e x p r e s s i o n s of h i s own i m a g i n a t i o n and belong to an u n t r o u b l e d p e r i o d of h i s e a r l y  l i f e b e f o r e he was deeply  involved  i n the l a t e r problems ( p o l i t i c a l and p e r s o n a l ) which were t o demand h i s e f f o r t and a t t e n t i o n . As  the cosmology of "At a V a c a t i o n E x e r c i s e . . . " a n t i c i p a t e s  of P a r a d i s e L o s t so the w o r l d i m p l i e d t h a t of Comus.  While  i n " A r c a d e s " suggests v e r y  t h i s p i e c e can h a r d l y be s a i d  that strongly  to possess a p l o t  i t does f e a t u r e a s e t t i n g of c o n s i d e r a b l e i n t e r e s t through which M i l t o n is  later  to convey  important d u a l i t i e s .  semblance to the A t t e n d a n t S p i r i t  The Genius bears a c l o s e r e -  of Comus, and l i k e him i s an agent  of Jove, who r e p r e s e n t s the C h r i s t i a n God.  The Genius h i m s e l f belongs,  A l l u n d e r l i n i n g i n the above q u o t a t i o n s i s my own.  -15-  however, t o the n a t u r a l r a t h e r than to the s u p e r n a t u r a l order, he i n h a b i t s the n i n e spheres,  the h i g h e s t realms  of the order of n a t u r e .  Here, as i n M i l t o n ' s f u l l - l e n g t h masque, the pure i n h e a r t may upward i n t h e | o r d e r of nature p l a c e of Jove.  r e p r e s e n t e d by the p a s t o r a l f o r e s t ,  guished,  The wood i t s e l f  i n i t s a l l e g o r i c a l implications,  l a t e r poem, as we s h a l l i s uninformed  the d w e l l i n g  " t h i s f a i r Wood."  I t i s the work of the Genius to h e a l these i l l s  as does S a b r i n a i n Comus.  it  to reach the order of grace,  ascend  The only e v i l s mentioned i n the poem a r e those which  occur i n nature, (45)  though  i s to be c a r e f u l l y from  that of Comus.  just  distinIn the  see, the f o r e s t i s a symbol of nature c o r r u p t e d because  by g r a c e .  than t h i s and appears  of nature,  The wood i n "Aracades"  has wider  connotations  to stand f o r the whole of the n a t u r a l w o r l d w h i c h  forms the environment of man. The  poem,"On Time", b r i e f l y  and a n t i c i p a t e s  c o n s i d e r s the i l l s  of m o r t a l e x i s t e n c e  the g l o r i o u s r e l e a s e which the s o u l w i l l  find i n eternity.  L i k e other poems w h i c h we have a l r e a d y c o n s i d e r e d , t h i s poem r e f l e c t s the c o n v e n t i o n a l N e o p l a t o n i c d u a l i s m .  Time w i l l d e s t r o y the f a l s e n e s s  and v a n i t y and "mortal d r o s s " (6) of e a r t h l y e x i s t e n c e l e a v i n g only the s p i r i t u a l q u a l i t i e s of v i r t u e and goodness, which the d e d i c a t e d s o u l will  enjoy i n e n d l e s s b l i s s i n heaven.  depressed  i n f a v o u r of heaven, b u t as i n e a r l i e r poems t h i s  accepted w i t h l i t t l e In  I n t h i s poem e a r t h i s d e c i d e d l y solution i s  t e n s i o n or u n r e s t .  i t s c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the s u f f e r i n g s of C h r i s t which alone b r i n g  s a l v a t i o n from  s i n to mankind, the poem,"Upon the C i r c u m c i s i o n " resembles  the e a r l i e r work, "The P a s s i o n . "  Again i t i s c l e a r that M i l t o n derives  -16-  no s a t i s f a c t i o n from  t h i s c o n s i d e r a t i o n and  anguish a t the thought  the poem ends on a note of  of C h r i s t ' s coming death which the c i r c u m c i s i o n  anticipates. The  elements  of M i l t o n ' s i n t e l l e c t u a l framework appear f i n a l l y i n  "At a Solemn Music," elements  are expressed  B e f o r e the F a l l , forward  the l a s t of M i l t o n ' s e a r l y minor poems.  These  through the dominant image of harmony and  heaven and e a r t h were i n p e r f e c t harmony.  to a time when the d i s c o r d  caused by  the w o r l d w i l l be swept away and mankind  and  M i l t o n looks  the entrance of e v i l  into  can  a g a i n renew t h a t Song, And keep i n tune w i t h Heav'n, t i l l God To h i s c e l e s t i a l c o n s o r t us u n i t e , To l i v e w i t h him,  music.  ere long  s i n g i n e n d l e s s morn of l i g h t .  (25-28)  Let us, i n c o n c l u s i o n , survey M i l t o n ' s h a n d l i n g of d u a l i t i e s i n the e a r l y minor poems as a whole.  I t w i l l be c l e a r t h a t i n these poems d u a l i -  t i e s tend not to be v e r y deeply f e l t l u t i o n i s necessary between two complete  and  i s achieved without  of a m b i g u i t i e s and  Where r e s o -  o p p o s i t e s , t h i s r e s o l u t i o n i s , as a r u l e , strenuous e f f o r t .  i n sharp c o n t r a s t to M i l t o n ' s next full  or v e r y f i r m l y p r e s s e d .  These poems a r e  thus  two poems, Comus and L y c i d a s , which are  strongly c o n f l i c t i n g  dualities.  Chapter  Comus i s the f i r s t  Two:  Comus  poem i n which M i l t o n r e a l l y attempts  t o come to  g r i p s w i t h most of the d u a l i t i e s which a r e to concern him p r o f o u n d l y i n a l l h i s succeeding p o e t r y .  I n t h i s poem the n a t u r a l w o r l d  w i t h the s u p e r n a t u r a l world;  s a l v a t i o n by human e f f o r t and a s p i r a t i o n  w i t h s a l v a t i o n s o l e l y by d i v i n e g r a c e . o p p o s i t i o n to matter  conflicts  and the body.  S p i r i t and the s o u l a r e s e t i n  Desire f o r physical  security i s set  a g a i n s t the c o n v i c t i o n t h a t s p i r i t u a l i n t e g r i t y alone i s n e c e s s a r y . Good and the harmony and order which i t c r e a t e s c o n f l i c t s w i t h e v i l and the d i s o r d e r and chaos which i t causes. Comus i s a l s o s i g n i f i c a n t l y to  express  i t dramatically.  the f i r s t  poem t o convey a s t o r y and  The d u a l i t i e s which a r i s e i n the poem a r e  thus l i n k e d n o t only w i t h areas w i t h i n the t o t a l  s e t t i n g , but a l s o with  i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r s who a r e i n v o l v e d i n a p r o b l e m a t i c s i t u a t i o n which it  i s the purpose of the poem to r e s o l v e .  A l l the f o l l o w i n g poems (with  the e x c e p t i o n to some e x t e n t of L y c i d a s ) f o l l o w t h i s p a t t e r n . the temptation motive which i s so important poems, i s unmistakably  i n the l a s t  prominent here f o r the f i r s t  time  Finally,  three great (though  i t is  perhaps h i n t e d a t i n the "Nativity'*' Ode" the pagan gods b e i n g f o r M i l t o n an a t t r a c t i o n which must be r e s i s t e d ) . The  e x i s t e n c e and the importance  i n Comus a r e f a i r l y  of the above-mentioned  evident at a f i r s t  reading; t h e i r p r e c i s e represen-  t a t i o n i n p o e t i c terms, and the n a t u r e and degree of t h e i r i s a much more complex matter straight-forward:  to a s c e r t a i n .  the a t t e n d a n t S p i r i t  dualities  reconciliation  The b a s i c i d e n t i t i e s  i s an agent  of Jove,  seem  the supreme  -18-  good and both beings a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h a r a t h e r vague c l a s s i c a l  heaven;  Comus, who has much i n common w i t h M i l t o n ' s  dwells  i n a dark wood and r e p r e s e n t s  evil;  later v i l l a i n ,  Satan,  the Lady and h e r b r o t h e r s ,  whose  home i s i n Ludlow, stand f o r v i r t u o u s , a s p i r i n g mankind. But  closer- i n v e s t i g a t i o n r e v e a l s a m b i g u i t i e s  and i n c o n g r u i t i e s i n  Milton's handling  of d u a l i t i e s and o f t h e i r r e l a t i o n  characterization.  The space areas w i t h i n the t o t a l  means p l a i n l y d e f i n e d "starry  threshold  to s e t t i n g and s e t t i n g a r e by no  or c l e a r l y r e l a t e d t o each o t h e r .  of Jove's C o u r t "  be r e l a t e d to the r e g i o n  (1), where the S p i r i t  How i s the resides, to  (mentioned a t the end of the poem) where Venus  1  and Adonis r e s t , and the r e g i o n " f a r above" i t (1003) where Psyche and Cupid embrace?  I s the wood where Comus d w e l l s  e v i l o r both good and e v i l ? tendant S p i r i t ? from each o t h e r ! ingly attractive: sures  to be seen as t o t a l l y  How i s S a b r m a to be r e l a t e d t o the A t -  Both are needed to f r e e the Lady, y e t how they d i f f e r Comus, the supposed v i l l a i n  of the p i e c e ,  i s surpris-  p a r t s of Comus' speech (93-144) d e s c r i b i n g the p l e a -  of n i g h t , bear a c l o s e resemblance  ( m thought, metre and p h r a s i n g )  to passages i n " L ' A l l e g r o " which p a i n t , n o t the j o y s of a d i s s o l u t e libertine,  b u t the "unreproved p l e a s u r e s  f r e e " of a normal c h e e r f u l  man--compare the phrase " l i g h t f a n t a s t i c toe" "light intends ters  f a n t a s t i c round" (Comus, 144) . as h i s h e r o i n e ,  i s , i n fact,  ('L'Allegro','" 34) w i t h  But the Lady, whom M i l t o n  rather r e p e l l e n t .  (Comus and the A t t e n d a n t S p i r i t ) ,  apparently  Two of the charac-  a r e s p i r i t s and appear i n changed  form, but nowhere i s i t s t a t e d t h a t any of the c h a r a c t e r s w i t h whom they deal  (except  p o s s i b l y S a b r m a ) i s f u l l y aware of the true n a t u r e of these  -19-  disguised beings. S p i r i t and  This i s e s p e c i a l l y notable i n regard  c o n t r a s t s markedly w i t h  Adam knows immediately tors,  to the  Attendant  the s i t u a t i o n i n P a r a d i s e L o s t where  that both Raphael and M i c h a e l are heavenly  visi-  not e a r t h l y d w e l l e r s . Finally  the c h a r a c t e r s a r e ambiguous not only i n themselves but  i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to each o t h e r . t e r s i s oddly  limited,  I n t e r a c t i o n between the  charac-  even though the framework of the s t o r y would seem  to p r o v i d e f o r c o n s i d e r a b l e dramatic  t e n s i o n between a l l of them.  poem begins w i t h a s e r i e s of lengthy  soliloquies.  In the exchanges o f  d i a l o g u e which take up most of the r e s t of the poem, t h e r e i s no c a t i o n a t a l l between the Lady and her b r o t h e r s , Comus and  the S p i r i t ,  Comus and  Even when c o n v e r s a t i o n s  the b r o t h e r s ,  The  the Lady and  S a b r m a and  the  communi-  Sabrma, Brothers.  of c o n s i d e r a b l e l e n g t h do a r i s e between a p a i r  of c h a r a c t e r s , each w i l l argue from a s t r o n g l y - h e l d p r e s u p p o s i t i o n which the other i s a b s o l u t e l y i n c a p a b l e of e n t e r t a i n i n g . sibly  s i n k to Comus's l e v e l of r e a s o n i n g  nor he r i s e  d i s c u s s i o n between the two b r o t h e r s about c h a s t i t y , to d e c i d e whether the v i r t u e i n v o l v e s simply be g r a v e l y endangered by  the Lady's being  The  Lady cannot pos-  to h e r s .  In  the  the p a i r a r e unable  a p h y s i c a l s t a t e which c o u l d  l o s t i n the wood a t  midnight,  or r a t h e r a s t a t e of i n n e r p u r i t y which i s i n v i o l a b l e by outward  cir-  cumstance . F u r t h e r ambivalence i s e v i d e n t i n M i l t o n ' s h a n d l i n g of the problem of s a l v a t i o n .  I s the Lady saved p r i m a r i l y by her own  f a s t n e s s or mainly  by  d e v o t i o n and  the combined e f f o r t s of the a t t e n d a n t  b l u n d e r i n g b r o t h e r s and  Sabrma herself?  T h i s ambiguity  spirit,  i s carried  steadher  r i g h t i n t o the c o n c l u d i n g l i n e s of the poem: M o r t a l s t h a t would f o l l o w me, Love v i r t u e , she a l o n e i s f r e e , She can teach ye how to climb Higher than the Sphery climb, Or i f V i r t u e f e e b l e were, Heav'n i t s e l f would stoop to h e r . M i l t o n ' s thought  (1018-1023)  seems to o s c i l l a t e here between the N e o p l a t o n i c con-  c e p t i o n of the g r a d u a l a s c e n t of the s o u l through i t s own a s p i r a t i o n to the d i v i n e , and the P u r i t a n and C h r i s t i a n b e l i e f by the grace of God.  And the statement  i n salvation  i n these l a s t  solely  lines i s i l l o g i c a l :  if  s a l v a t i o n i s p o s s i b l e through one only of the two ways d e s c r i b e d , why  is  the o t h e r n e c e s s a r y or f o r t h a t matter mentioned  at a l l ?  Do a l l these a m b i g u i t i e s , i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s and i n c o n g r u i t i e s c a t e a complete i n Comus?  l a c k of r e s o l u t i o n of a l l the c o n f l i c t s between d u a l i t i e s  Must the poem be d i s m i s s e d as an a r t i s t i c f a i l u r e  l a c k i n g i n s t r u c t u r a l u n i t y and l o g i c a l development? is  the f i r s t  indi-  critic  t o attempt  to demonstrate  completely  A. S. P. Woodhouse  t h a t the poem i s based on  a c l e a r i n t e l l e c t u a l framework and r e v e a l s an i n t e l l i g i b l e p r o g r e s s i o n of thought.^  A c c o r d i n g to Woodhouse, the frame of r e f e r e n c e upon which  Comus and many other seventeenth century works of l i t e r a t u r e a r e based assumes two l e v e l s of e x i s t e n c e :  the o r d e r of n a t u r e (which  includes  not only the whole p h y s i c a l world, but a l s o man " c o n s i d e r e d simply as g a d e n i z e n of t h a t w o r l d "  and the o r d e r of grace ( t o which "belongs man  i n h i s c h a r a c t e r of s u p e r n a t u r a l being, w i t h a l l t h a t concerns h i s s a l v a -  Woodhouse's d i s c u s s i o n of Comus i s to be found i n two a r t i c l e s : "The Argument of Comus,", U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Q u a r t e r l y , XI (1941), pp. 46-71, "Comus Once More," I b i d . , XIX (1949), pp. 218-223. g "The Argument of Comus", p. 48.  -21-  t i o n and the two d i s p e n s a t i o n s , the o l d and the new  11  9  ).  M i l t o n , as a  C h r i s t i a n humanist, says Woodhouse, r e f u s e s to d i v o r c e the two o r d e r s of r e a l i t y  (as c e r t a i n other t h i n k e r s of h i s time tended  Comus r e p r e s e n t s an attempt  to u n i f y  the two o r d e r s .  t o do), and  The argument be-  tween Comus and the Lady thus moves from an appeal by Comus on the b a s i s of nature, which the Lady counters w i t h and  continence,  belongs  the n a t u r a l v i r t u e s of temperance  to the Lady's i n s i s t e n c e on the v i r t u e of c h a s t i t y which  to an a r e a common to both n a t u r e and grace,  to a f i n a l c o n s i d e r a -  t i o n of the "sage / And s e r i o u s d o c t r i n e of v i r g i n i t y " found  (786-7) which i s  only i n the order of grace and which Comus i s t h e r e f o r e i n c a p a b l e  of u n d e r s t a n d i n g . cerned,  So f a r as the g e n e r a l movement of the poem i s con-  the Lady r e s i s t s  the t h r e a t s of Comus on the n a t u r a l l e v e l of  human w i l l and a s p i r a t i o n b u t u l t i m a t e l y can only be f r e e d from the tempter's Finally,  power by S a b r m a , who b r i n g s an i n f u s i o n of s u p e r n a t u r a l g r a c e . the e p i l o g u e summarises the whole movement of the poem:  Spirit flies  first  the  t o the Gardens of Hesperus where l i e Venus and Adonis,  who r e p r e s e n t " t h e powers and p r o c e s s e s of n a t u r e f ^ ; he next r i s e s to the realm " f a r above" where " i n spangled and  Psyche, who stand f o r " a s c e n t  c e s s i b l e on the n a t u r a l l e v e l , n a t u r e and g r a c ^ ' ^ ;  he f i n a l l y  sheen" (1003) embrace Cupid  to the h i g h e s t v i r t u e and wisdom a c -  or r a t h e r a s c e n t t o an a r e a common to i n v i t e s mortals  to f o l l o w him " h i g h e r  than the Sphery chime" (1021) to the l e v e l of grace  9  1 0  1 1  ""The Argument of Comus,"' p. 48. P  70.  Ibid.  alone.  -22-  A l t h o u g h Woodhouse s e x p l i c a t i o n 1  particularly  throws much l i g h t on Comus, and  on the q u e s t i o n of d u a l i t i e s i n the poem, i t s t i l l  a number of q u e s t i o n s unanswered.  leaves  As he h i m s e l f admits, M i l t o n does not 12  avoid " a l l  o c c a s i o n of c o n f l i c t between n a t u r e and g r a c e . "  Such r e s o -  l u t i o n as he does a c h i e v e i s not simple or s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d . does not say d e f i n i t e l y merely  full  Woodhouse  to which o r d e r the A t t e n d a n t S p i r i t belongs but  a s s e r t s t h a t he " i s the agent and  symbol,  not of grace i n i t s 13  extent, but of d i v i n e p r o t e c t i o n and a measure of guidance."  The S p i r i t  comes from the t h r e s h o l d of Jove's c o u r t , s u g g e s t i n g t h a t  i s a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the s u p e r n a t u r a l o r d e r . h i s power so l i m i t e d ?  Unable  But i f t h i s i s so, why  task.  Yet S a b r m a , who  n a t u r a l o r d e r of r e a l i t y ,  is  to r e l e a s e the Lady from the s p e l l of  Comus, he must summon S a b r m a , an agent of d i v i n e grace, this d i f f i c u l t  he  to a c c o m p l i s h  supposedly belongs to the super-  i s unmistakably p o r t r a y e d as a n a t u r e  goddess,  and r a t h e r than descending from heaven above she r i s e s from her d w e l l i n g p l a c e beneath and e v i l  the water.  Much of our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the r o l e of good  i n the poem t u r n s on what M i l t o n understood by c h a s t i t y ,  v i r t u e which i s so c e n t r a l virginity  to Comus.  Does the term r e f e r  to p e r p e t u a l  or r a t h e r to p r e - m a r i t a l c h a s t i t y or does i t imply a much  broader concept of p u r i t y of body and to God  the  s o u l and  single-hearted devotion  i n which p h y s i c a l c h a s t i t y p l a y s only a p a r t ?  I s t h e r e any  real  communication between the Lady and Comus even when they a r e a r g u i n g s o l e l y on the l e v e l of nature?  Can  the b e l i e f s of the two b r o t h e r s be  12 "The Argument of Comus," p. 61, 1 3  "Comus Once More," p.  220.  -23-  r e c o n c i l e d i n any r e a l sense? text w i l l fying are  I b e l i e v e t h a t a c l o s e examination of the  p r o v i d e d e f i n i t e answers to some of these q u e s t i o n s , thus  to some e x t e n t the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the v a r i o u s d u a l i t i e s  evident m  which  the poem.  The problem  of r e l a t i n g  the v a r i o u s space a r e a s (and the c h a r a c t e r s  a s s o c i a t e d w i t h them) to these d u a l i t i e s i s s i m p l i f i e d keeps i n mind that M i l t o n undoubtedly bases Comus ( l i k e Odd),  clari-  somewhat i f one the " N a t i v i t y '  on the P t o l e m a i c or A r i s t o t e l i a n c o n c e p t i o n of the u n i v e r s e .  c o r d i n g to t h i s view as i t was i n M i l t o n ' s own  held  throughout  Ac-  the M i d d l e Ages (and  time by some p e o p l e ) , the e a r t h was  even  a t the c e n t r e of the  u n i v e r s e and e n c l o s e d by ten c o n c e n t r i c spheres to which were a t t a c h e d the  p l a n e t s (j.n the case of the f i r s t  (in  the case of the e i g h t h sphere, c a l l e d  outermost  sphere  seven spheres) and  [the Pnmum M o b i l e , which  so t h a t the s t a r s and p l a n e t s e n c i r c l e d  the f i x e d  the Firmament).  stars  "Above the  turned a l l the o t h e r spheres  the e a r t h ] of astronomy  was  the  heaven of theology [the Empyrean Heaven, d w e l l i n g - p l a c e of God and of 14 the  elect],  p i c t u r e d i n the same diagram."'  In t h i s system i t i s thus  assumed t h a t the realm of n a t u r e (the e a r t h and i t s spheres) i s bordered by the realm of the s u p e r n a t u r a l (beyond a l l the s p h e r e s ) .  Jove's  court  must t h e r e f o r e be found i n the Empyrean Heaven, the s u p e r n a t u r a l realm of  grace.  Sphery  To t h i s realm m o r t a l s a r e i n v i t e d  to ascend " h i g h e r than the  chime" (1021), above a l l the spheres and  d w e l l s " b e f o r e the s t a r r y  t h e i r music.  The  Spirit  t h r e s h o l d of Jove's Court"' (1), that i s , some-  Herbert D i n g l e , " C o p e r n i c u s and the P l a n e t s , " A S h o r t H i s t o r y of Science, O r i g i n s and R e s u l t s of the S c i e n t i f i c R e v o l u t i o n , A Symposium, (New York, 1951), p. 21.  -24-  where c l o s e t o the firmament in,  the firmament  (1003).  of the f i x e d  stars.  A l s o c l o s e to, or w i t h -  of the s t a r s a r e Cupid and Psyche,  " i n spangled  sheen"  A l l t h r e e thus i n h a b i t a r e g i o n which i s on the h i g h e s t l e v e l  of the n a t u r a l o r d e r and on the verge of the s u p e r n a t u r a l order  (rather  than i n an a r e a common to n a t u r e and grace as Woodhouse suggests),?'"' Madsen i s s u r e l y c o r r e c t when he a s s e r t s t h a t the A t t e n d a n t S p i r i t " r e p r e s e n t s n o t s u p e r n a t u r a l grace b u t the h i g h e r p o t e n t i a l i t i e s nature... s p e c i f i c a l l y  perhaps  the human s o u l .  of human  He r e p r e s e n t s the i n t e r -  p e n e t r a t i o n o f n a t u r e and grace from the p o i n t of view of n a t u r e . . . .  He  16 symbolizes the knowledge of r i g h t and wrong c o n f e r r e d by r e a s o n . "  For  t h i s reason he can o f f e r the Lady guidance and p o i n t toward good but cannot r e s c u e h e r from e v i l or enable h e r to r i s e Comus'  r  more simple:  toward  good.  p o s i t i o n i n the framework of n a t u r e and g r a c e i s c o n s i d e r a b l y he stands f o r nature uninformed  more s p e c i f i c a l l y ,  by any h i g h e r purpose and,  f o r the i n s t i n c t u a l and the s e n s u a l enjoyed f o r them-  s e l v e s and n o t seen i n the l i g h t of s u p e r n a t u r a l grace or even i n the l i g h t of n a t u r a l r e a s o n .  Thus Comus c a l l s f o r u n r e s t r i c t e d  of the senses b u t i n darkness; most c l o s e l y  he excludes the use of s i g h t ,  l i n k e d w i t h the i n t e l l e c t .  can only see t h i s as u n n a t u r a l .  indulgence the sense  As f o r the s u p e r n a t u r a l , Comus  Y e t Comus f e e l s t h a t n a t u r a l  should n o t only be enjoyed but d i s p l a y e d i n a s o p h i s t i c a t e d  beauty  environment  f a r removed from the simple w o r l d of n a t u r e .  "The Argument of Comus,". p. 70. ^ W i l l i a m G. Madsen, "The Idea of Nature i n M i l t o n ' s poetry,", Three S t u d i e s i n the Renaissance: Sidney, Jonson, M i l t o n , ed. B. J . Nangle (Yale U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1958), p. 216.  -25-  Beauty i s nature's brag, and must be shown In c o u r t s , a t f e a s t s , and h i g h s o l e m n i t i e s Where most may wonder a t the workmanship.... Thus even he would t u r n nature a s i d e i n t o  (745-747)  artificiality.  And what of the wood w i t h which Comus i s a s s o c i a t e d ? Woodhouse suggests  t h a t i t r e p r e s e n t s " t h i s world,  good and  e v i l grow up  together...."''"''  i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the image. I,  the order of nature, where  This i s , I f e e l ,  In both Comus and  the f o r e s t image ( i t s occurrence  too broad  an  the F a e r i e Queene, Book  i n the former i s p a t t e r n e d to a  l a r g e e x t e n t on i t s appearance i n the l a t t e r ) i s only a p a r t  (though  an a r e a l a r g e enough to get l o s t i n ) w i t h i n a much l a r g e r t o t a l s e t ting.  In Comus, then,  of the n a t u r a l o r d e r . it  i t s u r e l y cannot be  seen as symbolic  Furthermore, there i s some doubt as  can be c o n s i d e r e d good as w e l l as e v i l .  Although  of the whol to whether  the f o r e s t  obvious  d e r i v e s from the d e l i g h t f u l wood of the p a s t o r a l , which the Genius i n "Arcades"  referred  to as a " f a i r Wood" (45),  convention a r e s t i l l  e v i d e n t i n Comus) M i l t o n m o d i f i e s the  p a t t e r n i n a most d e f i n i t e way suggests  t h a t i t i s an e v i l ,  reasons  dangerous p l a c e .  ferring  traditional  The b r o t h e r s see Spirit.  Comus, of  f o r wanting the wood to seem a t t r a c t i v e  E a r l y i n the poem the Lady h e r s e l f t a n g l ' d wood" (181)  and  i t i s p u z z l i n g to f i n d her a l i t t l e  even b e f o r e she meets Comus.  "Comus Once More", p.  220.  and  the course,  to the Lady  speaks of "the b l i n d mazes of  to "the spreading f a v o r of these P i n e s " (184)  h o s p i t a b l e woods" (187)  this  so t h a t the dominant p i c t u r e of the wood  wood only as fearsome, as does the A t t e n d a n t has h i s own  (and some t r a c e s of  this  later re-  to "the k i n d  I t h i n k , however,  -26-  t h a t i n speaking  these l i n e s ,  c e i v e d f o r the A t t e n d a n t  the Lady i s a t t h i s p o i n t momentarily de-  S p i r i t , who presumably i s p e r m i t t e d to know  the r e a l n a t u r e of t h i n g s , sees the wood as only e v i l :  he t e l l s of  the p e r p l e x ' t paths of t h i s d r e a r Wood, The nodding h o r r o r of whose shady brows T h r e a t s the f o r l o r n and wand'rmg of  Passenger....  (37-39)  Comus i n t h i s wood And  and  i n t h i c k s h e l t e r of b l a c k shades imbow'r'd  (61-62)  l a t e r of " t h i s hideous Wood" (520) w i t h i n the n a v e l of which Comus  resides.  Finally,  after  the Lady's rescue, he demands t h a t they  " t h i s cursed place'.' (939)  depart  S u r e l y these passages imply not t h a t only  p a r t of the wood i s e v i l but r a t h e r than the whole wood i s to be f e a r e d and  detested.  I t i s Comus' environment and l i k e him stands f o r n a t u r e  c o r r u p t e d and p e r v e r t e d because u n e n l i g h t e n e d by g r a c e . and  His e v i l  low m o t i v a t i o n thus t r a n s f o r m the d e l i g h t f u l and i n n o c e n t  presence  pastoral  wood i n t o i t s v e r y o p p o s i t e . How does S a b r m a r e l a t e to the framework of nature and grace? As has a l r e a d y been mentioned, S a b r m a , a l t h o u g h a s s o c i a t e d by Woodhouse w i t h the order of grace, has many c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which seem t o l i n k her with  the order of n a t u r e and w i t h the more b a s i c ,  p r i m i t i v e and sensuous  i  l e v e l s of human e x p e r i e n c e . pectation,  A t the same time,  she has, c o n t r a r y to ex-  s e v e r a l f e a t u r e s i n common w i t h Comus, who, as we have  is certainly closely related  seen,  to nature, not grace, and stands f o r e v i l ,  not good. Both S a b r i n a and Comus a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h p r i m i t i v e magic though ,  -27-  Comus uses h i s power to e n t i c e people i n t o moral d i s s o l u t i o n and to bew i t c h those who r e f u s e , w h i l e S a b r m a uses h e r powers to h e a l the i l l s of nature caused  by m a l i c i o u s f a i r i e s ,  imprisoned w i t h h i s s e n s u a l i t y .  and to f r e e those whom Comus has  There i s c o n s i d e r a b l e s i m i l a r i t y be-  tween the h a b i t a t i o n of Comus and t h a t of S a b r m a . a n a t u r a l environment--Comus of course,  1  Both l i v e deep i n  wood i s d e s c r i b e d as a dungeon, and S a b r m a ,  l i v e s a t the bottom of a r i v e r .  These environments e n c l o s e  them on a l l s i d e s and a r e powerful and p o t e n t i a l l y dangerous,  s i n c e they  are u n c o n t r o l l a b l e by the hand of man--one can g e t l o s t i n Comus' wood, and  S a b r i n a ' s stream,  i t s banks.  Finally,  as the s p i r i t p o i n t s out (930 f f . ) ,  can o v e r f l o w  i t i s a most s u r p r i s i n g f a c t t h a t both Comus and  S a b r m a a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the sirens--Comus' mother and the s i r e n s a l l sang e n c h a n t i n g l y t o g e t h e r as they c u l l e d poisonous S a b r m a i s invoked by the S p i r i t sweet" (878)--those duty  m  herbs  (252-257);  the name of the "Songs of S i r e n s  c r e a t u r e s who, l i k e C i r c e ,  l u r e d men from  their  i n t o the p l e a s u r e s of the senses. But S a b r m a i s a l s o l i n k e d v e r y f i r m l y w i t h the order of grace and  to the t h i n g s of the s p i r i t .  She i s invoked i n a manner r e m i n i s c e n t of  the A n g l i c a n l i t a n y - - e a c h p e t i t i o n b e i n g f o l l o w e d by the r e f r a i n and  save!'  She b r i n g s grace and s a l v a t i o n  "listen  to the Lady and f r e e s h e r  from Comus' s p e l l i n a r i t u a l n o t u n l i k e the C h r i s t i a n sacrament of baptism  or the a n o i n t i n g w i t h h o l y o i l or h o l y water, a f t e r which the  S p i r i t urges grace."  the Lady and her b r o t h e r s to depart " w h i l e Heaven lends us  (938).  In view of these apparent  contradictions,  S a b r m a must be seen as  -28-  more than simply an agent of d i v i n e grace (as Woodhouse s u g g e s t s ) - - s h e i s r e l a t e d to both n a t u r e and grace and can b e s t be d e s c r i b e d as n a t u r e i l l u m i n a t e d by grace, or as Madsen puts i t , "the m t e r p e n e t r a t i o n of 18 n a t u r e and grace...from the p o i n t of view of g r a c e . . . . " In  Comus M i l t o n thus attempts,  as Woodhouse and other c r i t i c s  have  a f f i r m e d , an i n t e g r a t i o n of the order of ffature and the order of grace. T h i s attempt  to r e c o n c i l e the two worlds i s by no means u n s u c c e s s f u l ,  though M i l t o n a c h i e v e s h i s r e s o l u t i o n i n an unexpected Lady reaches up toward  paralysis.  but cannot,  strenuous though  of  through her own  through n a t u r e .  the poem:  they are, end only i n a k i n d  She i s a b l e to r e s i s t e v i l and remain unsubdued by i t , s t r e n g t h , f r e e h e r s e l f from i t s i n f l u e n c e  enough to a c h i e v e p o s i t i v e good. working  the f i r s t  T h i s must be brought about by grace  T h i s p a t t e r n i s r e f l e c t e d i n the development p a r t o crf';e Comus (up to the Lady's ir  S a b r m a ) i s f i l l e d w i t h d i s c u s s i o n , argument and which  l e a d ^ nowhere:  rescue by  conscious reasoning  i t does not prevent the Lady from f a l l i n g  danger nor r e l e a s e her when she i s m  the hands of e v i l  not w i t h h i g h - f l o w n a b s t r a c t i o n s ,  into  powers.  l a t t e r p a r t of the poem i n v o l v e s a c t i o n r a t h e r than t h i n k i n g . concerned,  The  the order of grace w i t h g r e a t energy and d e t e r -  m i n a t i o n but her e f f o r t s , of  fashion.  The We  are  the " c h a r m i n g . . . d i v i n e  p h i l o s o p h y " (476) of c l a s s i c a l and C h r i s t i a n t h i n k e r s , but w i t h a much deeper  l e v e l of human e x p e r i e n c e i n v o l v i n g r i t u a l ,  and magic. w o r l d and 18  "Release and r e l i e f  poetry,  from the c l a s h between the  incantation sensuous  the w o r l d of s t r a i n i n g i d e a l i s m comes from unconscious sources,  "Comus Once More", p.  216,  -29-  from underneath  the waters,  from  the f l o w e r y banks, from music and  poetry  19 and memory, a l l the deep w e l l s of n a t u r e ' s p u r i t y and The Lady, i n order not compelled by  to r e j e c t  to be imprisoned by the sensuous,  the whole w o r l d of the senses.  strenuous e f f o r t but i s unable  joy cannot be pursued  c o n f e r r e d by g r a c e upon those who  T h i s she can a c h i e v e  The n a t u r a l d e l i g h t s of  f o r themselves  are devoted  are i n e v i t a b l e :  but are u l t i m a t e l y  to the t h i n g s of the  As Woodhouse p o i n t s out, whenever one has an a s c e n d i n g some n e g a t i v e elements  feels  to a c h i e v e a f r e e and harmonious r e -  l a t i o n s h i p w i t h n a t u r e except through g r a c e . freedom, youth and  innocence."  "there w i l l  spirit.  s c a l e of v a l u e s ,  be n e c e s s a r y  c i a t i o n w i t h i n a scheme whose note i s not r e n u n c i a t i o n , but  renun-  comprehension  20 and a s c e n t . " Thus, a l t h o u g h Comus b o a s t s of joy, youth and freedom, i n v i t e s h i s companions to the n i g h t ' s a c t i v i t i e s w i t h these words:  he  ...welcome Joy and F e a s t , M i d n i g h t shout and r e v e l r y , T i p s y dance and J o l l i t y . . . . R i g o r now i s gone to bed, ' And A d v i c e w i t h s c r u p u l o u s head, S t r i c t Age, and sour S e v e r i t y , With t h e i r grave Saws i n slumber l i e . . . (102-4; 107-110)-pleasures the Lady must r e j e c t these/at h i s c o r r u p t and depraved hands: none But such as are good men can g i v e good t h i n g s , And t h a t which i s not good, i s not d e l i c i o u s To a w e l l - g o v e r n ' d and wise a p p e t i t e . Yet we and  a r e a s s u r e d that the person who  thus renounces  freedom i n p r e f e r e n c e f o r h i g h e r t h i n g s , w i l l  Roy  (702-705)  D a r n e l l s , M i l t o n , Mannerism and  "The Argument of M i l t o n ' s Comus", p.  n a t u r a l youth,  e v e n t u a l l y be  joy  rewarded  Baroque (Toronto, 1963), p. 61.  37.  -30=  w i t h them.  F o r t h i s reason, as the s p i r i t  soars upward through  of grace, he meets " f a r above i n spangled sheen"  (1. 1003)  the order  Cupid,  shortly  to be wedded to Psyche from whose f a i r unspotted s i d e Two b l i s s f u l twins are to be born Youth and Joy; so Jove hath sworn. Only  through  the a s p i r a t i o n towards good can these g i f t s be accepted t o -  g e t h e r w i t h the crowning  grace,  freedom.  M o r t a l s t h a t would f o l l o w Love v i r t u e , As  (1009-1011)  to the problem  she a l o n e i s f r e e . . . . of s a l v a t i o n :  t i o n t h a t both human w i l l and rescued from e v i l . .  me, (1018-1019)  Comus demonstrates  Milton's convic-  d i v i n e grace are n e c e s s a r y i f man  i s to be  The Lady must prove h e r s e l f f i r s t b e f o r e she can r e -  c e i v e grace but; having expended a l l the e f f o r t of which she i s capable, 21 she cannot has  save h e r s e l f w i t h o u t  supernatural a i d .  Dick T a y l o r , J r . ,  shown us t h a t t h i s p a t t e r n of s a l v a t i o n i s g e n e r a l l y t r u e of a l l  M i l t o n ' s major poems.  Man  s t r i v e s t o h i s utmost to r e a c h God  t i m a t e l y rewarded by a m i r a c u l o u s o u t p o u r i n g of d i v i n e g r a c e .  and  is ul-  Of Comus  i n p a r t i c u l a r he p o i n t s out: The Lady i s denied any e x t e r n a l a i d s , u n t i l she has proven h e r s e l f ; but t h e r e a r e a i d s a t hand on the l e v e l of nature under the proper c i r c u m s t a n c e s , i n the A t t e n d a n t S p i r i t and her b r o t h e r s . ^ 2 ...the S a b r m a e p i s o d e . . .represen t s the e x t e n s i o n of grace to the Lady a f t e r her s u c c e s s f u l s t r u g g l e .  ^  21 "Grace as a Means of P o e t r y : M i l t o n ' s P a t t e r n F o r Tulane S t u d i e s In E n g l i s h , IV (1954), pp. 54-90. 22 P 63. 23  P.  62.  Salvation,"  -31-  Although the n a t u r a l and the s u p e r n a t u r a l  are obviously  two of the  most prominent d u a l i t i e s i n Comus, r e l a t e d to them a r e another p a i r of o p p o s i t e s :  good and e v i l .  important  A hasty survey of the poem might  the reader to suppose that M i l t o n expresses here a simple dualism: pleasures  the  and i n d u l g e n c e s of the body, and of the senses, a r e t o t a l l y  e v i l and the l i f e of the s p i r i t  i s a b s o l u t e l y good.  dence i n the poem to suggest t h i s , But  lead  ultimately e v i l  There i s some e v i -  perhaps, as we have a l r e a d y  noted.  i n Comus i s the e r r o r of t r y i n g to make a p a r t ( t h e  w o r l d of n a t u r e ) i n t o the whole thus w o r s h i p p i n g the c r e a t i o n i n s t e a d of its  creator,  seeking  that i s , f a l l i n g  into idolatry.  Good i n Comus c o n s i s t s i n  God w i t h one's whole h e a r t and d i s c o v e r i n g i n the process  those t h i n g s which one f e l t c o n t r a i n e d  that  to renounce a r e g i v e n back.  This  accounts, i n p a r t , f o r the a t t r a c t i v e n e s s of Comus, and the u n g r a c i o u s ness of the Lady i n r e j e c t i n g h i s charms. mitted,  I n t h i s poem, i t must be ad-  M i l t o n does n o t q u i t e manage to r e c o n c i l e an i n t e n s e  n a t u r a l beauty and an e q u a l l y  intense devotion  to the w i l l  In terms of the p l o t , the triumph of good over e v i l  l o v e of  of God.  i s not f i n a l :  Comus merely f l e e s i n t o another p a r t of the wood; he i s n o t r e s o u n d i n g l y defeated  i n open c o n f l i c t and e n t i r e l y c a s t out of h i s d w e l l i n g  as i s Satan i n P a r a d i s e is Acrasia's  Lost,  nor i s h i s e v i l  environment destroyed  Bower of B l i s s i n the F a e r i e Queene,Book I I .  v i o u s l y has c e r t a i n c l o s e resemblances to A c r a s i a . ) her  place as  (Comus ob-  I t i s the Lady and  companions who must f l e e from danger w h i l e they a r e s t i l l  under the  p r o t e c t i o n of Heaven. Body and s o u l or matter and s p i r i t a r e the f i n a l  significant pair  -32-  of  o p p o s i t i o n s i n Comus.  As  suggested before, there seems to be c o n s i d -  e r a b l e evidence i n the poem t h a t M i l t o n a t t h i s p o i n t s u b s c r i b e s to a simple d u a l i s m : man  matter and  the body are e v i l ;  i s a s t a t e of pure s p i r i t  i n which the s o u l i s i n the c l o s e s t r e -  l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the Supreme Good. in  the h i g h e s t good f o r  Passages  i n the f i r s t seventeen  the poem seem to suggest t h i s most s t r o n g l y .  The S p i r i t  sharp d i s t i n c t i o n between h i s heavenly h a b i t a t i o n and vironment  lines  suggests a  the c o r r u p t e d en-  of man, f o r he d w e l l s Above the smoke and  s t i r of t h i s dim  spot,  Which men c a l l E a r t h , and w i t h low-thoughted c a r e C o n f i n ' d and p e s t e r ' d i n t h i s p i n f o l d here, S t r i v e to keep up a f r a i l and F e v e r i s h b e i n g . . . . A c e r t a i n d u a l i s m of body and  s o u l i s a l s o suggested i n t h a t t h e JSpi-ri't c  a s s e r t s t h a t i f i t were not f o r those who  With  (5-8)  a s p i r e to v i r t u e ,  he  would not s o i l these pure Ambrosial weeds the rank vapors of t h i s Sin-worn mold. (16-17)  24 Critics  have found p a r a l l e l s between 11. 466-475 of Comus and S o c r a t e s '  argument f o r the s o u l ' s i m m o r t a l i t y (Phaedo, 8 1 ) .  The whole of P l a t o ' s  Phaedo does seem to suggest a marked dualism--the body i s p i c t u r e d the source of a l l e v i l ,  and  from the body's enslavement. passages  in  In a d d i t i o n ,  as those where the Lady a s s e r t s  and v i r g i n i t y flesh.  the s o u l ' s g r e a t e s t good i s seen as as we  release  have a l r e a d y noted,  such  the i n t r i n s i c v a l u e of c h a s t i t y  suggest a d i s a p p r o v a l i n p r i n c i p l e of the p l e a s u r e s of the  Finally,  as p o i n t e d out b e f o r e , the b r o t h e r s express an  t h e i r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of c h a s t i t y as to whether i t i n v o l v e s  p h y s i c a l i n t e g r i t y or simply i n n e r p u r i t y .  E.g.,  as  Hughes, p.  101.  ambivalence  primarily  -33-  T h i s supposed  d u a l i s m i s , however, not n e a r l y  so d e c i d e d as i t seems.  C l o s e r e a d i n g of both Phaedo and c o r r e s p o n d i n g passages t h a t the views though  i n Comus show  expressed i n the two works a r e by no means i d e n t i c a l  i n the l a t t e r M i l t o n does echo some of the phrases of the former.  P l a t o ( i n Phaedo) suggests the s h a r p e s t p o s s i b l e antagonism and  soul.  To M i l t o n , however, who  t r a l C h r i s t i a n and evil,  Biblical  between body  stands, i n t h i s r e s p e c t , i n the cen-  tradition,  s i n c e i t i s c r e a t e d by God,  the body i s not  intrinsically  but i t can become e v i l i f man  away from God and makes sensuous p l e a s u r e h i s s o l e aim i n l i f e does).  even  Thus i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r M i l t o n to suggest  (as i t was  turns (as Comus  s u r e l y not  so f o r P l a t o a t the time t h a t he wrote Phaedo) t h a t the s p i r i t  aspiring  to  itself  heavenly  t h i n g s and p u r i f y i n g  i t s e l f and b e i n g p u r i f i e d  t r a n s f o r m the body i n t o i m m o r t a l i t y .  The  can  s i n c e r e l y chaste, pure  soul  can have d i s c o u r s e w i t h a n g e l s T i l l o f t converse w i t h heav'nly h a b i t a n t s Begin to c a s t a beam on th'outward shape, The u n p o l l u t e d temple of the mind, And t u r n s i t by degrees to the s o u l ' s essence, T i l l a l l be made immortal (459-463) Note t h a t M i l t o n speaks of the body as "the u n p o l l u t e d temple  of the  mind" not as the " p r i s o n - h o u s e of the s o u l " as the Greek proverb ( w i t h 25 which Phaedo i s i n a c c o r d ) expresses i t .  T h i s view  of M i l t o n ' s i s thus  much c l o s e r to (though not i d e n t i c a l w i t h ) the n o n - d u a l i s t i c  Christian  belief lief  i n the r e s u r r e c t i o n of the body than to the d u a l i s t i c Greek be26 i n the i m m o r t a l i t y of the s o u l . There i s no n e c e s s a r y c o n f l i c t  Cf. the temple  I Cor. 6.19 where Paul says "know ye not t h a t your body i s of the Holy Ghost which i s i n you...."  26 See Robert McAfee Brown, " S o u l (Body)" and S t a n l e y Romame Hopper, " S p i r i t " , " Handbook of C h r i s t i a n Theology, ed. M a r v i n Halverson, (New York, 1958) .  -34-  ln Milton's  thought between body and  r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h God t h a t the n a t u r a l and T h i s does not  the  two  are  When man  i s i n h i s proper  i n p e r f e c t harmony i n the  supernatural  r u l e out  soul.  same  way  are.  the i n s t a n c e s  of i n c i d e n t a l (as opposed  e s s e n t i a l ) d u a l i s m i n the poem, e s p e c i a l l y i n s o f a r as M i l t o n uses concepts (as expressed i n Phaedo) and as two  a l s o uses the  the b a s i s of h i s cosmology un Comus. s t r o n g and  divergent  argument between the  two  Nor  brothers.  The  however, one the  test.)  universe  does i t e n t i r e l y  f o r the  discussion reflects a things  same time a c o n v i c t i o n that i f i t came to the of the  Plato's  reconcile  impulses i n M i l t o n ' s mind as expressed i n the  d e s i r e f o r p h y s i c a l s e c u r i t y and  s p i r i t and  Ptdemaic  to  supernatural  strong  of t h i s w o r l d and  t e s t , the  things  at  of  w o r l d are of prime importance.  the  the  (In Comus,  surmises t h a t M i l t o n i s most u n w i l l i n g f o r i t to come to The  c o n f l i c t cannot be  explained  away by  suggesting,  as  speech of  the  27 Madsen does,  t h a t M i l t o n simply  V  intend  the  28  younger b r o t h e r  to r e f l e c t  In the f i n a l the  does not  true ( i . e . M i l t o n ' s ) i n s i g h t . _  l i n e s of the poem, we  discover  t h a t the p l e a s u r e s  of  senses, n e c e s s a r i l y r e j e c t e d a t the hands of one whose s o l e concern  i s pleasure,  are r e t u r n e d  to one whose i n t e n t i s s e t on h i g h e r  In the problem of matter and Milton  s t r i v e s f o r and Pp.  spirit  (as i n t h a t of n a t u r e and  u l t i m a t e l y a t t a i n s u n i t y but  things. grace)  o f t e n i n an  oblique  208-210.  28 The c o n v i c t i o n about the n e c e s s i t y of i n n e r i l l u m i n a t i o n expressed i n 11. 381-385, the f i r s t two l i n e s of which Madsen r e f e r s to on p. 209 as being d e l i b e r a t e l y meant to sound o v e r - e n t h u s i a s t i c and even p r i g g i s h , i s i n t e n s e l y M i l t o n i c and can be p a r a l l e l e d by passages i n l a t e r poems, f o r example. P a r a d i s e L o s t . I I I . 51-55. Samson A a o n i s t e s . 1687-1691.  -35-  and not a b s o l u t e l y complete manner which leaves a c e r t a i n amount of unresolved tension. Viewing ling  Comus as a whole,what can one conclude  of the d u a l i t i e s prominent i n the poem?  does a c h i e v e of these c o n f l i c t i n g dichotomies and  incomplete  about M i l t o n ' s hand-  The r e s o l u t i o n which M i l t o n i s on the one hand  and on the other o b l i q u e and i n many ways t o t a l l y  limited unex-  pected . This r e s o l u t i o n i s limited developed  cosmology  i n both  ( t h e Ptolemaic  space and time.  Although  a fully  one) i s h i n t e d a t i n the poem, i t i s 29  nowhere c l e a r l y d e l i n e a t e d as i s the u n i v e r s e i n P a r a d i s e L o s t . by c a r e f u l examination on a c o m p a r a t i v e l y it  can i t be p i e c e d t o g e t h e r .  small area  Only  The poem i t s e l f  focuses  ( i n c o n t r a s t to the F a e r i e Queene to which  owes much, and to P a r a d i s e L o s t , P a r a d i s e Regained and Samson A g o n i s t e s ) :  a wood, a nobleman's e s t a t e c l o s e by. poem t h a t , as Woodhouse suggests,  There i s no d i r e c t evidence  "Ludlow...is...a  i n the  symbol of the Heavenly  30 City;"  , i t i s only a temporary r e s t i n g p l a c e .  the whole n a t u r a l w o r l d b u t only p a r t of i t .  The wood i s by no means The a c t i o n which  takes  p l a c e i n Comus r e p r e s e n t s only a s m a l l episode i n the l i v e s of the Lady and her two b r o t h e r s . and  A l l three a r e very young ( n o t mature as a r e Adam  Eve i n P a r a d i s e Lost, the Son i n P a r a d i s e Regained, and Samson i n  Samson A g o n i s t e s ) and inexperienced, and we have no doubt t h a t they a g a i n meet temptation  will  and d a n g e r — p e r h a p s a t the hands of the undefeated  Comus. To some extent, t h i s can be e x p l a i n e d as the r e s u l t of the r e s t r i c t i o n s of the Masque which, of course, n e c e s s i t a t e d t h a t more or l e s s the whole s e t t i n g of the poem be r e p r e s e n t e d on the s t a g e . 30  "Comus once More,", p. 220.  -36-  I t i s incomplete i n that a l t h o u g h the major d u a l i t i e s a r e more or l e s s harmonized w i t h i n the o v e r a l l p a t t e r n , unresolved.  F o r example,  c e r t a i n tensions s t i l l  remain'  a g r e a t l o v e of n a t u r a l beauty v e r s u s an i n -  tense d e v o t i o n to h i g h e r t h i n g s , and a d e s i r e f o r p h y s i c a l  protection  versus a c o n v i c t i o n that s p i r i t u a l i n t e g r i t y alone i s e s s e n t i a l . Finally  the r e s o l u t i o n i s o b l i q u e and unexpected.  to move i n her a s p i r a t i o n s t r a i g h t w i l l a l o n e were s u f f i c i e n t , do so.  towards heaven,  one would  The Lady  and i f e f f o r t  appears and  suppose t h a t she would deserve to  But she i s s u r p r i s i n g l y f r u s t r a t e d i n her movement toward the  good and must be r e s c u e d awkwardly and unexpectedly not from Heaven above but supposedly from n a t u r e below;  not by r e a s o n and w i l l but by the deeper  and more p r i m i t i v e s p r i n g s of human n a t u r e . she i s f r e e d to r i s e  In t h i s roundabout  fashion  toward t h a t o r d e r of grace which she so much d e s i r e s .  Chapter  Although tive  Lycidas  L y c i d a s does n o t p r e s e n t us w i t h a f u l l y  t i e s are expressed.  characteristics  These dramatic  rather several settings),  narra-  through which v a r i o u s d u a l i -  characteristics include a setting  c h a r a c t e r s and even elements of a p l o t - -  the r e l a t i o n of the i n n e r p r o c e s s e s  of the poet's mind as i t moves  c y c l e s of q u e s t i o n and answer t o f i n a l r e s o l u t i o n . of  developed  (as do Comus, P a r a d i s e L o s t , P a r a d i s e Regained and Samson A g o n i s t e s ) ,  i t does have c e r t a i n dramatic  (or  Three:  The dramatic  through  context  t h i s p r o c e s s i s a l s o i n d i c a t e d by the c o n c l u d i n g e i g h t l i n e s of the  poem which a r e i n the t h i r d person, i n the f i r s t this  person almost  i n the s t y l e of a dramatic monologue.  s e r i e s of i n n e r e x p e r i e n c e s  events:  the p r e c e d i n g p a r t of the poem being  l i e s an imagined  Behind  e x t e r i o r sequence of  the death and a p o t h e o s i s of L y c i d a s , accompanied by the lamen-  t a t i o n and f i n a l l y  the r e j o i c i n g of those who view h i s f a t e .  By f a r the major d u a l i t y other d i c h o t o m i e s  i n L y c i d a s i s t h a t of good and e v i l , b u t  are a l s o s i g n i f i c a n t ,  f o r i n s t a n c e , the s t r u g g l e be-  tween the concerns  of e a r t h and those of heaven.  blem i s n o t simply  l e f t i n g e n e r a l terms but f o c u s e d on the s p e c i f i c  q u e s t i o n as to whether heavenly of  earthly f u l f i l l m e n t .  As i n Comus, t h i s  reward i s an adequate recompense f o r l o s s  The q u e s t i o n of p o s s i b l e s a l v a t i o n from  and  s u f f e r i n g and whether t h i s s a l v a t i o n i s accomplished  God  again a r i s e s .  Of c o n s i d e r a b l e i n t e r e s t ,  Milton's f i n a l great t r i l o g y , ture, e s p e c i a l l y poetry,  pro-  especially  evil  by man or by i n the l i g h t of  i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between f a i t h and c u l -  i n Lycidas.  E v i d e n t i n the poem, f i n a l l y , i s  a c e r t a i n o p p o s i t i o n between the d e s i r e s of the f l e s h and the demands  -38-  of the s p i r i t and i n t e l l e c t . The  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of these d u a l i t i e s i n p o e t i c and dramatic  terms  i s n o t so complex as i n Comus, though sometimes d u a l i t i e s a r e not a s s o c i a t e d w i t h s p e c i f i c c h a r a c t e r s or w i t h s p e c i f i c areas w i t h i n the t o t a l setting. we f i n d  Recalling  the b a s i c s t r u c t u r a l elements of M i l t o n ' s  thought  the good i s r e p r e s e n t e d both by the c l a s s i c a l d i v i n i t i e s  and Phoebus and by the B i b l i c a l  f i g u r e s C h r i s t and h i s d i s c i p l e  Jove Peter.  These personages (and l a t e r L y c i d a s h i m s e l f ) a r e a s s o c i a t e d w i t h "heaven". S t r u g g l i n g humanity i s r e p r e s e n t e d by L y c i d a s and M i l t o n h i m s e l f , and the l a t t e r , former.  of course,  i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f to a l a r g e e x t e n t w i t h the  E v i l i s n o t a s s o c i a t e d w i t h any p a r t i c u l a r i n d i v i d u a l c h a r a c t e r  as i n Comus, and a g a i n d i f f e r e n t l y not so much as a temptation  from Comus, i t i s p r e s e n t e d  primarily  t o be r e s i s t e d b u t as an i n d i s p u t a b l e f a c t  to be r e c o n c i l e d w i t h the poet's b e l i e f i n the u l t i m a t e meaning of t h i n g s . The is  b a s i c problem which M i l t o n r a i s e s i n L y c i d a s i n r e g a r d to e v i l  the simple, a g e - o l d query  t h e l e s s appears moral e v i l .  "why do the r i g h t e o u s s u f f e r ? "  i n the poem i n s e v e r a l g u i s e s .  T h i s i s t o be found  Evil  There i s f i r s t  never-  of a l l  i n the church amongst those who a r e  supposed to be d e d i c a t e d to the s e r v i c e of man and God b u t who a r e simply t a k i n g advantage of t h e i r p o s i t i o n to f u r t h e r t h e i r own p e r s o n a l p l e a s u r e and a m b i t i o n . trary  I t can a l s o be seen amongst those poets who, l i k e w i s e con-  to t h e i r p r o f e s s i o n , l a c k any sense  of d e d i c a t i o n and a r e concerned  only w i t h the s a t i s f a c t i o n of t h e i r own e r o t i c i m p u l s e s .  Though the temp-  t a t i o n motive i s h a r d l y n o t i c e a b l e a t a l l i n L y c i d a s as compared w i t h Comus, there i s n e v e r t h e l e s s the q u e s t i o n as to whether i t i s worthwhile  -39-  to  dedicate onself to higher  tion in  ( i n Lycidas,  t h i n g s i f one may s u f f e r p h y s i c a l d e p r i v a -  l o s s of l i f e ;  i n Comus, l o s s of youth,  j o y and freedom)  the p r o c e s s . Alas!  What boots i t w i t h uncessant  care  To tend the homely s l i g h t e d Shepherd's trade, And s t r i c t l y meditate the t h a n k l e s s Muse? Were i t not b e t t e r done as o t h e r s use, To s p o r t w i t h A m a r y l l i s i n the shade, Or w i t h t a n g l e s of Neaera's h a i r ? (64-69) As  T a y l o r comments r e g a r d i n g  Lycidas;  S i n c e i t s major theme i s the t r i a l and r e a f f i r m a t i o n of M i l t o n ' s c r e a t i v e f a i t h , the poem can be viewed a g a i n s t the l a r g e p e r s p e c t i v e of temptation. The powerful forward movement of the thought and v e r s e i s toward a vantage p o i n t a t which the author's doubts and weaknesses of s p i r i t have been overcome. We watch the poet as he s t r u g g l e s , f o r long p e r i o d s w i t h o u t any r e a l comfort, w i t h h i s c l e a r awareness of the e v i l s and disadvantages a t t e n d i n g upon the s t e r n l y d e d i c a t e d poet and the devoted / clergyman and w i t h h i s f e a r s of a death b e f o r e any n o t a b l e achievement, w h i l e many und e d i c a t e d and unworthy persons a r e s t a y i n g on i n a ^ l i f e of a i m l e s s p l e a s u r e and unmerited p r o s p e r i t y . The is  source  of temptation  i n this  trial  i s not an e x t e r n a l agent, as i t  i n Comus, P a r a d i s e L o s t and P a r a d i s e Regained, b u t r a t h e r M i l t o n ' s  own inmost doubts and q u e s t i o n i n g s . The Lycidas.  problem of the e v i l  of human s u f f e r i n g i s a l s o prominent i n  I t i s e v i d e n t i n the A n g l i c a n church  f l o c k because of the p e r f i d i t y  i n the s u f f e r i n g of the  of i t s p a s t o r s , but most i m p o r t a n t l y  the e a r l y death of a young man l i k e Edward King, who, as an intended ter  m minis-  i n the A n g l i c a n Church had devoted h i m s e l f t o the s e r v i c e of man and  God.  M i l t o n ' s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of h i m s e l f w i t h  but must n o t be taken  31  Pp. 66-67  t h i s young man i s obvious  too l i t e r a l l y , as Edward Wagenknecht, who sees  -40-  L y c i d a s b a s i c a l l y as a c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the problem of e v i l ,  has warned  us: M i l t o n was not i n t e r e s t e d i n Edward King qua Edward King, but he was i n t e n s e l y i n t e r e s t e d i n Edward K i n g lmess. Here was a r i c h l y endowed young man. . .who had c o n s e c r a t e d a l l h i s g i f t s to the s e r v i c e of h i s country and h i s God.... What k i n d of a w o r l d i s i t i n which such a l i f e can be s n u f f e d out, c a s t a s i d e , wasted, b e f o r e (through no f a u l t of i t s own) i t has had a chance to render the s e r v i c e f o r which i t i s so eminently f i t t e d ? How can a young man--how can any young man--feel a t home i n such a world? How can he go on l i v i n g w i t h o u t f i r s t having made some attempt to t h i n k t h i s problem t h r o u g h ' ^ 3  As Wagenknecht goes on to p o i n t out, L y c i d a s r e p r e s e n t s M i l t o n ' s to  t h i n k t h i s problem As we  of  through.  come to c o n s i d e r the manner and  the problem of e v i l and  remarks ( i n "The  suffering  e x t e n t of M i l t o n ' s r e s o l u t i o n  i n the p r e s e n t poem, A r t h u r  P a t t e r n of M i l t o n ' s N a t i v i t y Ode")  L y c i d a s a r e of c o n s i d e r a b l e h e l p . of  attempt  an i n t r o d u c t i o n and  Barker's  on the s t r u c t u r e of  He p o i n t s out t h a t L y c i d a s c o n s i s t s  c o n c l u s i o n and  t h r e e movements " p r a c t i c a l l y  equal  33 in  l e n g t h and  precisely parallel i n pattern."  cuss each movement m t i o n of an emotional t h i s problem.  some d e t a i l  showing how  problem of the poet and  He  each b e g i n s w i t h c o n s i d e r a ends w i t h a r e s o l u t i o n of  Let us examine each of these movements more f u l l y  gard to the problems w i t h which they are concerned at which they The 32 33  II  then goes on to d i s -  and  to the  i n re-  solutions  arrive.  f i r s t movement d e a l s w i t h M i l t o n ' s s t r u g g l e w i t h e v i l and  'Milton i n 'Lycidas I  P.  171.  ir  > J  College English, VII  (1946),  p.  395.  suf-  -41-  f e n n g as a d e d i c a t e d poet  ( l i k e Edward King) .  It  laments L y c i d a s the poet-shepherd, i t s problem, the p o s s i b l e f r u s t r a t i o n of d i s c i p l i n e d poe'tic a m b i t i o n by e a r l y death, i s r e s o l v e d by the assurance, "Of so much fame i n Heav'n expect thy meed. "34The v i o l e n t passage which r e f e r s to Orpheus, and of complaint,  the succeeding  lines  leave no doubt as to the depth of M i l t o n ' s emotional i n -  volvement i n the problem. i n a f u t u r e heavenly  Nor  reward.  can we Yet  doubt the s i n c e r i t y  of h i s b e l i e f  t h i s c o n v i c t i o n does not and  cannot  p r o v i d e a complete r e s o l u t i o n to the problem w i t h i n the c o n t e x t poem f o r i t does not meet the p r e s s i n g urgency of M i l t o n ' s  of  the  questioning  but merely p r o j e c t s the i s s u e i n t o a r a t h e r vague f u t u r e time f a r removed from the immediate here and  now.  The f i n a l c o u p l e t [83-84, r e f e r r e d to above] . . . r i n g s somewhat hollow.... / I t i s f a r i n f e r i o r i n resonance to the passage of complaint which leads up to i t . It i s weak because what i s i n q u e s t i o n i s the p u l s e of d e d i c a t i o n , w h i l e the reward i s f o r achievement d u l y  35  surveyed The poet  and r e g i s t e r e d .  r e s o l u t i o n though not a l l - e m b r a c i n g to r e g a i n h i s composure and  i s , however, s u f f i c i e n t f o r the  continue w i t h  the poem more or  less  serenely. M i l t o n next goes on to c o n s i d e r the problem of e v i l as i t r e l a t e s to L y c i d a s and  h i m s e l f as devoted young m i n i s t e r s of the  church.  The second [movement] laments L y c i d a s as p r i e s t - s h e p h e r d ; i t s problem, the f r u s t r a t i o n of a s i n c e r e shepherd i n a c o r r u p t church, i s r e s o l v e d by St. P e t e r ' s r e f e r e n c e to the "two-handed engine" of d i v i n e r e t r i b u t i o n . ^ 3  " M i l t o n i n 'Lycidas',". p. 35 36  Darnells, Barker,  p.  pp. 44-45. 172.  172.  -42-  I t would appear,  thus, t h a t the problem  i s much more e m p h a t i c a l l y r e s o l v e d  than i s t h a t of the f i r s t movement.  Yet the s o l u t i o n f o r a l l i t s supposed treme as i s a t t e s t e d  to by  p r e s e n t e d i n the second movement  finality  i s ambiguous i n the ex-  the number of a r t i c l e s  (more than  w r i t t e n to e x p l a i n the key phrase "two-handed engine!  1  twenty)  Professor Darnells'  37 suggestion  that i t r e f e r s  L o s t , VI, 251 and 318)  to the sword of M i c h a e l (mentioned  i n Paradise  seems a r e a s o n a b l e one but w i t h i n L y c i d a s i t s e l f ,  M i l t o n g i v e s us v e r y l i t t l e h e l p i n the p r e c i s e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the image.  We  a r e f u r t h e r m o r e g i v e n no d e t a i l s as to the time or p l a c e where  t h i s d i v i n e judgment w i l l  take p l a c e .  A g a i n calm i s r e s t o r e d passage  i n the poem.  to the poem and M i l t o n launches i n t o the  These l i n e s ,  as Barker i n d i c a t e s ,  c l u d i n g movement f o r they d e a l w i t h the problem of  the p r e c e d i n g movements.  form an a p t  final con-  of e v i l as found i n both  M i l t o n ' s concern f o r L y c i d a s (and h i m s e l f )  as a poet f i n d s e x p r e s s i o n i n h i s agonized c o n t e m p l a t i o n of the body of the u n f o r t u n a t e young man c u r r e n t s and realization  being wafted a i m l e s s l y back and f o r t h by  t i d e s of the sea.  M i l t o n has been brought  Yet even as the poet imagines  reaches of the sea where the body of L y c i d a s may recalls  to the u p s e t t i n g  t h a t L y c i d a s has no deserved " L a u r e a t e Hearse"  which f l o w e r s can be strewn.  the e v i l  England i t s e l f :  (151) upon the f a r  have been c a r r i e d ,  he  i n the church which i s to be found c l o s e a t hand i n "Look homeward a n g e l now,  and melt w i t h r u t h . "  These unhappy contemplations a r e swept away by a p o t h e o s i s as a "Genius  Darnells,  the  (163)  the thought of L y c i d a s '  of the shore" (183) and guide " t o a l l t h a t wander  pp. 40-41.  -43-  m  that p e r i l o u s f l o o d . "  (185)  The t h i r d [movement] concludes w i t h the a p o t h e o s i s , a c o n v e n t i o n i n t r o d u c e d by V i r g i l i n Eclogue V but s i g n i f i c a n t l y handled by M i l t o n . He sees the poetp r i e s t - s h e p h e r d w o r s h i p p i n g the Lamb w i t h those s a i n t s " i n solemn t r o o p s " who s i n g the " u n e x p r e s s i v e n u p t i a l song" of the f o u r t e e n t h c h a p t e r of R e v e l a t i o n . The a p o t h e o s i s thus not only p r o v i d e s the f i n a l r e a s s u r a n c e but u n i t e s the themes of the p r e c e d i n g movements i n the u l t i m a t e reward of the t r u e p o e t - p r i e s t . 3 8 But even t h i s f i n a l of e v i l and  s o l u t i o n to the c o n f l i c t c r e a t e d by  suffering  v a t i o n p l a c e s him  i s a l i m i t e d one.  i n the joyous  of the b e a t i f i c v i s i o n of God. as we  move from  the  prevalence  The d e s c r i p t i o n of L y c i d a s  company of the s a i n t s but stops s h o r t Furthermore,  we  seem to s i n k somewhat  t h i s C h r i s t i a n c o n t e x t to the d e s c r i p t i o n of L y c i d a s as  Genius of the shore, a being a s s o c i a t e d s u r e l y w i t h paganism. assurance  Even  this  i s r a t h e r vague.  F i n a l l y as we move from concern w i t h L y c i d a s ' f a t e to concern that of the poet who  is telling  the s t o r y ,  h i s m e d i t a t i o n , the  experiences with a f e e l i n g  the Lady and her b r o t h e r s i n Comus) he may problems i n the not  Having  too d i s t a n t f u t u r e .  (193-4)  of content even though have to f a c e t h i s and  The  solution.  Barker,  p.  172.  (like similar  c o n f l i c t between good  "evil i n L y c i d a s , as i n Comus, thus f i n d s only p r o v i s i o n a l and satisfactory  finished  poet  rose, and t w i t c h ' d h i s Mantle b l u e : Tomorrow to f r e s h Woods, and Pastures new. turns to new  with  there i s the s t r o n g s u g g e s t i o n  t h a t the problem has been s o l v e d only f o r the time b e i n g .  He  ele-  1  and  temporarily  -44-  Although  the major c o n f l i c t s  good and e v i l , and  God.  i n the poem a r i s e  other o p p o s i t i o n s a r i s e  Although  from  from  the s t r u g g l e of  the r e l a t i o n s h i p  between man  the two o r d e r s of n a t u r e and grace a r e n o t so c l e a r l y  i m p l i e d here as i n Comus, there i s s t i l l  the problem as t o what e x t e n t  s a l v a t i o n from e v i l i s by human r e s o u r c e s and t o what e x t e n t by d i v i n e grace.  T a y l o r demonstrates t h a t the same p a t t e r n h o l d s here as i n Comus:  man must s t r u g g l e v a l i a n t l y on the l e v e l of grace.  on the l e v e l  of nature b e f o r e b e i n g  Of the triumphant  r e c e p t i o n of L y c i d a s  rewarded into  heaven he says: i t c o u l d come only a f t e r the author had strengthened h i s mind, by t r i a l , to the p o i n t t h a t the a p o t h e o s i s would be completely meaningful and would s o l v e f i n a l l y and s a t i s f a c t o r i l y the problems v e x i n g him: i t would have f a i l e d i n i t s e f f e c t i f presented a t an e a r l i e r stage of h i s s p i r i t u a l c o n f l i c t . The poet must have made h i s journey a l o n g the d i f f i c u l t road. As certain  the reader w i l l a l r e a d y have n o t i c e d , however, t h e r e i s to a e x t e n t r e l e a s e on the s u p e r n a t u r a l l e v e l  ments as w e l l as i n the t h i r d . r e a l i t y do n o t r e a l l y  two move-  I n the f i r s t movement the two o r d e r s of  come t o g e t h e r .  Milton desires fulfillment  i n the f i r s t  Here as i n Comus, one senses  both on the n a t u r a l l e v e l  that  ( i n the form, i n  the case of L y c i d a s , of e a r t h l y fame) and on the s u p e r n a t u r a l l e v e l ( i n the form of heavenlyyreward). r e a l l y be a s u b s t i t u t e f o r i t . is definitely  from  as a l r e a d y noted, relationship  39  ft.  The second  crowns the f i r s t  but cannot  The r e s o l u t i o n i n the second movement  the s u p e r n a t u r a l l e v e l but though resounding, c u r i o u s l y ambiguous.  i t is,  Even i n the f i n a l movement the  between the n a t u r a l and s u p e r n a t u r a l i s n o t a b s o l u t e l y c l e a r .  67.  -45-  L y c i d a s i s not s a i d  to be i n the d i v i n e presence i n the heaven of super-  n a t u r a l order b u t only w i t h the s a i n t s . of the shore, and the f i n a l of the "uncouth level.  swain"  The mention  l i n e s which t e l l  of L y c i d a s as Genius  of the every-day  experiences  (186) b r i n g us by steps back down to the n a t u r a l  We must t h e r e f o r e conclude t h a t both the n a t u r a l and s u p e r n a t u r a l  realms a r e important but, as i n Comus, a r e n o t completely r e c o n c i l e d nor ( d i f f e r e n t l y from Comus) a r e they d e f i n i t e l y  placed i n a r i s i n g  The r e l a t i o n s h i p between r e l i g i o n , which conveys  scale.  God's g r a c i o u s  r e v e l a t i o n of h i m s e l f to man, and the a r t s , which r e p r e s e n t the h e i g h t of human endeavour, h a r d l y f i g u r e s i n Comus but does a r i s e i n L y c i d a s . N e v e r t h e l e s s , w h i l e the r e l a t i o n s h i p g i v e s r i s e  to c o n s i d e r a b l e c o n f l i c t  i n M i l t o n ' s l a t e r poetry, i n L y c i d a s the two areas of concern a r e e q u a l l y v a l i d and a r e l i n k e d  together w i t h o u t t e n s i o n .  As Barker makes c l e a r ,  L y c i d a s i s p r e s e n t e d both as p r i e s t and as poet, and throughout the poem i s l i n k e d i n both c a p a c i t i e s w i t h the p a s t o r a l f i g u r e of the shepherd.  M i l t o n i s deeply concerned w i t h L y c i d a s ' and h i s own f a t e i n both  vocations.  M i l t o n invokes the pagan muses (15 f f . ) w i t h o u t  whereas i n P a r a d i s e L o s t he i s c a r e f u l to i n s i s t i n s p i r a t i o n i s the Holy S p i r i t , Pheobus A p o l l o ,  apology,  t h a t the source of h i s  the t h i r d person of the C h r i s t i a n  Trinity.  the Greek god of p o e t r y and a t the same time an analogue,  i n later C h r i s t i a n tradxtion,  of C h r i s t ,  the Lord of those who serve  m  the m i n i s t r y of the church, comforts him a f t e r h i s o u t b u r s t about the f a t e of L y c i d a s the poet. r o l e of A p o l l o .  There i s no sense of c o n f l i c t  over t h i s d u a l  F i n a l l y , M i l t o n i d e n t i f i e s h i m s e l f here w i t h Orpheus,  the famous s i n g e r of c l a s s i c a l a n t i q u i t y whose mother was C a l l i o p e , one  -46-  of the pagan muses. The  r e l a t i o n s h i p between body and s o u l can h a r d l y be s a i d  Lycidas although  to e n t e r  the r e f e r e n c e to s p o r t i n g "with A m a r y l l i s i n the shade"  (68) does have s t r o n g l y sexual i m p l i c a t i o n s . most only a p a s s i n g  temptation  T h i s i s , however, a t the  to the d e d i c a t e d poet and the f i n a l  out-  come of the poem leaves no doubt b u t t h a t the p l e a s u r e s of the f l e s h must be s u b o r d i n a t e d  to the demands of the s p i r i t .  C o n s i d e r i n g i n g e n e r a l M i l t o n ' s h a n d l i n g o f the v a r i o u s  dualities  i n L y c i d a s we can see t h a t the r e s o l u t i o n of these d u a l i t i e s i s to some e x t e n t unexpected though n o t as o b l i q u e as i n Comus. e a r l i e r poem, c e r t a i n u n r e s o l v e d veyed as a whole.  Finally,  the v a r i o u s dichotomies  Again,  t e n s i o n s remain when the poem i s sur-  the p r o v i s i o n a l nature  can be b e t t e r understood  of the r e s o l u t i o n of  when i t i s remembered  that both L y c i d a s and M i l t o n a r e young and i n e x p e r i e n c e d . t h i s c l e a r i n both  as i n the  M i l t o n makes  the opening and c o n c l u d i n g passages of the poem.  time i s t o e l a p s e b e f o r e he can a c h i e v e  i n his last  Much  t h r e e g r e a t poems a  more mature and f a r - r e a c h i n g s o l u t i o n t o h i s i n n e r c o n f l i c t s . t h a n he was a b l e to a t t a i n i n Comus and L y c i d a s .  Chapter Four:  In P a r a d i s e L o s t we all  find  Paradise Lost  r e p r e s e n t e d w i t h more or l e s s equal  the major o p p o s i t i o n s w i t h which M i l t o n i s concerned.  emphasis  In e a r l i e r i n -  d i v i d u a l poems o f t e n some d u a l i t i e s were g i v e n g r e a t e r prominence o t h e r s , and  a t times  some were v i r t u a l l y  than  excluded from c o n s i d e r a t i o n .  In sharp c o n f l i c t w i t h i n P a r a d i s e L o s t are three major s e t s of d u a l i t i e s : good and  evil,  the human and  the d i v i n e , and  two means of s a l v a t i o n  from  sin--man's endeavour and God's g r a c e . These d u a l i t i e s are presented a s p e c t s of them being shown.  i n t h e i r g r e a t e s t complexity, many  In P a r a d i s e L o s t M i l t o n p i c t u r e s  the s t r u g g l e between the goodness of God furthermore  tries  of t h e i r maker. of body and  and  to r e c o n c i l e the s u f f e r i n g The  c o n f l i c t between man  s o u l , matter  mands of the s p i r i t ,  and  and  spirit,  finally  S e v e r a l dichotomies  the e v i l of Satan. of men  and God  He  w i t h the b e n e f i c e n c e  i n v o l v e s the o p p o s i t i o n  the p l e a s u r e s of the f l e s h and  the f i n e a r t s  as p a r t of a w o r l d dominated by Satan) and God.  vividly  de-  ( p a r t i c u l a r l y when viewed  the demands of d e d i c a t i o n to  a r i s e out of the problem of s a l v a t i o n :  human  w i l l v e r s u s d i v i n e a s s i s t a n c e , f r e e w i l l v e r s u s p r e d e s t i n a t i o n , and  grace  v e r s u s good works. In terms of s e t t i n g and expressed  characterization,  the major d u a l i t i e s  i n the most u n i v e r s a l and a r c h e t y p a l forms.  i s r e p r e s e n t e d , not by the C h r i s t i a n God  the pagan Jove as i n Comus and  i n h i s three persons:  view i s alone e n t i t l e d h i s godhead d i r e c t l y  to be c a l l e d  Supreme Good  L y c i d a s , but  the Father, who  the t r u e God;  from the F a t h e r , and  The  are  by  i n Milton's  the Son, who  the Holy S p i r i t , who  receives i n Paradise  -48-  L o s t tends  to be a somewhat l e s s than p e r s o n a l power emanating from the  40 Father.  In h i s work f o r good, God i s a i d e d by the a n g e l s , who, however,  are not p e r m i t t e d Satan,  supported  to d e t r a c t from the power and g l o r y of God h i m s e l f . by S i n and Death, who together w i t h h i m s e l f a r e a de-  monic c o u n t e r p a r t of the heavenly angels, all  stands  Trinity,  above, and by the f a l l e n  f o r e v i l i n the poem, but u n l i k e Comus, i s the source of  e v i l s , not merely of a p a r t i c u l a r k i n d of e v i l .  Adam and Eve,  re-  p r e s e n t i n g the whole of mankind, a r e u n l i k e the human c h a r a c t e r s of e a r l i e r poems ( f o r example, the Lady and her b r o t h e r s i n Comus, and L y c i d a s and Milton i n Lycidas). personality  than being  two i n d i v i d u a l s w i t h  particular  t r a i t s which might d i s t i n g u i s h them from any other p a i r of  human beings, The  Rather  they a r e c l e a r l y  intended  to be u n i v e r s a l man and woman.  s e t t i n g i s on the w i d e s t p o s s i b l e s c a l e .  g i v e s the i l l u s i o n  M i l t o n , by v a r i o u s d e v i c e s ,  of i n c l u d i n g the whole of c r e a t e d r e a l i t y ,  whole of man's a c t u a l and imagined t e r s and the v a r i o u s space areas  experience.  and the  Both the v a r i o u s  charac-  (Heaven, H e l l , E a r t h and Chaos) w i t h i n  the t o t a l s e t t i n g r e l a t e to each other c l e a r l y and unambiguously. In P a r a d i s e L o s t a c a u s a l l i n k i s e s t a b l i s h e d between two k i n d s of evil:  p a i n , d i s e a s e , war and death  i t s e l f a l l r e s u l t from the i n i t i a l  a c t of d i s o b e d i e n c e by Adam and Eve.  I n poems a l r e a d y d i s c u s s e d , moral  e v i l i s o f t e n of only one or two k i n d s , but i n P a r a d i s e L o s t i t appears i n an almost lated  endless v a r i e t y  t o the r e l a t i v e l y  of forms, which a r e n e v e r t h e l e s s a l l r e -  simple a c t of d i s o b e d i e n c e .  L o s t thus c o n s i s t s e s s e n t i a l l y of i d o l a t r y ,  E v i l i n Paradise  of r e f u s i n g t o accept the  See Maurice K e l l e y , T h i s Great Argument, A Study of M i l t o n ' s De D o c t n n a C h r i s t i a n a as a G l o s s upon P a r a d i s e L o s t ( P r i n c e t o n , 1941) .  l o r d s h i p of the Almighty else i n his place.  and of t r y i n g  to s e t up o n e s e l f or something  He who a c t s i n t h i s way t r a n g r e s s e s God's w i l l be-  cause he a l l o w s h i m s e l f to be r u l e d by s e l f i s h impulses  r a t h e r than by  that r i g h t reason which r e c o g n i z e s God a l o n e as s o v e r e i g n . leads to the f u r t h e r e v i l ships.  Disobedience  of d i s u n i t y i n man's t o t a l f i e l d  of r e l a t i o n -  I t causes d i s r u p t i o n i n the r e l a t i o n of man t o God, to h i s  low human beings,  fel-  to the n a t u r a l and m a t e r i a l world around him, and t o  himself. In the poem i t s e l f obedience,  there are, of course,  three major a c t s of d i s -  each of the second two r e s u l t i n g from the p r e v i o u s one.  r e b e l s a g a i n s t God because he a l s o wants to be k i n g . caused of  Satan  Eve's d o w n f a l l i s  by a s i m i l a r d e s i r e f o r godhead w h i l e Adam's s i n i s the r e s u l t  h i s p u t t i n g h i s love of Eve b e f o r e h i s duty  to h i s c r e a t o r .  t h e i r o r i g i n a l a c t s of d i s o b e d i e n c e , Adam and Eve f a l l  After  into further  sin:  both descend i n t o a s t a t e of near d e s p a i r , they g i v e way to l u s t ;  later  (X, 8 6 7 f f . ) , Adam r e j e c t s Eve i n a most c r u e l way.  I n the long  h i s t o r y of the human race we see a d e v e l o p i n g demonstration murder and h a t r e d ,  of e v i l s :  s u b j e c t i o n to the a p p e t i t e s , war and c o n f l i c t ,  usur-  p a t i o n of God's k i n g s h i p by man to r u l e over h i s f e l l o w s and f i n a l l y c o r r u p t i o n even i n the church. How i n P a r a d i s e L o s t does M i l t o n r e c o n c i l e a l l t h i s e v i l w i t h the goodness of God?  The answer to t h i s q u e s t i o n must b e g i n w i t h a c o n s i d e r a -  t i o n of the problem of Satan.  The p l o t of P a r a d i s e L o s t i s i n l a r g e mea-  sure the n a r r a t i o n of a s e r i e s of c o n f l i c t s between God and the D e v i l . A f t e r each encounter  between the two mighty beings,  God the F a t h e r b r i n g s  -50-  g r e a t e r good from the e v i l which the  last  the E v i l One  Satan has caused and i n each case but  seeks and f i n d s the means to cause more i l l .  The c o n f l i c t b e g i n s w i t h the r e b e l l i o n of Satan i n Heaven a g a i n s t the  Almighty.  The ensuing war  ends,  of course, w i t h the resounding de-  f e a t of Satan, and h i s f o r c e f u l e x p u l s i o n from Heaven, now home.  God  no l o n g e r h i s  counters t h i s d e s t r u c t i v e s u p p r e s s i o n of Satan i n Book VI  w i t h a g r e a t c r e a t i v e a c t i n Book V I I , " f o r c r e a t e d to destroy." (VII, 606-607)  No  to c r e a t e / 'Is g r e a t e r than  sooner have Adam and Eve been  brought i n t o t h i s w o r l d than Satan i s a t work to cause t h e i r d o w n f a l l . Yet t h e r e i s s t i l l hope i n the b a t t l e a g a i n s t e v i l . have repented t h e i r  A f t e r Adam and  Eve  s i n and a c c e p t e d the d i v i n e judgment they a l s o r e -  c e i v e the promise of God's c o n t i n u a l presence and of a p a r a d i s e w i t h i n . To t h i s promise of i n n e r r e g e n e r a t i o n from the e v i l caused by  Satan,  Adam can only respond i n deep g r a t i t u d e f o r the i n e s t i m a b l e mercy of 0 goodness i n f i n i t e ,  God:  goodness immense!  That a l l t h i s good of e v i l s h a l l produce, And e v i l t u r n to good, more w o n d e r f u l Than t h a t which by c r e a t i o n f i r s t brought f o r t h L i g h t out of darkness! f u l l of doubt I stand, Whether I should r e p e n t me now of s i n By mee done and o c c a s i o n ' d , or r e j o i c e Much more, t h a t much more good t h e r e o f s h a l l s p r i n g , To God more g l o r y , more good w i l l to Men From God, In  t h i s passage  and over wrath grace s h a l l abound.  and i n the one  (XII, 469-478)  that f o l l o w s we have evidence t h a t M i l t o n  regards man's r e g e n e r a t e s t a t e as h i g h e r than h i s s t a t e of p r i m a l innocence, for fall  the Son d e s c r i b e s Adam's s i g h s and p r a y e r s of repentance a f t e r as F r u i t s of more p l e a s i n g savor from thy seed Sown w i t h c o n t r i t i o n i n h i s h e a r t , than those  the  -51-  Which h i s own hand manuring a l l the Trees Of P a r a d i s e c o u l d have produc't, ere f a l l ' n From Innocence. (XI, 26-30) Yet Satan's might has n o t been t o t a l l y  suppressed by any means, as we  see i n M i c h a e l ' s r e l a t i o n of the h i s t o r y Adam and Eve.  of the human r a c e subsequent t o  S i n s and crimes of every d e s c r i p t i o n abound.  Son of God can q u e l l  the tempter,  f o r the death of C h r i s t w i l l d e s t r o y  the s t r e n g t h of Satan,  S i n and Death.  defeat,  possessed  Satan i s s t i l l  Only the  Nevertheless a f t e r  this great  of c e r t a i n r e s i d u a l powers and e v i l  creeps even i n t o the church amongst the f o l l o w e r s of C h r i s t .  Satan i s  to be u t t e r l y d e s t r o y e d by God only a t the end of human h i s t o r y . this point w i l l throughout  come the triumphant  At  v i n d i c a t i o n of the goodness of God  the u n i v e r s e i n the c r e a t i o n of a new heaven and a new e a r t h .  In d i s c u s s i n g M i l t o n ' s h a n d l i n g of the problem Lost i t i s necessary  of e v i l i n P a r a d i s e  t o d i s c u s s Satan not only as a m e t a p h y s i c a l  force  i n human h i s t o r y but a l s o as a c h a r a c t e r i n the s t o r y of P a r a d i s e L o s t . From h i s f i r s t  appearance as a d e f i a n t r e b e l i n Book I u n t i l h i s l a s t  appearance i n Book X as a p i t i f u l being u n w i l l i n g l y  transformed i n t o the  most d e s p i s e d of animals, a snake, i t i s c l e a r to even the most u n d i s - ' c e r n m g of readers t h a t the l o r d of H e l l s t e a d i l y d e c l i n e s i n s t a t u r e . To A. J. A. Waldock, t h i s d e c l i n e r e p r e s e n t s a d e g r a d a t i o n o f Satan from de w i t h o u t r a t h e r than his/ g e n e r a t i o n from w i t h i n . "Satan...doesmot de41 generate"  he i s degraded."  Without  to e i t h e r p o i n t of view, l e t us b r i e f l y  initially recall  committing  the process of Satan's  d e c l i n e , b e f o r e c o n s i d e r i n g M i l t o n ' s wisdom i n h i s treatment  P a r a d i s e L o s t and i t s C r i t i c s  ourselves  (Cambridge,  of the problem.  1962), p. 83.  -52-  Satan i s the f i r s t  personage i n P a r a d i s e L o s t to be g i v e n  complete  d e l i n e a t i o n , and a f t e r h i s s t r i k i n g p r e s e n t a t i o n i n the opening goes on to dominate Books I and I I .  Even i n these f i r s t  pages,  two books, as  Waldock p o i n t s out i n some d e t a i l , M i l t o n i n s e r t s c o n s t a n t  reminders  that the words and a c t i o n s of Satan and h i s f o l l o w e r s a r e n o t to be e s teemed h e r o i c by the reader, they a r e the product of a f a l s e and c o r r u p t intelligence.  N e v e r t h e l e s s i t i s W a l d o c k s c o n t e n t i o n t h a t Satan 1  here  d i s p l a y s a g r e a t n e s s of s t a t u r e which completely d i s a p p e a r s i n the r e s t of  the poem.  As we examine l a t e r books i n P a r a d i s e Lost, we s h a l l  cover t h a t t h e r e i s c o n s i d e r a b l e j u s t i f i c a t i o n i n t h i s statement. of  the most prominent  ways i n which Satan i s reduced  (IV,  196) and a toad  must s i g n i f i c a n t l y  ( I I I , 431), a cormarant,  (IV, 800) .  One  i n s i z e i s the a s -  s o c i a t i o n of the f i e n d w i t h u g l y or r e p u l s i v e a n i m a l s . successively with a vulture  dis-  He i s l i n k e d  the symbol of greed  To e n t e r P a r a d i s e the second  time,  f i n d a devious r o u t e low under the ground.  makes the most of the B i b l i c a l r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the tempter  Satan  Milton as a snake.  Satan h i m s e l f i s i n t e n s e l y a^are of h i s lowly d i s g u i s e . 0 f o u l descent! t h a t I who e r s t With Into This That T h i s passage,  contended  Gods to s i t the h i g h e s t , am now c o n t r a m ' d a Beast, and mixt w i t h b e s t i a l s l i m e essence t o i n c a r n a t e and imbrute, t o the h i g h t h of D e i t y a s p i r ' d . (IX, 163-167) of course, a n t i c i p a t e s the f i n a l view of Satan i n the poem,  on h i s r e t u r n to H e l l a f t e r  the t e m p t a t i o n .  Of t h i s scene Waldock  I t i s most i n t e r e s t i n g to observe t h a t the technique of i t i s e x a c t l y t h a t of the comic c a r t o o n . The method of the c a r t o o n / i s to a l l o w the v i l l a i n of the p i e c e to reach a p i t c h of h i g h c o n f i d e n c e and v a i n g l o r y , and then to dash him down. The whole p o i n t i s t h a t he i s  insists:  -53dashed down, the essence of c a r t o o n - t e c h n i q u e being to b r i n g your a d v e r s a r y to g r i e f by u n f a i r m e a n s — i n s h o r t , by some form of p r a c t i c a l j o k e . T h i s , of course, i s p r e c i s e l y how Satan i s t r e a t e d here. It i s d i f f i c u l t  to d i s a g r e e w i t h Waldock's comment a t t h i s p o i n t  but I b e l i e v e t h a t oncthe whole a case can be made f o r the a t h a t Satan's d e c l i n e i n the course  of the s t o r y i s / l o g i c a l and  r e s u l t of h i s i n i t i a l a c t of d i s o b e d i e n c e . referred  to as d e g r a d a t i o n ,  a t f i r s t be God  thought.  I t was  i s not so clumsy and  i n a p p r o p r i a t e as might  Milton's firm b e l i e f  i n Book X I I , were s u b j e c t e d to the tyranny to blame.  I f man  inevitable  T h i s d e c l i n e , i f i t must be  t h a t he who  l o s t both h i s i n n e r l i b e r t y and h i s outward freedom.  selves partly  possibility  chose a g a i n s t  Thus those  of t h e i r f e l l o w men,  who,  were them-  permits  W i t h i n h i m s e l f unworthy Powers to r e i g n Over f r e e Reason, God i n Judgment j u s t S u b j e c t s him from w i t h o u t to v i o l e n t Lords; Who o f t as undeservedly e n t h r a l His outwa*d< freedom: Tyranny must be, Though to the T y r a n t thereby no excuse. Yet sometimes Nations w i l l d e c l i n e so low From v i r t u e , which i s reason, t h a t no wrong, But J u s t i c e , and some f a t a l curse annext D e p r i v e s them of t h i r outward l i b e r t y , T h i r inward l o s t . ( X I I , 91-101) J  S u r e l y t h i s passage i s i n some way not  to serve God  a p p l i c a b l e to Satan:  and a f t e r t h i s s i n f u l a c t h i s a b i l i t y  what h i s s t a t e w i l l be  steadily diminishes.  C  S  he chooses f r e e l y to choose f r e e l y  Lewis's remarks about  Satan are not b e s i d e the p o i n t : I t i s by hrs own w i l l t h a t he r e v o l t s ; but not by h i s own w i l l t h a t R e v o l t i t s e l f t e a r s i t s way i n agony out of h i s head and becomes a being s e p a r a b l e from h i m s e l f , capable of enchanting him ( I I , 749-66) and b e a r i n g him unexpected and unwelcome progeny.  42  Pp. 91-92,  -54-  By h i s own w i l l he becomes a serpent i n Book IX; i n Book X he i s a serpent whether he w i l l or no. Lewis goes on to d e s c r i b e the process of d e g r a d a t i o n and these s i g n i f i c a n t  concludes w i t h  comments:  T h i s p r o g r e s s , misunderstood, has g i v e n r i s e to the b e l i e f t h a t M i l t o n began by making / Satan more g l o r i o u s than he i n t e n d e d and then, too l a t e , attempted to r e c t i f y the e r r o r . But such an u n e r r i n g p i c t u r e of the "sense of i n j u r e d m e r i t " i n i t s a c t u a l o p e r a t i o n s upon c h a r a c t e r cannot have come about by b l u n d e r i n g and acc i d e n t . We need not doubt t h a t i t was the poet's i n t e n t i o n to be f a i r to e v i l , to g i v e i t a run f o r i t s money-to show i t f i r s t a t the h e i g h t , w i t h a l l i t s r a n t s and melodrama and " G o d l i k e i m i t a t e d s t a t e " about i t , and then to t r a c e what a c t u a l l y becomes of such s e l f - m t o x i c a t i o n when i t encounters r e a l i t y . ^ One  problem remains however:  and degenerate  i f Satan has  reached  the d e s p i c a b l e  s t a t e i n which he i s p i c t u r e d i n Book X, why  a t h r e a t to mankind and a b l e to tempt the c h i l d r e n of men, already  seen,  spirit?  Why  is i t still  necessary,  to enter i n t o c o n f l i c t w i t h him  for  him feel,  as we his  have a l r e a d y noted,  i n / [ t h e Son's] death,  to a n n i h i l a t e Satan b e f o r e the millennium? keep i n mind t h a t Satan i s presented  as a m e t a p h y s i c a l power i n the u n i v e r s e who men  into perdition,  generates  and  inability  f o r the  finally  level  retains his a b i l i t y  to lead  p r o g r e s s i v e l y de-  to a c c e p t any k i n d of a u t h o r i t y levels  of the task i s , I b e l i e v e ,  A P r e f a c e to P a r a d i s e L o s t (London, 1942), p. 99, Pp. 99-100.  the  i n P a r a d i s e L o s t on two  successful.  44  have  must,  M i l t o n does h i s b e s t to r e s o l v e the problem on both  i n view of the immense d i f f i c u l t y  '"(•3  and  still  At t h i s p o i n t we  and as a c h a r a c t e r i n the s t o r y who  because of h i s f a t a l  over him.  as we  to d a s t a r d l y s i n s not only of the f l e s h but a l s o of  Son  I  i s he  surprisin  -55Th e p r e v a l e n c e of moral  e v i l i n P a r a d i s e L o s t i s e q u a l l e d by  presence of s u f f e r i n g i n the poem.  The f i r s t  suffering  t h a t appears i s  t h a t amongst Satan and h i s f o l l o w e r s , which f o r obvious reasons r e a d e r i s not encouraged  to sympathize w i t h .  our a t t e n t i o n throughout  the f i r s t  will  r e s u l t from the F a l l  seems to be the f i n a l t h i s F a l l and  problem  L e t us examine c a r e f u l l y  directs  the e v i l  that  of Adam and Eve  How  the  does M i l t o n  thus  reconcile  i n the human r a c e w i t h the  the poet's h a n d l i n g of the  t h r e e books of the poem.  the F a l l Adam and Eve are v i s i t e d w i t h many of the  which are to a f f l i c t  the human r a c e ever a f t e r w a r d s .  They f e a r  evils  death,  d e s i r e i t as an escape from t h e i r p r e s e n t misery and a t the same  time f e a r e v e r l a s t i n g punishment. the p a i r b e f o r e the F a l l of  The F a l l  c a l a m i t y i n the s t o r y .  of s u f f e r i n g i n the l a s t  Soon a f t e r  yet  i n Book IX.  the immense s u f f e r i n g r e s u l t i n g  goodness of God?  Milton instead  e i g h t books toward  the  i s now  The harmonious r e l a t i o n s h i p between  d i s r u p t e d and a t the same time the whole  the n a t u r a l u n i v e r s e i s d i s j o i n t e d .  Perplexed and confused, Adam can  only e x c l a i m i n d e s p a i r : 0 Conscience, i n t o what Abyss of f e a r s And h o r r o r s h a s t thou d r i v ' n me; out of which 1 f i n d no way,  from deep to deeper  plung'd.  (X, 842-844)  None of the d i s t u r b i n g q u e s t i o n s which they r a i s e i s fundamentally Adam and Eve appear  to a c c e p t vague and  i n d e f i n i t e answers.  The reader i s not, however, p e r m i t t e d to ponder on the of his  resolved  insufficiency  these assurances but i s c a r r i e d forward t o the a r r i v a l of M i c h a e l and g r e a t panorama of w o r l d h i s t o r y .  even more human g r i e f .  But t h i s panorama seems to r e v e a l  Much s u f f e r i n g r e s u l t s from the u n i v e r s a l  occurrence  -56-  of death and  d i s e a s e among human b e i n g s .  h i m s e l f by h i s own war,  tyranny  and  crimes and  a l l kinds  Man  b r i n g s even more misery upon  i m m o r a l i t i e s i n c l u d i n g a d u l t e r y , murder,  of v i o l e n c e .  Even though the Messiah even-  t u a l l y b r i n g s man's redemption, c o r r u p t i o n and h i s church.  The  schism  s p r i n g up w i t h i n  h i s t o r y of mankind i s a long s u c c e s s i o n of i l l s  to which  Adam i s , a t the time, g i v e n only p r o v i s i o n a l answers. The  reader  swept forward increases  i s not allowed  to the f i n a l v i s i o n of the poem.  the pace and momentum m  Book XI of v i g n e t t e and and  to d w e l l on a l l t h i s misery but i s rapaidly  these  By v a r i o u s d e v i c e s M i l t o n  l a s t two  books.  The  commentary i s f o l l o w e d i n Book X I I by  s i m p l e r procedure of v e r b a l p r e s e n t a t i o n a l o n e .  At  pattern i n the s w i f t e r  the same time  Raphael's n a r r a t i o n broadens out to c o n t i n u a l l y g r e a t e r numbers of people and makes i n c r e a s i n g l y l a r g e r leaps i n time. along c o n v i n c i n g l y and The  irresistibly  The  reader  i s thus c a r r i e d  toward M i l t o n ' s g l o r i o u s c o n c l u s i o n .  t r a g i c elements of p a i n and  s u f f e r i n g i n Paradise  L o s t are  not  u l t i m a t e l y e l i m i n a t e d but become p a r t of the g r e a t e r whole of the e p i c . The  d i f f i c u l t problems r a i s e d by Adam and  by Raphael i n h i s view of  h i s t o r y are not c o n c l u s i v e l y resolved?--they  d i s s o l v e i n t o the f i n a l v i s -  lonn of the poem--the v i s i o n of a p a r a d i s e w i t h i n , h a p p i e r of a new  heaven and  a new  f u t u r e as an i n d i v i d u a l ;  earth.  The  f a r , and  vision  f i r s t answers the problem of Adam's  the second, t h a t of the whole human r a c e .  seem to compensate Adam more than adequately  f o r the p a r a d i s e  Both  t h a t he i s  about to l o s e . The  j u s t i f i c a t i o n of the ways of God  to man  i s thus not reached  by  the p r e s e n t a t i o n of a l o g i c a l l y u n a s s a i l a b l e argument, however much M i l t o n ' s  -57-  God  may i n s i s t , w i t h apparent  Fall  i n t o s i n and m i s e r y .  plausibility,  of man's  I t i s a c h i e v e d r a t h e r by a t o t a l change of  f o c u s - - a complete s h i f t i n p e r s p e c t i v e . Adam and the reader a r e f r e e d from problems and r a i s e d  t h a t he i s g u i l t l e s s  The a t t e n t i o n and concern of both  limited  c o n c e n t r a t i o n on immediate  to a panoramic view of the t o t a l i t y  of t h i n g s .  At  t h i s p o i n t a l l the n e g a t i v i t i e s of human e x i s t e n c e v a n i s h i n t o the myst e r i o u s and a l l - e n c o m p a s s i n g wholeness of the e t e r n a l purpose of God the Father. As i n L y c i d a s and Comus, M i l t o n here r e s o l v e s the problem of e v i l by upward and forward movement.  I n P a r a d i s e L o s t , however,ethis  p r o g r e s s e s i n a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d manner r i g h t proceed  to i n f i n i t y .  movement  I t does n o t  i n an o b l i q u e f a s h i o n , as i n Comus, n o r i s i t a r b i t r a r i l y  cut o f f  and d e f l e c t e d as i n L y c i d a s . S i n c e the F a l l i s the c e n t r a l event  i n P a r a d i s e L o s t the q u e s t i o n of  man's s a l v a t i o n from i t s e v i l e f f e c t s i s of g r e a t moment.  M i l t o n comes  to g r i p s w i t h t h i s problem i n three s i g n i f i c a n t passages i n the poem.  A  l a r g e s e c t i o n of Book I I I , where the F a t h e r and the Son c o n s i d e r man's impending F a l l , and  p r e s e n t s the problem i n a t h e o r e t i c a l and d o c t r i n a l manner,  In Books IX,/X and i n the f i r s t directly  p a r t of Book XI we see the problem as i t  c o n f r o n t s Adam and Eve i n t h e i r own e x p e r i e n c e .  Finally  the im-  p l i c a t i o n s of t h i s e x p e r i e n c e a r e e x p l o r e d i n the l a t t e r p a r t of Book XI and  i n the whole of Book X I I i n terms of the h i s t o r y of the whole human  race. Before t u r n i n g t o these passages l e t us examine b r i e f l y  the n a t u r e  of man's a s p i r a t i o n toward God b e f o r e the F a l l as i t i s r e p r e s e n t e d by  -58-  Raphael i n Book V.  Before man  w i t h no  As  obstacles.  s i n s h i s d e s i r e f o r u n i o n w i t h God  Raphael puts i t :  ...one Almighty i s , from whom A l l t h i n g s proceed, and up to him If  not deprav'd from good....  Adam's r e p l y to the a n g e l ' s e x p l a n a t i o n a s p i r a t i o n toward God man  easily  to h i s  (V, 469-471) shows t h a t he understands man's  creator.  In c o n t e m p l a t i o n of c r e a t e d steps we  may  things  ascend to God.  (V,  T h i s happy s t a t e of a f f a i r s i s , of course, first  return,  i n terms of the P l a t o n i c l a d d e r by means of which  r i s e s g r a d u a l l y and  By  a c t of d i s o b e d i e n c e ,  511-512)  completely done away by man's  which e f f e c t u a l l y a l i e n a t e s him  and which makes n e c e s s a r y an a c t of d i v i n e grace b e f o r e can be  from  God,  the r e l a t i o n s h i p  restored.  Is man For M i l t o n m  meets  saved i n P a r a d i s e the q u e s t i o n  L o s t by h i s own  will  or by  i s e s s e n t i a l l y paradoxical  supernatural  grace?  as the poet i n d i c a t e s  t h i s c e n t r a l passage from Book I I I .  Taylor  Man s h a l l not q u i t e be l o s t , Yet not of w i l l i n him, but Freely voutsaf't (III, suggests that the r e l a t i o n s h i p  i s more or l e s s simply  a temporal one:  through moral s t r e n g t h and  but sav'd who w i l l , grace i n me 173-175) between human w i l l and  d i v i n e grace  "...man works toward s a l v a t i o n  i n t e l l e c t u a l perception;  grace comes a f t e r h i s  45 victory the  in trial."  text w i l l  Yet a c l o s e r examination of the r e l e v a n t  show, I f e e l ,  r a t h e r more complex than  that i n Paradise  Lost  lines i n  the whole matter i s  this.  "Grace as a Means of P o e t r y :  Milton's  P a t t e r n f o r S a l v a t i o n , " p.  57.  -59-  There i s no q u e s t i o n but h i m s e l f by h i s own  unaided  t h a t M i l t o n b e l i e v e s t h a t man  effort.  to s a c r i f i c e h i m s e l f f o r man,  God  cannot  save  the F a t h e r a c c e p t s the Son's o f f e r  f o r "thou only canst redeem...."  (Ill,  But as to whether human e f f o r t or e n a b l i n g d i v i n e g r a c e comes f i r s t whether both occur s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , Lost. vey  From time  there i s some ambiguity  can do n o t h i n g towards h i s own  F a t h e r d e c l a r e s h i s purpose to redeem man  to reason t h a t man  m  the  178-182)  must a t l e a s t repent so t h a t he can a c c e p t  Those who  have not d e l i b e r a t e l y and  God  order t h a t  of grace, but M i l t o n i m p l i e s t h a t man's a b i l i t y  depends on d i v i n e h e l p . who  i n Paradise  salvation.  Upheld by me, y e t once more he s h a l l stand On even ground a g a i n s t h i s m o r t a l f o e , By me upheld, t h a t he may know how f r a i l H i s f a l l ' n c o n d i t i o n i s , and to me owe A l l h i s d e l i v ' r a n e e , and to none but me. (Ill,  the g i f t  or  to time i n Book I I I i t seems t h a t M i l t o n i n t e n d s to con-  the i d e a t h a t man  I t stands  281),  to do even  are not a l r e a d y amongst the e l e c t  completely  rejected  this and  God  s h a l l hear me c a l l , and o f t be warn'd T h i r s i n f u l s t a t e , and t o appease betimes Th' incensed D e i t y w h i l e o f f e r ' d grace I n v i t e s , f o r I w i l l c l e a r t h i r senses dark, What may s u f f i c e , and s o f t ' n stony h e a r t s To pray, repent, and b r i n g obedience due. To Prayer, repentance, and obedience due, Though but endeavor'd w i t h s i n c e r e i n t e n t , Mine ear s h a l l not be slow, mine eye not shut. But even here human e f f o r t , however f e e b l e , ways exceeds what man  i s not absent.  (HI,  185-193)  Yet grace a l -  e i t h e r d e s i r e s or deserves as the Son p o i n t s out  r e g a r d i n g h i s s a c r i f i c e of h i m s e l f : ...man s h a l l f i n d grace; And s h a l l grace not f i n d means, t h a t f i n d s her The s p e e d i e s t of thy winged messengers, To v i s i t a l l thy c r e a t u r e s , and to a l l  way,  -60-  Comes unprevented, unimplor'd, unsought? Happy f o r man, so coming; he her a i d Can never seek, once dead i n s i n s and l o s t ; Atonement f o r h i m s e l f or o f f e r i n g meet, Indebted  and undone, hath none t o b r i n g .  I t i s next n e c e s s a r y Eve  (Ill,  227-235)  t o r e l a t e t o the a c t u a l s i t u a t i o n of Adam and  the pronouncements on grace made by the F a t h e r and the Son.  A survey  of Book X would seem to j u s t i f y many of T a y l o r ' s remarks about the r e l a t i o n s h i p of human w i l l and d i v i n e w i l l  i n Paradise Lost.  i n Book IX Adam has been t r i e d and found wanting. he can be r e c o n c i l e d  t o God, he must f a c e f u r t h e r  After  As he i n d i c a t e s ,  the F a l l ,  before  trials.  In h i s p o s t - F a l l circumstances, however, h i s tempt a t i o n i s p o s s i b l y even g r e a t e r than b e f o r e , s i n c e i t i n v o l v e s d e s p a i r , d e f e a t i s m , and the d e s i r e to s h i f t the blame from h i m s e l f to God and Eve. S i n c e he f e l l because of h i s l o v e f o r Eve, a s p e c i a l p a r t of t h i s new temptation i n v o l v e s a sound readjustment of h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h her. The journey ahead i s a hard one f o r him to t r a v e r s e . ^ Adam, however, e v e n t u a l l y overcomes a l l these o b s t a c l e s and a t the end of Book X reaches  the p o i n t where he knows he must repent w i t h g r e a t h u m i l i t y  and where he can b e l i e v e t h a t h i s p r a y e r s w i l l n o t go unanswered by God. Adam a s s e r t s of God t h a t Undoubtedly he w i l l r e l e n t and t u r n From h i s d i s p l e a s u r e ; i n whose look serene, When angry most he seem'd and most severe, What e l s e but f a v o r , grace, and mercy shone?  (X, 1093-1096)  A t the b e g i n n i n g of Book XI we a r e t o l d of t h e descent  of the longed-  f o r grace, which a t f i r s t g l a n c e seems t o be the answer t o Adam's p r a y e r of repentance.  Y e t we a r e t o l d  t h a t even the a b i l i t y  and pray f o r f o r g i v e n e s s i s bestowed by heavenly  4  6  P. 72.  to r e g r e t one's s i n s  grace.  Adam and Eve  -61-  l n l o w l i e s t p l i g h t repentant stood P r a y i n g , f o r from the Mercy-seat above P r e v e n i e n t Grace descending had remov'd The stony from t h i r h e a r t s , and made new f l e s h Regenerate grow i n s t e a d , t h a t s i g h s now breath'd U n u t t e r a b l e , which the S p i r i t of p r a y e r I n s p i r ' d , and wing'd f o r Heav'n w i t h s p e e d i e r f l i g h t Than l o u d e s t Oratory (XI, 1-8) The  c o n c l u s i o n must be drawn t h a t i n P a r a d i s e  w i l l a r e i n e x t r i c a b l y bound up w i t h  L o s t human w i l l and d i v i n e  each other,  both b e i n g  essential for  man's s a l v a t i o n . The tance and  same can be s a i d of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between f a i t h ,  of s u p e r n a t u r a l grace,  effort.  valid  and good works, the r e s u l t of human s t r i v i n g  F o r M i l t o n good works a r e the i n e v i t a b l e f r u i t  faith.  the accep-  of a l i v e l y ,  H i s p o s i t i o n i n t h i s matter would seem to be t h a t of the  a p o s t l e James who s a i d t h a t "as the body w i t h o u t  the s p i r i t  f a i t h without  Thus we a r e t o l d i n Book  XI  works i s dead a l s o " (James 2.26).  i s dead, so  t h a t i n order f o r man to a t t a i n to l i f e a f t e r death he must f i r s t i n  this  l i f e be Tri'd  i n sharp t r i b u l a t i o n ,  and r e f i n ' d  By F a i t h and f a i t h f u l works L a t e r on i n Book X I I ,  (XI, 63-64)  the death and r e s u r r e c t i o n of C h r i s t b r i n g d e l i v e r a n c e  from death f o r those who embrace t h i s b e n e f i t "by F a i t h not v o i d of works...." (427) There i s a s i m i l a r balance  of the human and the d i v i n e i n another a s -  pect of the problem of s a l v a t i o n , the r e l a t i o n s h i p between p r e d e s t i n a t i o n and  free w i l l .  being  M i l t o n ' s God i s a b s o l u t e  i n every  sense.  omnipotent and omnipresent, he i s a l s o o m n i s c i e n t .  he knows i n advance the c h o i c e s  In a d d i t i o n to T h i s means t h a t  that men w i l l make and the u l t i m a t e  destiny  -62-  to which these c h o i c e s w i l l man i n g e n e r a l the b e l i e f Their  lead them.  A t the same time M i l t o n ' s  view of  and of human r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n p a r t i c u l a r commits him to  t h a t human beings a r e completely f r e e i n t h e i r moral  thoughts and deeds a r e not r i g i d l y  choices.  predetermined by some outward  f o r c e over which they have no c o n t r o l . In terms of the poem a t hand, these c o n v i c t i o n s the f a c t t h a t God the F a t h e r r e b e l and f a l l  of M i l t o n r e s u l t i n  i s aware from the b e g i n n i n g that Adam w i l l  from grace, hence the long d i s c u s s i o n i n Book I I I . Y e t  Raphael, who comes t o Adam as a d i r e c t emissary from God, i n s i s t s Adam must serve God  God w i t h h i s own f r e e w i l l ,  j u s t as the a n g e l s do i n heaven.  made thee p e r f e c t , n o t immutable,  And good he made thee, but to p e r s e v e r e He l e f t i t i n thy power, o r d a i n ' d thy w i l l By n a t u r e f r e e , n o t o v e r - r u l ' d by F a t e I n e x t r i c a b l e , or s t r i c t n e c e s s i t y ; Our v o l u n t a r y s e r v i c e he r e q u i r e s , Not our n e c e s s i t a t e d , such w i t h him F i n d s no acceptance, nor can f i n d , f o r how Can h e a r t s , n o t f r e e , be t r i ' d whether they W i l l i n g or no, who w i l l b u t what they must By Destiny, To  that  this conflict  and can no o t h e r ' choose?  serve  (V, 524-534)  of f r e e w i l l and p r e d e s t i n a t i o n , which has perplexed  C h r i s t i a n t h i n k e r s from the b e g i n n i n g , M i l t o n does n o t b r i n g a simple r a t i o n a l s o l u t i o n b u t merely a s s e r t s v i g o r o u s l y both s i d e s of what i s essentially  a paradox ( l i k e  t h a t of human w i l l v e r s u s d i v i n e g r a c e ) .  Father  thus a s s e r t s of the a n g e l s the t r u t h which h o l d s e q u a l l y  and Eve: They t h e r e f o r e as to r i g h t belong'd, So were c r e a t e d , nor can j u s t l y accuse T h i r maker, or t h i r making, or t h i r Fate; As i f P r e d e s t i n a t i o n o v e r - r u l ' d T h i r w i l l , d i s p o s ' d by a b s o l u t e Decree  God the of Adam  -63-  Or h i g h foreknowledge; they themselves decreed T h i r own r e v o l t , not I : i f I foreknew, Foreknowledge had no i n f l u e n c e on t h e i r f a u l t , Which had The  no  l e s s prov'd c e r t a i n unforeknown.  r e l a t i o n s h i p between human w i l l and  d i f f e r e n t here from what i t i s m  Comus.  divine  In  the  grace i s o b v i o u s l y  e a r l i e r poem the  are  a t times simply juxtaposed w i t h o u t r e s o l u t i o n — t h i s  the  case m  and  divine  the  l a s t few  i n i t i a t i v e are  g r a t e d whole.  l i n e s of  one  on  the  man  to transcend whatever he  Adam prays d i r e c t l y up perfectly  all  i t s aspects.  field  f i n d the  h i s own  on  effort.  grace descends i n a a r r i v e by  divine-human r e l a t i o n s h i p  r e p r e s e n t e d but  r e s u l t i s the  i n the  a g a i n s t the  a  pictured  in  demands of f a i t h and  body and  the  of d u a l i t i e s .  to h i s heavenly f a t h e r as  the a r t s , especially  the broader r e l a t i o n s between men the  p r e s e n t work the whole range  e x i s t e n c e of a whole s e r i e s  i n the w o r l d of human r e l a t i o n s h i p s ,  p l e a s u r e s of  toward God  i n Comus.  ment i n such i n t e l l e c t u a l p u r s u i t s  the  re-  s u p e r n a t u r a l grace which enables  a f t e r the F a l l and  man's u n c o n d i t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p  woman and  well-inte-  In e a r l i e r poems only c e r t a i n a r e a s of man's t o t a l  of i n t e r e s t s are  The  for aspiration  c o u l d hope to a t t a i n by  of human a c t i v i t y i s set over and gion.  together i n a  manner from above; i t does not  devious r o u t e from below as In P a r a d i s e L o s t we  capacity  other hand that  to God  straightforward  i s especially  i n P a r a d i s e L o s t there i s a more d i r e c t  l a t i o n s h i p between man's n a t u r a l the  two  In P a r a d i s e L o s t human  harmoniously r e l a t e d  In a d d i t i o n ,  hand, and  the masque.  ( I l l , 111-119)  i s set h i s  s c i e n c e , and the  senses i n c l u d i n g  and  eating  involve-  and  finally and  Against  philosophy,  l o v e of man  i n society  reli-  in  drinking  -64-  and  sex.  I n P a r a d i s e L o s t , furthermore, M i l t o n s e t s out more f u l l y  elsewhere ought  the r e l a t i o n s h i p between God  to be and i n d i s t o r t e d forms.  than  and h i s c r e a t u r e s , both as i t  The s t a t e of Adam and Eve b e f o r e  the F a l l i s thus c o n t r a s t e d w i t h t h e i r s t a t e a f t e r  the F a l l ,  and  the  s t a t e of the d e v i l s i n H e l l i s s e t a g a i n s t t h a t of the u n f a l l e n a n g e l s i n heaven. M i l t o n ' s g e n e r a l view and  the w o r l d of God  little  on the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the w o r l d of  man  i s simple and as s e t out i n P a r a d i s e L o s t d i f f e r s  e s s e n t i a l l y from i t s e x p r e s s i o n i n e a r l i e r poems,  i n Comus and L y c i d a s .  particularly  The concerns of man's w o r l d a r e e s s e n t i a l l y good  but must be h e l d s t r i c t l y w i t h i n the framework of man's obedience  to  God.  I f e x a l t e d i n t o a p o s i t i o n where they would compromise man's u n c o n d i t i o n a l a l l e g i a n c e to h i s c r e a t o r they become e v i l and i d o l a t r o u s . p l o r e the i m p l i c a t i o n s of these statements  L e t us  ex-  i n r e g a r d to M i l t o n ' s d e p i c t i o n  of v a r i o u s human a c t i v i t i e s i n P a r a d i s e L o s t . The  two areas which r e c e i v e s p e c i a l prominence i n P a r a d i s e L o s t are  of course p o e t r y and music.  In L y c i d a s , the reader w i l l  recall,  Edward  King's d u a l r o l e s as p r i e s t and poet were g i v e n equal emphasis by M i l t o n and  the poet's i n v o c a t i o n was  ever, i t would appear subordinated  to the pagan muse.  In P a r a d i s e Lost, how-  t h a t M i l t o n f e e l s h i s v o c a t i o n as a poet must be  to h i s r o l e as s i n g e r of d i v i n e t r u t h .  The  source of h i s  i n s p i r a t i o n i s t h e r e f o r e not the pagan muses but the t h i r d person of the Christian Trinity,  the Holy S p i r i t .  The poet w i l l  than the mountain of the c l a s s i c a l muses. thus  speaks:  ascend f a r h i g h e r  To h i s heavenly muse M i l t o n  -65-  I thence Invoke thy a i d to my advent'rous Song, That w i t h no middle f l i g h t i n t e n d s to soar Above t h ' Aonian Mount, w h i l e i t pursues Things unattempted y e t i n Prose or Rhyme. ( I , 12-16) Music abounds i n P a r a d i s e L o s t .  The D e v i l and h i s f o l l o w e r s march i n t o  b a t t l e to the music of f l u t e s and r e c o r d e r s .  While Satan i s absent the  f a l l e n a n g e l s w h i l e away the time by s i n g i n g of t h e i r h e r o i c deeds and of t h e i r f a l l  from heaven.  though the harmony was a n g e l s i n heaven p r a i s e  But " t h i r Song was  ravishing.  p a r t i a l " ( I I , 552)  even  Through song and music the u n f a l i e n  t h e i r great Lord.  Music l a t e r appears i n human  h i s t o r y , however, i n l e s s happy c i r c u m s t a n c e s . No sooner has c r e a t e d music upon the harp and organ, than men  Jubal  use t h i s music  to seduce  young women i n t o amorous i n v o l v e m e n t . Such happy i n t e r v i e w and f a i r event Of l o v e and youth not l o s t , Songs, Garlands, Flow'rs, And charming Symphonies a t t a c h ' d the h e a r t Of Adam, soon m c l m ' d to admit d e l i g h t The bent of Nature (XI, 593-597) M i c h a e l immediately p o i n t s out, however, t h a t t h i s use of a r t and music i s e v i l because i t i s i n t e n d e d f o r man's own f o r the g l o r y of  s e l f i s h purposes r a t h e r than  God.  Judge not what i s b e s t By p l e a s u r e , though to Nature seeming meet, Created, as thou a r t , to n o b l e r end Holy and pure, c o n f o r m i t y d i v i n e . Those Tents thou saw'st so p l e a s a n t , were the Tents Of wickedness, wherein s h a l l d w e l l h i s Race Who slew h i s Brother, s t u d i o u s they appear Of A r t s t h a t p o l i s h L i f e , I n v e n t o r s r a r e Unmindful of t h i r Maker, though h i s S p i r i t Taught them, but they h i s g i f t s acknowledg'd none. (XI, 603-612) I t may  appear, i n view of t h i s passage, that M i l t o n condemns a r t only when  -66-  lt  leads man  away from spontaneous w o r s h i p of God  i n t o human a r t i f i c e .  The words which d e s c r i b e the morning p r a y e r of Adam and Eve Lowly they bow'd a d o r i n g , and  suggest  this.  began  T h i r O r i s o n s , each Morning d u l y p a i d In v a r i o u s s t y l e , f o r n e i t h e r v a r i o u s s t y l e Nor h o l y r a p t u r e wanted they to p r a i s e T h i r Maker, i n f i t s t r a i n s pronounct or sung Unmeditated, such prompt eloquence Flow'd from t h i r l i p s , i n Prose or numerous Verse, More tuneable than needed Lute or Harp To add more sweetness.... I t may  144-152)  a l s o seem t h a t , i n g e n e r a l , as compared to h e l l ,  t o r y a f t e r the F a l l , Eden h o l d s thus:  " M i l t o n ' s use  of  g e l i c and human, has civilization." '' 4  and  (V,  l i t t l e art.  cannot be  taneous the o u t b u r s t of p r a i s e f o r God  i s not w i t h o u t  the problem  artistically  supported.  by Adam and Eve,  structured.  The  m  However spont h e i r prayer i s  "...Adam and  Eve's bower i s a work of a r t as much as i t i s a work of nature,  a proper  condition."  pruning  C l e a r l y a r t i s not a n e c e s s i t y f o r human s a l v a -  i n t e r e s t i n the use  4  8  P.  263.  i n t o p e r d i t i o n unless  he  misuses t h i s g i f t from h i s c r e a t o r .  The beings who  Madsen, p.  and...  i s r e q u i r e d to keep the garden i n  t i o n , but n e i t h e r need i t n e c e s s a r i l y l e a d man himself w i l l f u l l y  general,  Garden of Eden i t s e l f  the c o n t r o l of a r t , as Madsen i n d i c a t e s .  man's a r t of c u l t i v a t i o n and 48  an-  to r e g a r d him as an enemy of human  t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of M i l t o n ' s poetry  of P a r a d i s e L o s t i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  i n f a c t c a r e f u l l y and  Madsen sums up  to human h i s -  ' a r t ' as a symbol of f a l l e n e x i s t e n c e , both  l e d some c r i t i c s  But  and  i n h a b i t heaven and h e l l of the i n t e l l e c t , 262.  and  e a r t h show c o n s i d e r a b l e  particularly  i n the a b s t r a c t  sub-  -67-  j e c t s of theology  and  philosophy.  But  f o r M i l t o n , the a c t i v i t y  mind i s only good i f used i n accordance w i t h according hell  to r i g h t r e a s o n .  confusion.  that i s ,  S i n c e they have d e l i b e r a t e l y  i n p r a c t i c e they cannot a t t a i n to any  t i c a l knowledge about him u n i v e r s e he has  of God,  the  Thus the p h i l o s o p h i z i n g of the d e v i l s i n  leads only to endless  j e c t e d s e r v i c e of God  the w i l l  of  or about the m e t a p h y s i c a l  sound  s t r u c t u r e of  re-  theorethe  created.  In d i s c o u r s e more sweet.... Others a p a r t s a t on a H i l l r e t i r ' d , In thoughts more e l e v a t e , and r e a s o n d h i g h Of Providence, Foreknowledge, W i l l , and F a t e , F i x t Fate, F r e e w i l l , Foreknowledge a b s o l u t e , 1  And  found  Their reasonings not l e a d to any  no  end,  i n wand'ring mazes l o s t .  are branded " f a l s e P h i l o s o p h i e " ( I I , 565) s a v i n g i n s i g h t s but  only serve  minds of the d e v i l s from the p a i n s of h e l l . blems as p r e d e s t i n a t i o n and Father,  free w i l l ,  are obviously intended  h e a r i n g Raphael's t a l k , clearly,  ( I I , 555,  f o r they  straightforward.  the u n f a l i e n Adam a l s o appears to grasp  things.  himself with  prothe  After the matter  practical  r a t h e r than w i t h e n q u i r i n g  to Adam's deep c u r i o s i t y about the s c i e n t i f i c nature  from h i s commitment to God.  the  T h i s i s a l s o t r u e , of course,  T h i s d e s i r e f o r knowledge i s not e v i l  the  In heaven such supposed  to be c l e a r and  q u e s t i o n of obedience to the Almighty  do  temporarily  as they a r e d i s c u s s e d by God  though he i s encouraged to concern  c l o s e l y i n t o heavenly  to d i v e r t  557-561)  too  i n regard  of the u n i v e r s e .  i n i t s e l f but must not d e f l e c t Adam  Raphael warns Adam:  S o l i c i t not thy thoughts w i t h matters h i d , Leave them to God M i l t o n suggests  above, him  that i n d u l g e n c e  serve and  fear....  ( V I I I , 167-168)  i n p l e a s u r e s of the mind must be  controlled  •68-  j u s t as b o d i l y a p p e t i t e s must be r e s t r a i n e d : ...Knowledge i s as food, and needs no l e s s Her Temperance over A p p e t i t e , to know In measure what the mind may w e l l c o n t a i n . . . . (VII, 126-128) As Madsen says, "We might observe  t h a t there i s a temperance of m t e l l e c 49  t u a l d e s i r e as w e l l as of s e n s u a l d e s i r e . . . . " The be  r e l a t i o n s h i p between man and h i s f e l l o w human beings must a l s o  subordinated  human beings,  to h i s duty  including  to h i s c r e a t o r .  Nevertheless,  l o v e between  those of the o p p o s i t e sex, i s b a s i c a l l y  good.  The a f f e c t i o n between Adam and Eve b e f o r e the F a l l i s everywhere e v i d e n t . Satan,  i n c o n t r a s t to Adam and Eve, cannot  o p p o s i t e sex but o n l y l u s t . happiness  feel  love f o r someone of the  He n e v e r t h e l e s s envies  the p a i r  their  t o g e t h e r b e f o r e the F a l l . Sight hateful,  s i g h t tormenting',  thus these two  Imparadis't i n one another's arms The h a p p i e r Eden, s h a l l enjoy t h i r f i l l Of b l i s s on b l i s s , w h i l e I to H e l l am t h r u s t , Where n e i t h e r j o y n o r l o v e , b u t f i e r c e d e s i r e , Among our other torments n o t the l e a s t , S t i l l u n f u l f i l l ' d w i t h p a i n of l o n g i n g p i n e s . . . .  (IV, 505-511)  t h i n g analogous the earthy o v e of and Eve: Raphael, however,t oadmits that l there i sAdam between the a n g e l s m  heaven some-  L e t life s u f f i c e thee t h a t thou know'st Us happy, and w i t h o u t Love no h a p p i n e s s . Whatever pure thou i n the body e n j o y ' s t (And pure thou wert c r e a t e d ) we enjoy In eminence, and o b s t a c l e f i n d none Of membrane, j o i n t , or limb e x c l u s i v e b a r s : E a s i e r than A i r w i t h A i r , i f S p i r i t s embrace, T o t a l they mix, union of Pure w i t h Pure D e s i r i n g ; nor r e s t r a i n ' d conveyance need As F l e s h to mix w i t h F l e s h , or Soul w i t h S o u l .  49  P. 246.  (VIII,  620-629)  -69-  His speech  concludes, however, w i t h a warning to Adam n o t to l e t h i s love  f o r Eve t u r n him away from God. does, to h i s own d o w n f a l l . him.  T h i s i s , of course,  e x a c t l y what Adam  Eve h e r s e l f i s a l s o to blame f o r seducing  The r e s u l t of t h i s u n f o r t u n a t e a c t i s a d i s r u p t i o n of h i s r e l a t i o n -  s h i p w i t h h i s beloved  spouse.  i n l e a d i n g him i n t o t h i s  Only a f t e r Eve has repented h e r misdeed  temptation and Adam has f o r g i v e n h e r and accepted  her back and acknowledged h i s own g u i l t w i t h God be r e s t o r e d . however, t o plague  The problem of man's r e l a t i o n s h i p  the human r a c e throughout  from M i c h a e l ' s p r e s e n t a t i o n of the e v i l s s e l v e s over  can Adam and Eve's  i t s h i s t o r y as can be seen  t h a t b e f a l l men who g i v e them-  l i k e t h a t t o an i n d i v i d u a l of the  o p p o s i t e sex, can a l s o be d i s t o r t e d i f allowed Tyranny and a l l the misery  usurps  to woman remains,  to amorous d e l i g h t t o the e x c l u s i o n of e v e r y t h i n g e l s e .  Man's r e l a t i o n s h i p t o s o c i e t y ,  God.  relationship  i t causes  to come between man and h i s  e n t e r the human scene when man  the p l a c e of God who alone can demand a b s o l u t e obedience  beings.  from human  Adam's r e a c t i o n t o such a t y r a n t i s immediate and severe: 0 e x e c r a b l e Son so to a s p i r e Above h i s Brethren, to h i m s e l f assuming A u t h o r i t y u s u r p t , from God n o t g i v ' n : He gave us only over Beast, F i s h , Fowl Dominion a b s o l u t e ; t h a t r i g h t we h o l d By h i s donation, but Man over men He made n o t Lord, such t i t l e to h i m s e l f R e s e r v i n g , human l e f t from human f r e e . (XII, 64-71)  But,  as a l r e a d y p o i n t e d out, those who succumb to tyranny a r e a l s o to blame. The  final duality  t h a t must be d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s chapter i s t h a t of  body and s o u l or of matter  and s p i r i t .  I n P a r a d i s e L o s t M i l t o n goes to  g r e a t e r l e n g t h s than anywhere e l s e i n h i s p o e t r y to e s t a b l i s h the goodness of matter  and the body.  I t i s a l s o immediately  c l e a r here, as i t i s n o t  -70-  to such an extent  i n Comus, t h a t M i l t o n d e f i n i t e l y does n o t s u b s c r i b e to  the d u a l i s m of P l a t o , as expressed i n Phaedo. V suggests t h a t matter and s p i r i t  Raphael's speech i n Book  a r e p a r t of a continuum m  i n t o the o t h e r .  one  merges e a s i l y  and  s o u l i s suggested by the use of the image of a t r e e whose r o o t s ,  immersed deep i n the dark, s o l i d man's e x i s t e n c e ,  The v i t a l  earth,  and whose flower,  organic  which the  represent  held a l o f t  u n i t y between body  the p h y s i c a l b a s i s of  i n the b r i g h t a i r , suggest  man's s p i r i t u a l a s p i r a t i o n s . The  goodness of the whole of the p h y s i c a l u n i v e r s e  i n Raphael's account of the c r e a t i o n i n Book V I I . Eve  i s a t t e s t e d to  The w o r l d of Adam and  i s e s s e n t i a l l y good because i t f i n d s i t s u l t i m a t e  source i n God, the  "Author and end of a l l t h i n g s " (VII, 5 9 1 ) . Thus M i l t o n i n c l u d e s the B i b l i c a l r e f r a i n a f t e r each a c t of C r e a t i o n and uses i t a g a i n  a t the end  of the s i x t h day w i t h s p e c i a l emphasis: Here f i n i s h ' d hee, and a l l that he had made View'd, and behold a l l was e n t i r e l y Not sions--so of God.  only  good.  (VII, 548-549)  i s man's body e s s e n t i a l l y good, but a l s o h i s n a t u r a l pas-  long as they a r e d i r e c t e d by r i g h t reason a c c o r d i n g Madsen s u c c i n c t l y expresses the matter thus:  to the 'Will 1  "Appetite i s  i ' n a t u r a l ' i n the sense that i t i s p a r t of man's n a t u r e , but i t i s ' u n n a t u r a l ' to e x a l t i t over reason, which i s s u p e r i o r hierarchy  and which ought to r u l e i t - - n o t  I n Book IV M i l t o n desires. 50  stresses  i n the p s y c h o l o g i c a l  suppress i t - - a t  a l l times.""^  the goodness, i n p a r t i c u l a r , of man's  He i s c a r e f u l to p l a c e  P. 244.  to appetite  the wedding n i g h t  sexual  of Adam and Eve b e f o r e  the F a l l .  Adam and Eve appear naked b e f o r e they f a l l  there i s no  shame i n t h i s . takes  After  Uncontrolled  lust  they enjoyed  b e f o r e the F a l l .  the f a l l ,  seeking luxury and  involvement  and women who  misusing  c r e a t u r e comforts  to a l l s o r t s of e v i l s .  b e f o r e God.  and  This indulgence after  of the senses, Paradise.  if  like and  guard  e x e r c i s ' d H e r o i c Games  unarmed Youth of Heav'n  (IV, 551-552)  t o r t e d c o u n t e r p a r t i n h e l l , where the games end  of man  something  even to the e x t e n t of h o l d i n g games b e f o r e the Gate of  T h i s p l e a s u r e i n the c o n t e s t of p h y s i c a l s k i l l  The  (XI, 714-718)  They seem to enjoy most of the p l e a s u r e s of the body  About him 1  first  The angels ea.t, and  even, as i n d i c a t e d b e f o r e , e x p e r i e n c e  As G a b r i e l keeps  Th  their  leads  sees  M i l t o n ' s heaven i s s u r p r i s i n g l y m a t e r i a l i s t i c .  sexual love.  way  t h e i r a p p e t i t e s i n other ways  Adam views the c h i l d r e n of men  i n f u l l - s c a l e war  s l e e p , and  shown by  l i k e w i s e gave  A l l now was turn'd to j o l l i t y and game, To luxury and r i o t , f e a s t and dance, M a r r y i n g or p r o s t i t u t i n g , as b e f e l l , Rape or A d u l t e r y , where p a s s i n g f a i r A l l u r ' d them; thence from Cups to c i v i l B r o i l s .  d r i n k and  l o v e which  the d e v o t i o n which they owed to t h e i r maker.  There a r e a l s o i n s t a n c e s of men by  innocent  The h i s t o r y of the human race,  Raphael, p r e s e n t s many examples of men  and  of course, a l l i s changed.  the p l a c e of the pure and  to sexual d e s i r e , f o r g e t t i n g  i n t o temptation  finds,  typically,  i n unrestrained violence.  emphasis i n P a r a d i s e L o s t g e n e r a l l y i n regard  i s on moderation and  i t s dis-  to the  activities  temperance r a t h e r than as i n Comus on o u t r i g h t  only temporary, r e j e c t i o n of these t h i n g s .  The a l i e n a t i o n from  which i d o l a t r o u s s u b j e c t i o n to merely human concerns  God  can b r i n g must be  -72-  overcome, i n the l i v e s of Adam and and  by  and  God  not,  the grace of God.  Michael  not a l l t e n s i o n s between  effort man  the f i n a l v i s i o n where there i s complete,  and  r e s o l u t i o n of the  the concerns of God.  i n the B i b l i c a l v i s i o n of a new  speaks of a time when heaven and  b l i s s f u l whole:  of a l l mankind, by moral  L y c i d a s , merely p a r t i a l ,  between the concerns of man given expression  and  In t h i s process  can be removed u n t i l  as i n Comus and  Eve  Then e n t e r i n t o g l o r y , and  This r e s o l u t i o n i s  heaven and  e a r t h w i l l be  a f t e r h i s d e f e a t of Satan,  the Son  conflict  one  a new  earth.  p e r f e c t and  will  resume  His Seat a t God's r i g h t hand, e x a l t e d h i g h Above a l l names i n Heav'n; and thence s h a l l come, When t h i s world's d i s s o l u t i o n s h a l l be r i p e , With g l o r y and power to judge both quick and dead, To judge t h ' u n f a i t h f u l dead, but to reward His f a i t h f u l , and r e c e i v e them i n t o b l i s s , Whether i n Heav'n or E a r t h , f o r then the E a r t h S h a l l a l l be P a r a d i s e , f a r h a p p i e r p l a c e Than t h i s of Eden, and  f a r happier  In the meantime Adam i s shown the way  days.  (XII, 456-465)  to f i n d a heaven w i t h i n h i s human  heart. The  r e l a t i o n s h i p of d u a l i t i e s i n P a r a d i s e  d i r e c t than m  Comus and  are asserted w i t h n e g a t i v i t i e s and  Lycidas.  equal f o r c e , as m  A l t h o u g h both s i d e s of these  The  less  t e n s i o n s i n the e p i c than  r e s o l u t i o n achieved  dominant d u a l i t i e s i s more complete and the e a r l i e r poems.  dualities  the e a r l i e r poems, there are  u l t i m a t e l y fewer u n r e s o l v e d  i n the two minor poems.  L o s t i s g e n e r a l l y f a r more  i n Paradise  L o s t of  s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d than i n any  the of  Chapter  Five:  P a r a d i s e Regained  In P a r a d i s e Regained some of the d u a l i t i e s are the same as those minent i n P a r a d i s e L o s t but  there are important  pro-  differences i n Milton's  h a n d l i n g of them. In P a r a d i s e L o s t the s t r u g g l e between good and  e v i l dominates  poem; i n P a r a d i s e Regained e v i l a g a i n m a n i f e s t s i t s e l f  i n almost  the  every  k i n d of temptation and  i s always r e l a t e d d i r e c t l y  obedience  problem of human s u f f e r i n g a g a i n a r i s e s , but  to God.  The  to the b a s i c s i n of d i s there  i s not the same emphasis as i n P a r a d i s e L o s t on the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of the Fall  of man  w i t h the goodness of God.  i n rather d i f f e r e n t  The q u e s t i o n of s a l v a t i o n  terms than i n P a r a d i s e L o s t .  Eve were u n s u c c e s s f u l i n t h e i r i n i t i a l  w i l l s a g a i n s t the w i l l somehow from  of the A l m i g h t y .  of God.  The  fore his w i l l  Son,  is still  f o r them to use  and as we  human e f f o r t s and  of course, has never  rescued  have seen,  this  experienced a lapse i n t o s i n , there-  supremacy i n an encounter w i t h e v i l . from  Regained, then,  C h r i s t i s to be saved but how  i s not how  sin.  He comes  or heavenly?  he i s to  save.  W i l l he e s t a b l i s h  i n human f o r c e of arms or through a b s o l u t e seek to win men  faith  i n the power and p r o v i d e n c e of God?  W i l l he  by a d i s p l a y  fame or by a r e v e l a t i o n of d i v i n e  of mere human g l o r y and  There  The q u e s t i o n which a r i s e s i n P a r a d i s e  What i s the n a t u r e of h i s kingdom, e a r t h l y t r u s t merely  t h e i r human  the s u p e r n a t u r a l grace  r a t h e r as a s a v i o u r of man  through  the F a l l  i n e s s e n t i a l harmony w i t h t h a t of h i s F a t h e r .  i s no q u e s t i o n of h i s own  it  After  They must t h e r e f o r e be  t h i s s t a t e of enmity toward God,  s a l v a t i o n i n v o l v e s both t h e i r own  In the l a t t e r Adam and  encounter w i t h e v i l .  i t becomes more than a t h e o r e t i c a l p o s s i b i l i t y  arises  to h i s cause  -74-  truth?  The  c o n f l i c t between man  and God  i s e v i d e n t i n P a r a d i s e Regained  not only i n the problem of s a l v a t i o n but a l s o i n the g e n e r a l o p p o s i t i o n between the concerns or  of man  d e l i g h t which might be  and God.  sought  as an end  demands of a l i f e d e d i c a t e d s o l e l y Evil  to enjoy or use  to which the Son  of God.  In more s p e c i f i c  i s subjected?  As  has demonstrated, i s c l i m a c t i c . " ^ t a t i o n s i n c r e a s e i n s u b t l e t y and  need.  The  by Satan, to  good, a p a r t from God.  The next  The  haphazard, but, as Woodhouse  I t can e a s i l y be seen complexity  from  the f i r s t  i s an appeal  temptation of voluptuous women, proposed i s an appeal not to one  temptations  i n the poem ( a p a r t from i t s b a s i c ad-  to t u r n stones i n t o bread  physical desire.  Evil is  s t a t e d above, they v a r y w i d e l y .  to the g o s p e l of Luke) i s i n no way  temptation  terms t h i s means t r y -  What i s the n a t u r e of the p a r t i c u l a r  arrangement of these temptations  The  i s s e t a g a i n s t the  God.  something, i n i t s e l f  thus the s i n of i d o l a t r y .  herence  to  in itself  i n P a r a d i s e Regained, as i n P a r a d i s e L o s t , c o n s i s t s simply of  d i s o b e d i e n c e to the w i l l ing  Almost every c o n c e i v a b l e human v a l u e  t h a t the tempto the  to simple  last.  physical  by B e l i a l and  rejected  of the p h y s i c a l n e c e s s i t i e s of l i f e  temptation,  but  a sumptuous banquet p l a c e d i n  a b e a u t i f u l n a t u r a l s e t t i n g and accompanied by  l o v e l y music and by  fair  nymphs and goddesses, r i s e s above the s a t i s f a c t i o n of bare p h y s i c a l need to  the g r a t i f i c a t i o n of the d e s i r e f o r sensuous p l e a s u r e and  The next  s e r i e s of temptations  m a t e r i a l s e c u r i t y , and g l o r y ,  delight.  p r e s e n t s u c c e s s i v e l y r i c h e s , which p r o v i d e fame and power.  After  these the  "Theme and P a t t e r n i n P a r a d i s e Regained," U n i v e r s i t y of Q u a r t e r l y , XXV (1955), pp. 167-182.  temptation  Toronto  to knowledge appeals simply to the mind.  Finally,  C h r i s t to c a s t h i m s e l f down from the temple,  the temptation f o r  thus n e c e s s i t a t i n g use of the  s u p e r n a t u r a l power g i v e n to him by h i s F a t h e r , i s a p u r e l y s p i r i t u a l tation.  The arrangement of the v a r i o u s temptations i s not only c l i m a c t i c  but a l s o b a l a n c e d .  The f i r s t  temptation ( t o t u r n stones i n t o bread)  p e a l s to a p h y s i c a l need which man group  shares w i t h the a n i m a l s .  of temptations a r e p u r e l y human ones.  a p p e a l to C h r i s t not merely as a man h i m s e l f makes t h i s c l e a r . admits  temp-  The f i n a l  The  next  temptation i s an  but as the d i v i n e Son of God.  Before t r a n s p o r t i n g C h r i s t  ap-  Satan  to the temple,  he  t h a t he has found the Son f i r m as a rock, To th'utmost of mere man both wise and good, Not more; f o r Honors, Riches, Kingdoms, G l o r y Have been b e f o r e confemn'd, and may a g a i n : T h e r e f o r e to know what more thou a r t than man, Worth naming Son of God by v o i c e from Heav'n, Another method I must now b e g i n . (IV, 535-540)  C h r i s t i s thus tempted on every l e v e l of h i s b e i n g to commit the s i n of disobedience against h i s Father. the E v i l One, triumphs The  A t every p o i n t he r e f u t e s the w i l e s of  and r e j e c t s completely what the tempter  over e v i l  through the Son's s t r i c t obedience  s t r u g g l e between Good and E v i l  offers.  Good thus  of h i s F a t h e r .  i n P a r a d i s e Regained  i s different  from t h a t of P a r a d i s e L o s t where Satan i s s u c c e s s f u l i n seducing Eve sin.  In P a r a d i s e Regained  Satan's  endeavours  unassailable.  there i s no p o s s i b i l i t y  s i n c e the v i r t u e and  of success f o r any  of  s t r e n g t h of the Son are a b s o l u t e l y  Satan knows from the b e g i n n i n g the i d e n t i t y  He has w i t n e s s e d the Baptism of C h r i s t and heard the Son of God.  into  of the  Son.  the v o i c e pronouncing  him  (Satan's argument a t the end of Book IV that he d i d not  understand  i n what sense C h r i s t was the son of God i s s u r e l y sheer s o p h i s t r y . )  Satan's address emotion:  t o h i s comrades i n H e l l i n Book I i s dominated by a s i n g l e  fear.  I n t h i s speech and i n the d e s c r i p t i o n of the d e v i l ' s r e a c -  t i o n t o i t the words " f e a r " or "dread" or words d e r i v e d from them r e c u r s e v e r a l times t o g e t h e r w i t h words and phrases  l i k e "deep dismay",  news", "sad t i d i n g s " , "danger" and " h a z a r d "  As Satan  later  "ill  speaks to  the f a l l e n a n g e l s a t the b e g i n n i n g of Book I I to c o n s i d e r how he may tempt the Son he c l e a r l y  l a c k s the assurance which he possessed when he  approached  Eve i n P a r a d i s e L o s t . ...I am r e t u r n ' d l e s t c o n f i d e n c e Of my success w i t h Eve i n P a r a d i s e Deceive ye to p e r s u a s i o n o v e r - s u r e Of l i k e succeeding here, I summon a l l Rather t o be i n r e a d i n e s s w i t h hand Or c o u n s e l t o a s s i s t ; l e s t I who e r s t Thought none my equal, now be overmatch'd. As  ( I I , 140-146)  the temptations p r o g r e s s Satan i s amazed and s t r u c k down each  Son r e f u t e s him.  time the  A f t e r the f i n a l u n s u c c e s s f u l temptation M i l t o n uses two  e p i c s i m i l e s to emphasize the completeness  of the tempter's  d o w n f a l l and  then goes on to s t a t e : So s t r u c k w i t h dread and anguish f e l l the F i e n d , And to h i s crew, t h a t s a t c o n s u l t i n g , brought J o y l e s s t r i u m p h a l s of h i s hop't success, Rum, and d e s p e r a t i o n , and dismay, Who d u r s t so proudly tempt the Son of God.  (IV, 576-580)  The images a s s o c i a t e d w i t h Satan r e v e a l h i s p a t h e t i c weakness. s e v e r a l times 157;  I I I , 5)  He i s  l i n k e d w i t h the snake, most hated of animals. ( I , 120,  II,  He i s c a l l e d by the Son a "poor m i s e r a b l e c a p t i v e t h r a l l "  (I, 411), and a "fawning  parasite!' ( I , 452)  On the o t h e r hand, we know t h a t the Son i s a l l p o i n t s triumphant  over  h i s adversary.  Rather  than t h r e a t e n i n g the v i r t u e of the Son,  t i o n s b r i n g about a demonstration will  of God.  T h i s demonstration  the  tempta-  of the Son's complete d e v o t i o n to the or proof i s , of course,  the purpose of  the F a t h e r : To show him worthy of h i s b i r t h d i v i n e And h i g h p r e d i c t i o n , h e n c e f o r t h I expose To Satan.... He now s h a l l know I can produce a man Of female Seed, f a r a b l e r to r e s i s t A l l h i s s o l i c i t a t i o n s , and a t l e n g t h A l l h i s v a s t f o r c e , and d r i v e him back to H e l l , Winning by Conquest what the f i r s t man l o s t By f a l l a c y The  invincibility  surpris'd.  ( I , 141-143; 150-155)  of the Son i s emphasized by  the comparison of C h r i s t  to a rock about which the waves dash i n v a i n . The  c o n f l i c t between Satan and  the Son  i n P a r a d i s e Regained than i n P a r a d i s e L o s t .  (IV, 18,  533)  takes p l a c e q u i t e d i f f e r e n t l y While  there was  considerable  emphasis on the p h y s i c a l combat between the f o e s i n the e a r l i e r poem, the s e q u e l the c o n t e s t between Satan and t u a l and moral  Christ i s solely  on the  intellec-  level.  ...the theme i s . . . h e r o i c , as e p i c demands, but not as i n P a r a d i s e L o s t an i n d e t e r m i n a t e m i n g l i n g of c o n v e n t i o n a l , i f i d e a l i z e d , w a r f a r e w i t h " p a t i e n c e and h e r o i c martyrdom." I t i s t h e ^ a t t e r only and " i n / s e c r e t done," i n the d e s e r t . Evil  i s overcome by what would seem to be  L o s t , a t any  r a t e ) the p a s s i v i t y  r e f u s a l to perform splendid  ( i n comparison w i t h  of the Son.  Paradise  His v i c t o r y i s won  by h i s  c e r t a i n a c t i o n s r a t h e r than by h i s accomplishment of  deeds.  There might a t t h i s p o i n t seem to be a c o n f l i c t between moral  5 2  Daniells,  pp.  195-196.  m  and  -78-  s p i r i t u a l s e l f - d i s c i p l i n e on the one hand and outward a c t i o n on the o t h e r . But the two a r e n o t as w i d e l y d r i v e n a p a r t i n the poem. ward l i f e  i n which the Son i s i n v o l v e d d u r i n g the whole of the poem i s  presented as a necessary  p r e l u d e to a c t i o n .  t r a d i t i o n a l o p p o s i t i o n amongst Renaissance war  The k i n d of i n -  M i l t o n thus r e c o n c i l e s a humanists between the man of  and the man of wisdom. In  P a r a d i s e Regained M i l t o n a g a i n approaches the mystery of e v i l a s ^  seen i n the problem of human s u f f e r i n g . was p a t t e r n e d on the book of Job. Job and C h r i s t .  Milton himself said  t h a t the e p i c  There a r e obvious p a r a l l e l s between  Job, once possessed  of g r e a t wealth,  lost h i s material  p o s s e s s i o n s and many of the other t h i n g s which he v a l u e d such as h i s h e a l t h and h i s c h i l d r e n .  His suffering f e l l  m a l i c e of Satan and i n accordance But because Job remains f a i t h f u l  upon him as a d i r e c t r e s u l t of the  w i t h the p e r m i s s i v e w i l l  to God d e s p i t e a l l h i s t r i a l s ,  t u a l l y rewarded w i t h a l l he had p r e v i o u s l y l o s t . Son,  w i l e s of h i s a d v e r s a r y offered  to him.  the d e v i l ,  Satan,  I n P a r a d i s e L o s t , the  I n order to serve God and f r u s t r a t e the he must r e f u s e fame and w e a l t h when i t  i n c o n t r a s t , has the power to g i v e the unworthy  r i c h e s and power, and to a f f l i c t of  he i s even-  who has enjoyed g r e a t renown i n heaven, has descended to e a r t h t o  a r o l e i n ignominy and p o v e r t y .  is  of the A l m i g h t y .  the v i r t u o u s , i n c l u d i n g  God, w i t h bondage, p a i n and death.  the chosen  How does M i l t o n r e c o n c i l e  people  these  g r o s s i n j u s t i c e s w i t h the goodness of God? M i l t o n ' s o l v e s the problem by s u g g e s t i n g t h a t i f the i n d i v i d u a l human being d e d i c a t e s h i m s e l f u n r e s e r v e d l y to the w i l l he w i l l not go unrewarded.  of God, as the Son does,  Indeed h e r o i c s u f f e r i n g ,  undertaken  by the  -79-  will  of God,  b r i n g s i t s own  Mary, r e f e r r i n g Son when she  to her own  reward.  As Woodhouse suggests  suffering,  speaks  says,  Milton insists c o n t r o l l e d by  t h a t Satan's a b i l i t y  the p e r m i s s i v e w i l l  of God.  Son a f f i r m s the u l t i m a t e ^ c o n t r o l of God do as thou f m d ' s t  to d e a l out p a i n and woe After  the f i r s t  t h a t a f t e r t h i s tempting,  the c h i l d r e n of men  with  is strictly  temptation  the  over e v e r y t h i n g Satan does:  "...  ( I , 495-496)  successfully resisted  Satan w i l l be u t t e r l y d e f e a t e d so t h a t he can no  The problem  longer  misery.  Yet there i s some mention of the d i s c i p l e s ,  a s p i r a t i o n s towards God through C h r i s t , who  through  the Son.  takes the i n i t i a t i v e ,  c a l l and f o l l o w him.  by  permanently  of s a l v a t i o n i s r a r e l y p r e s e n t e d i n terms of s p e c i f i c  t e r s i n the poem.  his  ( I I , 91-94)  / P e r m i s s i o n from above; thou c a n s t not more."  I t i s the F a t h e r ' s w i l l  afflict  the V i r g i n  a l s o of the s u f f e r i n g of her  t h i s i s my f a v o r ' d l o t , My e x a l t a t i o n to a f f l i c t i o n s h i g h ; A f f l i c t e d I may be, i t seems, and b l e s t , I w i l l not argue that, nor w i l l r e p i n e .  the Son,  53  In t h i s matter and  and  their  i t i s clearly  the d i s c i p l e s who  charac-  God,  must a c c e p t  Thus, w h i l e wondering a t the Son's sudden d i s a p -  pearance, they out of t h e i r p l a i n t s new hope resume To f i n d whom a t the f i r s t they found unsought.  ( I I , 58-59)  The d i v i n e i s thus embodied i n the human. The mam salvation  concern, however, i s w i t h the way  to men.  His temptations  l a r g e extent w i t h t h i s matter.  P.  182.  i n which C h r i s t w i l l  i n the w i l d e r n e s s are concerned  Woodhouse s t a t e s t h a t C h r i s t ' s  bring  to a  unshakable  -80-  p o s i t i o n throughout  the o r d e a l of the temptation i s "a p o s i t i o n of a b s o l u t e 54  obedience and complete m  trust."  a l l the temptations,  suppresses any Father.  As has been shown, the Son f i r m l y  the c a l l  s u g g e s t i o n t h a t he not put h i s f u l l  The f i r s t  and  third  of  to encourage  "We... observe t h a t the f i r s t  the t h i r d ,  to presumption,  excess.The  second  mine the f a i t h of the Son. p r o v i d e n c e of God  point,  t r u s t i n h i s almighty are shown by Wood-  d e f e c t s i n the f a i t h of the  temptation, to d i s t r u s t ,  i s b a l a n c e d by  the extreme of d e f e c t b a l a n c e d by the extreme s e t of temptations i s a l s o an attempt  to under-  Satan tempts C h r i s t to a l a c k of f a i t h i n the  i n r e g a r d to the e s t a b l i s h m e n t of the kingdom of heaven  and i n r e g a r d to the s a l v a t i o n of men. to  He a l s o , a t every  temptations, i n p a r t i c u l a r ,  house as r e p r e s e n t i n g an attempt Son.  to d i s o b e d i e n c e .  rejects,  Satan t r i e s  to persuade  the  Son  a c h i e v e these two g r e a t ends a t the wrong time, t h a t i s , a t the time  suggested by Satan r a t h e r than t h a t p r e - o r d a i n e d by the F a t h e r , and by wrong means, namely, through human r e s o u r c e s alone, r a t h e r than divine resources. of  the  through  The q u e s t i o n of the time and means f o r the e s t a b l i s h m e n t  the kingdom of heaven are c l o s e l y r e l a t e d  throughout  the poem.  Satan  more than once suggests that the Son i s p a s s i n g away h i s time i n i d l e n e s s w h i l e h i s people s u f f e r under the yoke of Rome, which he c o u l d l i f t their  shoulders.  The  tempter  from  suggests a s u c c e s s i o n of means by which Jesus  might a s s e r t h i s r e i g n over a l l the e a r t h :  r i c h e s and f o r t u n e , f o r c e of  arms ( i n p a r t i c u l a r an a l l i a n c e w i t h the P a r t h i a n s or a take over of Rome) and f i n a l l y 54 55  a d i s p l a y of knowledge.  P.  174.  P  170,  Satan ends h i s second  temptation w i t h  -81-  the  f o l l o w i n g t h r e a t which  l a y s g r e a t s t r e s s on both time and means:  Did I not t e l l thee, i f thou d i d s t r e j e c t The p e r f e c t season o f f e r ' d w i t h my a i d To w i n thy d e s t m ' d seat, b u t w i l t p r o l o n g A l l to the push of Fate, pursue thy way Of g a i n i n g David's Throne no man knows when, For both the when and how i s nowhere t o l d , Thou s h a l t be what thou a r t o r d a i n ' d , no doubt; For Angels have p r e c l a i m ' d i t , b u t c o n c e a l i n g The time and means, each a c t i s r i g h t l i e s t done, Not when when i t must, b u t when i t may be b e s t . The Son, however, emerges triumphant from the t r i a l , t h a t God w i l l is  (IV, 467-476)  his faith  unshaken  e v e n t u a l l y show him when and how the s a l v a t i o n of mankind  to be a t t a i n e d . Does t h i s mean then that i n the s a l v a t i o n of mankind human r e s o u r c e s  are  not employed a t a l l ?  O b v i o u s l y such i s n o t the case, f o r a l t h o u g h  C h r i s t r e j e c t s a l l the more obvious ways of e s t a b l i s h i n g h i s kingdom by human s t r e n g t h and power, we know t h a t i n the f u t u r e he w i l l  rescue man  from s i n by the v e r y human e x p e r i e n c e ( a l t h o u g h undertaken i n d i v i n e love) of  s u f f e r i n g and death. In h i s s t r i c t obedience does the Son not unduly suppress  justifiable  human concern w i t h the t h i n g s of e a r t h as w e l l as those of heaven?  The  apparent w h o l e s a l e r e p u d i a t i o n n o t only of the g l o r y and power of Rome b u t a l s o of the knowledge and c u l t u r e of Greece, which M i l t o n had spent h i s life  s t u d y i n g and e n j o y i n g , has s t r u c k many r e a d e r s as extremely u n a t t r a c -  t i v e and d i s t a s t e f u l ,  s u g g e s t i n g the triumph of a r i g i d p u r i t a n i s m over  i n n o c e n t human a p p r e c i a t i o n of c i v i l i z a t i o n . fore,  t h a t the reader understand  I t i s most important, t h e r e -  that the g l o r y of Rome i s n o t condemned  i n i t s e l f b u t only i n so f a r as i t leads away from the s o v e r e i g n w i l l of  -82-  God.  Christ i s invited  I t w i l l be r e c a l l e d reply  to Comus was  to a c c e p t c i v i l i z e d  d e l i g h t s a t the hand of  Satan.  that the Lady i n Comus f a c e d a s i m i l a r dilemna.  Her  simple:  none But such as are good men can g i v e good t h i n g s , And t h a t which i s not good, i s not d e l i c i o u s To a w e l l - g o v e r n ' d  and wise a p p e t i t e .  The words of C h r i s t to Satan when the tempter f o l l o w the same l i n e of thought. Son, would he eat? (II,  (702-705)  o f f e r s him food appear to  Satan asks i f food were s e t b e f o r e the  Jesus' r e p l y i s " T h e r e a f t e r / as I l i k e the giver,"  321-322). There i s c o n s i d e r a b l e evidence i n the poem t h a t the normal p l e a s u r e s  of human l i f e are not to be c o n s i d e r e d e v i l i n themselves. u n a p p r e c i a t i v e of the b e a u t i e s of n a t u r e . tempt to l e a d him i n t o e v i l ,  The Son i s not  J u s t b e f o r e Satan's  he r e l a x e s i n charming  natural  second  at-  surroundings.  saw a p l e a s a n t Grove, With chant of t u n e f u l B i r d s resounding l o u d . T h i t h e r he bent h i s way, determin'd there To r e s t a t noon, and e n t e r ' d soon the shade High r o o f t , and walks beneath, and a l l e y s brown That open'd i n the midst a woody Scene. ( I I , 289-294) M i l t o n i s furthermore c a r e f u l to ensure i s not t h a t of an a s c e t i c . n a t u r a l beauty refused  rivals  to p a r t a k e .  m i n i s t e r to him,  and  t h a t the f i n a l p i c t u r e of the  C h r i s t i s borne by a n g e l s  t h a t which surrounded  -  Son  to a v a l l e y whose  the e a r l i e r f e a s t of which he  Note t h a t i t i s the a n g e l s of h i s heavenly F a t h e r  who  t h a t these a n g e l s are v e r y d i f f e r e n t from the pagan  goddesses of the banquet scene.  J u s t as t h e r e was  music a t t h i s  f e a s t which C h r i s t r e j e c t e d so there i s d i v i n e music here, now overcome a l l h i s temptations.  earlier  that he  has  -83-  ...as he f e d , A n g e l i c C h o i r s Sung Heavenly Anthems of h i s v i c t o r y Over temptation  and the Tempter proud.  (IV, 593-595)  We a r e reminded a l s o of the music which the Son e a r l i e r r e j e c t e d as p a r t of the c u l t u r e of Greece. As f o r the c i v i l i z a t i o n of Greece and Rome, there a r e s e v e r a l p l a c e s i n the poem where M i l t o n ' s esteem f o r i t i s more than e v i d e n t . with,  To b e g i n  the form of the e n t i r e poem, d e s p i t e i t s resemblances to the book  of Job, i s c l a s s i c a l .  The u s u a l conventions  of the e p i c , i n c l u d i n g the  statement of theme and i n v o c a t i o n of t h e muse, a r e apparent i n the opening l i n e s of the poem.  The c o u r t s and c o u n c i l s of the two g r e a t l e a d e r s i n  the poem, God the Father,  and Satan,  are v i v i d l y  pictured.  t r a l p a r t of the poem i s a c o n f l i c t between two a d v e r s a r i e s . concept  of heroism, m o d i f i e d  b a s i c to the poem.  The whole  F i n a l l y , the  to s u i t M i l t o n ' s own C h r i s t i a n s t a n d p o i n t , i s  I n a l l t h i s we see the i n f l u e n c e of Homer and V i r g i l .  More p a r t i c u l a r examples of M i l t o n ' s acknowledged indebtedness classical  c u l t u r e can be c i t e d .  does a t t r i b u t e -- g r u d g i n g l y  to  To the Greek p h i l o s o p h e r s , M i l t o n ' s  i t i s true -- some i n s i g h t i n t o e t h i c s .  wisdom of the Greek t h i n k e r s cannot be compared t o that of the B i b l e Unless where moral v i r t u e i s express'd By Though Jesus  cen-  l i g h t of Nature, n o t i n a l l q u i t e l o s t .  (IV, 351-352)  says of S o c r a t e s ,  The f i r s t and w i s e s t of them a l l p r o f e s s ' d To know t h i s only, t h a t he n o t h i n g knew (IV, 293-294), he mentions him as one of those who, along w i t h Job, a t t a i n e d g l o r y Without ambition, war, or v i o l e n c e ; By deeds of peace, by wisdom eminent, By p a t i e n c e , temperance. ( I l l , 90-92)  Christ The  -84-  Another p a r a l l e l between B i b l i c a l and c l a s s i c a l heroes can be found i n Book I I . men  Satan has j u s t made an o f f e r of g r e a t r i c h e s p o i n t i n g out t h a t  of v i r t u e , v a l o u r and wisdom have o f t e n lacked the m a t e r i a l w e a l t h  necessary f o r s u c c e s s .  Christ insists  q u a l i t i e s have o f t e n performed of the Old Testament  t h a t poor men  the h i g h e s t deeds.  l e a d e r s Gideon,  endued w i t h these  He c i t e s  Japhtha and David and  the examples then turns to  the pagans: Among the Heathen, ( f o r throughout the World To me i s not unknown what hath been done Worthy of Memorial) c a n s t thou not remember Q u m t i u s , F a b r i c i u s , C u r i u s , Regulus? ( I I , 443-446) Satan argues  t h a t the knowledge and wisdom of Greece w i l l h e l p Jesus win  the g e n t i l e s to h i s kingdom.  The Son's r e p l y i s i n e f f e c t  t h a t these t h i n g s  are not n e c e s s a r y f o r s a l v a t i o n , and from the C h r i s t i a n p o i n t of view, M i l t o n endorsed, may  t h i s can h a r d l y be d i s p u t e d .  A knowledge of the  which  classics  p r o v i d e e n d l e s s i n t e r e s t and entertainment, but to the C h r i s t i a n w i l l  hardly offer  the f u l l n e s s of the B i b l i c a l  r e v e l a t i o n of  God.  A t the same time the Son's r e j e c t i o n of a knowledge of c l a s s i c a l  litera-  ture as a means of winning men's h e a r t s must not be taken to imply t h a t he l a c k s an a e s t h e t i c a p p r e c i a t i o n of l i t e r a t u r e i t s e l f . f i n d s ample s a t i s f a c t i o n i n Hebrew ...if  I would d e l i g h t my  This a p p r e c i a t i o n  literature. private  hours  With Music or w i t h Poem, where so soon As i n our n a t i v e Language can I f i n d That s o l a c e ? A l l our Law and S t o r y strew'd With Hymns, our Psalms w i t h a r t f u l terms m s c r i b ' d Our Hebrew Songs and Harps i n Babylon, That p l e a s ' d so w e l l our V i c t o r s ' ear, d e c l a r e That r a t h e r Greece from us these A r t s d e r i v ' d , 111 i m i t a t e d (IV, 331-339) The Son furthermore does not o u t r i g h t l y deny t h a t he has knowledge of  -85-  l i t e r a t u r e o u t s i d e the B i b l e . all  h i s reading with a c r i t i c a l  He a s s e r t s , however, t h a t man  All  of  r e a d i n g then, must be s u b j e c t to sound And,  heaven on e a r t h ,  m a t e r i a l and  unduly  C h r i s t i a n judgment b e f o r e i t i s  as a s e l f - e v i d e n t means of e s t a b l i s h i n g  towards  concerns of man  i n P a r a d i s e Regained, weight God?  are e v i l  There might  the b a l a n c e between man  seem more j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r t h i s  so f a r as the poem i t s e l f i s concerned,  rejoicing  of the angels over the v i c t o r y  note of Jesus r e t u r n i n g In not  P a r a d i s e Regained as a whole,  Good i s e a s i l y  c l a i m s of God  ment.  The  of the Son,  salvation of the Son Final  book ends not w i t h the but w i t h the more human  the c o n f l i c t s between d u a l i t i e s are There i s l e s s suspense t h e r e i s no doubt  o v e r r i d e merely human d e s i r e s f o r p l e a s u r e and i n the f i n a l  and  that  fulfill-  outcome i s thus a b s o l u t e .  The  whole poem has a tone of q u i e t n e s s and assurance which r e s u l t s from the poet's t r u s t  the  house.  triumphant over e v i l and  supremacy of God  cri-  would f o l l o w C h r i s t .  the f i n a l  so i n t e n s e as i n most of the other poems.  tension. the  to h i s mother's  The  the d e d i c a t e d w i l l  and the response of those who  and  Yet, as we have seen,  only then they l e a d away from God.  mankind r e q u i r e s the d i v i n e power of God,  as the p e r f e c t man in  the kingdom  the Son r e j e c t s the r e s o u r c e s of the C l a s s i c a l world,  t i c i s m here than i n any of M i l t o n ' s other poems.  of  (IV, 322-329)  intellectual.  Does M i l t o n , God  seek)  t r i f l e s f o r c h o i c e matters, worth a sponge.  taken as t r u t h .  approach  intelligence.  ...who reads I n c e s s a n t l y , and to h i s r e a d i n g b r i n g s not A s p i r i t and judgment equal or s u p e r i o r (And what he b r i n g s , what needs he elsewhere U n c e r t a i n and u n s e t t l ' d s t i l l remains, Deep v e r s t i n books and shallow i n h i m s e l f Crude or i n t o x i c a t e , c o l l e c t i n g toys, And  must  that i n God a l l o p p o s i t i o n s a r e r e c o n c i l e d .  Chapter S i x :  The  Samson  t h e o l o g i c a l framework of Samson A g o n i s t e s  most of M i l t o n ' s other works s i n c e t h i s times.  The  God  the I s r a e l i t e s ,  The  r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of e v i l ,  the chosen people of God,  i s associated with  the w i l l and  ness of Samson's own •strength w i t h  equal  The  Israelites  but most important,  s e r v i c e of  Samson'  Moral  oppose  I t i s a l s o found i n the weak-  to balance Finally  h i s extreme p h y s i c a l  evil  i s to some e x t e n t to t u r n Samson  In a d d i t i o n , as i n L y c i d a s ,  of s u f f e r i n g i s of c e n t r a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i n t h i s  s u f f e r i n t h e i r c r u e l bondage to the  Samson h i m s e l f  who  Dagon who  each t r y i n some way  suffers greatly:  imprisonment, and  apparent d e s e r t i o n by God.  death of t h i s man  t h e i r god  r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h God.  of p h y s i c a l b l i n d n e s s and worst of a l l ,  inability  tempters who  the problem of the e v i l  good.  stand f o r a s p i r i n g mankind.  h i s people.  s t r e n g t h of c h a r a c t e r .  away from h i s e v e n t u a l  poem.  and  nature--his  embodied i n the three  represents  Testament  however, i s a much more complex m a t t e r .  the P h i l i s t i n e s and  purposes of God  d i f f e r s from that of  l a s t poem i s s e t i n Old  of the Old Testament of course  and  evil  Agonistes  he endures the  of g u i l t and  The  Philistines,  isolation  poem ends w i t h  from h i s e a r l i e s t days had  miseries and,  the v i o l e n t  devoted h i m s e l f  to  the  God.  By no means a l l the c o n f l i c t s  to be found i n e a r l i e r poems r e c u r  Samson A g o n i s t e s .  The  g i b l e importance.  There i s no mention of p o s s i b l e c o n f l i c t between f a i t h  and  problem of the r e l a t i o n of body and  knowledge or between the a r t s and  Paradise  Regained.  The  to overcome moral e v i l  s o u l i s of  m  r e l i g i o n as i n P a r a d i s e  Lost  and  poem i n s t e a d r e v o l v e s around the s t r u g g l e of a i n s i d e and  o u t s i d e h i m s e l f and  negli-  man  to r e c o n c i l e human  -87-  suffering  w i t h d i v i n e goodness and  justice.  The  f u r t h e r problem must be  c o n s i d e r e d as to whether the r e s o l u t i o n of these v a r i o u s of e v i l i s by human i n i t i a t i v e  manifestations  or by d i v i n e g r a c e .  Here, as i n many of M i l t o n ' s other poems, the problem of e v i l i s of central  importance.  Moral e v i l  or s i n appears i n Samson A g o n i s t e s  forms, but can be d e s c r i b e d b a s i c a l l y purposes.  The  as a t u r n i n g away from God  c o n f l i c t between good and  and  i n each case  one  l e v e l i s the c o n f l i c t between the God  and  the heathen God  Dagon.  God,  On another  the I s r a e l i t e s ,  levels  i s involved.  a f a l s e god,  i n s t e a d of d e v o t i o n  to the  l e v e l i s the s t r u g g l e between the chosen people and  t h e i r hero Samson on the one hand, and  i n accordance w i t h  to the w i l l  and  The  P h i l i s t i n e s are  oppose those who  serve  of  their evil  the t r u e  of God.  the w i l l  of God  and what i s e v i l and  T h i s c o n f l i c t f i n d s i t s outward e x p r e s s i o n ,  God.  temptations  which he must  of I s r a e l  continues  the p l a y takes p l a c e on a day  lay  be-  reject.  c o n t e s t between Dagon, f a l s e and  the true God  opposed  to some  extent i n the encounter between Samson and h i s three v i s i t o r s who  e v i l god  of the P h i l i s t i n e s ,  throughout the poem.  and  A l l the a c t i o n of  set a s i d e f o r the honour of Dagon.  the s t o r y the outcome of the c o n t e s t between Dagon and of  only  there i s the c o n f l i c t w i t h i n Samson between what i s good i n h i s  nature and  The  On  The worship of the l a t t e r i s e v i l , because i t  because they worship a f a l s e god  f o r e him  his  of I s r a e l whose champion i s Samson,  b i t t e r enemies, the P h i l i s t i n e s on the o t h e r .  Finally  and  takes p l a c e on many  the b a s i c s i n of t u r n i n g away from God  i n v o l v e s s e r v i c e to an i d o l , t r u e God.  evil  i n many  God  and  the  Throughout question  Samson's p l a c e i n t h i s c o n t e s t g i v e r i s e to c o n s i d e r a b l e suspense.  Which  -88-  of the  two  d e i t i e s has  There are he  receives  r e a l power?  Which w i l l u l t i m a t e l y v i n d i c a t e  repeated reminders a l l a l o n g that Dagon and  i s depraved.  the worship  Thus Samson e a r l y i n the poem r e f e r s to the  l i g i o n of Dagon as " s u p e r s t i t i o n " (15)  and  continually refuses  to be  sent a t ceremonies honouring Dagon, f o r f e a r of being d e f i l e d . t h a t D a l i l a j u s t i f i e s her o b l i g a t i o n but  p e r f i d i t y to him  on  the grounds not  a l s o of r e l i g i o u s duty, Samson i n s i s t s  be u t t e r l y unworthy to demand such an  t h a t her  reader i s l e d to expect that  himself how  Samson's own  carried  r o l e i n the  has  of I s r a e l w i l l  We  grace and disgrace  champion of God  favour.  As  s i n c e , by  To h i s f a t h e r he  the  h i s own  and  are  has  pre-  learning of  civic  gods must  (896-900)  sure when or  out.  several  received  over Dagon i s a l s o  times reminded t h a t Samson  from h i s e a r l i e s t y e a r s , been d e d i c a t e d to God been the  only  re-  somehow v i n d i c a t e  i s not  expected triumph of God  ambiguous i n much of the poem. has,  the God  over the heathen gods of the P h i l i s t i n e s but  t h i s v i n d i c a t i o n w i l l be  On  that  action.  To p l e a s e thy gods thou d i d s t i t ; gods unable To a c q u i t themselves and p r o s e c u t e t h e i r f o e s But by ungodly deeds, the c o n t r a d i c t i o n Of t h i r own d e i t y , Gods cannot be: Less t h e r e f o r e to be p l e a s ' d , obey'd or f e a r ' d . The  himself?  and  from him  his service.  He  many marks of  his  poem begins, however, Samson f e e l s t h a t he a c t i o n , he has  brought dishonour to h i s  admits  . . . I t h i s honor, I t h i s pomp have brought To Dagon, and advanc'd h i s p r a i s e s h i g h Among the Heathen round, to God have brought Dishonor, obloquy, and op't the mouths Of I d o l i s t s , and A t h e i s t s ; have brought s c a n d a l To I s r a e l , d i f f e d e n c e of God, and doubt In f e e b l e h e a r t s , propense >enough b e f o r e To waver, or f a l l o f f and j o i n w i t h I d o l s . (449-456)  is in God.  -89-  He f e e l s t h a t he no  longer p l a y s a prominent p a r t as God's champion i n  the s t r u g g l e w i t h Dagon. and  overthrow the god  He hopes God  of the  h i m s e l f w i l l now  e n t e r the s t r u g g l e  Philistines.  T h i s only hope r e l i v e s me, t h a t the s t r i f e With mee hath end, a l l the c o n t e s t i s now 'Twixt God and Dagon; Dagon hath presum'd, Mee overthrown, to enter l i s t s w i t h God, His D e i t y comparing and p r e f e r r i n g Before the God of Abraham. He, be sure, W i l l not connive, or l i n g e r , thus provok'd, But w i l l a r i s e and h i s g r e a t name a s s e r t : Dagon must stoop, and s h a l l ere long r e c e i v e Such a d i s c o m f i t , as s h a l l q u i t e d e s p o i l him Of a l l these boasted T r o p h i e s won on me, And w i t h c o n f u s i o n blank h i s Worshippers. (460-471) Manoa, i s , of course, to the end  r i g h t i n t a k i n g these words as a prophecy but  of the s t o r y we  s u p p r e s s i o n of Dagon.  a r e unsure what p a r t Samson w i l l  I t i s only a t the l a s t moment t h a t he  be p r e s e n t a t the ceremonies honouring The  c a t a s t r o p h i c event  a t the end  f o r a l l the r e l a t i o n s h i p between God The  God  utterly who  consents  of the poem makes c l e a r once and  and Dagon and between God  the worship of Dagon, and he accomplishes  to the s t r u g g l e between God  I s r a e l i t e s and prominently.  the P h i l i s t i n e s .  and  this  people.  by Manoa.  The  to d e s t r o y  task through Samson Israel.  and Dagon i s t h a t between  the  been the champion not only of God  S e v e r a l times  the P h i l i s t i n e s a r e recounted.  of  Samson.  In t h i s c o n f l i c t Samson a g a i n f i g u r e s  Samson i n the p a s t has  a l s o of h i s own  to  Dagon.  r e g a i n s h i s p o s i t i o n as the champion of the God  (179)  p l a y i n the  of I s r a e l shows h i s power to a c t a g a i n s t h i s enemies and  Parallel  almost  He  but  i n the poem h i s mighty f e a t s a g a i n s t  i s called  the " g l o r y l a t e of  Israel"  reader i s a l s o reminded e a r l y i n the poem of the  phecy t h a t Samson s h a l l d e l i v e r h i s people  from t h e i r enemies.  As  pro-  before,  -90-  t h e r e i s suspense as to how  this victory  f o r c e s of e v i l w i l l be c a r r i e d out. comes only a t the end  of the f o r c e s of good over  Again  the r e s o l u t i o n of the  of the poem where Samson performs  a c t as champion of the I s r a e l i t e s ,  utterly  f r e e i n g h i s people from bondage to them.  the  conflict  his f i n a l heroic  c r u s h i n g the P h i l i s t i n e s  and  He  on h i s enemies F u l l y reveng'd hath l e f t them y e a r s of mourning, And l a m e n t a t i o n to the Sons of Caphtor Through a l l P h i l i s t i a n bounds. To I s r a e l Honour hath l e f t , and freedom.... To h i m s e l f and h i s F a t h e r ' s house e t e r n a l fame. F i n a l l y we  come to the c o n f l i c t  to Samson as an i n d i v i d u a l .  The  e v i l as i t r e l a t e d  Samson h i m s e l f v a r i o u s l y  i n wisdom, as a r e s u l t of which he was  had  solely  unable  sees i t as  to d i r e c t and  t r o l h i s g r e a t p h y s i c a l s t r e n g t h i n a proper manner, g a r r u l i t y , away the s e c r e t t h a t God  1717)  s i n which l e d to Samson's d o w n f a l l b e f o r e  the poem begins has many a s p e c t s . ficiency  of good and  (1711-1715,  de-  con-  i n giving  e n t r u s t e d to him alone; h u b r i s , an e x c e s s i v e  I p r i d e i n h i s s t r e n g t h ; and f i n a l l y j e c t i o n to D a l i l a . m  effeminacy and uxoriousness, i n h i s sub-  These are a l l s i n s because they l e a d to a d i s r u p t i o n  the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Samson and God.  I t i s not easy  to f i t the  three temptations which Samson undergoes i n t o a simple p a t t e r n such as s i n s of the world,  the f l e s h and d e v i l ,  but each temptation i f succumbed  to would i n v o l v e a t u r n i n g away of Samson from God. the f i r s t  temptation,  the  o f f e r s to ransom Samson from  would thus be a b l e to r e t u r n to the comforts  Manoa, who  presents  the P h i l i s t i n e s .  of home.  Samson  T h i s course of a c t i o n  would i n v o l v e a r e f u s a l on the p a r t of Samson to a c c e p t the punishment which God  had meted out to him.  her and  D a l i l a urges him  to resume h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  to a c c e p t a l l the s o l a c e t h a t she c o u l d b r i n g .  Acceptance  of  this  -91-  temptation would, of course, i n v o l v e a r e p e t i t i o n of Samson's f i r s t s i n , s u b j e c t i o n to a woman. to  F i n a l l y Harapha attempts  f e a r , and i n a d d i t i o n ,  to f o r c e him to g i v e way  to b e l i e v e t h a t God has d e s e r t e d him.  The temp-  t a t i o n here i s to l o s e f a i t h i n God.  In a d d i t i o n to these s p e c i f i c  tations,  c o n f r o n t Samson a t v a r i o u s p o i n t s i n  two more g e n e r a l temptations  the poem: shift  temp-  the temptation t o g i v e way to d e s p a i r and the temptation t o  the blame f o r h i s d o w n f a l l on someone e l s e .  The p r o c e s s by which  Samson overcomes a l l these temptations w i l l be d i s c u s s e d a l i t t l e l a t e r i n this  chapter. The q u e s t i o n as to how the s u f f e r i n g of Samson and of the I s r a e l i t e s  is  t o be r e c o n c i l e d w i t h the goodness and j u s t i c e of God i s extremely u r -  gent i n the poem, and s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t answers a r e suggested different  levels.  An attempt  i s made, f i r s t  r a t i o n a l e x p l a n a t i o n of the f a c t  of a l l ,  that God appears  on s e v e r a l  to put forward a  t o choose c e r t a i n  indi-  v i d u a l s f o r h i s s e r v i c e and t o endow them w i t h s p e c i a l g r a c e s and y e t a t a l a t e r time to permit these same persons The  chorus,  c o n s i d e r i n g God's j u s t i c e ,  to undergo a l l s o r t s of torments.  insists  that God i s not bound by  human c o n c e p t i o n s of c o n s i s t e n c y i n h i s d i s t r i b u t i o n of rewards and p u n i s h ments.  Those who doubt the j u s t i c e of God ...would c o n f i n e t h ' i n t e r m i n a b l e , And t i e him to h i s own p r e s c r i p t , Who made our Laws to b i n d us, not h i m s e l f . . . .  T h i s answer, however, i s not a c o n c l u s i v e one. o f f e r e d i n the poem t o the problem  of e v i l  comes as a j u s t punishment f o r s i n . as i t a p p l i e s to Samson A g o n i s t e s .  Another  (307-309) rational  solution  i s the a s s e r t i o n t h a t  suffering  There i s some t r u t h i n t h i s  statement  The I s r a e l i t e s '  s u f f e r i n g under the  -92-  yoke of P h i l i s t i n e r u l e i s caused by t h e i r u n f a i t h f u l n e s s to Samson. son's own  suffering  i s brought about by h i s u n f a i t h f u l n e s s to God.  SamYet  the misery of the b l i n d hero i s too a c u t e to be e x p l a i n e d away simply i n terms of j u s t punishment f o r s i n .  Repentance and r e s u l t a n t  w i t h God can, however, remove some of Samson's mental  reconciliation  suffering.  From  t h i s r e c o n c i l i a t i o n furthermore comes acceptance of h i s p l i g h t and and p a t i e n c e i n h i s m i s e r y .  The chorus r e c a l l s  courage  the heroism by which  overcame h i s enemies i n f e a t s of p h y s i c a l s t r e n g t h and i m p l i e s  Samson  t h a t the  courage which he b r i n g s to h i s p r e s e n t s u f f e r i n g equals i f not exceeds h i s e a r l i e r bravery. . . . P a t i e n c e i s more o f t the e x e r c i s e Of S a i n t s , the t r i a l of t h i r f o r t i t u d e , Making them each h i s own D e l i v e r e r , And V i c t o r over a l l That tyranny or f o r t u n e can i n f l i c t .  (1287-1291)  J u s t as Samson's heroism a g a i n s t the P h i l i s t i n e s was vigor"  armed w i t h  (1280), so h i s courage i n the f a c e of h i s s u f f e r i n g  from d i v i n e s o u r c e s .  We  r e c a l l how,  ments on the f u t i l i t y  of mere s t o i c i s m .  L i t t l e prevails,  "celestial  c l e a r l y comes  e a r l i e r i n the poem, the chorus comWith the a f f l i c t e d i t  or r a t h e r seems a tune,  Harsh, and of d i s s o n a n t mood from h i s complaint, Unless he f e e l s w i t h i n Some source of c o n s o l a t i o n from above; Secret refreshings, that r e p a i r h i s strength, And We  fainting  do not doubt  s p i r i t s uphold.  (661-666)  that i n the course of the poem Samson r e c e i v e s t h i s c o n s o l a -  t i o n from above. A complete v i n d i c a t i o n of the j u s t i c e of God I s r a e l i t e s and  toward  the end of the poem.  Samson, h i s chosen one, In Samson's f i n a l  towards  h i s people the  does not take p l a c e u n t i l  f e a t i n the temple  of Dagon, almost  -93-  the  whole n a t i o n of P h i l i s t i n e s ,  i t seems, i s wiped  out.  as we have noted, are thus f r e e d from t h e i r enslavement of  the i d o l ,  Dagon, d e s t r o y e d .  is  this fact  to be r e c o n c i l e d w i t h the goodness of God?  The  Israelites,  and the worship  But Samson as an i n d i v i d u a l p e r i s h e s .  How  The problem of  human s u f f e r i n g i s r e s o l v e d , as Woodhouse p o i n t s out both on the human 5 6 and on the d i v i n e  level.  Viewing Samson A g o n i s t e s as a tragedy we  t h a t l i k e King Lear, Samson has been redeemed by s u f f e r i n g . Oedipus,  realize  L i k e King  the Greek t r a g i c hero, he has ended h i s l i f e w i t h a n o b i l i t y  which  l e a v e s no room f o r r e g r e t . Come, come, no time f o r l a m e n t a t i o n  now,  Nor much more cause: Samson hath q u i t h i m s e l f L i k e Samson, and h e r o i c l y hath f i n i s h d A l i f e Heroic (1708-1711) Nothing i s here f o r t e a r s , n o t h i n g to w a i l Or knock the b r e a s t , no weakness, no contempt, D i s p r a i s e , or blame, n o t h i n g but w e l l and f a i r , And what may q u i e t us i n a death so n o b l e . (1721-1724) 1  But t h e r e i s more c o n s o l a t i o n than t h i s f o r Samson's death. d i e s convinced that the gods are completely i n d i f f e r e n t Samson p e r i s h e s ,  King Lear  to man's m i s e r y .  however,  With God not p a r t e d from him, But f a v o r i n g and a s s i s t i n g  as was  fear'd,  to the end.  (1719-1720)  In  the f i n a l v i s i o n , here as i n P a r a d i s e Lost, a l l human s u f f e r i n g i s l o s t  in  the mystery All  of God's e t e r n a l i s b e s t , thou we  purpose. o f t doubt,  What t h ' unsearchable d i s p o s e Of h i g h e s t wisdom b r i n g s about, And ever b e s t found i n the c l o s e . M i l t o n the Poet  (Toronto-Vancouver,  (1745-1748) 1955),  pp.  18-19.  -94Th e problem  of s a l v a t i o n , as i t appears  to i t s p r e s e n t a t i o n i n P a r a d i s e L o s t .  How  his  own  fault,  his  own  e f f o r t or through d i v i n e grace?  clearly  has,  through  f a l l e n i n t o s i n to be r e c o n c i l e d a g a i n w i t h God:  through  In Samson A g o n i s t e s , r a t h e r more  Before Samson's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h God  son must repent, accept h i s f u l l whole t r u s t and  i n God.  ceptance  In the course of the s t o r y Samson acknowledges h i s  the consequent  j u s t n e s s of h i s punishment, f i r s t  As  the I s r a e l i t e s  Samson i n s i s t s  T h i s acthat  Dalila  on the other are a l s o deeply a t f a u l t .  the s t o r y p r o g r e s s e s there i s i n c r e a s i n g evidence  r e g a i n i n g h i s f a i t h i n God.  to h i m s e l f and  Manoa, D a l i l a and Harapha.  of blame i s not, however, u n c r i t i c a l .  on the one hand and  can be r e i n s t a t e d , Sam-  share of blame f o r h i s s i n and put h i s  then to each of h i s three tempters:  self  i s the person who  similarities  than i n P a r a d i s e L o s t , the p r o c e s s of s a l v a t i o n begins w i t h human  initiative.  guilt,  i n t h i s poem, has  t h a t Samson i s  He begins to show a w i l l i n g n e s s to commit him-  to the ways of the Almighty  even where he does not understand  them.  B e w a i l i n g h i s "impotence of mind, i n body s t r o n g " (52), he n e v e r t h e l e s s , asserts ...I must not q u a r r e l w i t h the w i l l Of h i g h e s t d i s p e n s a t i o n , which h e r e i n Haply had ends above my reach to know. L a t e r i n the poem he expresses h i s f i r m b e l i e f  (60-62)  that God  has not d e s e r t e d  him. Mee  easily  indeed mine may  But God's propos'd  neglect,  d e l i v e r a n c e not so.  (291-292)  Finally,  i n the encounter w i t h Harapha Samson shows t h a t he i s convinced  t h a t God  i s always g r a c i o u s and  ready  to f o r g i v e those who  repent.  He does  -95-  not d e s p a i r "of h i s f i n a l pardon / Whose ear i s ever open" (1171-1172). Samson r e g a i n s h i s b e l i e f  t h a t God  i s f a i t h f u l not only towards Samson  h i m s e l f but a l s o toward the I s r a e l i t e s . the I s r a e l i t e s  i s the t r u e God  f a l s e i d o l of t h e i r enemy. of  the God  Without any q u e s t i o n the God  and w i l l d e s t r o y the worship  of Dagon, the  In h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h Manoa, Samson a s s e r t s  of Abraham t h a t he w i l l soon depose the f a l s e Dagon.  In order to be redeemed, Samson must not only repent and trust  i n God,  do e v i l . no  reassert his  he must a l s o prove h i m s e l f a b l e to r e s i s t the temptation  His conversation with D a l i l a ,  longer the weak man  who  i n particular,  f e l l because of a woman's w i l e s . i s gradually  r e s t o r e d as the poem progresses, h i s t r u s t i n the goodness of God to a l t e r n a t e w i t h d e s p a i r and  the d e s i r e f o r death.  end does he b e g i n to r e c e i v e f u l l d i v i n e assurance. be brought  to  shows t h a t he i s  D e s p i t e the f a c t t h a t Samson's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h God  tends  of  a g a i n i n t o h i s former  still  Not u n t i l  the  Only by grace can  s t a t e of f a v o u r w i t h God.  he  I t i s the aware-  ness of t h i s s u p e r n a t u r a l grace which prompts Samson to change h i s mind about going pressed  to the f e s t i v a l of the P h i l i s t i n e s .  the f e a r t h a t the P h i l i s t i n e s may  does not go,  After  the chorus has  make t e r r i b l e r e p r i s a l s  ex-  i f he  Samson a s s e r t s ,  Be of good courage,  I b e g i n to f e e l  Some r o u s i n g motions i n me which d i s p o s e To something e x t r a o r d i n a r y my thoughts. I w i t h t h i s Messenger w i l l go along (1381-1383) A t the c o n c l u s i o n of the poem i n the passage a l r e a d y quoted,  Manoa a s s u r e s  us t h a t t h i s d i v i n e grace has accompanied Samson to the v e r y end. evil  to be overcome, then, both human e f f o r t and d i v i n e grace are In h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between man  and God  For necessary. i n the  -96-  poem, we  f i n d M i l t o n taking h i s f a m i l i a r p o s i t i o n .  a r e good i n themselves will.  when used a g a i n s t the P h i l i s t i n e s ,  for  Dagon.  of  man  T h i s s t r e n g t h i s good  the enemies of the I s r a e l i t e s ,  But i t must be accompanied by wisdom and  God's s e r v i c e , not f o o l i s h l y  and a g a i n s t  reserved  solely  l o s t because of the d e c e p t i o n of woman.  Samson becomes a c u t e l y aware of t h i s f a c t as he imagines his  concerns  but e v i l i f not set w i t h i n the framework of God's  T h i s i s t r u e of Samson's enormous s t r e n g t h .  t h e i r God,  The  passers-by  seeing  misery and mocking h i s weakness. Immeasurable s t r e n g t h they might behold In me, of wisdom n o t h i n g more than mean; T h i s w i t h the other should, a t l e a s t , have p a i r ' d These two p r o p o r t i o n ' d i l l drove me t r a n s v e r s e . (206-209)  The  same can be s a i d of the marriage  the o p p o s i t e sex must be s t r i c t l y Samson's f i r s t  Man's r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  s u b o r d i n a t e d to h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p to  marriage w i t h a P h i l i s t i n e was  people but i n accordance undertaken,  relationship.  w i t h the w i l l  of God.  made a g a i n s t the laws of h i s His second marriage  not, a p p a r e n t l y , by d i r e c t d i v i n e order but under the  that one marriage w i t h a P h i l i s t i n e  justified  God.  was  1  assumption  another.  She [ h i s f i r s t w i f e ] p r o v i n g f a l s e , the next I took to Wife (0 t h a t I never had! fond wish too l a t e ) - Was i n the V a l e of Sorec, D a l i l a , That specious Monster, my accomplish snare. (227-230) In  t h i s second  marriage  Samson sees h i m s e l f g u i l t y of u x o r i o u s n e s s ,  s i n which l e d to Adam's f a l l i n P a r a d i s e L o s t .  the  He c a l l s her a snake, as  Adam does Eve,  and  speaks of her charms as an enchanted  cup  us of the cup,  r e p r e s e n t i n g s e n s u a l i t y , which Comus o f f e r e d  (which the  reminds  Lady).  Samson's r e j e c t i o n of D a l i l a i s the r e j e c t i o n of the k i n d of human l o v e which leads to b e t r a y a l of  God.  Even the e x p r e s s i o n of a human f a t h e r ' s n a t u r a l l o v e must be r e j e c t e d if  i t seems to l e a d away from God.  Though Manoa o f f e r s t o ransom him and  r e t u r n him to the comforts of home, Samson must i n s i s t on enduring h i s suffering  so t h a t he may f i n d h i m s e l f a g a i n i n a r i g h t r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h  God. Spare t h a t p r o p o s a l , F a t h e r , spare the t r o u b l e Of that s o l i c i t a t i o n ; l e t me here, As I deserve, pay on my punishment, And  e x p i a t e , i f p o s s i b l e , my crime....  (487-490)  The human and the d i v i n e a r e combined, as we have seen, c l u s i o n of the poem.  Y e t t h i s c o n c l u s i o n i s c a r e f u l l y handled w i t h i n the  l i m i t s of the form of tragedy. divine w i l l .  There  The f i n a l v i s i o n i s of the goodness of the  i s no a p o t h e o s i s of the hero as i n L y c i d a s .  c l u d i n g note i s a human one. the on going l i f e  i n the con-  The l a s t  The con-  l i n e s of the poem b r i n g us back to  of those who have s u r v i v e d Samson.  H i s s e r v a n t s he w i t h new a c q u i s t Of t r u e e x p e r i e n c e from t h i s g r e a t event With peace and c o n s o l a t i o n hath di?smist, And  calm of mind, a l l p a s s i o n spent.  (1755-1758)  M i l t o n ' s g e n e r a l r e s o l u t i o n of d u a l i t i e s i n Samson A g o n i s t e s has s i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s t o h i s treatment  of them i n o t h e r poems.  Milton,  i n the poem a t hand, as w e l l as i n P a r a d i s e L o s t , a c h i e v e s a balance between man and God. not i t i t s e l f , ting  U l t i m a t e l y the human i s n o t suppressed but always  but i n a l a r g e r r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h the d i v i n e .  to c o n t r a s t M i l t o n ' s h a n d l i n g of the problem  h i s treatment  of i t i n P a r a d i s e Regained.  h i s heroism by an e s s e n t i a l p a s s i v i t y , a preparation f o r purposeful a c t i v i t y  seen,  I t i s interes-  of e v i l i n t h i s poem w i t h  In the l a t t e r  the Son m a n i f e s t e d  even though t h i s p a s s i v i t y was only soon to take p l a c e ( h i s death and  resurrection).  Samson, i n c o n t r a s t , i s h e r o i c both i n an a c t i v e and  p a s s i v e sense.  His p r e v i o u s c a r e e r has  i n v o l v e d much v i o l e n t  in a  activity.  For most of the poem, however, Samson i s p i c t u r e d as p a t i e n t l y and b r a v e l y suffering  the a f f l i c t i o n t h a t has been v i s i t e d upon him.  poem ends w i t h a g l o r i o u s b u r s t of a c t i v i t y , are t o l d ,  we  i s more s p l e n d i d than a l l the achievements of h i s c a r e e r up  to  For i n h i s death Samson k i l l e d more P h i l i s t i n e s  whole of h i s l i f e . in  The a c t i v e and  than i n the  the p a s s i v e are thus combined,  a d i f f e r e n t manner than i n P a r a d i s e Regained.  Lost,  the  Samson's f i n a l deed,  this point.  and  Nevertheless  the r e s o l u t i o n of the problem of e v i l and  Finally,  though  as i n P a r a d i s e  of a l l d u a l i t i e s i s com-  p l e t e because i t r e s t s u l t i m a t e l y not on r a t i o n a l argument or on the r e s u l t s of mere human e f f o r t but r a t h e r on a g l o r i o u s and a l l - e m b r a c i n g v i s i o n which l i f t s  the reader above a l l c o n f l i c t .  Surveying group, we  P a r a d i s e Lost, P a r a d i s e Regained and  must concede t h a t these three poems a r e as f u l l  as a r e Comus and the e a r l i e r  two  Lycidas.  The  poems but by v a s t e x p e n d i t u r e s of energy  three poems i s complete and  dichotomies  The  are  triumphantly  r e s o l u t i o n a c h i e v e d i n these  i s a t t a i n e d i n d i r e c t and  p r e d i c t a b l e ways.  t o t a l body of M i l t o n ' s E n g l i s h poetry thus r e v e a l s three  stages i n the poet's  treatment  of d u a l i t i e s .  where d u a l i t i e s a r e harmoniously these dichotomies a final  of  o p p o s i t i o n s are a l s o as deeply f e l t as i n  r e s o l v e d and h e l d i n dynamic b a l a n c e .  The  Samson A g o n i s t e s as a  and  distinct  There i s an e a r l y p e r i o d  e a s i l y r e l a t e d , a l a t e r p e r i o d where  c l a s h markedly and where r e s o l u t i o n i s only p a r t i a l  stage i n which o p p o s i t e s a r e s t i l l  deeply f e l t but which are  and totally  -99and comprehensively  resolved.  -100Works C o n s u l t e d  Primary  Sources  M i l t o n , John, Complete Poems and Major Prose, New York, 1957.  ed. M e r r i t t Y  P l a t o , Phaedo, Great D i a l o g u e s of P l a t o , t r a n s . W. H E r i c H. Warmmgton and P h i l i p G. Rouse, Toronto, Spenser, Edmund, P o e t i c a l Works, ed. J London, 1912.  Secondary  C  Hughes,  D Rouse, 1963.  Smith and E. De  ed.  Selmcourt,  Sources  Barker, A r t h u r , "The P a t t e r n of M i l t o n ' s N a t i v i t y Ode," Toronto Q u a r t e r l y , X, 1941, pp. 167-181.  University  Brooks, C l e a n t h , " L i g h t Symbolism i n ' L ' A l l e g r o and I I The Well-Wrought Urn, New York, 1947 .  Penseroso',"  Brown, Robert McAfee, " S o u l (Body)," Handbook of C h r i s t i a n ed. M a r v i n Halverson, New York, 1958. Darnells,  Roy,  M i l t o n , Mannerism and  Baroque, Toronto,  of  Theology,  1963.  D i n g l e , Herbert, "Copernicus and the P l a n e t s , " A Short H i s t o r y of S c i e n c e , O r i g i n s and R e s u l t s of the S c i e n t i f i c R e v o l u t i o n , A Symposium, New York, 1951. i  Hopper, S t a n l e y Romaine, " S p i r i t , " Handbook of C h r i s t i a n Theology, M a l v m Halverson, New York, 1958.  ed.  K e l l e y , Maurice, T h i s Great Argument, a Study of M i l t o n ' s De D o c t r m a C h r i s t i a n a as a Gloss upon P a r a d i s e L o s t , P r i n c e t o n , 1941. Lewis,  C  S , A P r e f a c e to P a r a d i s e L o s t , London,  1942.  Madsen, W i l l i a m G., "The Idea of Nature i n M i l t o n ' s P o e t r y , " Three S t u d i e s i n the Renaissance: Sidney, Jonson, M i l t o n , ed. B J Nangle, Y a l e U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1958. Prendergast, Guy Lushington, A Complete Concordance to the Works of M i l t o n , Madras, 1857.  Poetical  T a y l o r , Dick, "Grace as a Means of P o e t r y : M i l t o n ' s P a t t e r n f o r S a l v a t i o n , " Tulane S t u d i e s m E n g l i s h , IV, 1958, pp. 54-90.  -101-  Wagenknecht, Edward, " M i l t o n i n ' L y c i d a s ' , " C o l l e g e E n g l i s h , V I I , 393-397. Waldock, A. J . A., P a r a d i s e  L o s t and i t s C r i t i c s ,  Cambridge,  1946,  1941.  Woodhouse, A S P., "Comus Once More," U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Q u a r t e r l y , XIX, 1949, pp. 218-223. , M i l t o n the Poet, Toronto-Vancouver, 1955. , "The Argument of Comus," U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Q u a r t e r l y , XI, 1941, pp. 46-71. , "Theme and P a t t e r n i n P a r a d i s e XXV, 1955, pp. 167-182.  Regained,"  Ibid.,  

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