On His Blindness
In “On His Blindness,” poet Milton explores his experiences with blindness and non-secular faith.
Milton went blind working for the English Republic. His service to the govt required that he extensively read and write. This caused him to lose his sight.
The poem takes the shape of a Petrarchan sonnet. These traditionally specialize in love and romance, but Milton subverts this to explore his relationship with God.
Milton fears that his blindness will prevent him from doing God’s work. The personification of Patience tells him that even his idleness is beneficial to God if he continues to possess faith.
John Milton’s poem “On His Blindness” is an autobiographical sonnet during which Milton meditates on his loss of sight. for many of his life. Milton had been ready to see perfectly. But his late-night reading and writing on behalf of the govt of the short-lived English Republic. During which he held a prominent position, helped ruin his eyesight. This sonnet—written within the “Petrarchan” rhyme scheme related to the fourteenth-century Italian poet Francesco Petrarca—is divided into an eight-line “octave” and a six-line “sestet.
The octave rhymes abba. The sestet rhymes cde cde. The sonnet is, therefore, a typical Petrarchan sonnet in form, but in material.
The poem departs from the topics usually related to Petrarchan poems. Petrarch (the English version of Petrarca’s name) was most famous for writing about love. Milton departs from that conventional topic to affect a really practical, very physical problem, but a drag with many broader spiritual implications.
By beginning line one with the word “When,” Milton immediately signals that he’s opening with a dependent clause (a dependent clause) that introduces the most idea to follow. Beginning the poem this manner creates particular suspense. The most idea is postponed so that we’ve to continue reading in anticipation of its eventual arrival. Shakespeare also often used this type of sentence pattern in constructing his sonnets. By opening with a subordinate clause, Milton heightens our sense of anticipation by delaying the key statement.
The word “consider” implies careful, rational thought instead of a purely emotional reaction. Here and throughout the poem, the speaker uses his reason, which Renaissance Christians considered one among the best gifts that God had bestowed upon the citizenry. The power of humans to reason, they believed, linked them to God and distinguished them from animals. The speaker feels that his “light” is “spent” (extinguished) in several senses of the word “light.”
This word alludes, a minimum of eventually, to the speaker’s loss of sight, but “light” can also suggest one’s intelligence. The line may initially seem to mean “When I feel about how I even have used my intelligence,” but it soon involves mean “When I ponder how my ability to ascertain has become extinguished.” This latter meaning is, of course, foreshadowed by the poem’s title.
The idea of losing one’s sight is a deeply troubling one. The blind man is suddenly in danger altogether sorts of ways. The speaker within the poem feels vulnerable; he can not see his way or easily protect himself from dangers. The special tragedy of this particular speaker is that he has lost his sight at a strangely early stage of life. instead of becoming blind when elderly, he has become blind in time of life. He now inhabits a world that seems “dark” (2) in a minimum of two senses: it’s not physically visible, and it’s a world filled with sin and spiritual darkness.
The world, moreover, isn’t only dark but also “wide”: the speaker will somehow need to navigate, both literally and figuratively, during a world which, due to its width or breadth, will prose many dangers. If the speaker were confined to one dark room, he might quickly and simply learn his way.
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