AD's English Literature : John Milton’s Grand Style in "Paradise Lost" , His 'Adventurous Songs’

Thursday, August 23, 2012

John Milton’s Grand Style in "Paradise Lost" , His 'Adventurous Songs’


Milton himself wrote of Paradise Lost as his 'adventurous songs’. That with no middle - flight intends to soar above the Aounion Mount , while it pursues Things Unattempted yet in prose or rhyme . Indeed in Paradise Lost, Milton, in choosing, the grandest of theological subjects, has undertaken a gigantic task. Satan's appearance and behaviour , the prospect of Hell and the fallen angels , the consultation , of the infernal chiefs , Satan’s flight though choose to the borders of his world , - all these discover the most lofty ideas that ever entered into the conception of any poet . Read More Poetry To suit such a grand theme, Milton must use a proportionately grand style, and he did it with a bang.

The word ' sublimity in literary style comes from a synthesis of the majestic and mysterious, and this quality was native to Milton's mind. Paradise Lost is characterized by a peculiar Milton’s mind. Read More Poetry Paradise Lost is characterized by a peculiar mightiness of imagery and phrase and genuinely deserves the epithet, sublime. The merit of Paradise Lost does not depend upon the readers taste in theology, but upon the stark grandeur of many decorative passages and the passionate love of nature which glows throughout poet's work. The element of the grand in Milton poetic style comes from the loftiness of descriptive image. An ideal example is Milton’s description of Satan collecting his strength in Hell (ll - 589 - 600):
       "- - - - - - - - -- he above the rest,
           in shape and gesture proudly eminent
           Stood like a Tour’s, his form had not yet lost
           All her original brightness, nor appeared
           Less than Archangel ruined - - - - - - - -- - - --
           - - - - - - - - As when the sun new n’s’m’:
          Looks through the horizontal misty air
          Shom of his beams - - - - - -- - -
          . . . . . .. . . . Darkened so Archangel. ......"

Here concurs variety of sources of the sublime. The principal object relevantly great, a high superior nature fallen indeed, but erecting itself against distress, the grandeur of the principal object is heightened by associating it with so noble an idea as that of the Sun suffering an eclipse. This picture shaded with all those images of change and trouble, of darkness and tenor which coincide so finely with the sublime emotions gives the impression of stateliness.

Milton ’s language in the product of the preference for the usual and reconcile in vocabulary and construction. In general Milton’s style is uniquely literary and intellectual, loaded with learning and bookish phrases elaborate in construction and often alien in vocabulary (garden). The uniqueness of this style is characterized by an inversion of the natural order of words temperate vapour ' and ' firm peace recovered soon ' and ' wanted calm' e.t.c.  the use of one part of speech for another (verb and noun ) , (' grained horrible ' the palpable obscure' e.t.c.) the use of chiasms (wont , emprise , nocent , attrite names (Siloa , Silon , Beelzebub , Moloch e.t.c.) the use of novel compound epithets (' night warbling bard; three bolted thunder , (Heaven banished host e.t.c.) these are the ward and woof of Milton’s poetic expressions which tend an impression of something remote from the ordinariness of style .

Another style feature is Milton ’s use of 'suspension ' which is brought about by the insertion between subject and predicate of several subordinate elements which retard completion of sense. Read More Poetry A suspension is characterized by long, complete, involved sentence, in the labyrinths of which reader may get lost, but which, when the full meaning is clear at the end, produces an impression of wonder, amazement and admiration. An ideal example in the opening six lines of the Paradise Lost:
“Of man’s first Disobedience and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought Death into the world and all our owe
With loss of Eden, till one greater Man
Restore, and regain the blissful seat,
Sings Heavenly Muse, that on the secret top.”

These lines show the power and sublimity. This opening sentence depart from a natural order by beginning with the genitive object (of Man's first disobedience and the fruit of that forbidden tree ) and inserting between it and the predicate of relative clause ( whose mortal taste brought Death into the world ) with various associates (All our woe with loss of Eden) . By this withholding, the verb so long, Milton is able states in a heroic way the magnitude of the poems subjects and also the magnitude of his task.

Another of Milton ’s style is his allusiveness. Milton’s vast learning is interspersed in every passage that the writes from history, myth, legend, Bible and classical learning abound in his poetry. Read More Poetry These allusions extend to range of the poem and give a comic dimension is his style. Such dimension grandeur is also added by the epic similes which testify to Milton s visual imagination. In each simile Milton surpasses the original point of comparison and goes on to extent his initial point. Read More Poetry The result is that each simile gains in an unique density which is far removed from the ordinary. Take for instance Milton’s simile where the fallen angles are linked to the innumerable host of deed Egyptian soldier lying on the surface of Red sea:
     “  - - -- -  --- -  Whose waves overthrow
      Busiris and his Memphian chivalry
      While this pestidians hatred they persued
      The sajourness goshen - - - - - - - - - --
      Under amassment of the hideous change.”

The associations of the fallen angel with the host of defeated Egyptian actually allusion as well as simile. Read More Poetry Such as associations of Satan and his angle with Biblical lore lends an aura of sublimity is the result of grandeur and remote wonderment. Thus vocabulary sentence, imagery, allusion, Latinisms all mingle and unite to form the majestic garment of Milton 's thought and feelings.
Ardhendu De  

Ref: 1. Study Materiel IGNOU 
         2. WIKIPEDIA         

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