|"Student at His Desk" by Pieter Codde|
I think my favorite part of Prolusion 7 is the part where Milton describes how Ignorance (I think, especially willful ignorance) reduces a person to being less than animal, and even less than trees or rocks. In order to be truly human and have free will we have to exercise choice, and as Milton shows us, "human intellect...guides and illuminates with its radiance the will." Essentially we can't make choices without learning, without engaging our minds. I foresee this idea being an important theme when we get to reading Paradise Lost (footnote 5 in Prolusion 7 references PL here with the quote, "reason also is choice").
Milton's Comus also shares this theme of the importance of choice, which Milton there applies more to morality and virtue. I feel like the strong rhetoric of the prolusions and the poetry of Comus are Milton's way of gearing up for the greater work that is to follow (Paradise Lost), which makes me excited for that work. It seems like he's practicing his arguments and working out the poetry to convey these themes in the most beautiful way possible.