Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Christ vs. Classical Learning: Milton's Divine Calling

Working Thesis: Milton’s use of classical allusions throughout his works and then refutal of them through Christ in “Paradise Regained” is in order to establish the view of Christ as the pinnacle of intellectual learning. We learn of all these things (Milton's upbringing and classical training), we copy them, imitate their works, trying to perfect them when in reality the image of perfection we should be striving for is Christ. Don’t let the copia and of these secular/classical writers get in the way. They are a means to an end. And Christ/Christianity (in its truest form) is that end. 
(It is big, bumbling, and wordy but it gets the point across which is what I am most concerned about currently.)

Milton bends these traditions - by writing Paradise Lost as an epic, but turning it away from the traditional, pagan stories. In fact, he uses those stories to further his divine cause, to expand understanding of God and Christ.
Milton is using what people are familiar with in order to relay something new. Traditional forms but new content. Higher, elevated content. Christianity. 
He is rendering into "common tongue” (of the time period, what people are familiar with.)  

Milton’s sense of divine calling - it begins as an effort to justify the ways of God to man, Milton begins to realize that in order to justify these things we need to understand the nature of Christ. This explanation would qualify the disparity of characteristic between Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. In Paradise Lost we are sucked into as Hillier describes "Milton’s Christocentric universe, charged with the Son’s grandeur.” The Son is treated with an awe-like deference. In Paradise Regained he becomes a person, a man, albeit an elevated one, but with a personality, characteristics, someone we could come to know. People care about him (Andrew & Simon, Mary.) And demons fear him (Satan…the other demons.) And that knowing, that coming to understand Him is what Milton feels he is called to call us to do.

What does this mean for all of those classical allusions?

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