Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is Milton a Closet Feminist?

In my first paper, I primarily focused on the way Milton glorifies Eve through her independent quest for knowledge. For the larger scope of this research paper, I am going to explore feminism in a variety of Milton's works and his personal experiences. I was tempted to study out Milton's progressiveness: feminism, access to information, divorce...etc but I think it would be somewhat disjointed. Instead, my working thesis currently is: Feminists have largely touted Milton's portrayal of Eve as submissive and demeaning, yet in analysis of Milton's works as a whole and his own life, I would argue he exhibits clear traits of feminism including a high standard and desire for intellectualism, as well as equality as individuals and within relationships, thus classifying him as a progressive thinker and feminist.

I was surprised to find so much research done on the topic of Milton and Feminism. It seems that many people have wondered whether Milton identified himself as a feminist (or misogynist or sexist or anything at all, really). My goal is to make a claim  that is unique and enlightening, so I may tweak my thesis as I read more on the issue.

I was delighted to find Anne Ferry's "Milton's Creation of Eve" available online through the library's website. Although Ferry agrees Milton is not objectifying Eve, she does see distinct differences between Adam and Eve and their interactions with each other. My concern with this is that many feminists base their argument on the fact that men and women are equal in that they are not biologically suited for certain roles. .

Kat Sanger's article "Milton: Misogynist, Feminist or Sexist?" studies the different identities Milton could claim and how he could do it. It's a short article, but it has lots of great resources.

This article by Arpi Paylan is the type of essay that I would have originally wanted to write-with allusions to the Divorce Tracts and  Paradise Lost. So now I am going to draw what I can from this article to make an innovative argument!

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