Shorter post, I am still trying to pick a research topic. Slow I know, but I also know the consequences of picking a hasty, malformed one and that is positively torture!
One thing I've really been interested in the whole time is Milton's classical allusions. I might be more excited about them because I've recently taken a class where we have read from a lot of what Milton references so I actually get some of the allusions!
That is where I've gotten a wee bit stuck because what do I argue beyond the obvious? Yep, Milton uses classical allusions. A lot. In nearly every single one of his works. Huge, broad, ugly paper.
But then, I finished reading Paradise Regained and this passage through me for a loop.
[Satan long blurb going on and on about ancient and classical philosophers...]
To whom our Savior sagely thus replied.
"Think not but that I know these things, or think
I know them not; not therefore am I short
Of knowing what I ought: he who receives
Light from above, from the fountain of light,
No other doctrine needs, though granted true;
But these are false, or little else but dreams,
Conjectures, fancies, built on nothing firm.
The first and wisest of them all professed
To know this only, that he nothing knew;
the next to fabling fell and smooth conceits,
A third sort doubted all things, though plain sense...
For all his tedious talk is but vain boast,
Or subtle shifts conviction to evade.
Alas what can they teach, and not mislead;
Ignorant of themselves, of God much more,
And how the world began, and how man fell
Degraded by himself, on grace depending?"
(it goes on for a bit more along the same vein.)
Within the context of the Christ and Satan discussion this makes some sort of sense to me. But when you think about Milton saying it, what does that mean? If there is anyone who loves classical philosophers and connections it is Milton. To say these are "false or little else but dreams" seems to be cutting down/undermining all that Milton has previously written about.
Still working on it...any thoughts?