Milton's Sonnets John Milton's Sonnets: Term Paper

Total Length: 1663 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

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However, before citing parallels between Milton's ideas and the liberal divorce legislation of the later twentieth century one should note that in all instances Milton presents the man as the suffering party. He does not deny that the woman also might suffer, but consistently she is portrayed as the potential cause of the state in which 'instead of being one flesh, they will be rather two carcasses chained unnaturally together' (WJM, III: 478). She is presented as such not because Milton regards women as more prone than men to such specifics as infidelity, but because more often than not it is the woman who has to prove her potential for social and intellectual compatibility (Newlyn, 1993). He gives an example: 'who knows that the shy silence of a virgin may oft times hide all the unliveliness and natural sloth which is really unfit for conversation? & #8230; nor is it therefore that for a modest error a man should forfeit so great a happiness - and no charitable means to release him' (WJM, III: 394). This might seem to us a somewhat patronizing, almost misogynistic, representation of womanhood - the temptingly mute virgin might well prove to be genuinely stupid - but at the time it was radical, in that it is founded upon the assumption that a woman is at least capable of being the intellectual equal of a man.

Works Cited

Aers, D.
And Hodge, B., Rational Burning: Milton and Sex and Marriage (1981).

Gilbert, S., Patriarchal Poetry and Women Readers: Reflections on Milton's Bogey, PMLA 93 (1978), pp.368-82.

Landy, M., Kinship and The Role of Women in Paradise Lost, Milton Studies 4 (1972), pp.3-18.

Le Comte, E., Milton and Sex, London: Macmillan (1978).

Milton, John, The Complete Prose Works of John Milton, ed. D.M. Wolfe, 8 Vols, New Haven: Yale University Press (1953-82).

Milton, John, The Poems, eds J. Carey and A. Fowler, London: Longman (1968).

Milton, John, The Works of John Milton, ed. F.A. Patterson, 20 Vols, New York: Columbia University Press (1931-40).

Nyquist, M., 'The Genesis of Gendered Subjectivity in the….....

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