Comus

Lady Alice as John Milton’s Warfaring Christian College

Incisive in his writing and contentious in his time, John Milton, through his prolific publications, provides his readership with a moral outline that extends from the soul to the politic. Given such understanding, one can use Milton and his works to nuance one’s conception of the human condition and the governmental forces that either enable or disable it. The latter idea, that a government can restrict its citizens’ activities, is one of contemporary relevance with which Milton takes serious issue. Politically vocal, Milton fought for the notion of liberty, believing that freedom of choice and of voice is integral to the human experience. So, when the British Parliament enacted the Licensing Order of 1643—whereby authors must submit their works for approval before publication—Milton took to writing, publishing Areopagitica, a dynamic work of prose arguing against the restriction of liberty. (Kerrigan 923). Empowered by its order, the government could monitor all books, ultimately enabled to arbitrate and to control the flow of knowledge. In this work, Milton implores Parliament to revoke its law and thereby restore the rights of the British population, demanding, “the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according...

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