Comus Literary Elements

Comus Literary Elements

Speaker or Narrator, and Point of View

The narrator of the poem is the benevolent spirit who helps the Brothers find their sister. As a result, the poem is told from a subjective point of view and having a first person narrator.

Form and Meter

The poem is written in blank verse and a iambic meter.

Metaphors and Similes

There are some elements in the poem that have a metaphorical value and that are used to express something more. For example, one such object is the cup from which many drink after they are convinced by Comus. The cup is a metaphor used to refer to one person’s acceptance of his or her sexual desires.

Alliteration and Assonance

And my quaint habits breed astonishment,

Irony

The way Comus was defeated can be considered as being ironic. In the beginning of the poem, Comus is presented as being extremely powerful, almost invincible. Despite this, Comus is defeated quickly by the Lady’s Brothers and the Spirit and Comus is left with no other option than to run from them.

Genre

Masque

Setting

The action of the poem takes place in an unnamed forest in unspecified time.

Tone

Tragic, fearful

Protagonist and Antagonist

The Lady is the protagonist and Comus is the antagonist.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is between the Lady and Comus. The Lady ends up meeting Comus after she got lost in the woods and she is tricked by following Comus. He tries to convince her to give in to her desires but is unsuccessful. Thus, the major conflict is between morality, symbolized by The Lady, and Sin, symbolized by Comus.

Climax

The poem reaches its climax when the Lady is saved by her Brothers and by the spirit.

Foreshadowing

When the spirit appears for the first time, he tells the reader that is presence was required because he was supposed to help someone. This statement foreshadows the problems that the Brothers will have to face and the role the spirit will play in saving the Lady.

Understatement

When Comus appears under the appearance of a Shepard and tells the Lady that he will help her find her brothers is an understatement because not only does Comus kidnap the Lady but he also takes her far away from her brothers.

Allusions

John Milton, the writer of the poem Comus, wanted to transmit through his poem the idea that virtue is more valuable than anything. This idea was commonly found in the Christian religions that existed during Milton’s times. Despite writing about a Christian theme, the author makes numerous allusions towards the ancient mythology, naming many Gods and Goddesses and even pointing out how the Goddesses of Virginity should be a role model for all the young Ladies living in those times.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

The cup is used in a metonymical sense to refer to the desire felt by every human being. While desire may be normal, it is not normal to give in to that desire because that would mean sinning against God.

Personification

In the blind mazes of this tangl'd Wood?

Hyperbole

sober certainty of waking bliss

Onomatopoeia

’the hiss of russling wings’

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