The name of John Milton (1608-1674), of a poet, philosopher and essayist, who inextricably linked his fate with the events of the great English Revolution, is considered to be a symbol of the highest achievements of the English literature of the 17th century. His work has a long, profound influence on the development of European social thought and literature of next ages.
In a play-mask "Comus" (1637), the author praises the virtues, typical for moral rigor of the Puritans. An evil spirit Comus tries in vain to seduce a young lady, lost in the woods. Forest symbolizes the confusion of human life in the play. Comus represents vice. Lady embodies chastity, strongly opposes Comus’s temptations and charms and becomes the winner of the match.
The primordial life force, which was inherent in the poetic elements of the Renaissance, is guessed in the image of Comus. But the author's sympathies belong not to Comus, but to Lady in the play. Contrasting the strict morality of unrestrained hedonism, Milton is opposed to that concept, which a Renaissance ideal of noble society almost degenerated into, becoming an excuse of gross sensuality, of contempt for moral values. The theme of "Comus" is the theme of the probation of the virtues, the eternal rivalry between good and evil - with a new force appears in the later works of the poet.