[Milton-L] Milton's use of rhetoric--Thank you

Shannon Reed SReed at cornellcollege.edu
Tue Mar 2 12:40:43 EST 2004

Thank you to everyone who responded to my query.  

You've saved me from having to reinvent the wheel--

If anyone would like a compilation of the replies, email me off-list and
I'll provide it.

Thanks again,



Shannon L. Reed

Assistant Professor of English

Cornell College

Mount Vernon IA 52314

(319) 895-4329

sreed at cornellcollege.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of
LEEJACOBUS at aol.com
Sent: Monday, March 01, 2004 4:12 PM
To: milton-l at koko.richmond.edu
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Milton's use of rhetoric


When I was teaching Milton I gave my students the following handout on
rhetoric and tropes.

It is incomplete (and some may argue with my definitions) but I found it
useful in the classroom and you are welcome to use it.  Please forgive
errors  and silently emend them.  This was typed by a local secretary
unfamiliar with Milton and I do not have my Milton near me as I prepare
this for your kind eyes.  Lee Jacobus


 Milton's Rhetoric  Examples of Milton's use of the Classical Schemes
and tropes.
 Definitions:  Quintilian & others, via Corbett's Classical Rhetoric.


Lee Jacobus: examples


The Schemes  A schematic use of language does not change its apparent
meaning.  A scheme is an ordering or  patterning of language.


Schemes of Words


 prosthesis -- adding a syllable in front of a work -- eg. beloved for
loved O.H.C.H. 155,     to those ychained in sleep.
 epenthesis -- adding a syllable in the middle of word -- e.g. climature
for visiting On S.     4. under a star-ypointing pyramid.
 proparalepsis -- adding a syllable at the end of word -- e.g. climature
for climate P.L. VI.     410.  The foughten field
 aphaeresis -- subtracting a syllable from the beginning of word --
'neath for beneath P.L.     IV 50. I sdein'd
 syncope -- subtracting a syllable from the middle of word -- e.g.
prosprous for prosperous     P.L. II. 175 op'n'd
 apocope -- subtracting a syllable from the end of the word -- e.g. even
for evening P.L.     III. 625 Golden tiar
 metathesis -- transposition of letters in a word -- e.g. clapse for
clasp upon the C. 10.     Heav'ns heraldry whilere
 antisthecon -- change of sound -- e.g. wrang from wrong PL I. 247.


Schemes of Construction


I.  Schemes of Balance


Parallelism -- similarity of structure in a pair or series of related
words, phrases, or clauses. PL II. 185.   Unrespited, unpitied,


Antithesis -- the juxtaposition of contrasting ideas, often in parallel
structure.  PL. III. 19-29 to venture  down/The dark descent, and up to


2. Schemes of unusual or inverted word order (hyperbaton)


Anastrophe -- inversion of the natural or usual word order. PL. III.
142.  Love without end, and without  measure Grace.


Parenthesis -- insertion of some verbal unit in a position that
interrupts the normal syntactical flow of the sentence.  P.L. III. 108-9
When Will and Reason (Reason also is choice)/ Useless and vain.


Apposition -- placing side by side two co-ordinate elements, the second
of which serves as an explanation  or modification of the first.  P.L.
III 974.  Alone, and without guide, half lost. III 99 Sufficient to have
stood, though free to fall.


3. Schemes of Omission


Ellipsis -- deliberate omission of a word or of words which are readily
implied by the context.  P.L. III  210. Die hee or justice must.


Asyndeton -- deliberate omission of conjunctions between a series of
related clauses.  P.L. II. 621.  Rocks,  caves, lakes, fens, bogs, dens,
and shades of death.


The opposite scheme is polysyndeton (deliberate use of many
conjunctions. P.L. II. 1009-10 go and   speed;/Havoc and spoil and ruin
are my gain.


4. Schemes of Repetition


Alliteration -- repetition of initial or medial consonants in two or
more adjacent words.  P.L. I. 250. Hail  horrors, hail/Infernal
world...Hell. 298.  So Heav'nly love shall outdo Hellish hate.


Assonance -- the repetition of similar vowel sounds, preceded and
followed by different consonants, in the stressed syllables of adjacent
words.  P.L. III 274  O thou...only place//found out...O thou.


Anaphora -- repetition of the same word or group of words at the
beginnings of successive clauses. P.L.I. 242-3 Is this the Region, this
the Soil, The Clime,/...this the seat?


Epistrophe -- repetition of the same word or group of words at the ends
of successive clauses. P.L. 105-6  What though the filed be lost?/All is
not lost.


Epanalepsis -- repetition at the end of a clause of the word that
occurred at the beginning of the clause.    P.L. III. 294-5 So man, as
is most just/Shall satisfy for man.


Anadiplosis -- repetition of the last word of one clause at the
beginning of the following clause. P.L. III   124. I form'd them free,
and free they must remain.


Climax -- arrangement of words, phrases or clauses in an order of
increasing importance.  P.L. I. 134.   strength, chance, fate


Antimetabole --repetition of words, in successive clauses, in reverse
grammatical order.  P.L. IL 34-40.    Surer to prosper than
prosperity/Could have assur'd us.


Polyptoton -- repetition of words derived from the same root.  P.L. I.
642 which tempted our attempt.   III. 296 And dying rise, and rising
with him raise.


Mirror Repetition (this may be a Miltonic invention--I "invented" the
name of the device)-- repetition of simple words or large sections of
verse to simulate a mirror.  see P.L.   IV 460-464 and IV 639-656.


Sequential Repetition -- simple Repetition of words, lines or phrases
for effect.  P.L. III. 316  Both God and Man, sone both of God and Man.
III 190-1 to pray, repent, and bring obedience due./ To Prayer,
repentance and obedience due.


THE TROPES  A trope is a use of language that changes its apparent
meaning.  The following are examples of  tropic language.




Metaphor -- an implied comparison between two things of unlike nature
that yet have something in common.  P.L. IX 432.  Herself though fairest
unsupported Flow'r.


Simile -- an explicit comparison between two things of unlike nature
that yet have something in common.   P.L. I. 768. As Bees/In
springtime...they...fly to and fro cf. flower simile:  P.L.V. 479-482.


Synechdoche -- a figure of speech in which a part stands for the whole.
P.L. IV. 409-10. Eve...Turn'd him  all ear.


Metonymy -- substitution of some attributive or suggestive word for what
is actually meant.  P.L. II. 204   Those who at the Spear are bold.


PUNS -- generic name for those figures which make a play on words.


 (1) Antanaclasis - repetition of a word in two different senses.
  P.L. IX 648  Fruitless to me, though Fruit be here to excess.
 (2) Paronomasia - use of words alike in sound but different in meaning.

  P.L. IV 742 till on Niphates top he lights
 (3) Syllepsis - use of a word understood differently in relation to two
or more other words, which it modifies or governs. P.L. II 767-8  My
womb conceiv'd/A growing burden.


Anthimeria - the substitution of one part of speech for another.  P.L.
II 656-8 creep...into her womb/And  kennel there.


Periphrasis (antomasia) -- substitution of a descriptive word or phrase
for a proper name or of a proper name for a quality associated with the
name.  P.L. II 410. ere he arrive/the happy Isle.


Personification (prosopoeia) -- investing abstractions or inanimate
objects with human qualities or  abilities. P.L. II 233 fickle chance


Hyperbole -- the use of exaggerated terms for the purpose of emphasis or
heightened effect.  P.L. I 632-3.   Legions, whose exile/Hath emptied


Litotes -- deliberate use of understatement, not to deceive someone but
to enhance the impressiveness  of what we say.  P.L. I 75.  O how unlike
the place from whence they fall!


RHETORICAL QUESTION (eroteme) -- asking a question, not for the purpose
of eliciting an answer  but for  the purpose of asserting or denying
something obliquely.  P.L. I 661  Who can think  submission?


IRONY -- use of a word in such a way as to convey a meaning opposite to
the literal meaning of the  word.  P.L. V. 396  No fear lest dinner
cool.  X 462  I call ye and declare ye now, return'd/  Successful beyond


ONOMATOPOEIA --  Use of words whose sound echoes the sense.  P.L. X
498-9 (hissing) I am to bruise his heel;/ His seed when is not set,
shall bruise my heard.


OXYMORON -- the yoking of two terms which are ordinarily contradictory.
P.L. I 63 darkness visible  II 692  precious bane.  II 6 Bad eminence.


PARADOX -- an apparent contradiction.  P.L. I 160 ever to do ill one
sole delight. II 23 (Satan's) a safe   unenvied throne.  IV 110 Evil be
thou my Good.


PLEONASM -- using too many words - redundance P.L. II. 197 fate

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