[Milton-L] The War in Heaven

Richard Strier rastrier at uchicago.edu
Wed Jul 12 16:08:14 EDT 2006


Re J.D. Fleming's remarks:

But again, it begs the question to say that "the poem (PL) make[s] 
the rule-proving exception of God . . . [from the charge of tyranny] 
exceptionally clear," since that is exactly what is at issue.  The 
point, of course, is not what Milton would say, if asked (or even 
when asked), but what the poem presents.  This may never be settled, 
but can only be properly entered into through analysis of the text, 
not through appeals to what Milton would have or did say.  The 
question, as Blake and Shelley knew so well, is whether the poem 
shares the orthodoxies (as well as the unorthodoxies) of the poet. 
Shelley certainly did not think that M consciously intended to make 
God and Satan morally indistinguishable, but that because he was a 
"true poet" (Blake's phrase), M wrote a poem that transcended his own 
conscious moral scheme (as did Dante, etc.).


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