[Milton-L] Language in Areopagitica

dario gomez darioeg at hotmail.com
Thu Apr 2 08:11:52 EDT 2009

Dear all,
A few days ago, I sent you a message about the influence of the language of Areopagitica in other authors and I ended my comment saying that I find it difficult to see authors using the same stategies Milton used in his tract (in terms of rhetorical tricks, language tools, structure...). I was wondering if you have the same problem as I have and what might be the possible reason to it.Regards.Dario Gomez (Warsaw)

The more I read about Milton´s Areopagitica, the more interested I am in Milton´s convoluted language. I have come to the conclusion that if it had not been for his specific way of writing, Areopagitica would have never crossed the boundaries of time. Since he wrote his pamphlet, so many books and articles have been written in an attempt to analyze Milton´s political and philosophical points of view that it does not come as a surprise to read contradictory theories about what might have been in Milton´s head or not. However, everybody seems to agree in the richness of the rhetorical tricks and the beauty of the language he uses in Areopagitica, which leads to the point that I would like to make here: it is easy (or relatively easy) to see Milton´s influence in Locke’s ideas, poetry, drama, in the topic of several novels, films, or in the content of certain modern constitutions (as some claim). However, I seem to have problems to recognize how other authors have employed the same or similar writing techniques that Milton used in Areopagitica, for example, in terms of structure, rhetorical tricks, and so on. What is obvious is that the main topic Areopagitica deals with is very much alive nowadays; however, in terms of language, I find it difficult to see authors following Milton´s trace. I wonder if it is because of the difficulties authors have had to write like Milton did or just because the beauty of Milton´s poems has blurred the interest of other authors in using the same strategies Milton used in Areopagitica.
Dario Gomez (Warsaw).    

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