english 102 Midterm

english 102 Midterm - English Composition 102 Honors...

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English Composition 102 Honors Midterm Paper Dr. C. Garner Due March 20, 2007 Death is everywhere. Death has especially been apparent in literature throughout history. Authors such as John Milton, William Wordsworth and Jonathan Swift each use various interpretations of death as themes in specific pieces of work. Generally, when the subject of death arises, the mind wanders to images of funerals, and dead corpses. While sometimes that is the case, there are different ways to construe death. It can mean the loss of life, as it usually does, but it can also mean the beginning of a new life, or taking a new path in life. Death, in many cases, can actually signify purification of the soul and spirit. In addition, the subject doesn’t always have to be heavy-hearted, it can be used in a satirical manner as well. Milton uses the theme of death in the epic poem “Paradise Lost”. Milton uses death meaning the end of life in many different ways. One way he uses it is to portray Satan’s fall from Heaven. In the poem, Milton describes Satan’s demise and fall from Heaven. In The Argument, Milton outlines his plan for the epic poem: Here Satan with his Angels lying on the burning Lake, thunder-struck and astonisht, after a certain space recovers, as from confusion, calls up him who next in Order and Dignity lay by him; they confer of thir miserable fall. Satan awakens all his Legions, who lay till then in the same manner confounded; They rise, thir Numbers, array of Battel, thir chief Leaders nam'd, according to the Idols known afterwards in Canaan and the Countries adjoyning. (The Argument)
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In this excerpt, Milton describes the immediate aftermath of the war that was fought in Heaven, in which Satan and his army were defeated and banished to Hell. Satan’s fall from Heaven is symbolic of the death of Satan, in the sense that his life, or existence, as an Angel is now over. Milton also parallels Satan with animals symbolic of death, like in Book III, lines 431-435, “As when a Vultur on Imaus bred,/Whose snowie ridge the roving Tartar bounds,/Dislodging from a Region scarce of prey/ To gorge the flesh of Lambs or yeanling Kids/On Hills where Flocks are fed”, and in Book IV, lines 183-187, “As when a prowling Wolfe,/Whom hunger drives to seek new haunt for prey,/ Watching where Shepherds pen thir Flocks at eeve/In hurdl'd Cotes amid the field secure,/Leaps o're the fence with ease into the Fould”. Satan is compared to a vulture that devours lambs or newborn children and a wolf that constantly hunts for its prey where the flocks of sheep are penned, just as Satan plans to corrupt man in the Garden of Eden. Throughout “Paradise Lost”, Milton uses light and dark images to symbolize good and evil, or loss and gain. In Book IV, Milton notes, “Thus while he spake, each passion dimm'd his face/Thrice chang'd with pale, ire, envie and despair,/Which marrd his
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english 102 Midterm - English Composition 102 Honors...

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