100%(9)9 out of 9 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 52 - 54 out of 57 pages.
forceful top-down control, and his views are still seen in the law-and-order platform of the Conservative party in England. In The Pilgrim’s Progress, Bunyan gives us another image of man as similarly embattled but perhaps salvageable. In this well-known allegory, Christian makes his way from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City with only Faith, Hope, and the Bible as his guides. At the same time that Bunyan was writing, John Wilmot produced the most debauched poetry to be found in English literature. In looking at these examples of Puritan and libertine literature, we can see that the Restoration was, perhaps, the most divided period in English history. Outline I. The mid-17th century in England was torn apart by civil war, a war focused on religious, intellectual, and social freedom.
A. Historians often observe that England has never had a revolution along the lines of those seen in France, Russia, or America. The closest England has ever come to a revolution was the turmoil experienced in the last half of the 17th century. B. The Puritans had become a strong political party, and the royalists, many of them with Catholic roots, felt the need to repress this dangerous new force. An explosion was inevitable, with Oliver Cromwell, known as the Protector, as the detonator. The king’s forces were defeated, and a Commonwealth or English republic was established. C. Cromwell’s moral illiberality and defiance of Parliament led, in a few years, to the restoration of the monarchy in the person of Charles II and the return of the court from its exile in France. D. The old order was reestablished with certain modifications: More power was given to the people, specifically, to the middle classes, and to Parliament. These constitutional modifications were confirmed with the importation from Holland of William and Mary in 1689, chosen because it was believed they would follow the desires of the nation. E. The long era of characteristically English liberal democracy was thereby inaugurated, with a balance of forces among the Crown, Parliament, elected governments, and the people. This balance of forces exists to this day. F. Literature rode out this turmoil, and in fact, as typically happens, turmoil made for some very good literature. Pamphlets, for example, played a major part in the conflict between the parliamentarians or Puritans and the royalists. II. The Civil War, which had broken out in 1642, elicited Thomas Hobbes’s (1588–1679) Leviathan, a grim and powerfully written political treatise. Leviathan was published in 1651, only two years after Charles I had been executed by the English people. A. Leviathan was also the name used by Milton to describe Satan in Book I of Paradise Lost. When we’re first introduced to Satan, who has been exiled from heaven, he is basking like a vast whale in a fiery lake. For both Milton and Hobbes, Leviathan is a monster.