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Young MiltonThe Emerging Author, 1620-1642$
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Edward Jones

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199698707

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199698707.001.0001

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Milton on Tragedy: Law, Hypallage, and Participation

Milton on Tragedy: Law, Hypallage, and Participation

(p.182) 8 Milton on Tragedy: Law, Hypallage, and Participation
Young Milton

Andrew Zurcher

Oxford University Press

Much of Milton's poetry—including Samson Agonistes—might be called anti‐tragic. The epistemological and ontological conventions of tragedy exert a negative influence on his early thought and poetry and it structures his encounter with Platonism and possibly contributes to the development of his idiosyncratic theology. Three of his earliest extant poems—‘Naturam non pati senium’, ‘De idea platonica quemadmodum Aristoteles intellexit’, and ‘On Time’—link preoccupations with law, language, and participation that, taken together, help us contextualize Milton's early plans to write Old Testament tragedies. As a young poet responding to Spenser's hypallagic style and Platonic allegory, Milton indicates in these poems why, how, and to what ends both law and tragedy became dominant presences in his late masterpieces.

Keywords:   tragedy, hypallage, Platonism, law, language, participation

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