Role of the Narrative in Milton's Lycidas Essay

Role of the Narrative in Milton's Lycidas Essay

Length: 2457 words (7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Term Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

Role of the Narrative in Milton's Lycidas   

This paper focuses on the role of the narrative in the funeral elegy. To start, the concept of the narratee has been most deeply explored by Gerald Prince from a narratological perspective. Narratology is primary concerned with narrative patterns in fiction. In this regard, any attempt to apply the terminology commonly used in reference to fiction (and prose) to poetry seems problematic. One has to account for the differences or the similarities between the genres in order to put the discussion of the narratee in the elegy into its proper perspective.

The current trend leans heavily on Bakhtin's study of the structure of the novel. In the Dialogical Imagination, Bakhtin created a sort of dichotomy between the monologic (poetry) and the dialogic. The novel becomes the site of dialogical discourse par excellence (49). But how valid is a wholesome distinction between genres within which there is so much diversity? Doesn't Bakhtin create a dichotomy which pays little consideration to the possibility of polyphony in specific texts regardless of formal classification?

It may be time to consider a literary work not as a predetermined product cast in a deterministic mold, but as a dynamic system that transcends the prevailing assumptions that are supposed to define its identity. The formal definitions can be just external to the composition of the text since we cannot expect the reader to know exactly what the author intended to write without falling into the trap of intentional fallacy.

To be sure, readers from different backgrounds can "hear" different voices in a text. Readers who are initiated in a particular literary environment may find the prosodic features they hav...

... middle of paper ...

...enius. The death of Lycidas becomes a "national" tragedy. The principle of substitution works here: the poet who reminds his countrymen of the previous life of a dead poet also pleads for himself, seeks visibility through public discourse. In the context of the scarcity of patronage for poets in the seventeenth-century, a poet like Milton had reason to make such a plea by appealing to the puritanical instincts of an audience that would identify with a chaste genius who died in his integrity. The convoluted metaphor of purity is indeed a "wish-fulfilling dream" as Sacks points out (100).

Works Cited

Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination. Austin: U of Texas P, 1992. Prince, Gerald. "Introduction to the Study of the Narratee." Poetique 14 (1973): 177-96 (reprinted in English).

Sacks, Peter M. The English Elegy. Baltimore: John Hopkins UP, 1985.


Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Lycidas: Poetry and Death Essay

- Lycidas: Poetry and Death               Living in a period of important religious and cultural flux, John Milton's poetry reflects the many influences he found both in history and in the contemporary world. With a vast knowledge of literature from the classical world of Greek and Roman culture, Milton often looked back to more ancient times as a means of enriching his works. At other times, however, he relies on his strong Christian beliefs for creating spiritually compelling themes and deeply religious imagery....   [tags: Milton Lycidas Essays]

Term Papers
3790 words (10.8 pages)

Imagery in Lycidas Essay

- Imagery in "Lycidas" "Lycidas," a poem written by John Milton as a memorial to Edward King, a classmate at Cambridge, reflects Milton's reverence for nature, his admiration of Greek Mythology, and his deeply ingrained Christian belief system. In "Lycidas," Milton combines powerful images from nature and Greek Mythology along with Biblical references in order to ease the pain associated with the premature death of King. King drowns at sea in the prime of his life and Milton is left to make sense of this tragedy....   [tags: Poetry John Milton]

Term Papers
891 words (2.5 pages)

Milton: The Poet Essay

- John Milton was born in London in 1608 (Merriman). His grandfather was a Roman Catholic who had disowned Milton's father when he turned Protestant (Merriman). The boy was sent to St. Paul's school, and he learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, and began to try to write poetry (Merriman). In 1625 he enrolled at Christ's College, Cambridge, clashed with his tutor the following year and was suspended, returned and was given another tutor, and graduated on schedule (Merriman). The University in those days still undertook to teach largely by repeat memorization, and Milton thought his training there of little value (Merriman)....   [tags: John Milton, Biography, Writer]

Term Papers
1357 words (3.9 pages)

Essay on The Life and Work of Milton Friedman

- “A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.” (Milton Friedman). One of the most significant economists in the world is considered to be Milton Friedman. Milton Friedman, born on July 31, 1912, in New York, to a working-class family of Jewish Hungarian immigrants, was educated at Rutgers University and at the University of Chicago. Friedman is mostly known for his support for free markets, advocacy of capitalism, and as one of the most influential American economists of the twentieth century....   [tags: Milton Friedman, economy, ]

Term Papers
1687 words (4.8 pages)

Essay The, New York, By Milton Friedman

- Nobel Peace Prize winner and famous economist Milton Friedman, started his life in Brooklyn, New York, on July 31 1912. The youngest in his Jewish household, he was already known for his interest in reading and mathematics. His early schooling was held at the public schools of Rahway, New Jersey. In time he was awarded a state scholarship to attend Rutgers University. In his original intent, he was going to go to school for mathematics and eventually have an actuary career; however, he was influenced by a number professors and in time made the transition from mathematics to economics....   [tags: Keynesian economics, Economics, Milton Friedman]

Term Papers
852 words (2.4 pages)

Comus and Lycidas Essay examples

- Comus and Lycidas are two poems that, when viewed together, one can find many similarities in. Milton uses much of the same imagery in both poems to convey the deaths and afterlives of the characters Sabrina and Lycidas. Since they both have so many similarities, the reading of Lycidas can help one to fully understand the Sabrina episode in Comus. One of the main similarities that can be found in both poems is the use of a flower that grants immortality. When Sabrina drowns in the river and is brought to the sea god, she is bathed "In nectar'd leaves strew'd with Asphodil" (Comus 838)....   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Free Essays
436 words (1.2 pages)

John Milton's Life and Writing Essay

- John Milton's Life and Writing John Milton did not just write poetry. He put his life, his thoughts, into words. Milton began his life in Cheapside, England, because his father’s wealthy family was Roman Catholic and John Milton Sr., Milton’s father, decided to become Protestant, therefore he was disinherited (Muir). However, the Milton family did not remain poor, John Milton Sr. was able to establish a wealthy family once more. He became a scrivener, which is a law writer, and was also a music composer on the side (Liukkonen)....   [tags: John Milton biographies Essays]

Term Papers
1699 words (4.9 pages)

John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay: Allegory of Sin and Death

- Allegory of Sin and Death in Paradise Lost       That Milton's Paradise Lost is unsurpassed--and hardly equaled--in English literature is generally accepted by critics and scholars. Whether it may have serious flaws, however, and what they may be, is less certain, for it is here that opinion varies. Of particular interest to some is the allegory of Sin and Death (II. 648-883). Robert C. Fox wonders that it has not been the subject of much more critical discussion, asking "Is it that Milton's readers are puzzled by this episode and, unable to explain its significance, prefer to pass it over in silence....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Free Essays
2447 words (7 pages)

Importance of Preserving the Union in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- The Importance of Preserving the Union in Paradise Lost                Critics have long argued over the power structure operating in the gender relations of Milton's Paradise Lost. However, to really understand Adam and Eve and the intricacies of their relationship, it is necessary to view them in terms of a union, not as separate people vying for power. Because they are a union of contraries, the power dilemma is a moot point even though a hierarchy exists; it is a hierarchy of knowledge, not of power, and it in no way implies that Adam needs Eve any less than she needs him....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Term Papers
5573 words (15.9 pages)

Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- Milton’s Paradise Lost has been praised as being the greatest English epic of all time, most stunningly in its author's depiction of the parents of humanity, Adam and Eve. How Milton chose to portray the original mother and father has been a focus of much criticism with contemporary readers. One of the main subjects of these comments is in reference to Eve, who, according to many, is a trivial character that is most definitely inferior to her mate. Nonetheless, many do not recognize that, after the fateful Fall, she becomes a much more evolved character....   [tags: Milton’s Paradise Lost]

Term Papers
4358 words (12.5 pages)