Essay on ‘Sonnet XIX: When I Consider How my Light is Spent by John Milton

Essay on ‘Sonnet XIX: When I Consider How my Light is Spent by John Milton

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John Milton’s ‘Sonnet XIX: When I Consider How my Light is Spent’, uses the literary techniques of metaphorical representations, irony and satire to convey it’s themes of religion, specifically concerning the use of ones God given talents, and the issue of disability upon and individuals religion to an audience in a political climate enduring through a drastic state of change in structure and values in a cultural revolution that valued a persons by their measure such as a poet through their authorial work, yet still remains significant to audiences today through satirical interpretation.
In Milton’s true style, what the poem says and what the poem means to convey are two drastically different things entirely. The initial meaning of the poem during this time period would most likely have been interpreted in a literal sense focusing on the actual written context instead of the now believed underlying one as the interpretation by audiences at the time would have been based upon the religious context of the poem, relating to the presence of strong religious values within society, and the poets new visually impaired state, which would have gained attention given the poets highly transparent place in the Cromwell regime. Upon first glance, the poem is referring to Milton’s recent loss of his sight; “When I consider how my light is spent/ Ere half my days in this dark world and wide”, and progresses through to how is poetic talent is now “Lodg’d with me useless” and how now the former poet must patiently wait for his time to come as he cannot “exact day labour” in his visual state “light denied”.
‘Sonnet XIX: When I Consider How my Light is Spent’ was written sometime during the time period from1652 to 1656, a date that is debated by l...


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...hought from its readers through irony.

Once an author publishes their work, the meaning that piece is out of their control. It ceases to contain the connotations that it was built with as each generation adds to and interprets its material differently. Today, unlike in the past, the message taken away from Milton’s ‘Sonnet XIX: When I Consider How my Light is Spent’ is more likely a satirical interpretation on how individuals can overcome any obstacle that they face and must continue to persevere through their lives. The religious aspect is today interpreted in different ways because of the debate over the intent under which the poem was written. This delicious controversy remains a prominent reason for why the poem is still read, discussed and analysed in academia today as a result of Milton’s command over the sonnet form and impeccable use of imagery and satire.

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