Comus and Lycidas

Comus and Lycidas

Length: 436 words (1.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
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). The Asphodil is the flower of Hades and the dead. The immortality bringing flower is also used when Milton calls to Nature to shower his friends' watery grave with flowers, "Bid Amaranthus all his beauties shed" (Lycidas 149). The Asphodil is the flower of Hades and the dead and the Amaranthus is a flower whose color never fades. He is using this imagery to convey that both Sabrina and Lycidas are going to be granted eternal life with God.

Another similarity found in the poems is that both Sabrina and Lycidas become water nymphs who protect the innocent when they die. "For maid'nhood she loves, and will be swift/To aid a virgin, such as her self" (855-56). Sabrina doesn't want other maidens to fall victim to the horrors the river can hold. In Lycidas, he becomes a sea nymph to protect those sailors that cross the Irish Sea. "Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shoar/...and shalt be good/To al that wander in that perilous flood" (183-185).

The selections from Comus and Lycidas also share the use of Classical elements. After Sabrina drowns in the river, the water Nymphs "[bring] her strait to aged Nereus hall" (835). Nereus is the god of the Mediterranean Sea where he, like Sabrina and Lycidas, saves travelers on the water from destruction. Line 123-33 of Lycidas, "Return Alphéus, the dread voice is past/That shrunk thy streams..." is a direct call to the Classics. The "Dread Voice" is that of Saint Peter, who had been speaking in the previous lines. The Saint had left and the Classical elements can now return and lament poor Lycidas.

Since both poems share many qualities, the passages in Lycidas are very helpful in understanding the episode with Sabrina in Comus.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Comus and Lycidas." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Nov 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=111306>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Role of the Narrative in Milton's Lycidas Essay

- 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....   [tags: Milton Lycidas Essays]

Research Papers
2457 words (7 pages)

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]

Research Papers
3790 words (10.8 pages)

Freedom and Virtue in John Milton's Comus and Areopagitica Essay

- Freedom and Virtue in John Milton's Comus and Areopagitica      The martyred author of Utopia, Sir Thomas More-executed for treason against the king-is credited with the final words, "If I must live in a world in which I cannot act within my conscience, I do not wish to live!" Generations later, the fiery patriotism and explicit candor of Patrick Henry led him to utter the renowned "Give me Liberty or give me death!" Along the same lines of these two men, John Milton's "Areopagitica" argues that the essence of life is freedom to choose how one lives it....   [tags: Comus and Areopagitica Essays]

Free Essays
1740 words (5 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]

Research Papers
891 words (2.5 pages)

Civility vs Barbarity in Milton's Comus, and Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

- The relationship between civilisation and barbarity is an eminent theme in the works of antiquity, whose civilisations concerned themselves with eschewing the improper mores of the barbarous. Whether it was the savant Greeks, cosmopolitan Romans, or ascetic early Christians, barbarous behaviour was considered odious, and their supposed superiority to brutes was a source of pride. But these themes, whilst contrastive, aren't categorical; rather, they're amorphous ideas, shaped by an author's use of them in the text....   [tags: civilisation vs barbarity]

Research Papers
1679 words (4.8 pages)

Compare and Contrast the Ways Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella and Milton's Comus explore Gender and Sexuality.

- ... This male desire is given devious and egotistic connotations, because it overcomes reason, and becomes preoccupied with Stella's body. Stella, on the other hand, is personified Love and 'Virtue but that body grant to us' (AS, sonnet 52.14). However, Astrophil remains lustful, and when he is denied her body, he views her as 'too too cruel' (AS, sonnet 2.3-4), and becomes resentful. John Milton: Comus, A Mask presented at Ludlow Castle (1634) Milton's mask, presenting notions of chastity and a rampant sexuality, uses Comus, a devious character, to address the issue of physical desire....   [tags: women and their new role in society]

Research Papers
939 words (2.7 pages)

Essay on John Milton

- John Milton was born in London, England (1608), to Sarah Jeffrey and his father, who was also named John. His mother was the daughter of a merchant sailor. His father was a law writer and also composed music. He inherited a love for art and music from his father. By the time he was twelve he entered Christ’s college, Cambridge, where he wrote much religious poetry in Latin, Italian, and English. Milton was picked on often in the University, and he was expelled after starting a fist fight with his tutor....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
425 words (1.2 pages)

Pastoral Poetry Essay

- It is in the nature of pastoral poetry that human desires are projected into a natural setting and lived out only through fantasy. The real world, full as it is of unpredictability and unwanted emotions, is accessible to everyone, while the idyll of the pastoral is preserved “for poets’ fantasies;” its ground is not to be trampled by everyone (Ettin 43). After failing to retreat into the traditional pastoral landscape, John Milton begins, in his poem “Lycidas,” to exercise the control he does not have in the real world over the elements of the pastoral, defying the customary idyllic landscape and turning it into one of mourning....   [tags: Poetry]

Research Papers
2162 words (6.2 pages)

A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf Essay

- The commentary that makes up Virginia Woolf s A Room of One's Own is delivered by a female narrator on the move. She is first depicted wandering out-of-doors on the grounds of a university campus. Immediately afterwards, she makes her way indoors into various rooms and halls belonging to two of the many colleges that readers can assume make up this university. Next, she is depicted visiting the British Museum in the heart of London. She ends the book located in her London home. The mobility of this narrator points to the importance of setting in the novel....   [tags: Summary, Analysis, Background]

Research Papers
1555 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on milton and his life

- Milton and his Life John Milton was born in London. He is known for being one of the greatest poets of the English language, best known for his epic poem PARADISE LOST, written in 1667. Milton’s poetry has been said to be powerful and having rhetoric prose and a huge influence on the 18th century verse. Milton has also published pamphlets defending civil and religious rights. Milton was educated at Saint Paul’s School and Christ’s College, University of Cambridge. He first attended to become a clergyman in the Church of England but then he grew dissatisfaction with the state of the Anglican clergy and began developing poetic interest....   [tags: essays research papers fc]

Research Papers
891 words (2.5 pages)

The main theme for each is rebirth by water, which symbolizes the Sacrament of Baptism. In Lycidas, Milton compares his death to the setting sun, "Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar/So sinks the day star in the ocean bed" (167-168). Like the sun which dies each night by sinking into the water only to be reborn each morning, Lycidas will experience this rebirth as well. In the Sabrina episode, not only is she granted new life after drowning, she also saves The Lady by using the ritual act of Baptism. "Thus I sprinkle on thy breast/...Thrice upon thy fingers tip/Thrice upon thy rubied lips" (911,914-15). She anoints The Lady with her holy water and frees her from the spell that had enchanted her.

Milton wrote Lycidas and Comus at different points in his life and for very different reasons. Despite that fact, they both include much of the same symbolism and religious theories. In these two poems he shares his thoughts on the Sacrament of Baptism and powers of spiritual rebirth. After reading these poems one can say that, to Milton, the act of Baptism will cleanse you in the eyes of the Lord and allow you to start a new life with Him.

Return to 123HelpMe.com