When I Consider How My Light is Spent Essay

When I Consider How My Light is Spent Essay

Length: 2356 words (6.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

John Milton’s Sonnet XIX, known as “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent” is a poem considering one’s disabling affliction in light of a time-less truth that the Apostle Paul wrote of: all things work to the good who love God and one thereby learns to be content in all things. Milton’s disabling affliction was blindness and by most interpretative accounts he was blind when he wrote Sonnet XIX. Under God’s providence Milton “considers” his dark infirmity and writes (dictates?) in light thereof. In this darkness and in this light I will consider Milton’s Sonnet.
First to consider is that the poem used in The Norton Anthology of English Literature is an edited version from The Complete Poetry and Major Prose of Milton, edited by Merritt Y. Hughes. The poem that will be considered here is the 1673 text printed in The Riverside Milton, edited by Roy Flannagan. The decision of Riverside was not to intervene into the text, but to leave as it was written. Hughes’ changes insert punctuation, capitalization and spelling to update it to a modern audience. By modernizing the poem Hughes has effectively changed the meaning to what he as the editor had in mind. Milton wanted good readers, readers that read deeper than surface meanings and by changing the text the art of Milton’s words are compromised for the poem was designed to confuse the reader. Milton as a wordsmith is preparing the reader for a spiritual confusion that leads one to a question. Hughes’ editing reinforces the binary aspects of the poem that sets up one speaker in the octave and one speaker in the sestet, the problem in the octave then the solution in the sestet, if one likes. If one leaves out the editorial changes, the octave speaker and the sestet speaker become erased...


... middle of paper ...


... is required of all humankind. In Milton’s voice of patience the voice of complaint was quelled and regardless of time spent working or what affliction besets one, God is generous and graciously provides all through the unction of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost’s works derive from one’s faith and by this spirit operates within one to the glory, purpose and will of God. This will of a holy God who sends forth his messengers to Godspeed in giving good success to forward his purpose in the talent or gift that he distributes by the operation of the selfsame Spirit. Milton acknowledges obedience to this one God that he puts himself at disposal to, and in all this Milton “charged [not] God foolishly” (Job 1:22 K.J.V.). John Milton’s darkness will in one day stand in the eternal unspent light as he waits to consider the words “enter in good and faithful servant.”




Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Essay When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

- Not My Will, But Thy Will Be Done The poem “When I consider how my light is spent” portrays the struggle of a talented man who is blindsided by a handicap (21-22). The poet, John Milton, is also the narrator in the poem using first person point of view to describe his struggle with the onset of blindness at the age of 43. This poem was an outlet for Milton to express his feelings towards becoming blind as a man, thus why only a year had passed between his onset of blindness and the dictation of this poem....   [tags: Poetry, Rhyme, Iambic pentameter, Rhyme scheme]

Powerful Essays
941 words (2.7 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: metaphorical representations, irony ]

Powerful Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Legacies in Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley and When I Consider How My Light Is Spent by John Milto

- ... It is first important to mention that the author of this poem, John Milton, suffered from glaucoma and eventually went blind. Due to this information, it can be implied that Milton’s gradual loss of sight was a source of inspiration for this sonnet and that Milton is the speaker of the poem. Therefore the word “light” (Milton, 1) can metaphorically take on multiple meanings such as his talent (as it is the light that he brings to the world) or his vision (as one goes blind the world becomes increasingly darker and the ability to see light decreases)....   [tags: poems, after death, god]

Powerful Essays
1342 words (3.8 pages)

Discontinuity in Self-Reliance and When I Consider How My Light Is Spent

- Discontinuity in Self-Reliance and When I Consider How My Light Is Spent        Ralph Waldo Emerson emphatically proclaims in "Self-Reliance" that "the highest merit we ascribe to Moses, Plato, and Milton is that they set naught at traditions but spoke…what they thought" (515). Emerson declares that Milton’s greatness is attributed not to conformity but rather to originality. Milton’s break with consistent expectations is epitomized in his use of a Petrarchan sonnet in the poem "When I Consider How My Light Is Spent." Nonconformity and discontinuity in a man’s approach to life are the doctrines espoused by Emerson in his work "Self-Reliance," and Milton embodies an Emersonian outlook whi...   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Powerful Essays
1850 words (5.3 pages)

Philosophy of Milton in When I Consider how my Light is Spent and Borges in Poema de los dones

- The Philosophy of Milton in When I Consider how my Light is Spent and Borges in Poema de los dones          Jorge Luis Borges espoused a philosophy that "all men are each other" (Stabb 52). His literature frequents the theme by finding the repetition of events that transpire regardless of the person involved. His becoming blind coincided with his appointment as Director of the National Library of Argentina, and he understood this "splendid irony of God" as another wrinkle in the circular repetition of existence....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Powerful Essays
3105 words (8.9 pages)

Comparing Do not go gentle into that good night and When I consider how my light is spent

- Comparing Dylan Thomas's poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night and John Milton's poem When I consider How My Light Is Spent Dylan Thomas's poem "Do not go gentle into that good night" and John Milton's poem "When I consider how my light is spent" were written during times of trouble in their respective poet's life. Thomas was faced with losing his father to death; Milton was dealing with becoming completely blind at the age of forty-three. As each poet struggles to deal with the crisis occurring in his life, he makes a statement about the relationship between mankind and God, the reasons that God gives and then takes away certain gifts, and the proper way to live life....   [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]

Powerful Essays
1178 words (3.4 pages)

Epiphany in Astronomer’s Wife, When I consider how my light is spent and Everything That Rises Must

- Epiphany in Astronomer’s Wife, When I consider how my light is spent and Everything That Rises Must Converge The short story, “Astronomer’s Wife,” by Kay Boyle is one of perseverance and change. Mrs. Ames, because of neglect from her husband, becomes an emotionless and almost childlike woman. As a result, Mrs. Ames, much like John Milton in his poem, “When I consider how my light is spent” (974), is in darkness, unaware of the reality and truth of the outside world. However, the plumber who is trying to repair leaking pipes in her house, starts by repairing the leaking pipes in her heart....   [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]

Free Essays
1783 words (5.1 pages)

Quest for Love in Astronomer's Wife, The Life You Save, and When I consider how my light is spent

- Every human being is entitled to his or her own personal way of life, making that person his or her own individual. The idea of an unbalanced role in life between the sexes is ongoing, and is beautifully described in Kay Boyle's short story, "The Astronomer's Wife." It is here where the author states, in order "to survive women cling to the floating debris on the tide" (59). No longer would the astronomer's wife need to hold on to something to survive, for she has found her identity because of the plumber's clarity and truthfulness, something she has been denied by the astronomer....   [tags: Comparison Compare contrast Essays]

Powerful Essays
1615 words (4.6 pages)

Essay on Making a Night Light

- Making a Night Light A nightlight provides light at the change of the light- mostly at night. The definition of light night is so that night passers will be able to see more clearly, drivers will be able to drive safely and accidents will be avoided. Nightlight requires LDR (Light Dependent Resistor). The resistor changes its resistance depending on the amount of light it receives. LDR is also used to monitor light intensity level. A resistor, which reduces the flow of current in circuit, is also needed....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
602 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on Solitude as Portrayed by Faulkner in Light in August

- William Faulkner, an American author, wrote the novel, Light in August, in which Joe Christmas is at the center of the story. Joe Christmas is an orphan who is of biracial descent. At a young age, Christmas was adopted by a man named McEachern. When Christmas became older, he killed his father. From that point on, Christmas wandered about until he reached Jefferson, Mississippi where he fell in love with Joanna Burden, whom he also killed later on in the story. For this reason, along with numerous others, Christmas was lynched at the conclusion of this novel....   [tags: Literary Analysis]

Powerful Essays
1958 words (5.6 pages)