Milton's "Areopagitica" Analytical Essay by CanadianThinker

Milton's "Areopagitica"
A look at how civil liberty is defined in John Milton's "Areopagitica".
# 45448 | 1,500 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2003 | CA
Published on Nov 05, 2003 in Literature (English) , English (Analysis)

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This paper begins with a short history of Milton's changing philosophical viewpoints, followed by a chronology of the development of his masterpiece against censorship, "Areopagitica". The entire work is examined as a whole, then the paper focuses on how Milton uses the ability to distinguish personally between good and evil, or truth and error, as a gauge of the degree of civil liberty granted to that person by his or her country's governing body. The ramifications of censorship, as Milton describes them, are studied.

From the Paper:

"In his early days as a writer, John Milton came to realize three forms of liberty: religious, domestic and civil, and pointedly set out to defend each one. He began first with the notion of religious freedom, defended in such works as The Reason of Church Government (1642). Next came his short-lived marriage and subsequent divorce, which brought his mind strongly to the issue of domestic liberty, culminating in the prose work Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, in which he discussed the relation of the individual to the State, and condoned complete individual freedom in matters concerning personal welfare and happiness. Because of the reinstatement of censorship laws at the time, Milton was forced to publish this work "without license". Milton's pamphlets were subsequently targeted as banned materials. It was this event that spurred Milton to write his treatise on censorship and civil liberties, Areopagitica. While ineffectual at the time , Areopagitica remains a classic argument for freedom of speech."

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