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Compare and Contrst - Paradise Lost and Balled of Reading Gaol

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Compare and contrast excerpts from two poems: 1) 'Paradise Lost' by John Milton book 1, lines 40-124 and 242-270. 2) 'The Ballad of Reading Gaol' by Oscar Wilde, book five How do both the poems and the poets relate to the theme 'Fallen Hero?' John Milton and Oscar Wilde were two literary figures who crafted many different types of work. Milton was a pamphleteer in mid seventeenth century, who wrote and discussed important matter such as; in defence of liberty, in support of regicides, against episcopacy, divorce, apologist for the Common Wealth. Perhaps the most famous of his pamphlets, was 'Areopagitica', this dealt with censorship. Wilde was a playwright in the late nineteenth century. Milton was highly placed in the political world. He was sentenced to prison, for being a republican when monarchy returned to Britain. He was however bailed out by a friend, and after facing his sentence in gaol he wrote Paradise Lost referring to a 'Fallen Hero' which is possibly the best piece of English literature ever written. Paradise Lost, his most famous poem that was first published in 1867 in ten books. Wilde was one of the most popular celebrities of his time. He was sentenced to two years imprisonment and hard labour in Reading Gaol. He was sent to gaol after he was accused by the Marquis of Queensbury of homosexual offences. ...read more.


Society is the law, and law is not always right: "I know not whether Laws be right, Or whether Laws be wrong;" (verse 1) The word Law in this poem, has a capitol L this is to personify the word, and raises the word law from guidance, into a high power. The quote is saying Law, which is society, perhaps is judging mistakenly. The next quote highlights this fact: "But straws the wheat and saves the chaff" (verse 2) This quote is a play on the saying 'Separate the wheat and chaff'. The saying means to distinguish the good from the bad, the precious from the worthless. This saying literally occurred regularly in the ancient agricultural practice of winnowing. This is said in the Bible: 'Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.' (Matthew 3:12) In Wilde's poem, he says that more bad people are not imprisoned, than good people are imprisoned. The Satan in Milton's poem intended to be the 'Fallen Hero'? I believe he is the anti-God or anti-hero. If this is the case, I believe Satan is not a hero, but is a character that consists of many heroic qualities; "A mind not to be changed by place or time. ...read more.


They will approach the war not by strength, but by intelligence. They learned God's foremost weapon was thunder. "Who thunder hath made greater?" (Line 258) Although Satan lost his battle against God he can still win the war. The primary difference between the two poems is the determination of the two Fallen Heroes Satan has resilience to fight back and defeat the omnipotent; however Wilde allowed society, which was his omnipotent to crush him. Milton managed to write this poem as a result of his return into society he fought back, and was able to write about the positives of his fall. Wilde however, took a vast piece out of him, and was only able to write about the negatives of his experience. I believe, if Milton had been trampled to the same extent of Wilde, he would not have been able to write the best piece of literature ever. Similarly, if Wilde was not hit at such an degree, he would have been able to write about the encouraging points of his life. Milton and Wilde differ in such a way; it is difficult to contrast the two poets. However being able to see the difference in manner of literature, after different levels of crushing by society, enables you to see the true Fallen Heroes; Milton and Wilde. ?? ?? ?? ?? Amar Prajapati Coursework essay Mr Hollely - 1 - ...read more.

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