• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Both Spenser and Milton use Language to Describe Allegorical Figures. Who Does So More Effectively?

Extracts from this document...


“The Faerie Queene” Book 1, Canto IX, Stanzas XXXIII-XXVI– Edmund Spenser

“Paradise Lost” Book 2, lines 644-680 – John Milton

Both Spenser and Milton use Language to Describe Allegorical Figures. Who Does So More Effectively?

      Milton and Spenser are both describing awful situations in their relative poems.   Spenser concentrates on an empty existence filled with gloom and despair.  Whilst Milton is describing an encounter with the gates of hell itself, and indeed two terrible creatures, causing an atmosphere of pure and utter evil flocculated with horror.

     Milton’s language suggests ultimate evil with words that distort the original dramatic meaning. We casually use words like “terrible,” when describing the weather.  In Milton’s poem, words like “terrible” exist to talk about unimaginably frightening situations.  When Milton uses the phrase “terrible as hell,” he is saying it is so terrible it is beyond human comprehension.  To create horror, Milton uses dark words to build up sinister imagery, e.g. “fierce as ten furies, terrible as hell.”  Using these extreme adjectives, we can picture the beast growing as the description continues.

     Another tool that helps illustrate the mental picture of the scene is the introduction of shadow and darkness: “Black it stood as night.”  This darkness adds to Milton’s description of the shapeless blob-like figure.

...read more.


     The vile image of the “woman to the waist” is the most important.  The description starts about a beautiful, fair woman, who at the waist becomes a sick, vile, blanket of scaly, repulsive “foul folds”.  “Voluminous and vast,” are these serpent-like scales.  The connotative words help create this large, boundary less form, “voluminous and vast,” without a drawn-out manner.  However, the scales must have an opening for the dog offspring of this half-woman, half-snake, to crawl into her womb and start gnawing away at it from the inside.  This gives the reader an impression of almost scaly cannibalism with a sexual innuendo theme.  Almost like pleasurable sex gone disgustingly bad and unnatural.  Having read this description, the reader feels uncomfortable and sickened; Milton has taken societies deepest taboos and tried to fit them into the every day lives of his characters giving a horror-filled effect.

      With regard to Spenser, in this part of “The Faerie Queene,” Spenser starts describing despair in the form of an empty existence.  Spenser has extra meaning and depth to many of his words, taking them beyond face value.  In doing this, he uses similar techniques to Milton.  Like Milton (“hell-bounds, high reaching to the horrid roof.”)  Spenser alliterates words to impress the deeper meaning.

...read more.


     Regarding the man, Spenser emphasizes everything about his low status.  In Spenser’s mind, the man is filthy.  Spenser portrays this by saying “…low sitting on the ground”.  This shows Spenser associates the man with being low, soulless bound to the ground forever.  He has “greesie locks,” which are “long growen an unbound”.  This implies the man’s extreme filth, as he has not washed, cleaned, or groomed himself.

    Spenser ends describing a dead person, bringing new filth and hopeless despair into the atmosphere.  The “drearie coarse,” which is “all wallowed in his own yet luke-warme blood,” the thought of the “rusty,” knife, is also disgusting because the rust would cause a heavy infection, therefore, no chance for recovery equaling despair.

     Milton uses language more effectively because he understands the character he is describing on a deeper level.  This in turn benefits the reader by letting him/her picture the allegorical figure, fear, more clearly and with more character.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Comparing length of words in newspapers section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Comparing length of words in newspapers essays

  1. Psychology of Language - The Nittrouer Study.

    Also, they assert that Nittrouer's use of "innateness" is too strict. Rather, they suggest a more appropriate application of innateness is to regard some mechanisms as innately guided to learning phonetic categories. They criticize Nittrouer for applying their theory to all infants and to all phonetic categories.

  2. Introduction to English language.

    ing Bicycling Dis grace ful Disgraceful In tolera(te) able Intolerable Re vision ist Revisionist Un, co operat(e) ive, ly Uncooperatively Un likely (y becomes i) hood Unlikelihood Remember that morphology is the study of the structure of words. The structure of words can also be studied to show how the

  1. These three poems examine the experiences of victims in society. Give a detailed account ...

    "ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT? Revelation came" You can tell that the landlady is becoming inpatient and demands for an answer. Soyinka realises that he has been silent. "You mean - like plain or milk chocolate?" The landlady has had the authority throughout the poem only because she is white not because of her intelligence.

  2. What Are Adjectives?

    Fitting stone wall into his formula gives the stone wall is stone, which is, if not questionable, at least not very obvious. And what about the wooden chair? Is that chair wooden, or wood? His 'formal contrasts' don't provide us with an answer either.


    Lexical ambiguity is by far the more common and its examples are found everywhere. For example, the word "deep" can mean profundity ("What you have said is very deep."), or it can be used to describe physical depth ("This hole is very deep").

  2. Compare Nooligan by Roger McGough with Street Boy by Gareth Owen. How do the ...

    In fact, it instead makes hooligans appear silly and stupid. Also, McGough mocks hooligans in the last line of every stanza. For every point he makes as the "nooligan", he mocks it at the end. For example, in the first stanza he says: In our class I'm the boss This

  1. Consumer responses to wine bottle back labels

    Moreover, it is salutary to note that this sample marginally favoured back label information to that contained on front labels (42% opting for scores 5-7, as against 32% for scores 1-3). When this information is disaggregated by the sample characteristics (Table 1)

  2. Choose some newspapers, analyze their content and style and make comparisons.

    In order to do that, I will need to determine the common categories in each newspaper and how much space is allocated to them, in terms of pages. Then I will take samples from each category accordingly, as this will give an overall view of the newspaper.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work