Milton and Sight

One thing I found interesting about Paradise Lost was one of the first lines:

That to the highth of this great Argument
I may assert Eternal Providence,
And justifie the wayes of God to men.

I found it interesting that Milton saw the need to justify the ways of God to man. On one hand, I think some anti-religion scholars might view this as an insecurity of Milton’s in his own religion. However, I think that Milton actually wanted to prove to readers that God is continually redeeming humans rather than condemning.

Milton was completely blind when he wrote Paradise Lost, though he hadn’t always been blind. He dictated the entirety of the twelve books to a scribe. I think that Milton had a different perspective on religion because of this. He saw things (no pun intended) in a different way because of his impaired sight. He probably felt that he had a stronger faith than other Christians when he wrote it, and wanted to justify the ways of God to them because they were ungrateful for what they had been given. This is a lot of speculation, but Milton’s blindness probably did give him a different perspective on faith and religion because of it.

2 thoughts on “Milton and Sight

  1. Milton does seem acutely aware of the differences of religious opinion of his own day. And he has a correspondingly high opinion of his own ability — and of the ability of others! — to reason through such conundrums and come up with reasoned responses to questions of faith and morality.

  2. When reading your post, a couple things immediately struck me. The first being that I didn’t know Milton was legally blind, which helps explain why he keeps asking for a holy muse to help guide his hand so he can tell this story. I always thought it was because he was taking an extreme stance on the subject and wanted guidance but now I see it can be because he literally needed help writing it. The second thing is the justification of God to men is a very interesting concept you’ve touched on here. The idea of even though humans aren’t always the best of people, Adam and Eve, if you follow God, you will be redeemed.

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