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Milton final

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 2 months ago

 

Final Exam: Spring '08

 

Please answer all three of the questions below.  Each asks about a specific poem, and I ask you to stick closely to the language and imagery of the texts in answering.  As was the case with the midterm, the grading will be largely based on 1) the strength of your argument and 2) the support for your argument drawn from precise language in the various texts.  Each answer should be 1-2 pages, double-spaced.  You may drop the answers in my box by 5:00 Wednesday, or email them to be by that time.  If you email:

 

1.  Make sure all three answers are just one file: yourname.doc

 

2.  The extension is .doc, not .wps or .docx, neither of which I can read.  If your wordprocessor defaults to either of those, click "Save As" and choose .rtf or .doc as the extension.

 

Lastly, please include a works cited list, properly formatted, and refer to the poems in your answers by book.line numbers (no book numbers in Samson).  You may use secondary criticism if you like, but it isn't required.  If you do use it, however, be sure to cite it properly.

 

 

Questions:

 

1.  In what ways can Milton’s “brief epic” Paradise Regained be said to explain the concept of “a paradise within,” which he offers at the end of Paradise Lost?  Be careful here: I’m not asking for an essay about how great the Son is; I’m asking for an argument about the particular virtues the poem describes, the ways in which such virtue is manifested, and the effects on the physical world they may—or may not—have.

 

 

2.  In my “Note on Samson Agonistes” I argue that Samson’s rediscovery of his purpose is a gradual affair that comes, or at least is represented to us, through a series of exchanges.  Pick one of these exchanges and give a “close reading”: what does Samson learn or demonstrate, how is that different from his mindset before the exchange, and in what way (if any) does he have to develop further to understand and carry out God’s purpose for him?

 

 

3.  At the beginning of our reading of Paradise Lost, I insisted that, though the poem takes up any number of issues, many of its concerns are profoundly ethical.  One of these concerns is the role Milton believes human beings should occupy within the natural world.  I would like you to write an essay arguing that Milton provides an idealized relationship between humans and nature in Paradise Lost and describing that relationship.  I would also like you to include some notion of how that relationship changes as a result of the fall: is it utterly different?  Is it simply adapted?  Are its ideals preserved though expressed in other ways?

 

The strength of this essay (as is the case, really, in all of them) will come in the specificity of evidence.  Be sure to consider, beyond Milton’s representation of Adam and Eve at work and play, descriptions of Paradise and the Creation, discussions about God’s purposes in nature, and the extent to which nature registers the fall.

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