John Milton's Symbolism and Imagery

High school
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John Milton's skill as a poet is demonstrated in the language of imagery and symbolism here depicted in his poems "On the Morning of Christ's Nativity" and "Lycidas." Though the themes of each poem approach the spiritual concept of life from different angles, the incarnation and the resurrection, both herald these occasions by drawing upon a wide array of resources.


With the second poem, "Lycidas," Milton does something similar, in that he treats the death of the mortal with such an eternal quality that it highlights the new and eternal life that is granted each human by the Christian doctrine to which he subscribed.
In the poem that focuses on the birth of Christ, Milton effects a slight deviation of emphasis when he writes of the morning, rather than the night of Christ's birth. The action has its desired effect, as morning is necessarily brings accompanied by the images of newness and life. The idea of Christ's bringing redemption "from above" (1.4) dovetails with the image of the morning, as this new day or new life might be considered a gift from the rising sun, which issues its light from above. However, the comparison of the sun to Christ exists only in incipience here; later it becomes more obvious in the depiction of the sun recoiling in deference to the greater light of One who gives a greater life (VII.79-84).
The idea of the Incarnation is present not just in the mention of Christ's birth but in the treatment of the things surrounding it. ...
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