On His Blindness

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"On his Blindness" by John Milton

John Milton was a great writer and one of the few who was recognized in his own time. His name stands out in the history of English literature mainly for his two works, Paradise Lost and Paradise regained. In 1651 Milton became blind, yet he continued to write and his daughters would take dictation. The poem On his Blindness, by John Milton is an Italian sonnet which addresses the Christian perspective of how to accept ones disabilities. The writer is effective in doing so, as he utilizes Biblical allusions, figurative language and colorful connotation. The date that Milton wrote the poem is uncertain, but 1955 is the year that is widely accepted.

The poem "On his Blindness" is about a man's acceptance of his disability. The form the poem takes is that of a sonnet. In the first eight lines, the speaker draws an extended allusion to the Biblical parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30). In the parable, a man gives each servant talents (money) to manage for him according to their abilities before he goes on a trip. The servant who received five coins and the one who received two doubled their master's money through wise investments. However, the servant with only one talent buried it. When their master came back, he congratulated and promoted the first two servants and cast out the last, branding him lazy. The word "talent" has two possible meanings- it could mean money (one thousand dollars) or ones' natural ability. It is understood that the speaker in the poem is blind. He makes reference to his lack of light, which is "spent" (gone); he resides in a "dark world" and his "light [is] denied". At the time Milton wrote this poem, he was already blind. The talent Milton possessed was his ability to write literature, especially poetry. He compares himself to the last servant who had only one talent. However, Milton declares that he did use his talent (it was...
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