Comment on Milton’s grand style.
John Milton was highly ambitious to be the rival poet of all the classical masters namely – Homer, Virgil, Tasso, Boccaccio, and Dante. With this end in view, he mastered all poetic arts to write his long desired epic poems, Paradise Lost, and Paradise Regain. Though he was completely blind at the time of writing these epic poems, his poetic faculty was quite aright. During his prose period, he already achieved necessary learning of poetic style for which his prose style is also highly poetical and it has the poetical sublimity. To speak the truth, Milton excelled almost all the Literary Giants in respect of the sublimity of his language and poetic style. Even his poetical master, Edmund
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He was very careful in selecting words, and where the Saxon word was unsuited, he used the Latin derivatives. As a scholar in Latin language, he selected the necessary Latin words and Latin construction for adding diversity to his poetic style. Therefore, the Latin idioms and syntaxes and above all the use of words in Latin senses, are very common in Milton. There are devices for attaining in English something of the effect of the loaded lines of Latin verse which is a legitimate aim in a poem that deliberately emulates Virgil. But despite these devices, it is simply not true that Milton’s language is not based on common English, on the current educated speech of his time. Milton gives preference of abstract word to concrete words and for this, he has been criticized. This habit is said to be due to his visual imagination which T. S. Eliot attributes to his weak eye sight or subsequent blindness. Again it can be admitted that his description are more often generic than particular. In such descriptions, he does not prompt imagination by selected details to realize an individual figure or scene. He concentrates rather on the general impression itself.
Substitution of the abstract for the concrete words to render physical appearances is frequent in Milton, and thereby he attains an effect of grandeur