The first line of the poem

The authors to show their feelings towards God and life through the language used. Keats uses words such as “gleaner”, “dies” and “maturing”. These all speak of the end of things, life. ‘Gleaner’ has a long vowel sound, with shows that Keats’ life has passed slowly, and is now coming to its finish. It reflects his yearning for inner peace: “wailful” also reflects this. Milton also uses sorrowful words, for instance, “annulled”, “complain” and “grief”. These words are highly expressive of the pain and anguish that Milton feels – he is separated from God “irrecoverably”. The words he has used to depict his regret and sorrow give the reader a fuller understanding of his plight; we see that his cause is hopeless: there is no ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for Milton, because he has strayed form God’s presence, through the blindness he suffers.

John Milton uses monosyllabic words to show progression of thought. The phrases where these are included are ones such as “O dark, dark, dark”. This phrase also uses the technique of repetition, and this emphasises the hopelessness of Milton’s situation. The first line of the poem – “O loss of sight, of thee I most complain” – is almost entirely a monosyllabic line. This sums up the poem for the reader: Milton is angry, upset and sad that he now longer has the gift of sight available to him. There are few monosyllabic words of phrases in Keats’ poem, and perhaps this reflects the feeling of fatigue he has with nature. Nothing is spontaneous anymore, and so Keats has chosen not to make nature seem like it is fresh and new.

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Both writers are self-conscious in their writing. Milton is very aware of himself, and his situation when he writes, speaking thorough Samson’s eyes. Although this is a dramatic dialogue, and almost a play, the audience would hear the voice of Milton, crying in his pain: “loss of sight, of thee I most complain”. Keats also is aware of his feelings as he writes; “whoever seeks abroad may find thee sitting careless on a granary floor”.

Perhaps this is what he feels he has been doing with his life: wasting it away by sitting and looking. Keats was guiltily conscious of Narcissism, and was inclined to write with self-obsession, and self-absorption. This is shown when John Keats personifies Autumn, as she keeps “steady [her] laden head across a brook”. This brook is the image of a mirror: Autumn is looking at her reflection, but remaining passive.

There is no mistaking the anguish Milton feels, and he is almost writing this poem to God, as if it is the only way to reach him. John Milton feels cut off from God, because he is “dark, amid the blaze of noon”. He is darkness in the midst of light, and he feels that God is torturing him by making him live in light, when he cannot enjoy it. The light is the good in the world, and the darkness Milton lives in is the base and amoral things. There is a clear distinction between good and bad in O Loss of Sight, but this cannot be said of To Autumn. There are no obvious divisions between the moral and the immoral: Keats mentions “the fume of poppies” – referring to opium. This shows that Keats led a life totally absent from God, whereas Milton mourns the loss of his God.

Milton knows that God exists, and he feels separated from that God, because of his sin perhaps, or because of the absence of light in his life. John Keats briefly acknowledges that perhaps there is a God, but the thought is all too brief, and fleeting. He feels that nature is too full of sweetness and is overflowing so much that it is uncomfortable, and perhaps he suggests that there is actually evil in nature underlying the fa�ade of goodness. Milton, however, knows that nature is a thing created by God, and he is sorrowful and bitter because he cannot share in its beauty: “all her various objects of delight annulled”. Both the writers express a sense of hopelessness, because they seem to realise at some point or other in their poems that their life is futile, and that they are not really in control of where they are eternally headed. The poems are both expressions of the elusiveness of life and God.

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