Mockery and Superiority in Canzone: Supported by Areopagitica Examines John Milton's use of mockery and superiority in the poem Canzone; supported by Areopagitica.

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�PAGE � �PAGE �4� Zimmer

Rachel Zimmer

Prof. Graff

Milton: ENGL 420

June 10, 2002

Mockery and Superiority in Canzone:

Supported by Areopagitica

Mockery, as well as a sense of pride and/or superiority comes out in many of Milton's works and he exemplifies this by writing in ways that seems to humble himself, charm the subject of the poem, and yet scoff at him/her at the same time as well as prove his high intellect. Milton's often-circular logic exemplifies his cunning as well as his superciliousness.

He first charms his subject (which also happens to be his reader/audience in many poems-Canzone, Areopagitica, Of Education, The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates…) with words of praise while humbling himself, and tries to win him/her over. "[W]hich if I now first should begin to do, after so fair a progress of our laudable deeds, and such a long obligement upon the whole realm to your indefatigable virtues, I might be justly reckoned among the tardiest and the unwillingest of them that praise ye"(Milton 237).

He then presents his idea or side of an argument while continuing to charm, and insinuates that the audience unknowingly has the same opinion as him. Two examples of this are found in Areopagitica: "For he who freely magnifies what hath been nobly done, and fears not to declare as freely what might be done better, gives ye the best covenant of his fidelity; and that his loyalest affection and his hope waits on your proceedings" (Milton 238). And "…there can no greater testimony appear than when your prudent spirit acknowledges and obeys the voice of reason" (Milton 239).

Yet, all of these flowery words are given in very sarcastic tones, as if Milton is having some kind of private joke. By...