God’s Revelation (002-002)

Merrit Hughes notes that “our biographers do not agree as to which of Milton’s first two wives is the subject of this sonnet” (170) and goes on to relate how certain critics view it, even, simply as “the ideal embodiment of a poet’s heavenly vision”. Readers, then, must decide on the action of the poem for themselves and if the speaker has actually seen the face of his dead beloved; complicating matters is the dense allusion to Greek mythology (the reference to Alcestis, i.e., the Euripides myth), as well as Milton’s own alleged “absorption” in the feminine figures of Dante and Petrarch.


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