“On His Blindness” by John Milton

Summary and Critical Appreciation of “On His Blindness” By John Milton

“On His Blindness” is one the most popular sonnets in English literature composed by a great English poet, John Milton. It is based on Petrarchan sonnet having autobiographical touches. The Petrarchan sonnets deal with love and romance but Milton with his talent and skillful expression has converted it into a sonnet based on the theme of love for God or his relationship to God. In the poem under discussion, the poet tells us how he becomes blind. Definitely, he wants to go through this period of misery and have satisfaction to face this period with patience.

In the beginning of the poem, the poet tells that he worked for the English Republic and became blind forever and ever. Now he is pondering over the fact that he has spent most of his time in serving the people but the rest of his life is useless and challenging for him because he has just one talent and that talent is writing and with the blindness the talent he has is going to be useless because he can write nothing now.

In the next stanza, the poet discusses that he has an ardent desire to serve God but his blindness is the main stumbling block in doing so and that’s why he cannot serve his Maker. He is wondering if God still wants him to serve Him even if he is blind. This is the main thought that always surrounds his mind.

In the third and last stanza, the poet says that when the idea of if God still wants him to serve Him even if he is blind, occurs in his mind, he loses his patience as a man and thinks that man’s deeds never please God. He also believes that such idea is nothing else but a foolish one. He also believes that he who remains displays patience over what God has awarded him in the world is always liked by God. Then, the poet compares man with the angels. He says that thousands of angels are always in motion to obey God’s command. They are at God’s beck and call. On the other hand, there are some other angels who are always in standing position and wait for God’s commands. The poet says that the angels discussed later are also equal to the angels discussed earlier. The poet compares himself with the angels discussed later and appeases himself saying that he is also serving God as he is having patience.                                                              (Words: 411)




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