What is Milton's style and its features?

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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A primary feature of John Milton's style in Paradise Lost in particular is his use of enjambment: verses (lines) that have no end punctuation but are rolled over to the next verse that will contain punctuation, "Yet chains in Hell, not realms, expect: Mean while /  From me returned,..." Due to enjambment, Milton's punctuation may fall within the verse or at the end, "Thyself not free, but to thyself enthralled; /." Another interesting feature of Milton's punctuation is the frequency with which he uses the colon (:). Colons in poetry are not unknown, Goethe uses a well-placed colon here and there, but Milton gives the colon a place of punctuational honor that is uncommon.

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gbeatty | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Milton's style is first of all epic; he is consciously writing an epic poem, modeling it after the great epics of the classical past.

His language used is Latinate; he considered writing the poem in Latin, and adapts many terms from Latin. This makes his style seem more formal, and makes many terms more complex than if drawing on more familiar English words.

It is written in blank verse, and iambic pentameter.

He uses many allusions to classical and exotic topics, adding weight and grandeur to the style.

kc4u's profile pic

kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Milton's style is superbly grand, elevated and eloquent. While discussing Milton's style, focus on these aspects:

1. His use of the blank-verse & blank -verse paragraphs;

2. His use of long periodic sentences;

3. His vocabulary: Latinised words & phrases, sonorous place-names & proper names;

4. His use of epic similes;

5. His narrative artistry;

6. His digressions meant for narrative padding.

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