On His Blindness by John Milton

On His Blindness book cover
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I need an explanation of "On His Blindness."

"On His Blindness" refers to the struggles John Milton had after he lost his sight. The speaker of the poem feels he's lost his purpose, that he cannot work as well for God anymore, and he asks God for guidance as to what he should do. At the end of the poem, he gets the response he's been looking for, that God is happiest when people are obedient and do as best as they can.


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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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How does this sonnet apply to us? It further suggests that each of us is given one or several talents which we are obliged to identify, utilize, and develop throughout our lives or else experience disappointment, frustration, and failure. The Bhagavad-Gita says something similar:

In the beginning
The Lord of beings
Created all men,
To each his duty.
"Do this," He said,
"And you shall prosper."   III Karma Yoga

The problem for many of us is to discover our talent, or talents. Doing this may involve a lot of trial and error. But it is obviously a matter of the utmost importance.

Blessed is he who has found his work; let him ask no other blessedness.
                                                   Thomas Carlyle

A man is relieved and gay when he has put his heart into his work and done his best; but what he has said or done otherwise, shall give him no peace. It is a deliverance which does not deliver. In the attempt his genius deserts him; no muse befriends; no invention, no hope.                                       Ralph Waldo Emerson

It seems to me that most people are good at what they like and like what they are good at.

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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John Milton's poem, "On His Blindness," speaks to the frustrations Milton had regarding his lost sight. The poem reflects upon the idea that he (the speaker of the poem) will not be able to serve God now that his sight is gone. The following will show each line of the poem (or relevant groups of lines) and the meaning of the line/s following.

WHEN I consider how my light is spent,

The speaker is reflecting upon how his light (sight) has been used over his life. This could also refer to the speaker's spiritual light (given Milton's religious ideology).

Ere half my days in this dark world and wide,

The speaker has spent half of his life blind (meaning he...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 654 words.)

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