On His Blindness Theme
What is the theme in "On His Blindness" by John Milton ?
Milton is asking himself what purpose he can have in life, now that he is completely blind. He was a deeply religious man and believed that the purpose of life was to serve God, which was what he had always tried to do. His way of serving God was to write poetry and essays on religious subjects or at least to write nothing but what he considered to be the truths that God would approve of. Milton's most famous work, of course, is his epic poem Paradise Lost, in which he said he wished to justify the ways of God to man. But being blind made it nearly impossible for him to write. That was "the one talent" he possessed. In his sonnet "On His Blindness" he asks whether God expected him to contribute anything to the world in spite of his severa handicap. He concludes by telling himself that God is all-powerful and does not need the services of any human being. His state is kingly. Humans who are patient and humble serve God best--those "who best bear His mild yoke." So Milton asssures himself that he is not sinning by failing to work for truth, justice, and religious understanding. The final beautiful iambic pentameter line of the sonnet summarizes the message of the whole poem: "They also serve who only stand and wait."
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