Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 265
The only characters in Aeropagitica are Milton himself as the author, the people he's addressing, and those he references in the work itself.
Milton is the author of Aeropagitica. He wrote it to try to convince the legislative bodies in England to stop censoring books. As the eNotes study guide for Aeropagitica shows, Milton makes an extremely subtle and flattering appeal.
The House of the Lords and the House of the Commons are the two major English legislative bodies that Milton is addressing. Together, they make up the body called Parliament. They're the ones who decided to pass censorship laws.
Protagorus is a Greek philosopher; Milton references his works being burned. This is part of his appeal to stop the English government from censoring books.
Cato the Censor is another man Milton references in the play. Milton says that Cato was trying to banish certain works in the Roman Senate but that Scipio and others stood against him.
Nævius and Plautus are men whom Milton calls the first Roman comedians. He says they filled the streets with their humorous writing. He also says that Nævius was put in prison for what he wrote and said, though he was released once he recanted.
Galileo is a famous scientist whom Milton says he visited in Italy. Galileo was convicted of heresy. Milton uses the example of Italy to convince his listeners that England has been, and should continue to be, a place where people are free to think and write what they please. According to The Guardian, Milton was introduced to Galileo by Galileo's son.
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