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Pastoral images in poetic practice

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  1. Introduction
  2. Pastoral representation in poetry
  3. The condition in the late sixteenth century
  4. The role of Pastoral themes
  5. Importance of the use of pastoral tactics
  6. Milton's views on marriage and the social roles of man and woman
  7. Iconography: A symbol of religion?
  8. Conclusion
  9. Works cited

Pastoral ?is a double longing after innocence and happiness,? its ?universal idea is the Golden Age?it is based on the antithesis of Art and Nature; and its fundamental motive is hostility to urban life. ? As educational awakening started to filter into the consciousness of writers and artists throughout the seventeenth century, their work began to take on more social awareness and a religious tone. Pastoral representation is clear through much of seventeenth century poetry and literature of all forms. While this genre ultimately complicates the subject undertaken by the poet, removing simplicity as every line can be read with a deeper meaning, it has been proved as a very necessary tool of the poetic art. Poets writing within this genre such as John Milton, John Donne, and Aemilia Lanyer, give themselves controls and a direct aim with which they can express their views. The nature of contrasting truths, found common within everyday life allows the writer to comment on the status quo, both positively and negatively while also inserting his own belief into his completed work. Milton uses the pastoral genre to infuse Paradise Lost with his beliefs on the politics of society, notably, through his descriptions of settings and landscapes. Different from Milton, Donne is able to benefit from the use of the pastoral by not describing his setting but by personifying it (the sun) in order to showcase love. Lanyer's poem appears to speak wholly about a setting. In actuality, she uses the landscape to show her emotional connection with the place and the feelings it evokes. The pastoral genre enables the poet to be a social commentator and an artist, simultaneously.

[...] All of these descriptions reference images of the natural world and are, thus, relatable to the reader while of a wholly fantastic nature as well.[11] Representation of the Devil in Paradise Lost is not romanticized. The Devil represents an evil side of society, of politics. Here, Milton inserts his own thoughts of evil, or the parts of his personality that were not pure. The Devil becomes the definition of anti-authority. Milton uses Paradise Lost to comment on religious scripture of the bible, effectively, using this form as a picture in which religion can be viewed. [...]

[...] He rejected the belief that the monarch had a right to rule with a divine right. This can be seen throughout his epic poem as he reaffirms man's responsibility to self, not to control others.[9] Paradise Lost, Milton's epic poem, is meticulously organized as a forum to show contrasts. Judaism is contrasted against Christianity, man against nature, Adam against Eve and reason against passion. It is composed in the same form as the traditional accepted example of pastoral work, Virgil's Aeneid, making Paradise Lost, the seventeenth century's leading example of pastoral poetry. [...]

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