English Literature

Definition of Allegory & Examples

A form of extended metaphor in which objects, persons, and actions in a narrative, either in prose or verse, are equated with meanings that lie outside the narrative itself. Thus, it represents one thing in the guise of another—an abstraction in that of a concrete image. The characters are usually personifications of abstract quality, the action and the setting representative ...

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The Miller’s Tale

I. The Miller’s intrusion into the arranged order of story telling: symbolic of the lower middle-class disruption of the former social structure. II. Knowledge vs. Ignorance: 1. Marital fidelity: advantages and disadvantages. 2. God’s way of managing the world: obscurantism. 3. Science: prying into God’s secrets. 4. A dialectic without favoring either side. III. Sinister reference to the Clerk and ...

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Plot Summary of Paradise Lost

 Discussion of Paradise Lost 1. The explicit purpose: “To justify the ways of God to men” 2. Plot Summary: Book I: Satan, vanquished leader of the Fallen Angels, regroups his followers in Hell and summons a council to renew a “Vain War with Heaven” Book II: After discussion by the devils, Satan’s plan is adopted to annoy God by annexing ...

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John Milton

  I. Biography: 1. A highly self-conscious poet: resemblance with Edmund Spenser (beginning with the pastoral and ending with the epic) In his self positioning as a national bard: Speaking for the whole nation. In his pursuit of the ideal poetic career: highly knowledgeable and linguistically versatile. 2. Coming from the background of wealthy bourgeoisie. From the Anglican Church to ...

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George Herbert

  I. Biography: 1. Derived from a wealthy, aristocratic family. 2. His advancement in the University. 3. His earnestness with the pastoral duty II. The major theme of his religious lyrics: 1. The tensions and anxieties in his relationships to God: as that of friend with friend, but essentially unequal. 2. Inability for his poems to praise God. 3. A ...

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John Webster

  I. Webster’s contribution to Renaissance Drama: 1. Combination of sublime poetry and lurid gothic horror. 2. Creation of rebellious, independent, sexually active heroines. 3. Vision of a metaphysically dark, morally corrupt, death-ridden world II. II Themes of the play The Duchess of Malfi 1. Flattery and corruption of the court. 2. The Duchess’s self-assertion in sexual matters. 3. Bosola as ...

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