Q:

What is the summary of "On His Blindness" by John Milton?

A:

Quick Answer

Sonnet 16, also known as "On His Blindness," by John Milton finds the poet contemplating his usefulness to God in his present state of being blind. The sonnet was written after Milton lost his eyesight in 1652.

Continue Reading

Full Answer

The speaker begins by revealing his thoughts about living in a world of blindness while wanting more than ever to serve his maker. He fears being found inadequate at the Lord's return. He asks, "Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?” He wants to know that God does not hold him responsible for not doing more. Patience answers him. Patience is personified in the sonnet as the one advising Milton regarding his dilemma. Of course, patience is what Milton needs to have with himself and his situation. Patience tells Milton that God does not need anything man is able to give Him. What God wants, according to the sonnet, is for man to deal gracefully with what happens to him in life. "Who best bear his mild yoke, they serve him best" Patience advises the speaker. While God's work is accomplished by many people doing many different tasks, the sonnet says that "They also serve who only stand and wait." According to the Literature, Arts and Medicine Database, the poet learns that, in his situation, accepting his blindness is part of God's work for Milton. Indeed, he wrote "Paradise Lost" after losing his sight.

Learn more about Poetry

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is an interpretation of the poem "On His Blindness" by John Milton?

    A:

    John Milton's "On His Blindness" is an English sonnet about a man who surrenders himself to the will of God. In it, Milton confesses that midway through his life, he has been rendered blind and suffers great personal grief to the point that his only hope is in the mercy of God. In many ways, this poem is an allegory, in that Milton uses his story to represent universal plight and struggling among mankind.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the meaning of "On His Blindness" by John Milton?

    A:

    In the sonnet "On His Blindness," John Milton writes about his struggle with becoming blind and whether the physical handicap keeps him from fully serving God. His concerns are answered, and he concludes the poem by stating that God does not require active service from all men, but to be faithful without complaint.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a brief summary of "Holy Sonnet 10" by John Donne?

    A:

    In John Donne's "Holy Sonnet 10," the poet expresses hope to those who fear death and the threat it holds on mankind. In this sonnet, he personifies Death and tells it that it has no reason to be proud because, although it is dreaded by many, it does not have any permanent power or hold.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is a simple summary of Beowulf?

    A:

    Beowulf is a poem written by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around 700 A.D., and it follows the story of a warrior named Beowulf who travels to Denmark with a small group of men to fight a "demon" named Grendel. Grendel attacks King Hrothgar's kingdom every night for years after the noise from a party makes him mad. Hrothgar showed Beowulf's father favor once, so Beowulf asks to repay Hrothgar by defeating Grendel.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore