Summary and Analysis of Sonnet 15 by John Milton

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INTRODUCTION TO JOHN MILTON-

Among the most famous poets in the history of English literature, John Milton was born on 9 december, 1608 in London. His most works constitute of prose poetry. He is known for his remarkable epic “Paradise Lost”.

SONNET 15-

Sonnet 15 by John Milton celebrates the military career and achievements of Fairfox.

SETTING OF SONNET 15-

There is no specific physical setting of the poem. But since this sonnet is written in the  praise of Fairfox, it can be said that the poem is set in the town, Colchester.

POETIC DEVICES IN SONNET 15 –

RHYME SCHEME-

“Fairfax, whose name in arms through Europe rings  (A)

Filling each mouth with envy, or with praise,  (B)

And all her jealous monarchs with amaze  (B)

And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings;”  (A)

ALLITERATION-

“Victory home, though new rebellions raise”

“Their hydra heads, and the false north displays “

REPITITION-

“And all her jealous monarchs with amaze

And rumours loud, that daunt remotest kings; “

SUMMARY OF SONNET 15-

John Milton himself is the narrator of this sonnet. He wrote this sonnet in the honor of the most efficient and skilled general, Fairfox who took the control of the town Colchester. Milton describes Fairfox as being a celebrity figure known by every living being in Europe, each mouth called his name either they sang his praises or were envious of him and his power. Every king in Europe, even the leader of the remotest areas was aware of Fairfox’s legendary achievements. Milton then directly addresses Fairfox by saying to him that his virtue brings victory to the home country though the North still tries to raise its “hydra-heads”, this is a direct reference to the northern rulers trying to invade European nations after the Civil War. Then Milton tells Fairfox that there is still a noble task at hand for him. He tells Fairfox that the war that causes so much violence is in vain if the truth is never revealed. The war and the victory is useless until the public faith is renewed and the truth about the public fraud and shame is cleared.

CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF SONNET 15-

This sonnet expresses the appreciation of Milton towards Fairfox and his victories. Milton also expresses the importance of the revealation of truth in the eyes of the public, for the war and the victory is in vain if the truth is not known.

TONE OF SONNET 15-

The tone of the poem is boastful and praiseful, expressing the poet’s pride in the military general Fairfox.

CONCLUSION-

“Sonnet 15” by John Milton is a praiseful poem and rightly describes the achievements of the great military general, Fairfox whose bravery led to numerous vicotries for the European Parliament.

Contributor: Radhika Goel

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