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dc.contributor.advisorGossman, Ann M.
dc.contributor.authorHemby, James B.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation, A Study of Irony in Paradise Lost, shows how the various stylistic techniques of irony, as well as the broader ironies that involve the whole structure of the poem or the cosmic perspective of the poet, are related to one another in their service of the poet's vision of universal truth. The historical survey of irony in the first chapter shows that the literary and philosophic expressions of irony are pervasive in the tradition of Western culture which was Milton's heritage, and that the critics from Aristotle to the seventeenth-century rhetoricians were aware of irony but did little more than comment on one or two aspects of it, especially as a figure of speech. Since Milton's broader ironies in particular rest upon his acceptance of certain basic, if paradoxical, Christian truths about the metaphysical and moral character of the cosmos, the second chapter defines Milton's cosmic values as a basis for the ironic modes of feeling and thought in the poem. Since Milton's heritage includes a practice of irony that goes beyond what even the seventeenth-century critics treated systematically, and since his own ironies are more complex than such criticism, a modern critical classification of kinds of irony is used in this study. In the third chapter these types are named and defined: verbal irony, ironic allusions, ironic paradoxes, dramatic irony, and cosmic irony. They are separated only for the sake of analysis, but their interrelatedness is demonstrated as well. Chapters IV, V, and VI discuss ironies that are primarily stylistic. Verbal irony in its basic form: contradictory assertion and implication in diction and proposition, and in the form of overstatement and understatement, is the subject of the fourth chapter. The fifth chapter demonstrates the way in which certain allusions, primarily classical and biblical, add a new dimension to the poem by bringing a wealth of traditional material briefly to bear on a given character or episode, especially when the reader's knowledge of the tradition permits him to perceive an ironic qualification of meaning. The sixth chapter serve as a transition between smaller and larger ironies: the paradox may reside in figures of speech, in contradictory elements within a character, or in basic ideas that are part of the theme, such as the proposition that evil is morally real, but not metaphysically real. The seventh and eighth chapter deal with larger structural elements in the poem and with the different levels of vision which it encompasses. Dramatic irony, the subject of the seventh chapter, deals wit the discrepancies between the limited point of view of the characters in the epic and the omniscient point of view, which Milton and his audience share, particularly when this full knowledge is a matter of the outcome of the plot. Cosmic irony, which is treated in the final chapter, is the broadest irony of all and the one that pervades Paradise Lost. It embodies the author's vision of truths, sometimes paradoxical in themselves, about the nature of reality and the discrepancy between persons and events as they appear from the limited point of view of humanity and the way they may e seen under the aspect of eternity. This irony is a mode of philosophic insight and a means of reconciling man's fallibility and his illusory hopes with the providential plan for mankind. Milton's vision is of a cosmos which is basically good and orderly, but whose goodness could not be realized on the human level apart from the freedom of men or angels to deny or misuse the good. Yet, through God's providence, Satan's or man's misuse of good serves ultimately only to augment God's greater creative goodness. Such a cosmic vision requires the mode of irony to contain and reconcile the apparent contradictions within it. For this reason Milton is a supreme ironist.
dc.format.extentvi, 215 leaves, bounden_US
dc.format.mediumFormat: Printen_US
dc.relation.ispartofTexas Christian University dissertationen_US
dc.subject.lcshMilton, John, 1608-1674. Paradise losten_US
dc.titleA study of irony in Paradise losten_US
dc.typeTexten_US of English
local.collegeAddRan College of Liberal Arts
local.academicunitDepartment of English
dc.identifier.callnumberMain Stacks: AS38 .H45 (Regular Loan)
dc.identifier.callnumberSpecial Collections: AS38 .H45 (Non-Circulating) of Philosophy Christian University

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