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Milton's Alternative Passion

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Chapter Summary

While John Milton draws on the techniques of the early modern Protestant passion, the complexity and subtlety of his representations of the Son set Milton apart from most of his contemporaries. From the range of alternatives available in the gospels and in earlier Reformation treatments of the passion, Milton consistently emphasizes the sonship of Christ, always pointing back to the will of God the Father. Though Milton largely avoids the literal rendering of Christ in battle, this comment supplies an important instruction about his portraits of the Son: it is through an internal and spiritual power that he fulfills his role. Milton's alternative passion focuses on the Son's internal qualities and inner battle, not on any outward show of force or physical violence, including even the crucifixion. The basic terms of Milton's alternative passion are contained in certain key phrases which appear repeatedly throughout his work.

Keywords: crucifixion; gospels; John Milton; Protestant passion



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