Politics And The English Language, Paradise Lost
- Length: 1906 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)
- Rating: Excellent
Perspective has its roots in Latin it comes from the word ‘perspicere’ or translates literally as ‘to see clearly.’
Change indicates moving from one form to another. Originally this would be from the innate, original into something refined, something that is still a working progress eventually into the completed form.
From these definitions many would conclude that a changing perspective is something that is constantly being refined, relentlessly improved, until the desired paradigm is achieved. However, the nature of a change, is that it will never get stagnant and will always be changing.
Paradise Lost by John Milton is a religious blank verse poetic epic. It is broken into 12 books and each of them contributes to the overall story, I have focused upon the first book as my text. The first book introduction contains the themes that are addressed in all the books and they are disobedience, eternal providence and the justification of the ways of God to man. The plot starts when Satan and Beelzebub are talking as they are chained in the lake of fire. Satan gets free and lets loose an innumerable number of demons and rallies them into the construction of Pandemonium in the fires of hell, they quickly build this and begin the first council.
John Milton uses many differing techniques to get the audience thinking about God and creation. Milton served time in prison for his religious and political views. Milton was a linguist and knew many different languages; his works include many examples of soraismus. The techniques that are used frequently in the first book of Paradise Lost is the use of imagery for events, people and places. The other effect that is used consistently is using blank verse, and the techniques that are applied to it. Another effect that is used is harangue but not of soliloquy, giving it the effect of a conversational piece.
Imagery is a common technique with many sub-disciplines that is used frequently for the creation and the bonding of images, to ideas. Paradise lost cultivates many symbols, emblems and logos, and manipulates them to help the audience grasp ideas, about ethereal ideas and ideals. Of the many symbols used, a common symbol used across a broad variety of sources, is the Serpent or the leviathan. It is commonly recognised as a symbol of evil and represents Lucifer or Satan. As Paradise Lost is based upon biblical literature, many of these emblems include and are based upon modus proferendi, or biblical allusions. There are many other examples that could be mentioned. Paradise Lost also includes the use of epithet quite often, to provide a more fitting description of who he is referring to all the time. For example, Lucifer, is referred to as Satan, the fallen angel, the chief of many throned powers, and this list can be widely expanded. Similar to this is the reference to the ‘burning lake’, this represents the lake of burning sulphur, or Gehenna as it was known in Hebrew. Symbolism and imagery are easy to yoke together whilst ideas cannot be simply related, using symbolism one can, just like a metaphor, compare and contrast, and come to a conclusion, that is memorable, only because the audience reached the conclusion themselves.
The technique of linking people and events with imagery is highly effective at presenting changing perspectives because when people have finalised their ideas they can be changed quite simply, just by shedding a new light on the subject, as can be done literally in film.
The iambic pentameter, is regularly considered ‘like speech,’ because it contains 10 syllables, 5 stressed and 5 unstressed. This is the standard length of a human breath. There are various rules guiding the use of syllables and where they fall, but as a general rule is it unstressed, stressed, unstressed and so on. The only place that unrhymed iambic pentameter is found is in blank verse.
Blank verse has a few techniques regularly associated with it including syncope, caesuras and enjambment. Syncope is very commonly used because it allocates a short vowel to be removed, an example of this as it is most commonly used is as in Heav’n it removes the emphasis from the ‘e’ and keep a continual flow as customary conversation does. After the use of syncope we can put two stressed syllables next to each other, as sometimes would be necessary while still maintaining the iambic pentameter.
Another technique that is used within Paradise Lost is the use of enjambment, which is the continuation of one grammatical unit onto another line. This occurs by the use of a caesuras, a pause in speech. An item of punctuation, either a comma or a full stop etc, quite often replaces this. An example of this is:
He with his thunder: and till then who knew
The force of those dire arms, Yet not for those
Nor what the Potent Victor in his rage
Can I inflict do I repent or change,
The effect of this is to spread out the limited rhythmic structure through more than one line, adding to the direction of the text. It should be noted that this was a very early form of literature, and previously had all been verbal, and nothing visual. Therefore, the use of enjambment would give it an ease to interpret and comprehend, as anyone who will attempt to read Paradise Lost will have adequate verbal skills.
Another example of enjambment is in Ulysses by Alfred Lord Tennyson
I cannot rest from travel: I will drink
Life to the lees: all times I have enjoy’d
The effect of this prose is that it allows an idea to progress between lines without repetition, leaving it for more emphasis when later needed. In addition, it allows conversation to appear as simple literature, a relatively new concept, with the application of rhetoric and figures of speech simple, because persuading someone involves the use of all five rhetorical cannons.
The techniques that are used in Paradise Lost show the effect of change or rather the lack of change, and mirrors the stereotypical Christian evangelical message that you will burn in hell if you do not change from your wicked ways, within the place that Satan calls his dominion. The technique of using blank verse and the iambic pentameter allows the composer to easily and quickly use and apply figures of speech and rhetoric. Moreover, the technique of using imagery allows the reader to connect the ideas, which they currently have any convert them to the desired view, highly probably the view that the author holds.
Politics and the English Language by George Orwell is a political essay, composed to illuminate the audience to the decomposition of exemplary writing when influenced by politics or any political issues. A major contributor to the atrophy of the English language is the use of dying metaphors, operators, pretentious diction and meaningless words. To provide an example for this point, Orwell translates Ecclesiastes 3:1 to poorly written modern English and scrupulously points at what is written poorly, from this he goes on to formulate six golden rules which is a précis on how to avoid hackneyed English.
George Orwell has a political agenda; this is reflected in many of his other works. He constructed Politics and the English language just after he completed Animal Farm, and just before 1984, there are hints of newspeak in Politics and the English Language. George Orwell portrays information using many different forms and features of essay writing. Some of which include the extensive use of rhetoric, the use of semantics to expose the discrepancies between what is inferred and what is actually being said and also the use of sparing analogy.
Politics and the English language relates to Mao’s last dancer, as it describes some of the propaganda techniques that are used in the changing of one’s perspective to the becoming of a model communist. Rhetoric has been around for centuries, and has been refined and redefined throughout the years. Rhetoric requires the use of the five rhetorical canons; invention, dispositio, elocution, memoria and pronuntiatio. This is the basis of every rhetoric device, along with the major purpose of rhetoric; to persuade, to teach or to delight. A few of the rhetoric devices that are used in this essay include pathos, anangeon, enallage, logical reasoning and presence. One that is heavily used is the use of Pathos or emotional appeal. Pathos employs the use of shock to encourage alternative thought. it is used to inspire a change, to identify the problem, by appealing to the audiences emotions it influences the audience politically and stimulates change. Another rhetoric device used although less so is the use of logical reasoning. Orwell works through issues in a concise and logical manner, with each point building on the last.
Semantics is the choice of words, or the choice of words not used to form a euphemism. This takes into consideration the effect that connotations have on the way an audience responds to a stimulus. An example that is made during the essay of based around the word ‘Fascism’ is used as a dysphemism when truly the definition of fascism is ‘something not desirable.’ The word choice throughout the essay is indicative of views, the way Orwell describes archaism you can infer the contempt that he has for the importance that the minority place on keeping tradition simply because it is archaic and no other relevant reasoning. This gives us a clear insight onto how Orwell views change, simply based upon his word choice.
Rhetoric as well as the use of word connotations is used to present a politically proactive piece that is a form of apophasis (mentioning something by saying you will not mention it.) Orwell skilfully constructs a set of criticisms for all writing at that time, but in doing that, he outlines his condemnation of communist governments for the ‘general bad atmosphere.’
6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_rhetorical_terms - and EVERY valid link in list
20. www.online-literature.com/ - for finding texts