Gower Bibliography

Milton’s Sin and Death

Tatlock, J. S. P. "Milton’s Sin and Death." Modern Language Notes 21.8 (1906), pp. 239-240.


Tatlock admits that Milton's allegory of Satan, Sin, and their son Death is based in the first place on the Epistle of James 1:15, and that the description of Sin has echoes of Hesiod, Virgil, Dante, Spenser, and Phineas Fletcher. However, the most curious parallel is to be found in Gower's MO, lines 235-37, where Sin and Death have seven daughters, the Deadly Sins. The Devil "sends all these beings abroad among men, just as Sin and Death follow Milton's Satan to this world" (240). The chance that Milton read the MO is "infinitesimal" (240), but the parallel hints that at least their sources are the same, and it suggests something of Milton's debt to medieval allegory, despite the fact that the Renaissance used allegory more for adornment than for the "bald" (240) exposition of intellectual ideas (as in Gower). [CvD]

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Influence and Later Allusion
Mirour de l’Omme (Speculum Meditantis)

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