Faith, Sympathy, and Consolation in Milton’s Lycidas




Schamowski, Charlotte

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In John Milton’s Lycidas, the speaker’s confusion over the death of Lycidas is represented to sympathize with other Christians who may have been in a similar situation of uncertainty and grief. As a Christian, Milton knew that confusion is one of the most disturbing enemies of a believer’s faith. This thesis will look at Milton’s approach in using both pagan and Christian notions in Lycidas and will argue that the poem is addressing a greater issue than merely serving as a personal elegy: it is about a Christian’s faith and the uncertainty and confusion that arises during one’s journey of faith. In that approach the poem raises the question of why a virtuous man like Edward King has to face death at an early age, which opens the discussion of God’s justice. This thesis suggests that Lycidas is a poem about faith and trust in God and serves as a source of empathy towards all believers who like the speaker in Lycidas struggle with their unresolved questions in times of grief and sorrow. Milton allows the speaker to experience confusion in order to practice his faith. The confusion and questionings lead the readers to ponder God’s ways. This thesis also looks at the pastoral aspect of Lycidas and will argue that the pagan tradition used in Lycidas does not interfere with Christian aspect of it but works to its advantage. Milton uses the pastoral elegy and pastoral world to represent mourning and thus creates a contrast with the Christian-world that offers consolation.



Milton, Lycidas, Faith, Sympathy, Consolation in Milton’s Lycidas, Religion, Christian, Pastoral, Pastoral Poetry, Pastoral Elegy, Theology, Biblical Allusions, Milton and Boethius, Lycidas and The Consolation of Philosophy, Christian Allusions, Classical Allusions, Nostalgia in Lycidas, Confusion, Mourning, Milton and Christianity.


Schamowski, C. (2022). <i>Faith, sympathy, and consolation in Milton’s Lycidas</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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