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Home » , » Write a short note on the autobiographical interest of Areopagitica?

To tell the truth, Areopagitica expresses the mind of Milton, the mind that was really noble, great, and elevated. Very little of what he has done in his life is found in Areopagitica. It is, therefore, the spiritual autobiography of Milton, the greatest poet of English literature after Shakespeare. It is rich in the elements of his mental characteristics rarely found in other writings. It is not a polemical work nor it is defensive against his enemies' attack but it gives a good peep into his mind and personality. 

Milton was a great champion of liberty. He loved liberty and freedom above every other thing. From an early age, he fought for liberty. His first prose-writing but his divorce pamphlets. In those tracts, he defended domestic liberty and argued that incompatibility of temper was a very strong reason for divorce. But the subject of Areopagitica is also liberty. The very title indicates that the theme of this tract is an appeal for the liberty of unlicensed printing. He defended religious liberty against the Prelates, civil liberty against the crown, the liberty of the press against the executives the liberty of conscience against the Presbyterians, and domestic liberty against the tyranny of canon law.

In Areopagitica, the subject is the liberty of the press. Milton was pained at the decision of the Parliament for reimposing censorship over overprinting. Milton could not expect the Parliament to follow in the footstep of tyrannical rule. During the rule of the monarch, the Star Chamber was empowered to censor every book, and this organization symbolizing the dictatorial power was abolished by the Long Parliament. Milton welcomed the step heartily because the Star Chamber acted arbitrarily. But the reintroduction of the same licensing system shocked him and to protect the liberty of the writers he had to take up his pen against it. He makes a passionate appeal to Parliament to reconsider the law and withdrew the order. He had an instinctive belief in the freedom of thought and expression. For, without this freedom, no country can progress.

Milton was a great patriot. So he was proud of his country and its heritage. He wanted England to be a cradle for pure democracy. He had pinned a great hope upon England and believed that his dear motherland would progress rapidly through the acceptance of the spirit of the Renaissance. But he was frustrated at the decision of Parliament.

Milton was a puritan and so he hated Roman Catholicism and the Spanish Inquisition. In Areopagitica, he shows very clearly that the system of licensing was the practice of the Catholics but the England which emerged out of the mess of Catholicism could not embrace the hated and discarded the policy of licensing again. Thus, to inspire England to follow the road of progress he wrote this Areopagitica.To conclude, we must say that Areopagitica embodies the spirit and belief of Milton.


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