ABSTRACT

Because Milton believed language to be an external manifestation of inner spirit, he exposes his political and religious adversaries’ corruptions of style by impersonating them. By parodying their linguistic abuses, he supports his assertions about their dishonesty and ignorance. His verbal range is broad and various, shifting from mockery of High-Church grandiloquence, to burlesque of commercial jargon, to rough satire. He uses his own plain, concrete diction, however, as a moral and stylistic norm. Ridicule of Bishop Hall's peculiar diction and aphoristic phrasing plays an important part in Animadversions and An Apology. Through parody, Milton awakens his readers’ perceptions, persuading them to participate with him in the controversy over church reform and religious liberty.

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