Critical Appreciation of The Poem "On His Blindness" By John Milton:
The sonnet “On His Blindness” is perhaps one of the best and most popular of Milton’s sonnets. It is indeed a pearl in the ocean of English literature. It is a great sonnet of lofty tone and noble theme. It was written in 1655. Milton had started losing his eyesight from the year 1645. After some years he lost his eyesight completely. He was about 44 years at that time, when we remember that his great words “Paradise Lost” and “Samson Agonists” has not yet been written.
Strength of mind, power of will and determination, patience; all these traits stood him in good stead when blindness slowly came over his.
What made him so sad was that the gist of poetry which had been given to him could not be used to advantage when he was suffering from blindness.
Here Milton bows down in humble submission to the will of God. The tone of patience and humility has perfectly mingled with that of great dignity. The poem is a human document, a revelation of the struggle in Milton’s own soul. It starts with a note of regret. Then there is a mood of doubt and questioning which however melts in the final attitude of complete resignation. The beauty and exaltation of moral feeling raise the poem to a great height. The poem is full of allusions to the bible.
The extreme simplicity of the language is its peculiar attractive. Two lines are wholly, several others are nearly, monosyllabic. It is a sonnet of Petrarchan type. But there is no division between the octave and the sestet-which is the characteristic of Italian or Petrarchan sonnet. There is a break in the middle of the eighth line.
The poet’s subsequent submission charms the readers. The monologue is simply fascinating. The league used is both easy and catchy. The metre, note and cadence is perfect.