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Clarendon Press, 1967. Webber, Joan. Milton and His Epic Tradition. Seattle: university of Washington Press, 1979. Wittreich, Joseph A., ed. Calm of Mind: Tercentenary Essays on Paradise Regained and Samson Agonistes. Cleveland, Ohio.: Case Western University Press, 1971.
PARADOX In literature a statement classified as paradox appears to be true but simultaneously contains a contradiction that defies reader intuition. upon examination the statement, or group of statements, or lines in poetry, may not be true or may not all be true within the same proposition. In another situation a group of lines upon closer study do not actually contradict each other. Paradox is common in figurative language (figure of speech) and proved especially popular with Renaissance and 18th-century poets.
Metaphysical poets and poetry excelled in the use of paradox, as in this example from John Donne's "A Hymn to God the Father": "When thou hast done, thou hast not done." In this example the seeming contradiction disappears when the various usages of the term done are considered. The first use indicates action, while the second use indicates completion of an action. In Absalom and Achitophel John Dryden uses paradox to counteract reader expectation when he writes, "Desire of greatness is a godlike sin," as God remains incapable of sin. He offers another marked paradox in a line from ANNUS MIRABILIS: THE Year OF WONDERS, 1666, "And doom'd to death though fated not to die." Ben Jonson's touching elegy for his dead son, "On My First Son," notes that the bereaved must learn to think less of the departed, because doing so will prove emotionally crushing, writing, "As what he loves may never like too much." William Alabaster included a paradox in multiple lines when he wrote in his Sonnet 54, titled "Incarnationem Ratione Probare Impossibile," "Two, yet but one, which either other is, / one, yet in two, which neither other be / God and man in one personality." He reflects the Christian belief that man and God became one in God's son, Christ.
PEMBROKE, COUNTESS OF See Herbert, Mary Sidney, countess of Pembroke.
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