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Heroic Deeds of Conscience: Milton's Stand against Religious Conformity in Paradise Regained

David R. Schmitt
Huntington Library Quarterly
Vol. 76, No. 1 (Spring 2013), pp. 105-135
DOI: 10.1525/hlq.2013.76.1.105
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/hlq.2013.76.1.105
Page Count: 31
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Heroic Deeds of Conscience
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Abstract

Scholars have long debated how to interpret the closing temptation in Milton's Paradise Regained. In this essay, David R. Schmitt argues that Milton uses the idiom of conscience in Paradise Regained to make an assault upon the political and persecutory imagination of the Restoration and, in the closing temptation, to transform Nonconformity into a heroic stance of faith. Situating the poem within Milton's writings on toleration and the historical circumstances of Nonconformity, Schmitt argues that Milton not only defends conscientious liberty in his polemical engagement but also poetically embodies it in the Son of God's final stand in Paradise Regained.

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