This excerpt gives readers a brief overview of Milton's "An Apology of Smectymnuus" and explains why he believes he is being persecuted for his writing. It also touches on some of the political views that Milton had about censorship and one's freedom to be educated.
Much of Milton's prose is written in response to enemies who are trying to slander his name. During the time that these pieces were written, there was tremendous political upheaval. There were many debates about whether the Kingship had the right to censor pieces or writing. Milton's main argument was that many pieces of writing contain the truth and that someone may be denied the right to speak the truth or someone may not be allowed to hear the truth if works of writing are censored. In Milton's "An Apology for Smectymnuus," the issue of whether or not an author's work should be scrutinized because of his character is addressed. Milton kind of contradicts himself in this writing because in one way he argues that a person's writing is a direct reflection of who and what that person is. This means that this person, whomever he is, in order to write a pure piece of writing must live a pure lifestyle.
He defends his argument by in turn slandering the opponent that slandered him. The argument that Milton's slanderer makes is that Milton doesn't live ...
Although much of Milton's writing has religious undertones, there are many that also convey his political views, and explain the historical context of his era. After reading this entry, students will be able to speak on the main points of Milton's "An Apology of Smectymnuus," and explain why he believes that one doesn't need to read the bible to obtain religious affirmation.