This entry gives you the quick and dirty on Milton's Comus. If you haven't taken religious studies and aren't a spiritual person, it might be difficult to understand what's going on in story and why the message is so powerful. This entry helps you pick up on some of the themes that can easily be overlooked in his writing.© BrainMass Inc. brainmass.com October 10, 2019, 6:36 am ad1c9bdddf
Point 1: Virtue takes on many forms in Comus: Sabrina the Nymph, choice, spirituality, power, vulnerability, rescue, escape, loneliness, circumstance and personality
Point 2: Comus represents temptation, evil, weakness, attraction, lust
Being a virtuous person is one of the most difficult things to do in life, but if one is lucky enough to master it, supposedly, they not only receive admonition from the Christian community, but God himself. The Church places so much emphasis on virtue that it has become the highest ranking attribute that a person can have. Among many of the magical beasts and dementors mentioned in Comus, Milton approaches and personifies virtue as a Nymph named Sabrina, who is given the responsibility of looking after a woman who is constantly being chased and haggled by the evil Comus. This same theme can be seen in the Christian story of Adam and Eve, where both characters are tempted to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Like the serpent in the biblical garden, Comus wants his potential victims to give into their lusts and pursue an awakening. It just so happens that Milton's version of the story appears to be a lot more entertaining, and gives more insight into what could have possibly happened before Eve, who mirrors the woman in Comus, was tempted to defy God.
So what really happened to the protection that the woman had before Sabrina appeared? What we know is that at one point, the woman was accompanied by a handful of relatives that are described as her brothers. What isn't explained is why they leave her by herself and without protection. During the time that Comus was written, women were viewed as weak creatures that were incapable of defending themselves, and it would have been very rare to see a female traveling without accompaniment. A woman alone could fall victim to rape, capture, assault, you name it, and so it's understandable that her brothers were there to assist for a while. Although wit, beauty, and wisdom are generally viewed as powerful attributes for women, in this story, they aren't deemed to have much allure and value without virtue. For the unnamed woman, virtue is displayed as a hidden strength that has the unmatched power to protect. So, virtue not only lives inside of her, but also protects and keeps her company via Sabrina. Only after the brother's desert the woman is she deemed in need of saving.
Now that we've touched on the Nymph, let's now move onto discussing how virtue is ...
Milton can be one of the most difficult authors to read if you're not a religious buff, and aren't familiar with the language that is used in his writing. Reading and interpreting the literature can take some time, so to help you out, I've put together a short explanation that singles out some of the themes that are present in Milton's Comus.