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How does John Milton's views about marriage compare to those that were being enforced by the church?

This entry highlights several themes that can be found in Milton's Doctrine of Discipline and Divorce. Love and happiness are at the heart of this literary masterpiece, and Milton isn't shy about expressing his views. For him, free will should be the beginning and the end of all things religious.

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There are several themes present in Milton's Doctrine of Discipline of Divorce:
• Marriage can be both liberating and oppressive
• Requirements for licensing are a form of oppression
• The Church has become an oppressor
• God supports free love and divorce
• True love should be based on mental and emotional compatibility
• Exercising freedom of choice is the foundation of all happiness

What's so revolutionary about Milton's views is that throughout his career, he is able to remain so open-minded about law and religion, despite political and religious pressures to conform to society. Undoubtedly, if he had conformed, it would have significantly increased his popularity and reputation as a dignified scholar, but his writing wouldn't be as valuable as it is today. Although Milton opposed many of the rules and regulations that had been mandated by the church, it was apparent that he held a deep respect for God, and religion as well. His desire was for those who had been entrusted to high positions in the church, to be more "religious", and less politically focused. The very fact that a man of such power and prestige was willing to stand up for the liberation of women and free will is absolutely amazing.

At the very heart of The Doctrine of Discipline and Divorce are three topics: the meaning of marriage, whether clergy should have the right to get married, and if divorce is truly something that God frowns upon. It can be assumed that what Milton really wanted was for people to be in control of making their own decisions about love, life and happiness. But, who would have ever thought that Milton would be in favor of divorce, since he was so adamant about living a virtuous life and marriage is considered to be such a sacred occurrence? The themes of "virtue," "chastity," and "liberation" appear throughout all of Milton's writing, but in The Doctrine of Discipline of Divorce, we see an additional theme appear, idolatry. What's also different in this piece of writing is that the themes aren't ...

Solution Summary

The divine order of marriage has been a highly debated topic among both the religious and nonbelievers since the age of time. In this piece of writing, John Milton expresses how he feels about the church's imposition of celibacy on priests and other members of the clergy. He also explains what his idea of pure love is and how intellectual capabilities play a significant role in the longevity of relationships.