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When I Consider How My Light is Spent (On His Blindness)

When I Consider How My Light is Spent (On His Blindness)


by John Milton

When I Consider How My Light is Spent (On His Blindness) Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Welcome to the land of symbols, imagery, and wordplay. Before you travel any further, please know that there may be some thorny academic terminology ahead. Never fear, Shmoop is here. Check out our...

Form and Meter

Milton loved the classics, and in the 17th century, "classic" meant anything associated with Ancient Greece or Rome. The heart of the Roman Empire was located in what is now modern-day Italy, and t...


Though the speaker may be seething with frustration and even anger at God, he knows that he must tread very carefully if he wants to express himself. He has the skills and intelligence to do great...


The poem reminds us of those scenes from horror movies where the hero is walking through some dark and dangerous place – chased by monsters or something – and his flashlight/torch/lamp...

Sound Check

If you ever wanted to know what walking on eggshells sounded like in a poem, this sonnet is a prime example. The speaker buries the climax of the first part of the poem – the question of whet...

What's Up With the Title?

This sonnet first appeared in Milton's 1673 collection of Poems simply as the nineteenth sonnet in the collection, or Sonnet XIX. Many readers, including us, refer to it by the first line, "When I...

Calling Card

Some critics think that Milton's blindness gave him an uncanny ability to depict light, darkness, and shadow. This sonnet offers pretty strong evidence for that claim. The central extended metaphor...


For a short, 14-line sonnet, this poem is pretty hard. That's Milton for you. Few poets display so much religious and literary knowledge as Mr. Milton, and this poem is no exception. Most people to...

Brain Snacks

Sex Rating

On the whole, it's pretty hard to find sexual images in a poem about a guy figuring out how best to serve God.

Shout Outs

Matthew 25, "The Parable of the Talents" (lines 3-14)

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