Distill, my beating heart : releasing the "liquid prisoner" of Shakespeare's sonnets ; and, An internal drama : spiritual recovery by trial in John Milton's Samson Agonistes

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan Callow Kirby-Smith (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Russ McDonald

Abstract: "Many of Shakespeare's sonnets refer to fermentation or distillation to explain the effects of aging, and the possibilities for preserving love and beauty. The metaphorical attention that Shakespeare gives to those chemical arts in the Sonnets allows him to develop and express a complex interaction between beauty, love, and the passing of time. In this paper I examine portions of sixteenth-century theoretical and practical texts on the subjects of fermentation and distillation, relating what might have been Shakespeare's understanding of them to lines and sections of his Sonnets where the chemical arts enrich his arguments about love. Samson Agonistes can be understood as an internal monologue Samson performs for himself, and for God. The characters who visit Samson create internal challenges for him that allow him to confront the events of his life and the thoughts that led him to act against God's will. By facing those characters as individual, distinct trials he recovers his spirituality and free will, and only after those achievements regains his physical strength, at which point he can continue to do the work of God."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
Shakespeare, sonnets, fermentation, distillation, effects of aging, preserving, love, beauty, metaphorical, chemical arts, passing of time
Alchemy in literature

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