Garner, James Donathan
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While John Milton’s work attends to many issues incendiary in seventeenth-century politics, one concern persists across his career: language’s potential either to reveal truth or conceal falsity. Beginning with the proposition that Milton believes truth and eloquence are inextricable, this thesis argues that Areopagitica’s truth metaphors represent an idealized ethos that orators should possess. Conceptualizing how Milton’s truth might exemplify a rhetorical ethos, the first chapter argues that Milton’s truth dwells as much within those who seek it as it is an object to be sought. The second and third chapters argue that Milton critiques the Renaissance affinity for sophistry and its deleterious effects on communication through Books 2 and 9 by showing persuasive acts neither guided by nor searching for Milton’s truth.