“Desire of Wandering”: Decoding the Word “Wandring” in Milton’s Paradise Lost
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Paradise Lost invites a flexibility or fluidity of some particular words, such as taste, wanton, error, fruit, ruin, change, wandring. These word sprawls from innocence and purity to sin and infection with the progress of narration, thus, there is always an underlying ambiguity or paradox in Milton’s flexible usage of some particular words. This paper, focusing on the given word “wander” that at least involves three meanings: movement that is not patterned or directed; straying from moral probity; and irregular but innocent, tries exploring the tension behind it with close reading of contexts. This paper concludes that from the flexibility stems Milton’s free usage of language when creating prelapsarian and postlapsarian world, and behind the paradox breeds Milton’s theory of knowledge of good and evil in language itself.
Milton, Paradise lost, Wandring