Comus is a Masque drama by John Milton. The play as all characters on stage and when their turn comes to present a part in the action they speak while everyone else remains. Comus is a prowling magician of Satanic proportions who comes across a Lady in the forest. He invites her to be entertained with liquor with which he expects to awaken her lust and pride, both great sins. He is adept with compliments and is a master of rhetorical combinations and slick at debate. She allows herself to be the victim of his artfully meandering words as he leads her to his cave. Once there she repositions herself out of his strong point--debate--and braces herself within the discussion of divinely inspired passion because in this presentation she avows the role of virtuous display. By doing this she extricates herself from Comus' lair and his flattering discourse. The audience leaves, understanding that Comus' rhetoric can be neutralized when confronted with sanctity and eloquence. There is religious significance as the Lady encounters Comus. Because she is an "unconquer'd virgin" she has no escape to his enticements, but once she is trapped by his deceit, her salvation lies in her obedience to Christ and her family. This drama is a scintillating account of the temptations which waylay everyone and the strategies needed to avoid them.
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November 11, 2008
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