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An allegory is a device where the meaning of a greater, often abstract moral or political concept is conveyed with the aid of more material objects or ideas being used as an example.Example: Faith is like a stony uphill climb: a single stumble might send you sprawling but belief and steadfastness will see you to the very top.In general, these are inductive arguments in which the thinker puts forth a belief or proposition as a universal rule she or he puts forth in response to an example seen in nature--the specific observed example comes first, and the logical argument follows on a universal level later.
Apparently, the author felt that he could convey the tumultuous nature of the time through the superlative degree of comparison only.
Thus, Americans might be able to discern a Boston accent or a Texas accent by sound alone, or they might place a foreign speaker's origin by noting a French or Russian accent. ACEPHALOUS: From Greek "headless," acephalous lines are lines in normal iambic pentameter that contain only nine syllables rather than the expected ten. ACMEISM: A 1912 Russian poetry movement reacting against the Symbolist movement (Harkins 1). They are least useful when they obscure the truth, when they enable technobabble and unnecessary jargon.
(2) The degree of stress given to a syllable--an important component of meter. The first syllable, which is stressed, "counts" as a full metric foot by itself. Acmeists protested against the mystical tendencies of the Symbolists; they opposed ambiguity in poetry, calling for a return to precise, concrete imagery. Even English historical scholarship has fallen into the habit, commonly referring to the historical Great Vowel Shift as the ACROSTIC: A poem in which the first or last letters of each line vertically form a word, phrase, or sentence.
What Milton has done in this instance of antithesis is to equate dominance to eternal damnation and servitude to salvation.
Like Armstrong, the author of Paradise Lost was able to summarize Satan's previous pontification on frame of mind by using a powerfully concise yet vivid antithetical comparison.