Milton On Divorce: It All Comes Down to Freedom


  • Edward Robert Raupp Professor of Humanities Gori State University Ilia Chavchavadze Street, No, 53, Gori, 1400, Georgia


Bucer, divorce, freedom, Milton


Ask John Milton just about any question, and the answer will likely be the same: “Freedom!” He was suspended from his studies at Cambridge University for expressing opinions that differed from his supervisor’s. In Areopagitica, he argued for the freedom to publish without prior licensing from the government. In Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, Milton made the case for the freedom of both husbands and wives to end an unsuccessful marriage. Whether in the interests of authors to publish without interference
from the state or in matters as personal as marriage and divorce, Milton makes the case that individuals have the right to make their own decisions. He cites passages from the Mosaic law, codified in Deuteronomy, and from the Gospel and Pauline letter of the New Testament to support the idea of the freedom to divorce and to counter the entrenched opposition of the church and state to divorce under any conditions. When, as expected, Milton’s divorce tracts meet with open and published hostility, he comes back with four defenses, two in prose, Tetrachordon and Colasterion, and two in verse Sonnets XI and XII. He will be vindicated–eventually. Centuries after Milton’s commentaries, the English Parliament changed divorce laws to align with John Milton’s argument for individual freedom.




How to Cite

Edward Robert Raupp. (2024). Milton On Divorce: It All Comes Down to Freedom. Caucasus Journal of Milton Studies, 3(1), 1–9. Retrieved from