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Public shaming, John Milton, English people


“Public Shaming: Milton and the English People” discusses the role of shame and its performance in John Milton’s First and Second Defence of the People of England. As Milton attempts to shame Salmasius and More, he focuses on bodies and their relationship to shame. For Milton, shame should be morally productive—it is meant to produce a sense of self-consciousness and an appropriate moral awareness. Milton argues that Salmasius and More are shameless and therefore not self-conscious or morally aware. Involved with shame and self-consciousness is a profound awareness of one’s body and its relationship to others and to the environment. However, the shame that is performed on the part of Salmasius and More isn’t the only shame that outlines self-consciousness. When Milton creates the discourse surrounding Salmasius’ and More’s shamelessness, his own sense of self is also called into play through the defense of himself and the English people.