Essay about Michael Wigglesworth's Wrathful Poetry

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Michael Wigglesworth's Wrathful Poetry

Michael Wigglesworth was born in England in 1631. He came over to America with his family at the age of seven. He was raised in the town of New Haven, Connecticut until he went to Harvard at sixteen. He graduated in 1651 but remained a tutor for three years. He was called to the ministry and accepted a call to a church in Malden, Massachusetts, in 1655 and remained in that town the rest of his life. He had three wives and eight children.

Wigglesworth was a small and extremely frail man. Due to his sickness, he went to Bermuda for seven months in 1663, and there he began to study medicine, which was his initial interest before the ministry. After this trip, he was a physician as well as a
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The poem itself captures the Puritan Spirit of the day. It focuses on the last day of judgement, but what makes it Puritan is the emphasis on hellfire and the fate of the unbelievers. It can be called the "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" of poetry, but "Doom" has a more positive side. The poem reassures the reader that the believers or the 'elect' have nothing to fear on the Day of Judgment more so than "Sinners" reassures people.

Although positive pictures of the last day do occur in this poem, the majority of the content is focused on the goats, or the dammed. (In the Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46, there is a parable about the last day. Jesus comes back to judge the world and separates the sheep from the goats. The goats are put on His left side, and the sheep on his right. The sheep are the saved, and the goats are the dammed. Wigglesworth refers to the sheep and goats throughout this poem.) He starts the poem out as the event being a surprise to the people on earth living their lives of sin. Then the sinners try to hide but are unsuccessful, and all come before the Lord to be judged. When Wigglesworth first introduces the sheep and the goats, he gives five stanzas for the sheep (22-26) and eleven for the goats (27-37). This is symbolic for the rest of the poem, where the emphasis is obviously on the goats. This was common to Puritanism, where the element of driving fear into the people was prevalent. This talk is even strong enough at times to make

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