John Milton was undoubtedly the best known polemicist of his age. A privileged birth, with a classical Cambridge education in languages rounded off by several years abroad made him the perfect man to head up Oliver Cromwell’s program of propaganda and translation of domestic edicts into Latin. In his spare time Milton continued writing tracts espousing support for divorce, for the rightness of execution of King Charles I, and of course for his patron Oliver Cromwell’s commonwealth. For a while he had a good life; then the Commonwealth was overthrown and Milton found himself in jail.
On April 27, in 1667, Milton sold the rights to his magnum opus, Paradise Lost for £10 — slight less than £16,000 today. He was out of jail, with a lot of lobbying from his friends, but stripped of all his worldly possessions. He was also by that time completely blind — composition of his work was finished by his dictation.
The theme of Paradise Lost touches on some of the same ones he argued for in earlier writings. Using he allegory of the Adam and Eve’s Fall and expulsion from Eden, Milton makes a case fo divorce (granted to either spouse for the asking). His portrayal of Lucifer as a sympathetic hero (views differ on whether Lucifer is a protagonist in the story or not), had a profound influence on later Romantic poets like William Blake and Percy Bysshe Shelley, the latter co-writing Frankenstein at least partly based on Milton’s Lucifer.