A form of verse, the aim of which is to instruct the mind and improve morals. It essentially lays out a body of detailed information for the reader with the aim of molding the reader into a certain ethical or religious frame of mind.
A didactic poem is a type of poem which is meant to teach as well as entertain. Each word must have a deeper moral, religious, philosophical, or artistic meaning. The purpose of the didactic poem is to provide clear instructions or ethical queries to the reader or listener.
Famously, Milton’s Paradise Lost is a form of a didactic poem. This poem does not contain traditional poetry requirements, but rather adheres to an extremely formal structure. The moral lesson contained within the rhyming lines are explicit and apparent.
It is unclear where the origin of didactic poems can be found. This form of poetry may not have been founded by any individual, but rather by a culture. The earliest didactic poems were discovered in Greece, with the famous poem Works and Days by Hesiod dating back to 700 BC.
Didactic poems are less literary and more formal. While many didactic poems contain rhyming schemes or repeated meters, they can be seen in the form of traditional stories or forms of prose as well.