Paradise Lost by John Milton as Revival Of Adam and Eve’s Relationship
Before the Fall, the relationship Adam and Eve had was ideal. There were no arguments, and they worked as a team to tend to the Garden of Eden. However, after the Fall, their relationship disintegrated into something much less perfect. When Adam and Eve received the knowledge of good and evil, they began to put blame on themselves and each other. It is blame, in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, that pulls Adam and Eve apart. However, just as there is hope for the complete regeneration of Adam, Eve, and the rest of humanity, the love in their relationship can be regenerated with the help of the Son. I will argue that the Son prevents the collapse of Adam’s and Eve’s relationship by teaching them how to communicate without blame, making it possible for them to stand united in the face of the post-lapsarian world.
In this passage, Milton uses very plain, unambiguous language to explain their love. Unlike their fallen counterparts (i.e. the humanity they give birth to), the post-lapsarian Adam and Eve do not have to worry about guilt or dishonesty. Additionally, the capacity to make “honour dishonourable” is not available to either Adam or Eve in regard to their display of affection or their nakedness. In these lines, Milton also makes it clear that we, as readers, can rest assured that Adam’s and Eve’s displays of love for each other are not “shows.” Their inability to lie keeps them from insincere exhibitions of love. Milton’s description of their love leaves no room for doubt, then, that, after their creation, Adam and Eve had a perfect love.
Though Adam and Eve reside in Paradise and have a perfect love, that doesn’t mean that they are free of problems and obstacles. When Satan enters the Garden of Eden as a toad, he instills a dream into Eve’s ear. Upon waking, she discusses the dream with Adam, being openly honest in the process. In this way, their communication allows for a dissection of Eve’s dream and reassurance that Eve is still free of blame. After Eve’s explanation.
Afterward, the narrator states “So all was cleared” (5.136), indicating that Eve had a clean conscience after the dream and her conversation with Adam. By telling Adam about the strange and evil dream she had, she cleared the evil thoughts from herself. Though there is a certain amount of dramatic irony in Adam’s comment about how Eve “waking wilt never consent” to eat the fruit, there is no reason to think that remnant thoughts from Eve’s dream contributed to her later actions when she is tempted by Satan at the Tree of Knowledge. The narrator says that she is cleared of any evil, and she herself appears repentant as she “silently a gentle tear let fall” (5.130). As I mentioned earlier in the paper, both Adam and Eve are incapable of dishonesty (4.113-118). By that argument, Eve cannot be deceiving Adam by making him believe a show of repentance. Even though Adam and Eve had to confront and reconcile the dream that Satan placed in Eve’s mind, they remained pure and blame-free by openly communicating and repenting. This is the model of the perfect relationship that is set up before the Fall.
Though Eve is pointing out how ridiculous Adam’s worry is, there is no cruel retort from Adam. Neither is Eve really criticizing Adam for his unnecessary concern. Instead, she reminds him of the food that is “ripe for use” and of the abundance in the Garden of Eden, which is so novel for both of them. Eve even addresses Adam in an endearing manner by beginning with “earth’s hallowed mould” rather than another less affectionate epithet. Again, though this epithet might seem insincere because it sounds exaggerated or oversweet, neither Adam nor Eve is capable of insincere shows of affection or sarcasm (4.113-118). Any artificiality we might see in those lines is based on an assumption we make based on our own fallen natures as readers. Thus, even in moments when their relationship might seem unsteady, neither of them is vindictive.
The moments when their relationship really seems to unravel begin in Book 9 while Eve tries to persuade Adam to allow her to work in the garden away from him. In fact, their conversation goes on for many lines of the poem (5.205-384). However, even though this disagreement and its results ultimately lead to Eve’s temptation and the Fall, the disagreement itself is not one of blame. For example, in Adam’s last argument to Eve before she leaves him, he says: “Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoins,/ That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me” (9.357-358). Though this is one of Adam’s last statements, he doesn’t try to force her to stay, and he doesn’t get angry that she is being somewhat stubborn in her desires. Instead, he tries to help her understand that his concern is based on worry and love. Additionally, Adam reminds Eve that they are supposed to look after each other. Adam’s statements, though they are not strong enough to keep Eve from leaving, do not indicate any blame on either the part of Adam or Eve. Without Satan there to tempt Eve, the disagreement would likely have sorted itself out since Adam was only worried about Eve’s well-being. Had Eve come back to him unfallen and unharmed, the entire focus of the disagreement would have been negated and would no longer be an issue. But, because there is no time before the Fall for Adam and Eve to reconcile this disagreement, it becomes a point of contention and blame after the Fall.
Once Eve has returned to Adam and she convinces him to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge, much about their relationship changes. The knowledge that the tree gives them includes reason and logic that allows one to blame the other.
Though Adam and Eve had a certain innate goodness and sense of justice, those qualities are removed after the Fall. The innocence that they lose, which had previously shielded them from dishonesty, sarcasm, and blame, creates a new dynamic in their relationship. Adam and Eve now have to talk and act without innocence, and, because all their communication in now fallen, their relationship becomes as fallen as they are as individuals.
Upon waking after eating the fruit, the first thing Adam does is accuse Eve for tempting him. This is the first moment when blame enters their relationship. Adam says: “O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear/ To that false worm” (9.1067-1068), which is a moral judgment of Eve’s actions. Eve does not reply at this point, but, later, Adam goes on to say: “Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and stayed/ With me, as I besought thee… we had then remained still happy” (9.1134-1138). By saying that they would not be fallen if Eve had listened to him and stayed with him, Adam is casting all the blame on her. He is also referencing the previously unreconciled disagreement from earlier in Book 9 and feels that his concern had been justified. By blaming Eve, Adam pushes their relationship into further degeneration.
Because no one enjoys being blamed, Eve also retorts and references the same disagreement by saying: “Being as I am, why didst not thou the head/ Command me absolutely not to go,/ going into such danger as thou saidst?” (9.1155-1157). Using Adam’s example of blaming her, she accuses him of neglecting his duties as “the head” of their relationship. This is a fallen argument because Eve insists that, if he had really wanted her to stay with him, he would have commanded her “absolutely” not to go. For Adam to command Eve absolutely, he would have to exert a tyrannical kind of power over her, which did not exist before the Fall. We can assert that this did not exist before the Fall by looking at Eve’s punishment from the Son in Book 10. As part of Eve’s punishment, the Son declares to Eve “to thy husband’s will/ Thine shall submit, he over thee shall rule” (10.195-196). If this sort of tyrannical patriarchy had previously existed in Paradise, then it would not be logical to use it as a punishment. Therefore, Eve’s accusation of Adam in regard to his lack of absolute command is illogical and fallen. By blaming Adam in this illogical way, she also continues the degeneration of their relationship.
Had the Son not stepped in to prevent Adam and Eve from completely destroying their relationship, it is reasonable to assume that Adam and Eve would have continued blaming each other illogically. At the end of Book 9, the narrator states: “Thus they in mutual accusation spent/ The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,/ And of their vain contest appeared no end” (9.1187-1189). Because neither Adam nor Eve was willing to accept some blame for their own actions respectively, there was no chance for them to reconcile or regenerate their relationship on their own.
Had their relationship been allowed to remain degenerate, Adam and Eve might have died alone without giving rise to the rest of humanity. That couldn’t happen, however, because, in Book 3, God says “for [man] I spare/ [the Son] from my bosom and right hand, to save,/ By losing [the Son] awhile, the whole race lost” (3.278-280). Since God has already decreed that the Son would be the salvation of all humanity, Adam’s and Eve’s relationship has to be regenerated somehow. Fittingly, the Son is the first to attempt to remedy Adam’s and Eve’s fallen relationship.
Right after the Son finds Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, Adam uses the same arguments with the Son that he used earlier with Eve. However, instead of lessening or absolving his guilt as Adam hopes, the arguments further incriminate him.
Instead of taking responsibility for his own actions, Adam immediately starts blaming Eve for the Fall, though he says her failing is something he “should conceal, and not expose to blame/by [his] complaint.” His own statement makes it clear that he knows blaming her is wrong. However, he talks himself into giving her up for his own end because he wants to avoid punishment if at all possible. Adam also assumes that the Son would realize that he was concealing Eve’s sin even if he did try to hide it. This exemplifies the illogical thought pattern Adam has based on fallen logic and blame. Even though Adam knows that the Son can sense what is being concealed, he still believes that, by blaming Eve, he can conceal his own sin and redirect the Son’s anger and judgment to Eve. Without the Son’s rebuke, Adam would likely have continued with his illogical thought patterns, and there would be little to no chance for the regeneration of Adam’s and Eve’s relationship.
By saying that it was not necessary for Adam to listen to Eve and reminding Adam that the word of God is superior to the words of his wife, the Son removes Adam’s excuses from him so he has no one to blame but himself. This the first instance where Adam is trained to take some blame for himself, and, by doing so, he is one step closer to promoting the regeneration of his relationship with Eve. Once he stops blaming Eve, Adam can be realistic and apply the communication methods he had before the Fall to the situation at hand.
Eve’s response to the Son after he asked her what happened, is much more straightforward. Instead of using elaborate excuses to defend herself, she simply states: “The serpent me beguiled and I did eat” (10.162). Though she does implicate the serpent in her confession, she is only relating the facts of what happened. This statement is much less fallen because she uses less blame than Adam does in his answer, so it requires no rebuke from the Son. Her answer likely includes fewer excuses than Adam’s because she has already heard the Son rebuke Adam. In this way, Eve is learning from Adam’s example and incorporates it into her response, indicating that she is benefitting from the same knowledge. Since both Adam and Eve have been introduced to the idea that blame is not a useful method of communication, they can now begin to regenerate their relationship.
There are several moments when Adam attempts to blame Eve again. During one of these times, he says: “Out of my sight, thou serpent, that name best/ Befits thee with him leagued, thyself as false/ And hateful” (10.867-869). However, when Eve begins to weep and starts blaming herself for their plight, Adam apologizes and “with peaceful words upraised her soon” (10.946). Though this might be one of the lowest points in their relationship, this conversation turns to hopeful notes when Adam says: “But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame/ Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive/ in offices of love” (10.958-959). Through this conversation, both Adam and Eve have started to accept responsibility for their own actions and rebuild their relationship. Though Adam does blame Eve again, his apology strengthens their relationship, and, when he suggests that they move forward, their relationship becomes stronger than it has been since the Fall. All the regeneration that has happened in their relationship thus far has been based on the Son’s rebuke of Adam after he blamed Eve.
After being instructed by Michael on what human history will look like, Adam and Eve walk together, ready to face the consequences of their actions. Milton ends the poem with an image of their relationship’s strength.
Now that Michael has left them, they are on their own, solitary, but together. Since they are holding hands, we, as readers, can see that there is affection between them again where it didn’t exist when they were busy blaming each other. Now that they have taken the necessary steps to begin regenerating their relationship, they are ready to go forth and proliferate humanity.
Paradise Lost and Classic Epic Verse Tradition
Being a devout Christian, reasonable freethinker and a popular writer with a political consciousness, John Milton took upon himself the ambitious task of writing a modern Christian epic in English, inspired by the classical pagan tradition of epic verse. Undeterred by his visual handicap, Milton came out with the first edition of Paradise Lost in 1667, in the Restoration era. Given his skill, commitment, and the sheer quality and diverse connotations of the poem, Milton was accordingly granted his due as one of the most important literary figures to have emerged out of the seventeenth century, such that, for the purpose of academic classification, a considerable portion of the age is named after him.
Paradise Lost emulates the epic tradition by starting the poem with an invocation, which also serves as an introduction to the twelve-book poem with a succinct overview of its premise, themes and objectives. Herein, and through the entire poem, Milton is seen to constantly emphasize the novelty and superior nature of his subject, intent and character; asserting the sentiment that set apart Paradise Lost from its predecessors in the epic style. This could be taken as due conceit on the part of the poet, for after all, unlike the ancient classical epics, which at the surface were merely glorious indications of historical themes and legends, Paradise Lost, as Samuel Barrow points out, is the “story of all things”. For Milton, armed with the power of faith, attempts to encompass just about everything from God, Heaven, Hell, creation, the origin of man, to the future of our world, in his verse while working upon the basic Biblical premise. In the process, he includes subtle opinions on pertinent ideas such as predestination, free will, existentialism, polarity in mythology and various metaphysical concepts, to create a grand tableau of fantastical imagery and insight. For this purpose, he also employs numerous popular references and since his subject was Biblical, he aptly works on the reader’s foreknowledge regarding the same, which is of course, at par with epic tradition.
Right from the very first line, Milton makes the lapsarian theme of Paradise Lost clear – “Of man’s first disobedience”, and it is seen throughout the poem, that Milton continues to underline the concept of ‘obedience’ and the repercussions of not adhering to it, be it through the fallen angels or the first mortals. He then proceeds to talk about the infamous ‘fruit of the forbidden tree’, which effectively ‘brought death into the world’, even though God already knew how these events shall transpire. However, over the course of the poem, Milton stresses a certain logic that despite this, man indeed had a free will, and thus, states his view on Calvinistic doctrines. Milton further traces back all human suffering to the fruit, as the source of ‘all our woe’ and the reason behind Adam and Eve’s eviction from the Paradise of Eden. Then comes the first reference to the Son of God as the ‘one greater man’, who shall restore humanity to its rightful place, thereby hinting at the regaining of Paradise.
Thus, squeezing in the entire Biblical plot in these few lines, Milton then proceeds to summon his muse, Urania, ‘the heavenly one’; although, he doesn’t explicitly mention her name until halfway through the poem in Book VII, where he seeks her guidance to continue his tale from Earth after describing the great battle of the immortals in Heaven. Urania as a muse, was known to inspire prophets of Israel such as Moses himself, the man who delivered the Israelites from Egypt and conveyed to them the commandments from God. Herein, through the references to Moses and other Biblical places of significance such as Zion or Siloa, Milton could be seen to draw an analogy between the prophet and himself, as he too was expounding God’s words unto his brethren.
Thereafter, Milton moves on to highlight the epic nature of his “adventurous song, that with no middle flight intends to soar above the Aonian mount, while it pursues things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme”. This particular line is loaded with meaning and sentiment, in trying to establish the supremacy of the poem over classical ones. Aonian mount or Mt. Helicon was deemed sacred to the pagan muses, and hence, Milton brings it up as a reference, albeit, in an unflattering context. Here, it might be argued that Milton, in a way was being utterly dogmatic in terms of religion, but this view does not vouch a strong case for itself. Moreover, it might be even dismissed as immaterial, since faith and passion are essential for the creation of a poem such as Paradise Lost.
Next, Milton prays to the omniscient Holy Spirit to guide his ambitious endeavour, such that it might be corroborated through ‘Eternal Providence’. In contrast to his attitude towards ancient epics, Milton expresses characteristic Christian humility while putting forth his plea unto the Holy Spirit, with a possible allusion to his own blindness: “What in me is dark illumine, what is low raise and support”. However, in the final lines of the invocation, it is clear that Milton’s conviction regarding his subject and purpose remain unwavering, and as David Daiches points out in his essay, The Opening of Paradise Lost, “There is a steady progression here, a steady rising in the status of the role played by the poet…The whole twenty-six lines constitute a remarkable piece of verbal orchestration, ending with the massive chords”, i.e. the last line stating the ultimate purpose of Milton’s prophetic verse: “And justify the ways of God to men”
John Milton’s Description of Wrong Doing and Retribution with References to Adam and Eve as Described in His Book, Paradise Lost
The story of Adam and Eve is one of, if not the earliest tale of crime and punishment in the West. John Milton’s Paradise Lost retells the age-old fable, adding depth and emotion to the story, consequently revealing the very important, sometimes overlooked implications of the legends outcome. Eve, having dreamt the prophetic dream of the fall of mankind in Book V, is created to be read as the character to blame for the tragic loss of Paradise. While God gives both Adam and Eve the capacity to exercise agency, Eve is the only one who encounters an opportunity to do so, and is therefore set up to be the “original” sinner. The punishment Eve faces for eating the fruit reveals the unfortunate consequences of acting upon freewill—especially when it directly opposes God’s word—as well as raises a question about how “free” her actions truly were.
Adam and Eve’s punishment is explained in Genesis, and while they are both subjected to consequences for exercising freewill and eating the fruit, the penance Eve must pay is far worse than Adam’s—regardless of the fact that they committed the same act of disobedience. This reveals a frame of logic that implicitly sets Eve up to be the one to blame for the fall in Paradise Lost. After the loss of paradise occurs, Genesis states that God revisits the couple and outlines the fates of both Adam and Eve proclaiming,
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and they conception, in sorrow though shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because though has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Though shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt though eat of it all the days of thy life (3.16-17).
This passage unveils the subconscious workings of the story’s core. Not only is Adam punished solely for listening to his wife, his long-term consequence is that he must eat from cursed ground. Eve, by stark contrast, has not only herself, but also all women to come, punished and ordered into a position of overtly lesser importance in relation to her husband. This severe punishment doled out unequally and thusly unfairly sets the stage for Milton’s story. Eve is written in Paradise Lost to be the one to begin the fall—having the dream—and therefore, the one created to take all the blame. Freewill most certainly exists in Eden, but having God punish Eve, as well as all women to come, into a life of eternal subordination to her husband sounds an alarm to the reader—if Adam eats the apple too, committing the same ‘deviant’ act as Eve, why is he not punished in the same manner and to the same degree? Eve is the character in Genesis that feels the most from defying God, even though the two were equally at fault, creating a pattern of blame that seeps into Milton’s story. There, Eve’s “freewill” is masquerading as such, but given the outcome of her actions, it is clear that she was written to be the scapegoat all along, calling into question her ability to actually act freely.
Adam and Eve live their first days in paradise in utter bliss—never fearing, never hurting, never experiencing any emotion other than joy and appreciation—until the night Eve dreams the terribly frightening dream of succumbing to Satan’s manipulative ways, marking the first negative experience of paradise and the beginning of the fall. Adam wakes Eve up so they can begin their day of gardening and working, and is surprised to see Eve tossing and turning in her sleep. Upon her awakening, Eve explains the cause of her distress, “Such night till this I…/Have dream’d,/If dream’d, not as I oft am wont, of thee,/Works of day past, or morrow’s next design,/But of offence and trouble, which my mind/Knew never till this irksome night” (5.30-34). In the paradise God places Adam and Eve within, the preserving of innocence and goodness is vital to sustaining the purity of the world, making this moment where Eve recognizes the first negative thoughts ever to be entertained crucial in marking the moment where the slow decline of paradise begins. This is the moment where Eden stops being paradise, and it all begins with Eve. While Satan is the one to offer Eve the fruit, tempting and manipulating her into taking a bite, she is the one who has the premonition before the situation ever presents itself. The narrator explains that Satan is drawn to Eve because of her vulnerability, but perhaps he is drawn to her not because of her assumed naivety, but because something about her being the one, rather than Adam, to break Paradise’s bubble of perfection attracted him to her. Had both Adam and Eve had the dream, the outcome may have been different, but the important choice Milton made for Eve to be the one to have the dream and then subsequently be the only one harshly blamed for that choice, as shown in Genesis, demonstrations an un-ignorable line of thinking that inevitably results in Eve becoming the “original” sinner.
Eve’s punishment for taking a bite of the forbidden apple reveals the fundamental moral of the story; freewill is not admirable or acceptable if it disobeys God. Eve’s dream comes to fruition when one day, Adam and Eve decide to split up and work independently in the garden to be able to get more done faster. This is when Satan, disguised in the garden as a snake perched on the Tree of Knowledge, approaches Eve for the first time. He explains the magic that lives within the fruit, tells her that with it comes wisdom and goodness, and for that reason, she should disobey God’s word and act on her own accord—in other words, eat the fruit. So she does, and Adam follows suit soon after, neither of them realizing that God sees all. He is watching. God explains that He, “Hinder’d not Satan to attempt the minde/Of Man, with strength entire, and free will arm’d,/Complete to have discover’d and repulst/Whatever wiles of Foe or seeming Friend” (10. 8-11). God’s vision of the concept free will, as Milton has written it, is complicated. While he allows them both the ability to make their own choices, He does not exempt or allow them to perform “free” actions that directly oppose Him. Freewill, then, becomes less of a gift God grants the protagonists with, and more of an expectation that freedom of choice shall always reflect the wishes and commands of God instead. To what extent, then, did either of them really stand a chance against Satan? This quote and its implications forces the audience to determine how free actions can truly be if they are constantly judged and subsequently punished if deemed oppositional by a force as powerful as God.
If it is assumed, as it is in Paradise Lost, that everything happens for a reason, and that all events and actions are a part of God’s greater plan, then we must also assume that Eve’s choice to eat the apple follows that same logic; It is no accident that Eve is the one to have the dream long before the fall actually happens, no accident that she is the one that Satan lures to eat the fruit, and no accident that she faces a punishment far greater than Adam’s. How much of a free choice, then, was Eve’s engagement with the serpent if God’s plan controls fate? Paradise Lost follows in the footsteps of Genesis’s main societally relevant lesson in the Adam and Eve tale—to hold women far more accountable for choices they make than men, and to rebuke them for engaging in behaviors that can result in any potential power for them. The question of freewill becomes problematic when placed in conversation with the Paradise that Milton writes because it becomes hard to imagine that there truly is any. Genesis sets the stage, using Eve as the scapegoat for the disobedient actions, and Paradise Lost follows suit. The dream Milton writes for Eve to have, and the choice Eve makes to eat the fruit, while both relatively miniscule when looked at largely and generally, are subtle lessons outlining what happens when women choose to challenge the master narrative they are told. In this legend, God sets Eve’s limitations, and her acts of noncompliance, whether genuinely free or not, establish Eve to be, above all else, the “original” sinner.
Analysis of the Paradise Lost
The fall of Adam and Eve is the climax of Paradise Lost taking place in Book 9. The fall is preceded by the separation scene in which Adam and Eve chose to work alone in the garden. When they choose to separate, Adam and Eve become more vulnerable to temptation. Their separation is not limited to the physical. They are emotionally separated and commit sin against each other. Satan takes this chance to bring Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. This act is against the command given to them by God. The result is the fall of humanity. The separation scene is the catalyst for the fall of humanity. The cause for the separation is undeniably Eve’s selfishness.
The separation scene begins with a discussion between Eve and Adam. Eve desires to split up their work for the day; rather than work together, she wants to work alone. The problem is not that Adam and Eve can never be physically separated from each other. Adam even says “For solitude sometimes is best society / And short retirement urges sweet return” (Paradise Lost 9.249-250). Adam makes it clear that a short time apart can even be good. Eve is not seeking this short physical separation that Adam is talking about. She desires instead a longer emotional separation. Adam explains to Eve that:
Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labour, as to debar us when we need
Refreshment, whether food, or talk between,
Food of the mind, or this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles, for smiles from reason flow,
To brute denied, and are of love the food,
Love not the lowest end of human life.
For not to irksome toil, but to delight
He made us, and delight to reason joined. (PL 9.235-43)
The work given to Adam and Eve by God is not strict. They have the freedom to relax and enjoy one another’s presence. They are able to enkindle the love between them through emotional bonding by looking and smiling. God made them to love and delight in one another. Therefore Eve’s request is not simply to be alone in the garden but to break this emotional bond with Adam. She wants to take a break from the bonding. This emotion separation can be equated to a divorce because Adam and Eve are no longer acting as “one flesh.” Their emotions are separated. When she asks that they work apart, Eve is seeking an emotional separation from Adam.
Eve’s inclination to separate from Adam comes from her selfish nature. God created her as one who looks inwardly. As Eve wakes after being created by God from the rib of Adam she went to look at her reflection in a lake. This is the first instance in which Eve’s self absorption is visible
As I bent down to look, just opposite,
A shape within the watery gleam appeared
Bending to look on me, I started back,
It started back, but pleased I soon returned,
Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks
Of sympathy and love; there I had fixed
Mine eyes till now, and pined with vain desire… (PL 460-466)
When Eve gazes at her own reflection it is a reminder of the story of Narcissus who falls in love with his reflection. The language used by Eve as she communicates this event to Adam resembles that of one who is in love with themselves. She seems to play lovingly with her reflection. Eve describes this experience as “vain desire” for her self. This is just the beginning of Eve’s narcissistic attitude which eventually leads to her separation from Adam.
Eve’s desire to separate from Adam is against what God commands them. God first commands them to never eat of the tree of knowledge and second says that “…[their] reason is [their] law” (PL 9.654). The smiles which Adam and Eve share are derived from this reason. If they are separate, they can not share these smiles and lose the emotional bond which they share. Therefore Eve’s wish to separate herself from Adam is against her reason and breaks the command given by God. Since Adam and Eve choose to separate, their fall is not only from eating the fruit but also from their emotional separation.
Eating the apple violates the greatest commandment. The separation scene violates the second greatest commandment. Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are to “‘…love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind… [and to] love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets’” (Matthew 22:37-40 RSV). These commands given by Jesus parallel with the commands given to Adam and Eve. The first greatest commandment is broken when they choose to eat the apple. Eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is an act of sin because it is an act which neglects the love of the Father. It is a failure to love God as commanded. Adam and Eve disobey God by eating the fruit. This is a sin against the greatest commandment. The second greatest commandment is broken before they eat the fruit. When Adam and Eve separate from one another it causes them to sin because they are failing to love. Therefore the separation scene is part of the fall of man because before Adam and Eve sin against God, they sin against each other.
The sin of Adam and Eve against one another brings about their sin against God. Adam and Eve were created to be together and because of that, they compliment each other. The only thing that God said wasn’t good, was when he created man. “‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him…’” (Genesis 2:18). God created Eve to be a perfect fit for Adam. Without her he is imperfect. When Eve asks Adam to be separate, she is asking that Adam go back to his inferior state of being, absent of his perfect fit. When separate from Adam, Eve reflects upon herself an unhealthy amount. She no longer has Adam to keep her in check by sharing herself with him. It is visible even before she leaves him. Eve puts her own will above Adam’s. She leave’s even though she should respect the authority of Adam over her own will. The opposite could be said about Adam. Without Eve, he has no one to project outwardly upon. Adam explains this to Eve:
I from the influence of thy looks receive
Access in every virtue, in thy sight
More wise, more watchful, stronger, if need were
Of outward strength; while shame thou looking on,
Shame to be overcome or overreached
Would utmost vigour raise, and raised unite.
Why shouldst not thou like sense within thee feel
When I am present, and thy trial choose
With me, best witness of thy virtue tried. (PL 309-317)
Adam receives virtue solely from Eve’s presence. Since he was made to protect and look over God’s creation, he needs Eve to express these virtues. Her presence keeps him accountable to remain virtuous. Likewise, Eve will pervert her inner reflection without Adam to keep her accountable. She won’t have any other obligations and will only worry about herself. Adam and Eve’s separation turns out to be problematic because they were made to be together.
The obvious result of Adam and Eve’s separation is their eventual separation from God. This come about when they eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eve is the first to eat of the fruit. After working alone, Eve has time to contemplate about herself to a greater extent. She is now emotionally and physically separate from Adam. The serpent observes Eve “…mindless the while, / Herself, though fairest unsupported flower, / From her best prop so far, and storm so nigh” (PL 9.431-433). Eve is unaware of her surroundings because she is reflecting inwardly. This makes her vulnerable like an unsupported flower as a storm approaches. Adam is not there to support Eve as Satan comes to tempt her. He also catches Eve in a weaker mental state as her narcissistic mindset has been developing to a more selfish state. Eve’s emotional and physical separation from Adam as well as her narcissistic flaw, lead to her falling into the temptation of Satan.
Eve’s inward reflection is preparation for Satan to tempt her successfully. Satan is able to use Eve’s selfishness against her. First he flatters her which elevates her trust. As they arrive at the tree Eve at first does not want to disobey God and eat the fruit. Satan tells her that she is forbidden to eat of the tree “…to keep ye low and ignorant…” (PL 9.704). He claims that “…ye shall be as gods, / knowing both good and evil as they know” (PL 9.708-709). The serpent’s words hit the selfish side of Eve. She desires not to be low and ignorant but to be like a god. She questions God’s command “But if death / Bind us after-bands, what profits then / Our inward freedom?” (PL 9.760-762). Eve doesn’t think her inward freedom should be restricted like God has decided. Once again Eve is seeking separation. This time she seeks separation from the will of God instead of Adam. By eating the fruit, Eve emotionally leaves God and commits sin to a greater degree.
Just like Eve’s inward reflection elevates upon their separation, Adam’s outward reflection also grows. Without Eve to project his love upon, his desires are built up inside of him instead. Adam realizes to a greater extent how much he needs Eve.
Waiting desirous her return, had wove
Of choicest flowers a garland to adorn
Her tresses, and her rural labours crown
As reapers oft are wont their harvest queen
Great joy he promised to his thoughts, and new
Solace in her return, so long delayed… (PL 9.839-844)
Adam’s passion for Eve is so great that he needs to provide for her even when she is absent. He creates a garland out of flowers to give to her out of love. At the same time he is brought happiness just by the thought of her return. A short amount of time without Eve feels like an eternity to Adam. His desires for her increase exponentially. Adam creates Eve a garland to curb his yearning for his beloved.
By the time Eve is reunited with Adam, it is too late. Adam no longer has the ability to depart from her again. He too must indulge in the sin against God. Adam is “Certain [his] resolution is to die…” (PL 907). Because Eve fell, he knows he too must fall. “I feel / The link of nature draw me: flesh of flesh, / Bone of my bone thou art, and from thy state / Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe” (PL 913-916). By this point Adam has learned the repercussions of being without Eve. This feeling combined with his natural desire to be with her causes him to follow her even into sin. He describes them as one entity in which they will not be parted again. If Adam hadn’t already known what it felt like to be without Eve, he would not have indulged in this sin with her. Therefore the separation of Adam from Eve is integral to his own fall.
The sin of Adam and Eve come about by their failure to follow the commands given to them by God. First he commands them never to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Then he tells them to use their reason to govern themselves. Adam and Eve fail in both of these commands. Eve’s narcissism brings about their separation. This is against the reason that is given to them by God. Their failure to reason brings about their final separation from God. Eve is the first to fall. Her inward reflection without the help of Adam is her failing point. Adam’s outward reflection of Eve brings him along to their pitfall. In the end, Adam and Eve’s failure to follow the commands given to them brings sin upon all of humanity.
Freedom and Its Boundaries
“…[F]rom what state
I fell, how glorious once above [the Sun’s] sphere;
Till pride and worse ambition threw me down
Warring in Heav’n against Heav’n’s matchless King:
Ah wherefore! He deserved no such return
From me, whom he created what I was
In that bright eminence, and with his good
Upbraided none; nor was his service hard.
What could be less than to afford him praise,
The easiest recompense, and pay him thanks,
How due! Yet all his good proved ill in me,
And wrought but malice; lifted up so high
I ?sdained subjection, and thought one step higher
Would set me highest, and in a moment quit
The debt immense of endless gratitude,
So burdensome, still paying, still to owe…”
(Paradise Lost, IV. 38-53)
In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan is presented in an innovative manner; he is seen from an entirely new perspective. He is not the thoroughly evil embodiment of depravity, which he had previously been depicted as, but rather a character with whom readers can sympathize and relate. Satan is clearly the principal character in the opening books of this epic poem, but in Book IV, Milton begins to delve even more deeply into Satan’s psyche, and Satan becomes a character with whom the reader is increasingly apt to identify. In this book, from which the above passage is selected, Satan arrives before the Garden of Eden and is seized by intense doubt and guilt, regret and pain. The beauty and perfection of this place stand in stark contrast to Hell and bitterly remind him of his past?a past, which in many ways, is his Hell, forever reminding him of what he was, but will never be again.
Gazing “towards Heav’n and the full-blazing sun” (IV. 29), Satan says, “…[F]rom what state / I fell how glorious once about thy sphere…” (IV. 38-39). In this passage, it as though he is watching the past itself. The sun in all its splendid radiance beats down on Satan, each ray burning through him to the core of his being, setting his heart aflame with the agony of all that he has lost. Through Milton’s language, it is simple for one to picture a resplendent midday sun, blazing in all its power and strength, reveling in its intensity. As things once were, it was Satan himself who shone more brightly than all else, who was elevated above all else. Yet now, he has fallen and, thus, forfeited everything. From the brightest angel in Heaven, he has been reduced to just another thing creature under the sun.
The torturous anguish that wracks his being is obvious to the reader and makes the character of Satan more human and, therefore, more sympathetic. In his despair, he exclaims, “Ah wherefore!” (IV. 42). This detracts from his supernal aura, and makes him more relatable on a human level. One can almost hear the hopelessness and desperation in his voice. As all people do, he then goes on to lament a mistaken choice, despite knowing that nothing can be done to reverse the situation and dwelling on it will not help in any way. It is almost as if he wishes that he could go back in time and act differently?a feeling many people are familiar with.
He continues to torture himself by questioning and regretting the extremely difficult choice that he has already made, and which he cannot change. Only after the fact, has he begun to consider the possibility that he should have acted differently. He knows that praising God would have been “the easiest recompense… [and] how due!” (IV. 47-48). His own ingratitude becomes painfully apparent and he says, “Yet all his good proved ill in me, / And wrought but malice; lifted up so high / I s’dained subjection, and thought one stop higher would set me highest…” (IV. 48-50). In being God’s highest angel, he was used to being the center of attention, the best, the greatest. When his position was threatened, it was a natural reaction for him to react the way in which he did and rebel against God. This was his wounded pride reacting. Part of his decision to rebel, however, was also driven by the very fact that he owed so much to God. He is aware of the fact that “pride and worse ambition threw [him] down” (IV. 40), and yet, at the end of this passage, it also becomes apparent why he acted as he did, when he describes “[t]he debt immense of endless gratitude, / So burdensome, still paying, still to owe” (IV. 52-53). This is a very powerful and insightful description because it relates so convincingly the sense of overwhelming servitude that such a debt signifies. It was a debt that Satan would never be able to repay or slough off?it was as if he owed God his life. Satan’s only choice in this situation then, was to rebel and liberate himself.
Satan as an Advocate of Free Will
When Satan says “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heav’n,” he becomes a true advocate for freewill. He has gone against what he considered a tyrannical leader, lost, and reemerges as a classical tragic hero reminiscent of the likes of Ulysses. Sir Walter Raleigh compares Satan to Prometheus, yet adding that his “fearless antagonism of Omnipotence makes him either a fool or a hero.” With the proliferation of copies of Paradise Lost throughout the centuries, Satan emerges as the star character of the Epic. The fascination lies in his charming oratory skills, and beauty, juxtaposed with an uncanny ability to awaken pathos in the reader. The place of Satan as character in Paradise Lost is the great ongoing debate. Is he a tragic hero? Is he an irredeemable villain? Is he a farce of political power? Book I seems to set him up as a tragic hero, with the beginning in media res, invocation of the Muse, and following the conventions of an Epic poem. Book II however, starts off with a decidedly political setting, possibly highlighting Milton’s own political stance, as he went into hiding for supporting a republican revolution even after the Restoration. Through a series of carefully crafted devices, Milton writes a sophisticate Machiavellian political speech, hinting at the flaws of the Monarchy. One should note however, that Milton as the narrator, skillfully dismantles his charisma, leaving the reader somewhat confused over their overall feelings.
The rhythm of the passage is weaved into a powerful political opening by playing with alliteration, assonance, or enjambment, resulting into a movement of pushing and pulling the listeners. Milton alternating of assonance and alliteration create a wave movement, alternating the levels of energy in the passage. His use of the “O” sounds for instance, have an elongating and soothing, almost hypnotic effect.“For since no deep within her gulf can hold/ Immortal vigor, though oppressed and fall’n,” (II.11-12), showcases this legato and brings out an eerie quality in the text. This juxtaposition to staccato alliterations are a stark contrast. When Milton writes “Satan exalted sat, by merit raised,” (II.5), it is the first severe break in rhythm of the passage, have a slightly more jovial tone, possibly suggesting a childish disposition. The narrative and blank verse form are particularly appropriate for speech patterns, as they translate to oral recitation naturally. Enjambments accelerate the tempo, overflowing the iambic pentameter into the next line. “[…] From this descent/ Celestial Virtues rising will appear,” (II.14-15) don’t pause after the first line, but go from the depth to with these angels have fallen directly into a message of hope.
The use of repetition is centered around the idea of “rising” from the depths to which they have fallen, emphasizing Satan as a more of a demagogue, motivating his troupes, rather than the previously established tragic hero. The narrator repeats certain words in close groups, emphasizing their thematic importance in the narrative. Before Satan’s speech, the narrator employs the word “high” three times in ten lines of opening. It is interesting to note that as he speaks “Thus high uplifted beyond hope aspires/ Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue,” (II.12-13), it seems impossible not to register a tone of deep irony. He is reminding the reader of the reality of the situation, by drawing attention to the fact that Satan seems unshaken by his colossal defeat. He is mocking Lucifer’s infantile attitude right as he is about to give an eloquently motivating address. This debilitates the impact that the rest of the passage would have had. Satan also draws attention to specific words in order to inspire the council. “Will” is used in the sense of “to be going to”,(“[…] For none sure will claim Hell/ Precedence, none whose portion is so small/ Of present pain that with ambitious mind/ Will covet more!” II.32-35), however, considering it can also denote the expression of a promise, or the power to act of one’s own volition, seems an unlikely coincidence. God gave mankind freewill, and this theme is explored throughout Paradise Lost. Another repeated motifs is this sense of increasing stakes by employing “more”, “and”, or inflectional suffixed words (“happier” II. 24/ “greatest” II.29). Much like his poem “L’Allegro”, Milton does this to “add” this element of epic, however, unlike his invocation of Mirth, here, his purpose seems to make of Satan’s demagogic speech border on the outlandish.
The speaker undermines Satan as a leader, in his conflicting imagery of Pandemonium, alluding to his self-glorification tendencies, causing the speech to lose its’ credibility. Firstly, he has Pandemonium compared to Earthly places (“Outshone the wealth of of Ormus and of Ind/ Or where the gorgeous East with the richest hand,” II.2-3). Even though it is said to be much greater than the most beautiful sights on Earth, Satan’s ego would dictate that the grand tower and throne room of the Devil could surely not be remotely comparable. Also, Satan’s self-apotheosis is recurrently alluded to in hindsight of the speaker’s ironic passage. “Me though just right and the fixed laws of Heav’n/ Did first create your leader,” (II.18-19) stands out as a significantly braggadocios statement. If one were to start Book II at the tenth line, the speech could easily be seen as a fallen hero ready to stand back up and fight again. The result however, is of gloating condescension rather than truly heroic (“Established in a safe unenvied throne/ Yielded with full consent.”II.23-24).
The passage is rich in style that highlights all aspects of Satan as a character. The verse is purposely rhythmic in the way it emphasizes certain themes by repetition of words, poignant punctuation and shifting tones. The beginning of Book II is without a doubt an allegory of Monarchy, which Milton is heavily critical of. It removes actual freewill and is never in the service of the greater good. Milton is in favor of a more Aristotelian democracy. The truly tragic aspect, is that this seemingly inspirational leader, is completely apathetic or delusional about their situation, as he assumes that his throne is safe from prying eyes. This deeply flawed premise may be the reason readers have been so drawn to the character of Satan over the centuries: He is a broken man. He is all of us.
Baumlin, James S. “Epic and Allegory in “Paradise Lost”, Book II.” College Literature 14.2 (1987): 167-77. Web.
Lewis, C.S, “Satan”, Paradise Lost, Gorgon Teskey, (2005), 401-407, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc
Rajan, Balachandra, “The Problem with Satan”, Paradise Lost, Gorgon Teskey, (2005), 407-413, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc
Eve, Marriage and Female Question
John Milton conforms much to the popular misogyny of his time – the belief that women are inferior to men, and wives subservient to their husbands. However, his epic Paradise Lost explores the positive and important role women in that society could offer in marriage. He argues that the purpose of matrimony is not necessarily procreation, as was the norm in the 1600s, but instead to bring a man and a woman in completion. Eve’s role in Paradise Lost is Milton’s commentary on this very matter. She represents a typical woman and (with Adam) a typical union of Milton’s time before the fall from grace, and what Milton theorized women could be after. Eve’s wifely role is an important one, as husband and wife help one another to become better and more complete individuals. Ultimately, Eve is Milton’s representation of a progression for women, at least in their role in marriage.
Any extensive study of history will bring forth the notion that women were, and in some cases still are, denied rights and basic freedoms. This concept becomes obvious when traditional marriage roles are examined. To elaborate, wives were predetermined to carry out two functions during matrimony: taking care of the family and procreation. Moreover the woman is groomed from a young age to provide the aforementioned roles and is essentially forced into the marriage. Milton mirrors this belief through the Eve character. She is not just forced to be Adam’s mate; she is specifically created for this purpose. However, the relationship between the two characters in regards to any social structure such as marriage is purely figurative. But if this position is taken, then the metaphor could be extended even further to include the idea that the Garden of Eden itself acts like a church. All this information lends itself to Milton’s proposition that Adam and Eve’s fall from grace was fortunate because it allows for the female counterpart to evolve in position from someone who is treated like a tool into a companion who is loved and cherished.
In order to show this transformation Eve needs to start out in a lowly place and right from the point of her inception this is true. Her role in the early parts of the epic is to be the vain and oblivious housewife. While recounting the story of her origin to Adam, she mentions that the first sight that caught her eye was a lake (90). More precisely it was “A shape within the wat’ry gleam appeared Bending to look on me” (90). In a scene inspired by the Narcissus story, which we discussed in class on many occasions, Eve stares at her own reflection. The same idea can be derived from both stories: vanity overcomes rational reasoning. It is not until she hears the voice of god that Eve turns away from the water. In contrast, as soon as Adam wakes up he questions who he is and where he is actively by yelling it towards the great expanse of paradise (184). Milton further underscores the disparity between the two humans during the meeting between Adam and Raphael. The angel directly criticizes Eve and suggests that she is weaker then her husband. Ultimately, in the first half of the text the bard describes the mother of man as being too involved with her looks and therefore not suited to matters outside of her designated role. This all contributes to the general notion in 17th century Europe that women were subservient to their marital counterparts.
John Milton continues to foster the idea Eve is under Adam on the chain of command by making her absent during the latter’s conversations with Raphael. To elaborate, because she is not present during the angel’s visit it implies her incapability to actively seek knowledge and understanding. Vanity plays an important role in this situation, as it is the impetus for her disappearance during these meetings. The text states that she would rather that Adam relay the information because “he would intermix Grateful digressions and solve high dispute With conjugal caresses” (178-179). This can imply that she chooses Adam because he acknowledges her looks and that plays into her self-importance. Similarly, she ignores Raphael on the premise that he disregards those looks given the fact that he is an angel and by nature a pragmatist. Truly, pre-lapsarian heaven is against the idea of women straying outside of their given roles as mothers. Some critics, including Stephen Hacklett, argue the point that “for Milton, ‘Raphael tends to be the spokesman of the view that the wife was created expressly to bear children’”(Boehrer, 24). However, there could be a silver lining in Eve’s choice. One can entertain the possibility that the reason for her actions is that she prefers to listen and devote her time to her husband rather than a stranger, especially given the fact that during a dream she was tempted to evil by someone with a similar appearance. After all, Eve is designed to exist solely for Adam and to live under him because it is all she knows. Her ignorance does not have to be explained by gender but rather by social constructs. This first half of Paradise Lost is nearly doctrine for the behavior of a traditional married couple.
These attributes that are credited to Eve are not as much negative as they are misinterpreted. By virtue of her absence during the conversation she is not as strong of a thinker as her husband, who was created as the perfect rationalizer. While some may see this as detriment there are others who see it as opportunity. Because she is not fully aware of the consequences of her exploits she acts with reckless abandon. Barbara Lewalski notes that “Milton also accords Eve important areas of initiative and autonomy” adding “Eve often proposes issues for discussion, initiates action, and leads in some new direction” (Lewalski, 469). This is the author’s way of distinguishing the female protagonists from the norm. This depiction of woman is similar to another anomaly: Miranda, whom we’ve discussed thoroughly in class, from Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the play, the character, also a sole female, is portrayed as having a groundbreaking level of agency. She can be seen as a precursor to our Eve because of how she behaves in the situation of marriage: according to our class discussions she initiates conversation and ultimately proposes marriage. These characters are startlingly similar as they both have a lack of knowledge about the outside world and yet manage to act while their male counterparts are isolated in deep thought. However, what separates these two women is that Miranda’s pursuits are destined to succeed per her father’s actions. On the other hand, we are told throughout Paradise Lost that Eve’s future is nothing short of grim. What makes the latter especially significant is that she knows her fate yet she marches on, showing an unprecedented level of autonomy. The actions of Eve are refreshing to see, especially in a character that is so intertwined in religious piety, even though those actions give way to a catastrophic event, at least in context.
The first half of the text constitutes the familiar picture of a classic marriage, however, after the fall what occurs between Adam and Eve can only be defined as revolutionary. Similar to the aforementioned Miranda, the wife proposes marriage by offering the apple to her husband. What is truly surprising is the latter’s reaction:
How can I live without thee, how forgo Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined to live again in these wild woods forlorn? Should God create another Eve and I Another rib afford, yet loss of thee Would never from my heart. No! No! I feel The link of nature draw me, flesh of flesh, Bone of my bone thou art and from thy state Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. (222)
For the first time in the epic Eve is depicted and referred to as an equal. Knowing that she has fallen, Adam decides that he would rather be fallen with her than remain pure and lose her. This event cannot be underscored enough. Both husband and wife grow into a unit, and former begins to acknowledge the latter’s new position.
Even the instance where the two have intercourse, overcome by lust rather than their primary mission, says something positive about Eve. Here she breaks free of her designated role as mother as sexual contact becomes about love and sensual urges rather than a necessity of procreation (Leinwand, 247). Reproduction was a very sacred thing in Milton’s time, as royalty would take on many consorts in order to breed the perfect child. Put simply, proliferation was the foundation of marriage as well as the basis for divorce in Christian Europe (Leinwand, 249). The only grounds for a lawful divorce in Milton’s time were usually sexual incompatibility due to unlawful relations with other parties (Laurence 5). But Milton expresses his belief that any sort of incompatibility—sexual, mental, or otherwise—is justified grounds for a divorce. Put simply, procreation is not everything in marriage, there needs to be compatibility, conversation, mental companionship for a marriage to survive and to be meaningful and that is what Adam and Eve’s marriage gains after the fall from grace. The role of the woman is completely turned on its head in this segment as Eve takes further initiative and elects to take the brunt of the punishment “There with my cries importune Heav’n that all The sentence from thy head removed may light On me” (255). Barbara Lewalski adds, “she does become the first human to reach toward the new standard of epic heroism” (Lewalski, 474). Furthermore, it is Eve who rallies Adam to repent for their sins, once again complementing his biggest weakness: the inability to act due to constantly rationalizing and reasoning. Their unison in the practice of praying, even after they are judged, is a testament to how powerful their feelings are for one another. Unlike in the first part of the text, their eyes are opened completely and their decision to remain married is through free choice rather than design and practicality. The resolution of Paradise Lost is a resounding statement about marriage made by Milton, which, according to Joan Weber, is “[Marriage] ‘is the basic, central figure of the way the world is, and of the way it could be-sometimes in a pattern of higher and lower status, sometimes in a balance of equals, sometimes stressing the separateness of the partners and sometimes their unity’” (Anderson, 141). Ultimately, Milton presents an amazing depiction of a truly unified marriage because Adam and Eve after the fall is a vivid example of his belief that two people can complement each other, smooth out one another’ faults and enhance each others’ strengths.
Milton promotes religious values, enlightens readers, and helps people to become better Christians. Also, he explores and shows the role women play in his society and the role they could play. Through this social commentary, Milton shows women can be better partners in marriage, and Eve is a sign that women can progress in society, at least in their roles as wives.
Anderson, Douglas. “Unfallen Marriage and the Fallen Imagination in Paradise Lost”. Studies in English Literature 1500-1900, 26:1, 125-144. Winter 1986. JSTOR, Web.
Boehrer, Bruce. “”Female for Race”: Euhemerism and the Augustinian Doctrine of Marriage in “Paradise Lost VII“”. South Atlantic Review, 61:4, Autumn 1996, 23-37. JSTOR, Web.
Laurence, Anne. “Women and the Transmission of Property: Inheritance in the British Isles in the 17th Century”. The Open University, 244(3), 2009, 435-450. Web.
Leinwand, Theodore B. ‘”This gulph of marriage’: Jacobean city wives and Jacobean city comedy”. Women’s Studies, VOl. 10, January, 1 1984, 245-260. Academic Search Complete, Web.
Lewalski, Barbara K. “Higher Argument”: Completing and Publishing Paradise Lost. In Paradise Lost, Ed. Gordon Teskey. New York: Norton, 2005.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Gordon Teskey. New York: Norton, 2005.
Shakespeare, William. The Tempest. Ed. Peter Hulme and William H. Sherman. New York: Norton, 2003.
Being Loyal and Being Obedient
Words with the root “obedient” or “obedience” appear thirty-two times in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, while the root word “loyal” appears only four times. Nevertheless, ties of loyalty are central to the narrative of man’s first fall. Questions of character morality are determined not only through obedience to God, but by the loyalties that men, angels and demons hold with each other. Milton sees value in the loyalty that the fallen angels have for Satan, even though they are disobedient and disloyal to God. Equally dynamic ties of loyalty exist between Satan and God, Abdiel and God, and Adam and Eve. The ethical implications of loyalty are redefined with each relationship until Milton arrives at an ideal of voluntary, reasoned allegiance. Milton admires the virtue of loyalty independently of obedience to God, such that characters who disobey God because of other loyalties are less culpable for their sins.
Obedience to God is the most explicit virtue propounded in Paradise Lost, though what God desires from his creations goes beyond obedience into the realm of loyalty. As the opening line states, this is the story “Of man’s first disobedience” (Milton 1.1). Obedience is defined as “The action or practice of obeying or doing what one is bidden; submission to the rule or authority of another” (“obedience”). God commands Adam, and by extension Eve, to not eat from the Tree of Knowledge. However, in his defense of the fall, God reveals higher expectations: “Not free, what proof could they have given sincere/ Of true allegiance, constant faith and love,” (3.103-106) Rather than just obey a simple command, God desires a “true allegiance” more like loyalty than obedience. Obedience lacks the connotations of deliberate action and free choice that loyalty implies. Loyalty is “giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution” (“loyal”). The distinction between obedience and loyalty is more reliant on modern connotations than Milton’s own use of the words in Paradise Lost. Semantics aside, this distinction is vital in tracing the morality and culpability in each character’s actions. As we shall see, Milton values the voluntary, reasoned loyalty which God also desires over unquestioning, unchallenged obedience.
Satan is the most blameworthy sinner in Paradise Lost for his unprecedented betrayal, but Milton values the loyalty of the millions of demons who follow Satan. Satan disobeys God first of all creations, untempted by any other characters or loyalties. Though he cites seemingly rational reasons for rebelling to his followers, Raphael says that “‘envy against the Son of God”” spurred Satan’s rebellion (5.662). On the way to Eden, Satan laments how his own “‘pride and worse ambition threw me down/ Warring in Heav’n’” (4.40-41). Devoid of loyalty to anyone but himself – not even loyal to the democratic ideals he espouses in front of his followers – Satan receives no mercy from God: “The first sort [all fallen angels] by their own suggestion fell,/ self-tempted, self-depraved: man falls deceived/ By other first: man therefore shall find grace,/ The other none” (3.129-132). Unlike the character God, Milton has sympathy for Satan’s followers. Compelled by Satan’s former eminent role in Heaven and his persuasive orations, millions of angels were tempted to fall as man did. Milton describes them as such: “The fellows of his crime, the followers rather/… For ever now to have their lot in pain,/…For his revolt, yet faithful how they stood,/ Their glory withered…” (1.607-612). Milton alleviates blame for millions of rebels with the labels “followers” rather than “fellows” and “his revolt” rather than “their revolt”. The turn of phrase in “yet” indicates a more optimistic or applauding tone as Milton admires the demons’ loyalty to Satan. Their loyalty does not save them from turning into tortured serpents in Book 10, but only Satan is given individual punishment: Eve’s seed through Christ “Shall bruise the head of Satan, crush his strength/ Defeating Sin and Death, his two main arms” (12.430-431). Thus, Satan faces the harshest punishment as the most culpable, loyal-less sinner in Paradise Lost. His followers are less reprehensible because of their faith in Satan’s standing and reason before the fall and loyalty to Satan even after the fall.
In contrast, Abdiel represents an ideal moral character in his loyalty and obedience to God. His shining moment occurs at the close of Book 5, surrounded by the millions of angels about to follow Satan, “Among the faithless, faithful only he;/ Among innumerable false, unmoved,/ Unshaken, unseduced, unterrified,/ His loyalty he kept, his love, his zeal;” (5.897-900). Notably, this is the singular use of “loyalty” in Paradise Lost. (Man is twice described as “disloyal” (3.204, 9.7) and “loyal” once describes wedded love in Eden (4.755).) Harkening back to the definition of loyalty, Abdiel maintains his faith in extreme circumstances, his steadfastness accented by Milton’s many repetition of the prefix “un-”. The option to disobey lies open before Abdiel, but he maintains faith on the basis of reason. Satan argues that angels were not created by God and therefore owe no loyalty to him, an “‘argument blasphemous, false and proud!’” which Abdiel promptly retorts (5.809). At no point does Abdiel seem inclined to disobey God, such stands his level of obedience. The combination of deliberate, reason-based loyalty and unwavering obedience culminate in Abdiel’s ardent “zeal”.
Adam embodies the median between Abdiel’s loyalty and Satan’s lack thereof: Milton elaborates on the fall of man as told in Genesis such that Adam’s main incentive to disobey God is his loyalty to Eve. Adam’s loyalty to Eve makes him less culpable in committing the same sin as her. The ramifications of this gender disparity extend far beyond the text of Paradise Lost and even Milton’s era. Eve does not eat from the Tree because of any loyalty and thus receives harsher punishment than Adam. One counterargument is that Adam follows Eve out of a misguided obedience founded on pleasure or “nature” rather than deliberative loyalty.
At the close of Paradise Lost, the fall of man may be seen as “goodness infinite, goodness immense” for allowing humans to have loyalty towards God rather than just obedience (12.469). Before the fall, Adam and Eve do obey, worship, and love God. They do this instinctually, without ever considering an alternative. Within Adam’s first moments of life he deduces that a “’great Maker’” exists and asks “’how may I know him, how adore’” (8.278-280). Adam and Eve’s original naivety, or blind faith, starkly contrasts with Abdiel’s deliberate, reasoned loyalty while confronting rebel angels. Adam addresses his lack of choice pre-fall in this Job-inspire speech: “Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay/ to mold me man…or here place/ In this delicious garden?” (10.743-746) Adam uses the language of a contract entered unknowingly – “Thy terms too hard”, “Sufficient penalty”, “cavil the conditions” – whereas loyalty is by definition the allegiance to something like a contract. A major shift towards loyalty occurs after the fall. God originally placed the Tree of Knowledge in Eden to grant man freedom of choice, but Adam and Eve do not actively choose faith until after eating from the tree. They first consider several paths of disobedience – worshipping the Tree itself, suicide, refusal to procreate – before choosing loyalty and obedience to God. In Adam and Eve’s choice after the fall, faith becomes infinitely more significant. Obedience and loyalty marry in Adam’s statement, “Henceforth I learn, that to obey is best,” (12.561).
Ties of loyalty are exceptionally complex in Paradise Lost, just as they must have been in Milton’s own life during the poem’s conception. Milton probably began writing the poem in 1658 under the English Commonwealth that he helped to establish (Kerrigan, xxii). Two years later the monarchy returned under the Restoration and Milton is imprisoned for two months (Kerrigan, xxii). Paradise Lost was first published in 1667. The Restoration was a crushing political and emotional blow for Milton. The invocation of Book 7 portrays Milton as an Abdiel figure, solely faithful “On evil days though fall’n, and evil tongues;/ In darkness, and with dangers encompassed round,/ And solitude…” (7.26-28). Milton may have wondered if the Parliamentarians has somehow been led astray, like Adam in his excessive loyalty to Eve. In his direst moments of doubt, Milton may have wondered if the Commonwealth was a blunder on a societal level, like the angels who followed Satan. John Milton would at least have the assurance that through the virtue of loyalty, even when in conflict with obedience to God, one can find mercy and forgiveness.
“loyal, adj. and n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 13 November 2014.
“obedience, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, September 2014. Web. 13 November 2014.
Carroll, Robert P., and Stephen Prickett. The Bible Authorized King James Version. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2008. Print.
Kerrigan, William, John Peter Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon. “A Chronology of Milton’s Life.” The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton. By John Milton. New York: Modern Library, 2007. Xxi-xii. Print.
Milton, John. “Paradise Lost.” The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton. Eds. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, Stephen Fallon. New York: Modern Library, 2007. 293-630. Print.
The Fall of Satan from Raphael’s Perspective
Book Six of John Milton’s Paradise Lost is a continuation of the angel Raphael’s discourse to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. He is recounting the fall of Satan, and focuses on the battles that take place between the angels and rebel angels. These battles are a prelude to the casting out of the rebels from Heaven. Raphael has to find a way to convey the details of the struggle in a manner to which humans are able to relate. Since they are not ethereal, the ways of the angels are outside their grasp. Raphael decides to tell the story as an epic battle utilizing the Homeric style and language, therefore positioning this Book as a sort of epic within an epic.
In the beginning of the Book, dawn breaks over the landscape of Heaven as the angel Abdiel makes his way to God and his faithful legions. At the onset of the strife between Satan and God, Abdiel sides with Satan. After recognizing his folly in this course of action, he changes his mind and returns to God. This is a lesson offered for Adam and Eve’s benefit. It illustrates the power of free will – Abdiel didn’t have to side with Satan, it was not out of his control, and it was under his own free will that he made the righteous decision to return to God. Abdiel’s name means “Servant of God” and he is representative of free will being directed towards the path of goodness.
In the Bible, Abdiel is not an angel, but a person, and there has been speculation that Milton was using the angel as an allegorical character for himself and his quest to justify the ways of God to men. This, if true, further complicates the endeavor of keeping track of the separate allegories, because now it can be seen that there is an allegory within an allegory within an allegory. Raphael is trying to convey the fact that Adam and Eve should not sway from God’s side in the first place, but that even if they do, hope is still not lost.
Upon Abdiel’s return to the ranks of the faithful, God exhibits His mercy and forgiveness by welcoming him back in with open arms and no admonishment whatsoever, thusly illustrating that any of the rebel angels at any time could have recognized the wrongness of their actions and returned to God’s side without fear of negative repercussions. God’s justice is also shown when He requests that only as many of His angels fight as there are rebel angels in opposition. However, God also proves Himself as a force to be reckoned with by the very fact that He is mustering troops to battle.
Raphael describes the righteous angels trekking across Heaven to confront the rebel angels in a way that Adam and Eve can understand; no mortal could hope to fathom the span of Heaven. Raphael puts it in terms that both humans can grasp: “Over many a tract / Of Heaven they marched, and many a province wide, / Tenfold the length of this terrene” (vi, 76-78). When the rogue angels are encountered, Raphael remarks on the irony that the two groups are now meeting in civil war who had once met “So oft in festivals of joy and love” (vi, 94).
Abdiel then confronts Satan, but prior to that he speaks an aside intended not only for Adam and Eve’s consideration, but for Milton’s audience as well. It is following in the tradition of the chorus in Greek theatre, which exists for the purpose of asking important questions and drawing the audience’s attention to significant plot points. Abdiel wonders why Satan should still retain the healthy body of an angel when his faith and virtue have begun to rot away inside. This sentiment foreshadows Satan after his fall, when he begins to shape shift into lower and lower animals, finally becoming unrecognizable to the angels in Heaven.
Following this aside, Abdiel accuses Satan of thinking that he had the chance of winning a battle against God. Satan is reminded that he could have repented and been forgiven at any point in his transgressions, but he chose not to and is now a fallen angel. This could be a lesson in disguise to Adam and Eve, whose fall has been foreseen but who still have the ability to resist temptation. Satan responds that he would prefer Hell to servility, to which Abdiel responds that Satan is servile only to himself. Abdiel then strikes Satan in anger.
That blow marks the onset of battle. Michael sounds the battle cry, and Raphael describes the battle in epic terms to convey to Adam the incredible magnitude of the fight. The outcome of the battle hangs in midair for a long while because angels cannot die, and both the rebel angels and the righteous angels are evenly matched. Satan and the angel Michael meet on the field of battle, and Michael is optimistic that now the war will cease. He does not raise his sword to Satan in the hopes that Satan will yield and take his rebels down to Hell. In Michael’s speech to Satan, he reminds Satan that he was unknown until he decided to revolt, and admonishes him for disturbing the peace of Heaven and bringing misery into nature. Michael gives Satan a chance to leave and take his rebel angels with him peacefully, before the sword will drive him out. Satan tells Michael not to make airy threats – he still believes that he can win the battle.
Having recognized the fact that neither one will cede to the other, Michael and Satan prepare for battle. They both raise their arms to strike, but Michael’s sword was given to him from the armory of God and falls first. Satan is cloven almost completely in half: “Satan first knew pain” (vi, 327). This may be seen perhaps at odds with Book II, line 752: “All on a sudden miserable pain / Surprised thee” – talking about when Sin is born from Satan’s head. However, as Sin’s birth was Satan’s first experience with pain, it cannot be said that he actually “knew” it, whereas Satan was able to recognize pain when it occurred again. Similarly, before the Fall, Adam was able to talk about Death but it was an empty idea to him; he did not understand what it was or how it worked. But after the fall, all men knew Death. Satan and his angels are wounded, so they retreat for the night and try to regroup.
This Book is interesting in the fact that it frames the allegory of battle that Raphael presents to Adam and Eve within the larger frame of the entire play that Milton presents to his audience. This allegorical battle is told as an epic and as such, is representative of Milton’s familiarity with the classical epics. In fact, there is a reference to Homer’s Iliad in the first few lines of the Book. In lines 2 through 4, Raphael describes the morning as unbarring the gates of light “with rosy hand”, which immediately calls to mind Homer’s “rosy-fingered Dawn”. Both Dawn and the Morn are personified as characters within the poem, and following close behind them, the action of the poems begins.
Likewise, as Satan enters the battlefield he is described follows: “with vast and haughty strides advanced, / come towering, armed in adamant and gold” (vi, 109-110). In the Iliad, Achilles is described as entering “the city, terrible and strong, / with high and haughty steps he towered along.” This is nearly the same image as the one that Milton presents, and further supports the epic feel of the battle. After Satan has been smited by Michael, the “angels many and strong, who interposed defense while others bore him on their shields back to his chariot” – this is an image modeled on the rescue of wounded Hector (vi, 336-338). Milton has gone from describing Satan as Achilles, the victor, to describing him as Hector, who ultimately loses.
Throughout the entirety of Book Six Milton vividly describes the battle between the angels, as well as the angels who fought it. However, one cannot overlook the fact that he is speaking allegorically. Indeed, Paradise Lost is an epic poem told entirely in allegory. The poem itself is epic, but within that larger epic exist many smaller ones. Book Six features a battle told in the style of a classical epic; it is told not as a history or to entertain, but rather to instruct and to facilitate a deeper understanding of the concepts that Raphael sought to impart to Adam and Eve, and that Milton wishes to impart to his audience.
The Portrayal of Angels’ Divinity
In Paradise Lost, John Milton endows angels with magnificent qualities, both positive and negative. Through symbolism, he shows their greatness. In a meaningful shift from earlier ideas of his time, Milton’s angels are shown to possess full free will. This capacity makes them creatures of choice, rather than a definite force of good or evil. They are shown to be superior to humans in some ways, but very similar in others, including their yearning to unify with God in a sexual, but not lustful manner. Three texts in particular explore these aspects and more of the divinity of Milton’s angels: Milton’s Angels by John Andrew Himes, Desiring Angels: The Angelic Body in Paradise Lost by Karma DeGruy, and Milton’s Warring Angels by William Kolbrener.
Milton employs symbolism throughout Paradise Lost to convey truths, but this is specifically explained in Milton’s Angels by John Andrew Himes, who analyzes the nature of both righteous and fallen angels in terms of Milton’s symbolism. This symbolism depicts great things- the worst of the sins and the best of the virtues of the world. These ideas show the reader both the meaning which the symbolism works to portray and the significance of all of the angels. Himes begins his argument by drawing on the “‘angelic’ fetishism of unity, authority, and spirit” seen in his time, which still continues today. But angels are imperfect, despite being celestial beings of great beauty, capable of true greatness. In Paradise Lost, many of these angels committed the ultimate sin, leaving God and “falling,” exercising their God-given gift of free will in a complete yet misdirected fashion: indeed, perfect in the complete use and advantage with which they made of their free will, but quite imperfect considering their ultimate choice is sin. And so, the gravity of the properties used to symbolize each angel should be all the more meaningful as angels have been proven to have free will, and do not necessarily have to choose as they do.
Milton’s Angels suggests that the angels, as with many of Milton’s other characters, are symbolic for one thing or another, writing that “the form, stature, attire, words, and actions of each are always consistent with its central nature,” on which he derives the symbolic quality. Although Milton does not openly express the symbolism of the angels within Paradise Lost, given Himes’ in depth analysis, it is highly plausible that this was the intended purpose. According to Himes, “the good and evil spirits, then, represent respectively the virtues and vices in the moral construction of the world.” This, indeed, is a strong level of symbolism to place upon any character. The seven spirits who rise after Satan and Beelzebub from the burning lake are intended to be the seven deadly sins, thus ordered: Murder, Lust, Pride, Envy, Covetousness, Gluttony, and Idleness. The fact that Milton would use creatures generally perceived to be both perfect and holy to represent the deadly sins shows life to be a little more “gray” rather than “black and white,” giving perspective on the shared gift of choice and free will.
What is particularly compelling about Himes’ analysis is not the common fallen angel, despite being bold and strong; his analysis of Satan, another fallen angel, pulls attention as well. In many theological expressions, Satan is the ultimate epitome of evil. However, instead of being the embodiment of all sins, Himes pairs him specifically with Ambition, perhaps speaking of a sort of chaos. “There is a hint of wandering, unsettled nature in the very word,” Himes writes, regarding Ambition. “[Satan] is the head of the whole body of demons. He is the principle of evil in general and the adversity of all good.” Despite Himes associating Satan with the symbolic vice of Ambition, he also shows how sins change in the face of circumstance by showing this symbolism morph depending on which archangel Satan speaks to. According to Himes, “Before the truth-loving Uriel he represents Hypocrisy; before the wise Gabriel, Folly; before the faithful Abdiel, Skepticism; before the righteous Michael, the lifeless ‘Letter of the Land’”. This makes sense, as sin affects all, despite individual strengths, and how it can be represented in different ways depending on the circumstance. This plays with the idea of Moral Luck, as even though a person may not commit a certain sin, had they found themselves in a different situation, they may have committed that sin simply because of circumstance. Different circumstances draw different vices out of people, and Satan fully represents this principle. According to Karma DeGruy in Desiring Angels: The Angelic Body in Paradise Lost, “In Milton’s world, the creation of God is about process and becoming rather than fixed states of being,” which plays directly into the concept of free will and the idea that states of being change. This explains why angels who were once good decided to follow Satan rather than the truth, and why angels tend to want to unify with others through sexual-like acts instead of simply relishing in their own selves: a selfish and vain act, but understandable given their comparatively supreme beauty to humanity’s.
In Milton’s Warring Angels, William Kolbrener, like Himes, comments on the “polarity” of the ideas of “angelic” and “satanic” from Milton’s Enlightenment origins. Absolute angelic polarity, however, is refuted in Milton’s Paradise Lost especially through the symbolism found by Himes in Milton’s Angels. “Milton’s critics often posit ‘difference’ or ‘unity’ as ends in themselves, where for Milton the two exist in productive tension.” He also argues that intuition and reason are not mutually exclusive, as even the angels must rely on discursive reasoning and cannot understand everything, despite having great powers to sense things. Though angels are divine beings, there “are many things of which they are ignorant.” And so, we know that despite their divinity, these celestial beings are not perfect. They have a full sense of free will, and not all use it perfectly. They lack complete knowledge. Although they are superior in many ways, they also share many similarities to humans in these points. But that is not to contradict their superiority. One of the ways in which they show this superiority is through their sexuality, a concept including the unification of more than the body, written about by Karma DeGruy in Desiring Angels: The Angelic Body in Paradise Lost.
DeGruy speaks of sexuality as being a part of the fall of humanity. But the eros involved with the sexuality present before the fall goes past just a physical longing and love, but into a deeper desire to be one, to unify. In Rafael, Adam sees something he craves: a higher beauty and divinity than his own. He sees a higher understanding, a higher power of sorts. The unity he desires can be met by engaging in deep, soul-bearing conversations, as shown when he tries to keep Rafael with him. But a more perfect union is through a sort of sex, and he craves this as well, as this is a total unification, of body and spirit. This can be shown in other works: for example, in the Bible, Mary is known to be pure and holy, without sin, and such is in a state of grace unlike what most humans know. She is closer to God, and she trusts Him. And he gave her a child. Not to say that they had physical sex, but that she had a spiritual and physical unity with God few can achieve. This open-souled unity is what man craves to have with others- God, and with people in order to experience it with God, although this is often misinterpreted by those same people. With The Fall, Adam and Eve lost any unity they formerly had with God, and a hole formed that needed to be filled. In losing a perfect connection with Him, they also lost a perfect connection with each other, and the hole grew. Humanity seeks to fill this same hole through imperfect means. This “hole filling” is shown in the news, in pop culture, and in day-to-day living. Money and drugs are distractions. Alcohol numbs it. Sex and romance attempt to fill it with inferior connections. But this hole is made for God by the absence of that perfect unity. Even the angels feel a need to engage in unifying activities, despite their close relations with God. A desire to know and to be known. To love and to be loved completely in order to “be one” or to “unify.”
The desire to “be one,” especially in addition to eros, can become a lust for bodily pleasures with another person. Even the angels engage in a pure form of this “oneness,” but it is different from the sex that the media portrays. It is a sex of the soul and the body. It is a total giving of self, as one does for God in times of adoration and praise. It makes sense, then, that angels are “desirable not only for their superior goodness and intelligence, but also for their incredible beauty and mutual enjoyment of their beauty.” They do not require another to be complete, but it is a good and desirable thing to be one with other beautiful creatures. In comparison, “humanity is rational, not fully intelligential, humans possess divisible selves that they must learn to train and temper, just as they have desirable bodies and originally divided, sexed, and gendered states that make them incomplete without their partners.” But although their means are different, the end desires are the same: unity.
These analyses bring the priesthood to question. Despite being stereotypically spiritually superior to the rest of the lay people, they possess free will and did not have to choose this greatness. Few had experiences in which God physically spoke to them, asking them to choose the priesthood. For most, discernment continues even through the seminary, with their time in seminary acting as “the dating period” before marriage as in the vocation to matrimony. Despite having a calling towards the priesthood, they generally also experience a calling towards the married life, and know that they would be equally happy in either life they choose. For a priest who does not yearn for the type of relationship a marriage entails cannot fully minister to the people- he must have a heart which desires the souls of the people around him. And so, his vocation was not pre-determined. A priest is not simply a priest, but a person who rose to meet his calling and chose God above his other desires and the conflicts holding him back, and thus is great and will theoretically continue to achieve greatness throughout his vocation. It was a choice, just as it was for the angels. A superior goodness and closeness with God is always a choice for both angels and humans, as free will was bestowed upon both. When healthy, the sexual energy the angels and humans both possess is not so much a lustful thing as humans tend to think of it, but an appreciation of and longing to join with others, to be a part of all in the same way that a human may desire to “be one” with God. To share, to partake in. According to Himes, “Raphael’s entrance is charged with a sexual interest, but not a lust.” Instead, a wisdom and connectedness seen in those with a true understanding. Through celibacy, a priest may better form these holy, unifying types of connections with people around him without the use of a physical sex.
And so, an angel’s divinity is a peculiar subject. Filled with great potential for either virtue or vice, they are prime targets for magnificent displays of intense symbolism. Their ability to choose with free will just as humans can only adds to the magnanimity of their good choices and beauty, as angels are not simply predestined to be great forces of good or bad as Michael and Satan are often respectively portrayed as. This is a trait relatable to humanity, as is their need for unity with God and others. It is seen in the human craving for sex and other actions working to fill ‘the hole’ left from a lack of unity with God. The angels are beautiful examples of what humanity should strive for in regards to their faith, their values, their virtues, but also what they should avoid. While angels are beautiful, so, too, are humans beautiful, also made by the same infallible god.
“Milton’s Warring Angels: A Study of Critical Engagements. William Kolbrener, Milton.” Modern Philology 98.1 (2000): 58-63. Web.
Himes, John A. “Milton’s Angels” (1997)
Degruy, Karma. “Desiring Angels: The Angelic Body in Paradise Lost.” Criticism 54.1 (2012): 117-49. Web.
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett, 2005. Print.