Paradise Lost is an Epic Poem in Blank Verse By the 17th-Century English Poet John Milton
In Milton’s Paradise Lost, sexuality is depicted to elucidate the dichotomy of love and lust in the pre-fall and post fall period. This distinct contrast between periods account for this division by Milton’s impeccable use of comparison, syntax and imagery. Through these features, Milton is able to showcase characters Adam and Eve’s development in a sexual manner from prelaspertairan to postlaspertairan. Adam and Eve undergo a transition where sexuality is deemed under God as a pure, holy, and innocent to becoming this sexual intrinsic but sinful desire that God believes is only suited for animals. After the fall, Milton’s view on sexuality becomes clear, essentially stating that sexuality must be deemed under God and that without an underlying sense of professionalism and intellectuality, sexual interaction is iniquitous and ungodly. These views rise to the surface through Milton’s selective planned word use and language that play a substantial role in this sexual transformation, supplying Paradise Lost with this wide range of sexual possibility that can be at times both beautiful and ugly.
In book IV, the first sexual encounter between Adam and Eve is vindicated in a conformational and intellectual manner. The intent is clearly done so under God as Adam and Eve retreat to the bed, praising God beforehand, laying side by side. They proceed to have sex but done so in a connubial mode in which Milton’s praise for wedded love becomes clear. God delcares sex as a pure act by stating “Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source/Of human offspring, sole propriety”. Therefore, Adam and Eve have sex with the intention of becoming pregant which for God, is under the utmost refined and innocent conditions required. “Straight side by side were laid. Nor turned I ween adam from his fair spouse nor Eve ther ites Mysterious of connubial love refused, Whatever hypocrites austerely talk Of purity and place and innocence”. Milton’s attributes this notion of conjugal love as being the condition for sexual attraction. Interestingly, Milton uses words such as “mysterious” and “impure” as an indication of his own personal influences under God and sex by viewing Adam and Eves first sexual interation as holy love. Conjugal love accounts for the holiness and purity throughout the prelaspertairan period, however, knowingly Satan will oppose this religious undertone with his motivations revolving sex as “Our maker bids increase; who bids abstain/But our Destroyer, foe to God and man”. Adam and Eve’s sexual link is known not to be strong enough to withstand Satan’s standpoint, therefore, this sexual notion among the two of them is known to change postlasperitrerian.
After Adam and Eve’s wedding in book IV, the religious undertone is heightened in their own personal truths as all done so for God. Adam and Eve refer to God as ‘Maker Omnipotent’ which further connotes the notion of trusting and placing all power in God. Given this ultimiate faith, Adam and Eve praise their thanks by reproducing as they believe Eden is “too large”. “For us too large where Thy abundance wants Partakers and uncropped falls to the ground…To fill the earth who shall with us extol’. This idea that Adam and Eve’s mutual love for each other is what drives their sexual ambition to please God is specific to book IV’s, pre-fall interpretation of sexual expression. Another notable aspect that contrasts the prelaspertarian view and the postlasperterian is how Milton portrays Adam and Eve on a bodily scale. It is known that in book IV, Adam and Eve are naked but normalized on a biblical basis. Milton uses imagery to praise the serene beauty and purity in their authentic naked form that deems sexual love pure. By doing so, the transition from serene and innocent to sinful and shameful is evident by the time Adam and Eve are naked but done so covertly and shamefully.
The main transition from pre-fall to post-fall in regards the deviation between love and lust becomes clear after Eve eats the forbidden fruit. The language has a distinct deviation that accounts for this transition between time periods.
Uncertainty and The Sociable Spirit: Raphael’s Role in Paradise Lost
Traditionally, epic poems paint the hero in a grandiose fashion, introducing them immediately and frequently using splendid language to create the image of a character that is meant to be revered. By placing Satan in the traditional place of the hero, Milton has created an abnormality that allows scholars to debate if Satan was truly meant to be the tragic anti hero of the story, or if the sympathy of the audience that comes with the character arc of an anti hero was intentionally fabricated to prove the depth of the danger and allure of Satan’s charming rhetoric. From book I to book X of Paradise Lost, as Satan’s self presentation devolves from one of an admirable hero fighting against an unjust god to a tormented soul trying to get petty revenge against his punisher, the one constant aspect of his identity was his alluring soliloquies.Satan’s flamboyant speech in the first two books are what make him such an impressive and memorable literary figure. At this point tin the story, his outward speech and inner turmoil have not diverged, and he genuinely believes in his bold speech and actions. However, it is not just the boldness of his speeches that wow readers, it is his uncanny ability to tell a story or present and idea in a way that overlooks key pitfalls and exaggerates the reward of a risk without seeming overly fantastic or unbelievable.
From book 1, we see Satan rise off a lake of fire and deliver his heroic speech that outright challenges God. Satan tells the other fallen angels that they can make ‘a Heav’n of Hell, a Hell of Heav’n’ and bolsters their support by saying, ‘Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heav’n’. On the surface, these words seem to be a type of insurance, that in this fight against God there is nothing more they can lose if they are strong willed, but upon further inspection, it can be see that Satan hides behinds his words to fuel his ulterior motives. Because Satan’s version of the story is told first, the audience is ignorant of the exaggerations and omissions that are hidden in Satan’s magnificent speeches. This allows the reader to easily overlook the fact that the powers the fallen angels have in Hell come from God, who could at any moment strip them with ease. However sympathetic of a character Milton may have created in Satan with feeling of remorse and regret, his desire to do harm and push others to continuously do harm has been established from his very first epic speech. This is where the necessity of having Satan be such a well spoken and and larger than character becomes important, without dynamic speeches, Satan would simply not be a forceful or convincing enough villain to plausibly drive the plot or pique a reader’s sympathy and interest to the extent Milton required. Book IV is when the distinction between Satan’s outward persona and inner turmoil manifest. Satan is magnificent, even admirable in Books I and II, but by book IV, he is changed. Where in the start of the poem he appeared divine and otherworldly he is now defined by human characteristics and thoughts. It is the humanity of his soliloqy that changes Satan’s dynamic from one of respect and admiratin to one of sympathy and understanding. WHile humans cannot relate to the pureness of the divine, we can relate to the regret and envy that coats every line of the speech. The power of Satans illustrious speech is seen when he says “my dread of shame / Among the Spirits beneath, whom I seduc’d / With other promises…/ Than to submit, boasting I could subdue / Th’Omnipotent”. In his admittance, he is able to garner the respect of the reader despite blatantly admitting that he will not submit to the will of divine good. He has an uncanny ability of showing how the obvious good may not be the greater good, because when you look deeper into the theology of the statement, he is saying that by unwillingly submitting he will be creating an ever greater sin and moral downfall.
At first he deludes himself into thinking his misery is God’s doing, but he then admits that he rebelled on account of his own free will, and that the only way to free himself from his troment is to embrace it. Satan then declares that Hell is wherever he himself is, making he himself Hell. Instead of allowing this to drive him down the path of repentance, Satan uses this thought to bolster his pride and wrath despite the constant despair he feels for possessing the two characteristics. In this soliloquy, Satan uses his mastery of language to earn the respect and pity of the reader despite the self manifestation of his suffering and the outright acknowledgement that he is a tormented soul with no desire for vindication of his sins. The self-portrait that Satan creates in this soliloquy is one of a character who is upset and troubled by their alienation, but who nonetheless will not adjust his actions or beliefs to achieve salvation and would rather completely commit to sin.In essence, Satan is given such Shakespearean speech to counteract the preconceived notion that he is pure evil and sin. Milton knew that it would take an exceptional amount of rationale and intellect to portray Satan as the charismatic but tragic character the story requires.
As a character Satan must be much more dynamic than those of inherent good to be an enjoyable and relatable evil, as nobody wants to relate to the Devil. It is the brilliant interweaving of humanity and divine power that strikes a unique blend of fear, admiration, and empathy in the reader, as the glimpses into his mind often present situation that people struggle with on a daily basis, just at a more supernatural level. The depiction of a magnificent fall from grace in a manner that is both absolute and interesting requires a large chunk of introspection and emotional distraught that could not be conveyed in the dull speech patterns used by the less magnificent characters such as Adam and Eve. It is important to acknowledge that as Satan’s character degenerates, his motives for warring with God wane as well. At first, Satan wishes to continue the initial fight for freedom from what he viewed as an unjust God. Soon after his motive evolves into continuing the fight for glory and renown that could become of it. In book IV, the downfall of Adam and Eve, and subsequently all of humanity, is shown to simply be a way to pettily toy with God’s plans. By the end of the story, Satan argues that his actions were just to impress the other demons in Hell, similar to how a toddler throws a tantrum to garner the attention of its parents. This regression of motives shows Satan’s fall from magnificence in grace in a very literal fashion.Despite the degeneration of Satan’s physical and mental fortitude, the one aspect of the character that remains unwavering is his convincing and alluring speech. Satan is given the most line density and arguably the most intelligent dialect in the poem for the purpose of inspiring pathos in the reader. Without the intense emotional swings and deep analysis of what would otherwise be irrational behavior there would be no link between the reader and Satan, and since Satan is the link between the books it would have been unwise of Milton to leave him as a flat character. Satan’s passionate use of language make him an entertaining and intellectually stimulating character, bringing a much needed breath of humanity to an otherwise otherworldly story.
Raphael’s Poetic Instruction in Paradise Lost
Raphael – One of the archangels in Heaven, who Acts of the Apostles as one of God’s messengers. Raphael instruct Adam of Satan’s delineate to seduce them into sin, and also state the floor of the fallen angels, as well as the drop of Satan.In the meeting, Satan interrogate what the demons think should be the next move against God. Moloch argues for undissembling warfare. Belial encircle Moloch’s arguments, proposing that nothing should be done. Mammon, the materialistic angel, reason that they do the best with what they have. Finally, Beelzebub, Satan’s aid in order, proposes that the angels strain to get at God through his renovated creation, Man. Beelzebub’s statement, which is really Satan’s proposal, is adopted, and Satan voluntary to find the newly world and unaccustomed creatures. He leaves at once, circumvolant to the Gate of Hell.
There, he match his children, Sin and Death. Sin obvious the gate for Satan who knowing out into Chaos and Night. Sin and Death follow him. Finally, in the coldness Satan sees Earth.The outline of Satan from John Milton’s dunciad work Paradise Lost is rather controversial. Contrary to Satan from the Bible, this inscribe possesses an indeterminate quality that continues to heave hot controversy among scholars as to the version of Milton’s Satan. Some researchers maintain the idea that Satan is a correct Homeric poor boy that can be compared with Homer’s Achilles, while other scholars consider this reputation as a non-traditional hero. The third group of researchers refuses to define Satan as a hoagy, punctuation out that this character Isa harmless nonentity of Creator. Overall, exceeding against oppression and God, Satan mirror a complex mystic sense that uncover Milton’s artistic viewpoint. In this consider, the researchers’ rendering of Paradise Lost is mightily supported on two contradictory visions: conventional and heterodox.Neil Forsyth assert that Milton reveals sympathy towards the magnificence of Satan, but the versifier trouble the saver away from this character; thus Forsyth suggests that Paradise Lost should be unravel from an heterodox perspective.
In specific, the researcher item out that at the foundation of the epilogue Milton demonstrates bold features of Satan, uncovering the resolution’s ground, because Milton doesn’t contemplate Satan to be abundantly woeful.Analysing Milton’s reputation, the embrace findings prompt that Satan can’t be sufficiently study as a correct Homeric torpedo, peculiarly in his illustration with such heroes as Achilles. In his ditty Milton redefines the model of fortitude, finding it unfeeling to integrate the classical world with his own historic perception. Despite the fact that Milton implements some classical elements into his poem, he changes these components, as he combines them with the conventional meaning and historic close.At several detail in the cycle, an Angelic War over Heaven is recounted from distinct perspectives. Satan’s rebellion go after the epic convention of abundant-scale warfare. The battles between the trustworthy angels and Satan’s forces take ground over three days. At the last battle, the Son of God single-handedly conquer the radical multitude of saintly insurgent and banishes them from Heaven.
Following this purge, God creates the World, culminating in his creation of Adam and Eve. While God gave Adam and Eve total privileges and power to government over all creation, he gave them one unambiguous dictate: not to eat from the tree of the acquaintance of excellent and vicious on penalty of death.God watches Satan anear Earth and bode his succession in corrupting Man. Man has communicative will. But God omnisciently savvy what will occur. God unite that Man can be rescue through lenience and thanks, but he must also accept the honest punishment of demise, except someone takes on murder for Man. The Son offers to befit a omi and sustain death in command to heartbroken it. The angels enjoy.Milton assist any struggle against depression, either exact or wise. As Lowenstein claims, “Writing in the English Revolution and the Restoration, Milton spot great emphasis… on the freedom and responsibility of man agents to choose”. The figure of Satan contemplate this minute standpoint, expressing the need of liberated will. As Satan proclaim, “And what I should be, all but less than he/ Whom thunder hath made major? Here at least / We shall be guiltless”.The first illustrations to accompany the topic of Paradise Lost were added to the ¼ printing of 1688, with one carving prefacing each book, of which up to eight of the twelve were by Sir John Baptist Medina, one by Bernard Lens II, and perhaps up to four (including Books I and XII, perhaps the most memorable) by another agency. The engraver was Michael Burghers.
By 1730 the same cast had been re-sculptured on a smaller gradation by Paul Fourdrinier.The poet’s similes in consider to Satan do not show a single interpretation, but equivalent create a variety of distinct meanings for perception of this character. For solicitation, Satan is compare to with starvation, a thief, a pharaoh, but these are only some images of this grinder that he reveals from period to time. However, it is arduous to recognise the whole reflection of Satan, since he Acts of the Apostles variously in several situations and presents other images.The story of Adam and Eve’s seduction and fall is a originally different, new good of epic: a domestic one. Adam and Eve are immediate as having a romantic and sexual relationship while still being without trespass. They have passions and distinct personalities. Satan, intoxication in the form of a encircle, successfully tempts Eve to eat from the Tree by preying on her vanity and tricking her with eloquence. Adam, scholarship that Eve has misdemeanor, intelligently commits the same sin. He declares to Eve that since she was made from his race, they are boundary to one another ‒ if she hazard, he must also pine. In this method, Milton portrays Adam as a heroic figure, but also as a better transgressor than Eve, as he is watchful that what he is o is incorrect.Belial In the Bible, Belial is a heteronym for the demon or an adjective expressive wickedness or destruction. Milton presents him as an single ghost present adulteration. He expostulate cunningly and powerfully for taking no deed and is combined with ‘mean easiness’.
According to Bryson, “Satan more closely feature a inscribe from Greek dramatics or Homeric epopœia than one from the Bible”57.Satan perceive that he will face dangers during his trip, but nothing can interrupt him in his cultivation of the severe goal. As William Ker puts it, “heroic poetry signify an gallant age, an seniority of pride and bravery, in which there is not any extreme association of government to embarrass the special inclination and achievements, nor on the other hand too much loneliness of the hero”. The classical rhapsody describe a heroes a vindicator of people, a character that possesses deity, fortitude and spirit.Thus, Milton occasion an essay to mark true valor from the humanistic show of heroism, depriving a correct epic grinder of its heathen naturalness and stipulate him with new characteristic. According to Lowenstein, “value for Milton cannot solely be taken for granted, but must be continuously touchstone”.The aim of this essay is two-clasp:
- to analyse the figure of Milton’s Satan with the emphasis on the canonic world, and
- to debate the author’s try to integrate the canonical world with his own artistic eye. The notes is divided into several diagram.
Chapter 1 contribute a narrative of the problem that uncovers the core of the research. Chapter 2 perceive the issue in general expression, ply to correct references.
Adam And Eve: Misogyny in Paradise Lost
The story of Adam and Eve is one of the most well-known stories from the Bible. Despite being a popular story, the bible doesn’t give readers deeper insights about how the characters felt before and after the fall. Paradise Lost fills in the details missing from the biblical story, and helps readers understand the consequences of Adam and Eves actions. Adam and Eve share an interesting dynamic in their relationship that forms a major part of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Although Milton’s Paradise Lost is a beautiful story about the fall of Adam and Eve, it has many misogyny elements surrounding the treatment of Eve compared to Adam.
Beautiful and Submissive
The introduction of Adam and Eve mark the first signs of misogyny in Paradise Lost. Adam is introduced as being an intelligent, strong, and faith driven individual. He is the example of a perfect man that was created in gods image. Adam will serve as the basis for every son, father, uncle, etc. Milton does not give Adam any negative attributes when it comes to his appearance and character, but instead uses Adam’s deep love for Eve as his weakness.
Milton’s portrayal of Eve suggests that he believes that woman are to be submissive to men. Eve is introduced as being beautiful beyond comparison and is created as a mate for Adam. She is created from a rib from Adam and is seen as inferior to him. She doesn’t possess the knowledge and reasoning skills that Adam has. Eve is unable to possess the same knowledge because she is not given the opportunity to talk to the angel Raphael or see the visions of Michael. Despite not having access to information, Eve appears un-phased by the inequality she is exposed to and is content with being led by Adam. Milton’s views women as pleasing to the eyes with little knowledge which makes them dependent on the men and follow their every order.
Easy To Be Deceived
In book four and nine of Paradise Lost, Milton repeats his believe that women are inferior to men through the dialogue of Satan, Raphael, and Eve. Satan states that Adam and Eves relationship is comparable to the relationship between a king and his servants. Satan views Eve as a servant of Adam instead of as his equal. In book four, Eve describes her first meeting with Adam, and how she submitted to him without hesitation. Eve is seen as the weaker sex in this encounter and is described as helpless compared to the masculine Adam. In book six of Paradise Lost, the angel Raphael tells Adam “warn the weaker” and “let it profit thee to have heard by terrible example of disobedience” (book 6, lines 909-911). Raphael agrees with Satan’s view of how Eve is more susceptible to being deceived and is seen as inferior to Adam.
Book nine of Paradise Lost emphasizes Eves weakness to be deceived. Adam and Eve are preparing for their morning chores and they are overwhelmed with the amount of work they must complete. Eve suggests they split their workload and finish the chores independently. Adam is hesitant on letting Eve do a portion of the chores alone and is afraid that she might be more susceptible to Satan’s trickery. Eve persists on and convinces Adam that she is strong enough to fight Satan’s temptations. Adam still has doubts in his head about leaving Eve alone, and reluctantly lets her do her chores independently. During the exchange, Eve assumes the role of the weaker individual in comparison to Adam. Adams weakness is not questioned despite him being left alone. Why is Eves integrity questioned, and Adams is not?
After Adam and Eve split up to complete their chores, Satan approaches Eve disguised as a serpent. Satan expresses his pleasure of running into Eve instead of Adam. He believes that Eve has less intelligence compared to her counterpart Adam. Satan is convinced that he will be able to use the lack of intelligence against Eve and take advantage of her. Eve is curious about the tree that had the power to give the serpent the ability to talk and she finds the powerful tree. Eve is hesitant about eating from the Tree of Knowledge because God has forbidden Adam and her from doing so. Satan then tells Eve that the fruit from the tree wanted him to seek out Eve and worship her beauty. Eve is flattered by the serpent’s words and becomes severely tempted to take a bite from the tree. In this scene, Milton suggests that women are vain when it comes to their appearances. Milton could’ve expressed Eves temptation by her willingness to follow the serpent but wanted to emphasize the belief that women hold their beauty to higher standards in comparison to their other qualities such as integrity, honesty, and faithfulness.
Render Herself More Equal
Eve then picks a piece of fruit from the tree and takes a bite. Eve is flooded with new knowledge and begins to question whether she should share this newfound knowledge with Adam. Eve briefly considered keeping the information to herself so that she could “render herself more equal” (Book 9, line 825). This is the first instance of Eve questioning her inferiority to Adam in Paradise Lost. Despite the Milton’s negativity towards women in Paradise Lost, could this be Milton attempting to point out a problem in his societies view on women?
Eve decides to share the fruit of knowledge with Adam so they can become equals. Adam is overwhelmed with the idea of losing Eve and realizes that he cannot live without her. This suggests that a man’s life achievement should be obtaining a wife. Milton suggests that women have negative qualities about them but believes that men should find their worth in a woman. Milton develops hypocritical views in this scene- is he giving women more value in this scene or describing a weakness of man?
Milton emphasizes his distrust for women through Adam’s dialogue in Paradise Lost. He chooses to take a bite from the fruit and the couple fall asleep for a short time. When they wake up, Adam and Eve are disappointed to realize that the only knowledge they gained is the evil they had let into their life. This angers Adam greatly, and he ends the chapter explaining how he has too much trust for women. Adam also believes that women are the bearer of evil, and that anybody who trusts them should prepare for their own downfall.
Milton is quick to blame women for man’s shortcomings in chapter ten of Paradise Lost. God is saddened by the news of the fall of humankind, and sends his son down to serve justice to Adam and Eve. The son questions the couple about their knowledge of their nakedness and the shame they carry with them. Adam explains to the Son that it is Eves fault that they partook in the fruit, and she initiated the downfall of man. Adam’s response reveals that man are quick to use women as a scapegoat instead of taking responsibility for their actions. This sheds a bad light on Milton’s view of women.
The Son is displeased with Adam’s answer, and scolds him for following Eves demands to eat the fruit. He explains that Adam was given the power to rule over Eve, and had the power to resist her demands. The Son tells Adam that he shouldn’t have believed Eve because she is imperfect, and that he is held partially responsible for the fall. The beginning of book ten, Gives the reader more insight on Milton’s distrust of women, and their inability to hold positions of power. He suggests that women shouldn’t be given the power of choice because they make foolish decisions that have lasting consequences for men.
Paradise Lost portrays Milton as someone who sees women as vile human beings, but is it possible that Milton was writing about how society viewed women during his lifetime? During Milton’s time, readers wouldn’t notice the inequality between Adam and Eve. In the modern world, readers can easily point out the differences between Adam and Eve, and realize that Eve was being seen in a negative light throughout Paradise Lost. Milton may not have intended his work to become a feminist piece, but Paradise Lost emphasizes how women can be portrayed as evil using the public’s general opinion about them. If we can see the inequality in Milton’s work, how can society prevent those views from becoming mainstream again?
An Act of Akrasia: Marriage and The Fall of Man in Milton’s Paradise Lost
The Scripture of Genesis laid down the framework for seventeenth century moral guidelines. Of these morals, the focus on the Creation story and the relationship between Adam and Eve gave authority to the definition of marriage, thus establishing a hierarchy within the union between husband and wife. Theologists such as John Dod and William Gouge discussed the meaning of marriage and the conduct of women within marriage, consequently establishing marital norms as a way to keep order within society. This ideology was referenced in conduct books for women as well as in church sermons, which focused on male dominance and female subordination within the household. Any reference to abusive relationships at the hand of the husband was met with advice of perseverance and to entrust any suffering to God. ‘Even so think you, if thou canst suffer an extreme husband, thou shalt have a great reward therefore…But I exhort the women that they would patiently beare the sharpness of their husbands’.
The scripture of Genesis categorises this to be a just punishment that women were prescribed after Eve chose to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. However, John Milton’s Paradise Lost redefines traditional norms surrounding the concept of marriage by the focus on mutual love and honest colloquy within the union between Adam and Eve while revealing the pitfalls of denying one’s partner mutuality and a sense of individualism. By doing so, the poet is able to nuance the idea of Miltonic marriage from biblical ideas of gender roles to a marriage where the focus lies on the need for companionship between two individuals instead of a prepositioned idea of man and wife. In this essay, I will argue that Milton’s portrayal of Adam and Eve’s miscommunication and dependence on each other delegates blame for the Fall of Man in such a manner that their actions could be deemed akratic. Akrasia is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘The state of mind in which someone acts against their better judgement through weakness of will’ , and was used by Greek philosophers to define a paradoxical inability to act in one’s best interest. Throughout the epic poem, Eve’s dynamic character goes from being inherently curious and rational to becoming continuously more desperate to be considered Adam’s equal. Upon creation, Milton’s Eve is moulded out of Adam’s rib to be united with him as ‘…one flesh, one heart, one soul’ (8.499) This suggests that Eve is not inferior to Adam when she is created, but equal in both intelligence and status. This idea matches the equality of genders posed in Genesis, where Eve only becomes Adam’s inferior as God’s punishment for breaking the Prohibition. In Paradise Lost, this inferiority becomes gradually more apparent even before the Fall, which suggests that the social hierarchy is a social construct that has gradually developed into law rather than being the natural order of gender. In The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir argues that ‘One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman’.
This statement reinforces that the institution of patriarchal hierarchy present in Paradise Lost forces Eve in to assume Adam’s inferior, thus Eve is ‘becoming woman’ as defined by the hierarchy, rather than becoming herself. However, at the time of her creation, Eve did not have any prescribed notions of her inferiority and rank on the social hierarchy, which implies that anything less than equality comes unnatural to the innocent mind and women assume a state of submission due to the social construct of gender expectations. Thus, Eve is denied a sense of individualism and forced to internalise a prescribed view on womanhood. Although Paradise Lost focuses on the reinvention of marriage, the poem is governed by a gendered hierarchical institution, similar to that present in Milton’s contemporary society. Modern philosopher Amelie Rorty expounds in her essay ‘The Social and Political Sources of Akrasia’ the idea that akratic behaviour can be affected by political or social institutions: ‘Laws, economic institutions, civic associations, moral and religious ideals and public culture express and model the formation of social habits. Conflicts among them provide some of the major sources of akrasia’ In Paradise Lost, the institution present is the patriarchal hierarchy which establishes Adam as Eve’s superior. This creates tension between the pair, which contradict the ostensible portrayal of their marriage in Genesis, which suggests that they were created as equals and the role of submissive wife was established as a punishment pertaining the Fall. However, it is apparent that Adam and Eve are not created as equals as Adam consider Eve below himself before their infraction.
The apparent tension also supplies sufficient evidence for Eve’s desire to rebel in her quest to achieve egalitarian status. In book 9, Eve suggests that they should split up in order to boost efficiency. ‘Thou therefore now advise Or hear what to my minde first thoughts present, Let us divide our labours’ , to which Adam answers that they would be better off fulfilling the work together, assuming the union works better when they fully adhere to God’s definition of gender roles within the frames of marriage. Eve thus acts like the voice of reason as she proposes a healthy balance of togetherness and individuality within marriage, and thus can be seen as critiquing the unrealistic standards of marriage presented in Genesis, where Adam and Eve subscribes to the gendered hierarchy presented within their respective roles. However, literary critic Joseph Wittreich argues in his work Feminist Milton, that the character of Eve acts as a guide for the portion of balance and mutuality that is seen as ideal within modern marriage, and the tension between the different meanings of marriage, represented by Adam and Eve, is ultimately pushing Eve further towards behaving akratically.
The problem with this is that Milton’s aim with the portrayal of Adam and Eve leading up to the Fall is unknown. In his book Milton and the Idea of Matrimony, critic John Halkett argues that: ‘Woman was made for marriage, whereas marriage was made for man. Man is not limited by the same purpose as woman, the institution was created to serve his needs, whereas woman is the means by which his needs are served’ This interpretation argues that Milton did not believe that Adam and Eve was created as equal beings and thus, the reason for the Fall was due to Eve’s act of defiance towards the natural hierarchical order instead of an act of reasonable indignation. In Comus: A Masque at Ludlow Castle, Milton presents a similar problem to the one Eve is faced with leading up to the Fall. The Lady is tasked with resisting Comus’ allurement in order to maintain her integrity and virtue through chastity and intellectual reasoning. Only when she overcomes the temptation is she awarded the portrayal as autonomous and intelligent. The Lady managed to achieve the recognition of her ingenuity, which is what Eve strives for. The yearn for equality and recognition is ultimately the reason for her succumbing to the serpent’s temptation. She is promised to be considered an equal and appeals to her inherent curiosity, which ultimately is clouding her better judgement. It is only when Eve’s emotions and yearn for independence and equality was clouding her reason and intellectual judgement that ‘into her heart too easy entrance won’ .
The Lady’s perseverance is to Eve’s foil, yet it is unknown if Eve would be celebrated and awarded recognition for her intellectual individualism like the Lady was, had she been able to resist the serpent’s temptation. Rorty explains this in her other essay “Where does the Akratic Break Take Place”, and argues that there are several types of akratic breaks, in which Eve’s break is defined as a break of interpretation. This type of akratic break expounds the akrasia of the emotions, and is described to occur ‘when a person comes to see or interpret his situation and condition in a light that does not conform to his commitment to general ends or principles’ Thus, the serpent’s temptation and promise of a better life clouds Eve’s moral commitment to adhere to God’s commands. In that moment, Eve’s emotions and indignation overrules logic and reason, and thus, Eve truly believes that her actions are just. Rorty expands on this by stating that ‘emotional reactions can fail to accord with his judgements about what is appropriate to a particular situation…emotions are rarely under direct voluntary control.’ Adam, which throughout Paradise Lost, have assumed great responsibility for Eve’s actions, completely renounces this responsibility during the Separation scene, but in theory, his assertion over Eve should completely free her of blame for the Fall, since it is Adam who fails to guide her both morally and intellectually. Yet Adam failed to guide her, and instead he suppressed her intellect and curiosity. This can be seen in Book 4, when Eve questions Adam about heaven, ‘But wherefore all night long shine these? For whom / This glorious sight when sleep hath shut all eyes?’
Adam dismisses her question and answers in a cursory manner, and in Book 8, he asks Raphael the very same question; allowing himself to broaden his intellect. By doing so, he denies Eve intellectual expansion, and his ignorance towards Eve’s intellectual capabilities curbs her sense of independence. If Adam had allowed her to broaden her knowledge and curiosity on the same level he allowed himself, perhaps Eve would have been able to withstand the temptation that lead to the Fall through sufficient and satisfactory intellectual advancement. Instead, the continuous suppression of Eve’s individualism anlong with the Adam and Eve’s heated argument prior to the temptation scene clouded her judgement in such a manner that rendered her unable to apply appropriate judgement in her encounter with the serpent. Thus, her actions can be seen as involuntary and subjection to exterior forces in which she had no control over. Adam’s akratic break when choosing to follow Eve and succumb to eating the fruit is that of a disregard of morals. Rorty explains this type of akratic break to ‘appear between a person’s general beliefs about what is good, divinely commanded, morally desirable – his general principles and ends – and his commitment to guide his actions by those evaluations.’ Thus, Adam’s akratic break occurred as a conflict between his desire to obey the word of God and his fear of losing Eve. When presented with the opportunity, Adam require very little convincing or form of temptation before he takes a bite despite the fact that he is well aware of the consequences when doing so. Sara Silverstein and Thomas Luxon argues in their essay that ‘the Adam of Genesis sins against God after Eve gives him the apple; the Adam of Paradise Lost sins against God not because of what Eve gives him, but because of what he needs of her’. This idea clearly states that Adam had a choice in whether or not to Fall with Eve but chose to follow his heart over his head. Furthermore, in his akratic break, Adam believes himself to have no choice over violating the Prohibiton, however, he fails to acknowledge that he does. Adam could choose not to transgress and instead seek forgiveness for Eve’s actions. In doing so, Adam would fulfil his role as Eve’s protector and moral guide while still positioning her as his submissive.
However, by choosing to disobey the word of God, he effectively renounces his position in the hierarchy and becomes Eve’s equal. Thus, it is not directly the actions of Eve that allows her to become intellectually on par with Adam, but rather Adam admitting to himself that he is unable to live without her. It is established that both Adam and Eve act akratically in the events leading up to the fall, however, there is evidence to suggest that Eve was unaware of the consequences that would follow her transgression. ‘Greedily she engorged without restraint, And knew not eating death’ , whereas Adam profoundly and repeatedly stated the importance of obeying the Prohibition prior to the Fall, leaving no room to question his awareness of the conditions of their stay in Eden. (Augustine 216-18). Eve did not sin due to the fact that she was unaware of the consequences of her actions, the very consequences which Adam failed to tell her. Thus, along with her akratic break, it can be argued that Eve was not acting out of her own free will, whereas Adam did. In conclusion, with the portrayal of failed colloquy within the union, Milton subverts the biblical overtones of original sin and re-examines Eve’s blame in the Fall of Man, thus suggesting that the hierarchy of man-over-woman and the lack of equality in Eden was the very reason for the Fall.
This poses a question of whether or not the fall could have been prevented. Milton opens up for interpretation by the implicit theory that if Eve had been treated as equal to Adam, and her intellectual prowess recognised as Adam’s equal, the Fall of Man could have been avoided. Thus, the blame for the Fall is redistributed and it could be argued that Eve’s culpability pertaining the Fall is false, and that Adam’s superiority is what drove Eve to rebel. Furthermore, Milton explores the possibility that Eve is falsely accused and that the culpability can easily be shifted over to Adam’s akratic actions, thus suggesting that Genesis fails in its representation of Eve as the scapegoat. However, it is equivocal whether or not the portrayal of Adam and Eve’s relationship was designed as a justification for Eve’s akratic break or as a reinforcement of the importance of man-over-wife hierarchy in order to avoid chaos. Nevertheless, the portrayal of Adam and Eve establishes an indisputable contradiction to the authority of Genesis 3, suggesting that the origin of Christian patriarchy and the role of subservient wife was established on an intransigent punishment, a punishment for a crime that Eve perhaps was not fully responsible for. Thus, perhaps Milton argues that the akrasia of traditional gender roles man’s reluctance to take responsibility for their own mistakes, thus unjustly blaming the innocent, allowing woman to become a scapegoat who can most believably be held accountable.
Satan’s Behaviour in Paradise Lost, By John Milton
In his apostrophe to earth, lines 99-179, does Satan seem more human than diabolical? Consider his characterisation, the effects of language, poetic technique and imagery.
Satan likes to confuse people. Evil incarnate, he yet appeals to that side of human nature that rebels against reason, authority and order. A paradox, his characterisation is a strange balance between allegory of corrupting malevolence and flesh-and-blood hero. Note the word, for with his portrayal of a passionate, eloquent and seemingly admirable Fallen Angel, Milton has often been interpreted by more modern audiences, in a phrase coined by the liberalist and unorthodox Blake (more particularly in his encouragement of earthly joy, a stand which did not endear him to the Church), as ‘a true Poet, and of the Devil’s party without knowing it’. ‘More human than diabolical’, their Lucifer is a proud Romantic figure, a view largely defined by his representation in Books 1 and 2. The rebel, freedom fighter and courageous leader of the vanquished, he appears a noble character, far removed from the fiend of Christian tradition. However, just as the extraordinary persuasiveness of his words alters that image, so does the Devil himself change through the course of the poem. In Book 9, the twists and turns of his language are exposed for what they truly are; products of a perverse, corrupting evil. This does not mean, though, that Milton does not depict his Satan as human. For, perhaps, that evil is in all of us.
At the moment he is about to pour his spirit into the body of the serpent, the act of ultimate debasement, hatred and malicious intent, he addresses the earth, his victim, out of the strangest of griefs. Passionate in all that he does, Milton portrays a character given over wholly to his emotions; he speaks of ‘delight’, ‘joy’, ‘pleasures’, ‘torment’, a sensuous idiom that emphasises not, at first sight, a being of ugliness and cruelty, but of worldly, earthly and above all human desires. The very nature of his speech conveys the influence of extreme sensation. His apostrophe, a poetic technique often used in classical epics either by the author himself in a burst of sympathy or condemnation towards his leading figures, or by those very individuals at the object of their ardent regard (a personification that typically lends vividness and significance to the thing), is thus a way of indicating high emotion and alluding to an heroic temperament. The word itself means a ‘turning away’; compelled by force of feeling away from the main text of the tale, so is Satan diverted, if only temporarily, from his diabolical purpose by an outpouring of human sentiment, just as confused, self-reflecting and eloquent as any human. ‘O earth, how like to heaven, if not preferred / More justly, . . . / . . . reforming what was old!’, the beginning of his violent lament (for that is what it is, plaintive, regretful and annoyed in equal measure) is truly sensational. Both based entirely on sense perception, the earth’s natural wonder ‘like to’ heavenly beauty, his comparison rooted in an irrational aesthetic response, and controversial as a blasphemous attack on the primacy of God’s kingdom.
His language is key to Milton’s characterisation; ‘more justly’ evoking that role of righteous freedom fighter against an oppressive ruler, especially stressed due to the unusual, heavily Latinate word order that positions the adverbial phrase at the beginning of the next line, a practice known as enjambment, and ‘reforming’ suggesting the image of the revolutionary bent on the substitution of a fraudulent ‘ancien regime’ with a new order. The two ideas are repeated throughout the passage, his attack on Man and God justified as a legal continuation of his struggles against ‘servitude inglorious’ and in order to liberate the ‘throng of his adorers’. In this depiction of Satan lies the origin of Blake’s Romantic hero, ‘contending’ (aptly implying a contest between two equals and rivals vying with each other for supremacy) valiantly against ‘tyranny, church and convention’ and a radical revision of his rebellion ‘as just . . . against the tradition and authority of the evil tyrant, God’. Even his love for nature is mirrored in the poetry of the Romantic Movement in the early nineteenth-century, the imagery ‘Of hill, and valley, rivers, woods and plains’ as the pinnacle of a ‘Terrestrial heaven’ has its parallels in Wordsworth’s ‘Tintern Abbey’ and Keats’ ‘To Autumn’. However, this is Satan, written by a Puritan born two centuries before England’s spiritual decline and the poetic elevation of man, and the very words which seem to suggest such a character are, like the Devil himself, deceiving. His glorification of earth is mere hyperbole, ‘Terrestrial heaven’ a paradox and a conceit to make his intended target a fitter alternative to what he has wilfully rejected, while such adulation of the natural world includes, at the end of a catalogue of its major features, those darker aspects, ‘rocks, dens and caves’, ambiguous pictures of shelter and a harsh landscape, the haunt of robbers and animals.
The magniloquence of his language fails to disguise the fact that rather than an equal to heaven, he sets up a false idol in paradise; as he recognises the native hierarchy of ‘herb, plant and nobler life of creatures animate with’ man at the top, so does he admit an ordained structure and highlight by omission God’s position at the top of the divine order. Even the familiar, popular rhetoric of the rebel fails to convince: ‘I in one night freed / From servitude inglorious well-nigh half / The angelic name’. In reality, it had only been a third. This illusory vanity taps into the theme of knightly prowess and glory that Milton constantly ascribes to Satan; his chivalric notions are misleading, emphasising violence and the paganism of an earlier age, and empty, leading even to the degrading of Man’s creation as the stuff of ‘heavenly spoils’ taken from Lucifer, his defeated foe. His self-delusion is balanced, though, by instances of confessional introspection, where the contradictions in his make-up are exposed through the cracks, made by a passionate, hellish and all too mortal grief, of his superficial tongue; ‘the more I see / Pleasures about me, so much more I feel / Torment within me, as from the hateful siege / Of contraries’. This is Satan at his most enigmatic and yet, curiously and typically (for he would be paradoxical no matter what), his most human. He may be the villain of a Renaissance tragedy, for example in the pathological nastiness of Shakespeare’s Tarquin in the ‘Rape of Lucrece’ or his Iago, determined to destroy what is good in ‘Othello’. Their suffering, yet inability to prevent the evil in themselves, are all aspects of this allegorical prototype, made human by those same characteristics that descend literarily from them (yet another paradox; Satan is both their predecessor and successor). Nevertheless, his psychological depth and contrariness are all symptoms of an implacable Evil, all his traits various faces of the Godless angel: his eloquence of the Seducer, his magnetism of the Fallen Lucifer and his passion of the Tempter. Neither fully angel, nor ever truly human, he is somewhere in between; devil.
The overpowering image of Book 9 is that of the Serpent. Satan’s plaintive apostrophe is as much a lament for his lost heavenly grandeur as for his inability to enjoy anything due to his relentless destructiveness. In order to embrace his full malevolent powers, he must ‘descend’, a true plummeting from previously dizzying heights at the top of creation (depth a continual motif), the divine hierarchy to ‘incarnate and imbrute’. Just as Christ will be incarnated for the highest, godliest and best of reasons, Satan will do so for the lowest, most diabolical and worst of intentions. One will reach the divine; the other the demoniac. In the end, what seem human in the Devil are only those aspects of earthly delight, erring confusion and proud vanity. The temptations and weaknesses that lead to sin are ones that have their origin in him; is it little wonder then that we see the worst, most paradoxical and enticing of ourselves in his character. Milton drew him as human to make him truly diabolical.
A Question Of Gender in Paradise Lost
John Milton’s Paradise Lost is an epic poem written in blank verse in sixteen sixty-seven. The poem which is based upon the biblical tale of Genesis, tackles the creation, temptation and fall of Adam and Eve. In the edition’s preface Milton declared that the aim of the poem ‘is to justify the ways of God to men’. The poem takes the settings of: Heaven, Hell and The Garden of Eden. The poem focuses on God’s creations of Adam and Eve, the poem follows the pair through the temptations presented to them by rebellious angel Satan. Although, both fall to the appeal of temptation it is Eve who falls first and commits a sin against God and his spiritual hierarchy. This essay will contrast the importance of gender hierarchy in Milton’s epic and the importance of Eve specifically using her final speech. To support this contrast, Patrick J. McGrath’s article, Formal Resistance: Gender Hierarchy and Eve’s Final Speech in Paradise Lost. Gender hierarchy is an obvious aspect of Paradise Lost and something that the character of Eve is assessed against by both the characters and the readers. Joseph Wittreich believes ‘Eve takes the lead in assuring their redemption and recovery’. Others argue that Milton ignores the typical male dominated world of literature with ‘the epic’s pervasive dismantling sex-gender binaries and hierarchies in favour of polymorphous array of fleeting gender identifications ‘ Overall, this comparison will argue the presentation and validity of gender hierarchy in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Gender Hierarchy is a dominant motif in Paradise Lost, the argument of gender is contested and there are several arguments to tackle in terms of gender and its importance to the poem. Mandy Green’s argument is that the gender dynamics of the human couple and their relationship is ‘too subtle to admit only one line of interpretation’. These lines of interpretation open’s the assignment of faults when events turn to the worst. As the ‘weaker
sex’, blame seems to be the natural route for women characters of literature. The temptation of Eve, is based on the possession of knowledge and power, which are male dominated characteristics with the women usually taking the weaker position of the two sexes. Ignorant to the malicious intent; she becomes the victim of temptation. With an aspect of ‘graceful innocence, her every air of gesture or least action overawed’ . Eve is a contradiction of innocence and aspiration; with an understanding that her actions could have dire consequences she neglects her conscience to gain something that prior to the serpent’s arrival wouldn’t have seemed reachable. With obvious prosodic talents that are not usually identified with the female gender, as McGrath identifies ‘Eve’s prosody and lexical choice also demonstrate this verbal facility and her revisionary allusiveness’ . The speech Milton uses to identify Eve in the text is intriguing, as a male writer the stereotypical stance to take is male orientated with the female character taking a supporting role in the stories arc. Although, some critics such as McGrath have suggested that ‘this collapse does not, it should be noted, suggest a feminist Milton’. Eve is duped into the act and in she does not quite understand the ramifications of her actions. It is here her innocence that is quintessentially associated with the female becomes apparent, with realisation occurring with Adam’s intervention influencing an assessment of hierarchy on the reader’s behalf throughout the scenes of Eve’s temptation and the conclusion of this. Vindication is clear within the final speech, after the events of the Fall with resolution and understanding that Eve is no less because of her mistakes simply an individual that is recognisable. McGrath provides the argument that her ‘role in conveying such critical redemptive information undermines gender hierarchy’. As a male author like many before and after him, there is a general expectation that Milton, would have followed the train of thought. The negative association with Eve, can be expected with Milton writing from a post-fall point of view. It is difficult to imagine Milton treating Eve in a predominantly feminist tone because of the stories basic chauvinistic nature.
McGrath’s essay does not only focus on the narrative of Eden’s inhabitants but Milton’s use of syntax to establish them separately in the text. Eve is a product of patriarchy; however, she does not conform to expectancies of subordination which is obvious in her methods ways of speaking instead provoking Adam into assessment. ‘O Woman, best are all things as the will of God ordain’d them’. Adam, is God’s creation and feels there is no element of God or his power that should be ignored, however it is not until after Adam has sinned alongside Eve that this opinion is clear. Elements of guilt are evident in Adam; however, he pushes this guilt onto Eve whom he believes has coaxed him with reflections of Satan’s temptation of Eve. There is hierarchical element to the argument between the two, there is a spiritual ignorance on Eve’s behalf that Adam cannot see. ‘Adam takes issue with Eve’s assumption that there must be something imperfect in God’s creation if they cannot resist temptation’ . The article argues that there is a certain level of ignorance on Adam’s behalf as he has committed the same sin as Eve however over time emphasis is placed upon Eve. There are valiant aspect’s to Adam’s character at the beginning of the epic, however over the progression of the poem this is hard to acknowledge as he knowingly commits the sin and only with spiritual reflection and punishment. Punishment upon the pair and their eviction from Eden, is not literal but metaphorical they serve as a learning curve on behalf of their own mistakes.
McGrath’s essay, summarises the importance of Eve’s final speech. The speech is a powerful reminder of female ability, Eve is given power by Milton to deliver the final spoken message of a character. Despite her errors, she is portrayed with innocence, making mistakes with an air of childish naivety after she is duped so easily by Satan. However, the final words are a speech of: confession, forgiveness and love. The overall tone of realisation, gives Eve the qualities she so greatly desired. Milton gives Eve a voice and the voice is that of a realistic character whom makes the mistakes they learn from and become greater as an individual. The idea of a Felix Culpa emerges after The Fall, everything has changed in some way there is a general tone of understanding for Eve as an individual character with McGrath ‘viewing Eve as a mouthpiece for patriarchy’. Eve has become a voice of women in a world of male domination something that Milton would have understood. Felix Culpa or the ‘Fortunate Fall’ happens because of The Fall, and despite its original catastrophic state, the emergence of Christ is a later occurrence. Despite the events of Temptation and The Fall, the Felix Culpa has forced Eve to evaluate and after their eviction from Paradise she has found that she ‘Is to go hence unwilling, thou to me art all things under heav’n all places thou’. Adam is ‘all places’ to her and their marriage is paradise to her, she can locate happiness within their marriage. There is a suggestion in the speech that Eve is reaffirmed in her nature as a wife and partner to Adam, however this time she is an equal partner.
In Paradise Lost, gender hierarchy is an obvious factor of the text. From beginning to end there is a sense that Eve is presented differently to the male characters in the text, although expected to be subordinate she ventures into intrigue ignoring Satan’s claims for vanity. The temptation is based upon Eve’s want to become her husband’s intellectual equal. To most she is presented with shame, to Patrick McGrath and Leah Marcus she is an individual testing the obvious restrictions. Gender hierarchy puts Eve in a place, and she is villainized for attempts to break away from this hierarchy. It could be argued that Milton, aspired to justify Eve of her aspirations or to reinforce the subservient nature of a wife to her husband. Overall, from inquiries into the text itself and Patrick McGrath’s article the conclusion that I have garnered is that, Eve was a woman aspiring for something the world around her could not accept.. Even though, Eve is presented in a harsh light before The Fall the ending speech redeems her and Milton writes a speech that provides Eve with the power she aspired to have justifying the idea of Felix Culpa for Adam and Eve.
Evil And Temptation in Paradise Lost
In this essay we shall be discussing how Milton deals with the problems of both evil and temptation within Paradise Lost, ‘it focuses on God as a sign for authority and the status quo to Satan as a sign for the Other.’ . The time of which Milton was writing religion was highly influential; as it was a period in time in which England was very religious. In a sense that they were very drawn to the idea of having a God and there being a God, therefore dictating the ways in which individuals must live and behave within society. This also emphasizes the importance of hierarchy; this shall be later discussed within the essay. Milton’s Paradise lost is a version of the biblical story of Adam and Eve in which proceeds to the casting out of humanity from the garden of Eden as both Adam and Eve were led a stray by temptation from the devil in order to gain knowledge.
In the essay we shall also be discussing the actions of which are classified as evil and why. Whilst also looking at temptation and how within paradise lost it is directly impacted by evil, evil being seen as the the devil as he is the prime culprit when it comes to directing blame for acts of evil within Milton’s Paradise Lost. We shall also be discussing the connotations of evil such as ‘the serpent’, in which Satan uses to tempt Eve into eating from the tree of knowledge; the serpent, or snake is seen associated with evil. The serpent was seen as the thing that tempted Eve into going against God’s orders as Satan had shape shifted into this form and convinced her that by eating from the tree of knowledge it allowed him to speak as well know so much more. Within Paradise Lost there are an extensive amount of themes being thrown about whether it be evil, temptation, free will, knowledge.
There is a lot to gather about the Christian belief from the story, such as the idea that Adam and Eve were made purely to serve God and obey his commands but this form of peace and serenity is destroyed by the temptation of Eve by Satan. This is highlighted in later writings from writers after Milton ‘When our first parents ate the apple, good and evil leaped forth as a monstrous birth, compounding elements that had hitherto been separate. This corruption, this muddying of the pure waters of truth, was the object of Satan’s voyage’ .
‘Satan and his minions were once angels; through ambition and self-interest, coveting ‘honor and empire’, and pleading reason of state, they fell.’ This states that Satan only became the symbol of evil as he chose to go against God; resulting in him being cast out of Heaven and those who followed his ideals went with him to hell in which Satan is seen to have later transferred into his own home, the war in which Satan raged against God was futile as God is seen as this all powerful, all knowing, all seeing figure. This portrays the idea of a leviathan rule; in which it could be compared. In some critiques of Paradise Lost or just the story of Adam and Eve as well as the story of the war against God, God is almost seen to be toying with Satan as God knows he was always going to win this battle against Satan ‘God had previously intended to give Satan a wrong metaphysical argument when he made the War in Heaven last three days.’ .
In some cases God could be viewed not as someone that is all loving but as some form of tyrant; or dictator in which would be a more accurate description of the spiritual figure, this is backed up by the statement ‘God then turns all of the rebels into snakes, thus proving to them that he was only playing cat and mouse all the time; and then of course turns them back, so they may continue to work upon mankind.’ , this portrays God as someone that can be viewed as a tormentor as he seems almost childlike in his actions as previously stated. Although it could be said that ‘Milton’s God is a father, a creator, and a lover of humankind, his children. As a world-maker, he is an artist, and all artists or creators since have imitated him… Milton’s God is the patriarchal figure of authority.’ , this also shows that God obviously thinks lowly of snakes and reptiles. Furthermore, it could be argued that Milton doesn’t fully believe this idea himself as he points out Gods flaws quite frequently throughout the story, this shall be mentioned within the essay and developed on.
Arguably, making it seem as if he himself could be seen as somewhat evil considering the some of his actions could be compared to the actions of Satan in a sense that he holds up this false ideal of being ‘good’ and ‘all loving’. ‘But surely one must feel horror at the God who has deliberately reduced him to such a condition.’ , this quote helps to support the next point that will be used to defend the point in which God could be viewed as a tyrant; God acts like this foreboding figure in a sense that he toys with the fallen. The fact he turns those who went against him into snakes and then turns them back into their original forms in order to be sent back to Earth to torment humans as well as test them to see if they are worthy of joining their ‘father’ in heaven.
This quote could be used to support this point ‘Sometimes it is projected and contained in the oscillating figure of Satan, who is demonically or allegorically characterized so as to typecast and reduce what he represents. Sometimes, as in the account of human history in the last books, evil, though equally un-seductive, is dispersed and therefore insidious in its workings, granted a real and empirical power.’ .
Due to this perception of God ‘Satan evokes many readers’ sympathy both because of what he says himself and of what the narrator, perhaps not quite intentionally, reveals about him. We are told he is capable of love and jealousy, despair and remorse.’ , therefore, allowing some form of emotional attachment to form from the reader. Although, at the same time within the story the reader is being told not to sympathize with Satan for he is the opposite of God; and anything that goes against God is automatically sinful and will result in bad consequences; but this ideal still causes some form of sympathy.
Not only do we sympathize for Satan we also sympathize for humans who are tempted, or tricked into going against God as Adam and Eve were. In addition to this Satan is soon portrayed as ‘ the great seducer (he leads people or other angels away from God), manipulator, and charismatic tyrant.’ , causing the reader to re-evaluate their sympathies and feelings towards him as they may view it as a form of manipulation in order to gain their sympathy that Satan used. It could be critiqued that temptation is viewed as a type of evil this is seen within Paradise Lost when God punished both Adam and Eve; even though it was mainly Eve’s fault as she allowed herself to fall into Satan’s trap. The
Evil is seen to have been made from the act of temptation in which both Eve and Satan share responsibility for as Eve was the first to be tempted by Satan; this also allows us to view Eve as the weaker gender as women were seen as weaker than men. This is emphasized by the fact that Eve was said to have been made from the rib of Adam, in which allowed the hierarchy in which women came last, men second and God first, as God is seen as the highest power. It could be argued that Eve was made as a temptation or test for Adam. Although, you can see that Eve acknowledges her placement within the hierarchy she uses the love of which Adam has for her to persuade him to do things in which leads to the downfall of the two.
‘The theme of temptation was certainly important, judging by his final choice of subjects: Adam and Eve tempted by Satan to disobey’ , therefore causing God to punish them by casting them out into the world to fend for themselves but they are still given the option of free will. In addition to this it could argued, that evil was made when Satan was cast out of heaven with the fallen; as when he had been cast out and after he escaped the bounds of God and created hell and made it his home and found that he had children ‘Sin’ and ‘Death’. ‘In addition, in Book X Keats underscores a reference to Sin and Death as Satan’s “children dear” (X.330). The appeal here, as in the reference to Sin as Satan’s ‘daughter dear’ cited in Keats’s note, seems to be the pathos of family feeling existing among monstrous creatures like Satan, Sin and Death.’ , this portrays the idea that due to the separation that Satan has created his own monsters.
Therefore, is left to deal with the consequences which are his children ‘Sin’ and ‘Death’ this is used as a reason that God should further punish Satan, but instead of punishing him he uses Sin and Death as a punishment and a way to limit those who want to enter Heaven, ‘There is no power but of God’ is not simply a statement of fact, but a test of human judgment, an exercise in deliberating about the best way to achieve ‘common peace and preservation’. And such exercise is necessary because power is morally indifferent, and may be used well of badly.’ .
This supports the idea that evil comes in all shapes and sizes, in addition to this the fact that Satan can shape shift and has done so many times throughout the story, the fact it a continuous trait throughout the story it also highlights the way in which Satan changes somewhat mentally as well as physically. ‘The world is physically frail, its crystal shell subject to the invasions of Satan, Sin and Death; and the men who live there are prey to the moral weakness that we sum up in the expressions “human frailty”’. , this quote supports the idea previously mentioned as God being some form of tyrant as he allows Sin and Death to roam the Earth after he cast out Adam and Eve, which could arguably viewed as Satan winning in a sense but then again he doesn’t as God still has power over him; this is due to the fact God had given him and the rest of the fallen who follow him the powers of which they all possess.
Although, God can easily take them away he doesn’t allow them to torment and use mankind as a form of ammunition against God in order to build up the trapped souls in hell. ‘Thus evil is portrayed grotesquely and allegorically in the account of Satan, Sin and Death, psychologically in the temptation, and historically in the last books.’ , this quote also helps to explain how Satan and his children and followers are viewed as they are portrayed of the image of evil and the reason it exists.
Finally, within the story Satan uses the sympathy he gains from the readers to portray himself as this kind of heroic figure in which he is not as Milton points out at other point during the story but neither is God. Although, Milton continues to try and remind us throughout the story that Satan is the bad person as ‘Satan and his minions were once angels; through ambition and self-interest, coveting ‘honor and empire’, and pleading reason of state, they fell.’ , this could be said to be somewhat heroic though but Milton quickly hides attempts to hide that with the whole Satan is evil because he went against God idea.
Furthermore, within Paradise Lost neither God or Satan can be seen as heroes as they both have their faults are quite open about then Satan more than God clearly as most if not all of Satan’s flaws are highlighted before later emphasized within this story. Whereas, God is constantly making mistakes throughout the story as he lets everything occurring in the story to happen without really preventing it, just using his power to punish those who go against him which again supports the tyrant idea that can be seen throughout out the story which in turn could really and truly see God as the evil one and Satan as the one who wants to prevent this evil but going around it in the wrong way. ‘One thing about Satan diminishes him and should not be forgotten: he is only God’s errand boy. As he himself says, the fallen angels “do [God’s] errands in the gloomy Deep” (1.152).’ this quote continues to support the last idea mentioned within the essay, God only uses those viewed as beneath him (which in reality is everyone) as pawns within his game of chess which is life in other words; or time.
To conclude, it could be argued that Milton used the themes of evil and temptation in order to show the importance of them ‘The theme of temptation was certainly important, judging by his final choice of subjects: Adam and Eve tempted by Satan to disobey.’ ; even though had no real reason to tempt Adam and Eve other than to go against God some more and get more people on his side whether it be by free will or by force to disrupt God’s plan, this is portrayed as a form of protest in order for Satan to be fully free from God. As well as this, God seemed to have planned everything out either way as he is seen as this omniscient figure in which he clearly is; as he knew Satan would betray him.
Therefore, resulting in the fall of man later on within time, so in fact Satan did not at all ruin Gods plans but in fact helped him in a sense. ‘There is no power but of God’ , previously mentioning this statement it could be argued that Milton in conclusion of Paradise Lost accepts that God isn’t the only power there is, Satan is clearly another powerful figure within life, especially human life. We shall be finalizing the argument with the quote ‘There is no power but of God’ is not simply a statement of fact, but a test of human judgment, an exercise in deliberating about the best way to achieve ‘common peace and preservation’. And such exercise is necessary because power is morally indifferent, and may be used well of badly.’ , as the God Milton seems to believe in is somewhat of a fairytale as he is not portrayed within Paradise Lost but instead portrayed as a bystander as he watches as his work get’s destroyed and tainted by evil and temptation.
Message Of Paradise Lost By John Milton
Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608 – 1674) Paradise Lost by John Milton (1608 – 1674) Type of Work: Narrative, epic poem Setting Hell, then Heaven, then newly-created Earth; all “in the beginning” Principal Characters Satan, earlier called Lucifer, a fallen angel Adam, the first man Eve, the first woman God the Father God the Son Various angels and demons Story Overveiw (Recounted here is the story of Man’s fall, Of Man’s First Disobedience, and the Fruit Of that Forbidden Tree,whose mortal taste Bought Death into the World, and all our woe With loss of Eden, Till one greater Man Restore us, and regain the blissful Seat…) Satan, the once radiant Lucifer, and his angels lay in a formless, sulphurous lake of fire having justbeen driven out of Heaven. Their fall had sent them plummeting through space from their heavenly home down to Hell, leaving them beaten senseless. Only now, after lying unconscious for nine days, did Satan and his demons begin to rouse themselves.
Accustomed to living in heavenly glory, they found their new home horrifying, and convened a council to determine how they might escape Hell and recover at least some of their former glory. Too proud to consider seeking re-admittance to Heaven through repentance, they agreed with Satan that it was “better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven.” One demon favored remaining in Hell, but transforming it into a kingdom as powerful and glrious as Heaven. But another, Beelzebub, second in command, proposed a different plan: He had heard that God had designs to create a new world, to be the home “of some new race called man … / To be created like to us, though less/ In power and excellence” Beelzebub argued that, if they acted quickl,, they could possess this new world and subdue as slaves the new race of men. His vengeful plot was eagerly approved by the hosts of Hell, and Satan himself volunteered to make the perilous journey past the Gates of Hell and through space to the new earth.
Satan, after a long trek, happened upon a heavenly angel, Uriel, custodian of the orb of the sun. Disguised as an angel, Satan managed to get the unsuspecting Uriel to point out where the new earth lay. The devil then flew off. His earthly arrival, however, did not go unnoticed by God, who calmly explained to His Son that Satan’s presence would, in time, lead to the fall of man, bringing upon him punishment and death. Moved by compassion, the Son offered to give his life in order to save men, which sacrifice the Father accepted. But for the time they left Satan to his wiles. Satan was overwhelmed by the earth’s beauty. But that very beauty, far from filling him with joy, stirred up memories of the Paradise he had lost.
In a stormy speech full of self-doubt, fear, and envy, Satan lamented his fall and foretold a future filled with ever-worsening torments. He would never be able to escape Hell, he concluded, since “which way I fly is Hell; myself am Hell.” But if he could not live in peace, at least he would divide Heaven’s kingdom, and possibly rule over the greater part of God’s creation. Searching, Satan finally came upon Adam and Eve. Disguised in the forms of various beasts, he marvelled at the first man and woman, whose beauty and nobility inspired in him both admiration and caretakers of the Garden of Eden and eavesdropped on their long, affectionate conversations. He was astonished to find them endowed with full faculties of speech and reasoning, and yet they were so innocent as to enjoy sexual union without the slightest taint of lust.
After performing their evening devotions, Adam and Eve retired to their bed. Satan, crouching as a toad beside the sleeping woman, whispered falsehoods and rumors into her ear. After a time, guardian angels arrived to interrupt his mischief, but allowed him to escape. On the next morning Eve awoke complaining of a nightmare in which an angel had tempted her to eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. God, seeing the peril his creation was in, sent the angel Raphael to explain to the couple that Satan had been the cause of the dream and to warn them against further temptation. Adam’s curiosity was sparked; he asked Raphael about this “Satan” and how he had managed to come to the earth. The angel answered Adam with an account of Satan’s fall. The problem, he related, began when God the Father announced to the assembled angels that He had anointed His Son, who stood at His right hand, as a Lord over them all.
Lucifer, full of envy, managed to assemble a rival faction of angels to contest God’s power. The ensuing battle lasted three days. On the first, the loyal angels routed the rebels. Satan retreated, but during the night manufactured a slew of weapons with which, on the second day’s fighting, he surprised Heaven’s angels. On the third day, God sent His Son to personally lead His forces. The Son drove Satan and his legions over the edge of Heaven into the waiting flames. Raphael went on to describe the creation of the earth, the forming of man and woman, and advised Adam not to seek knowledge beyond his comprehension. Capping off his visit with a warning to beware of Satan, Raphael returned to Heaven. But Satan was eager to succeed. Back in Eden, he assumed the form of a serpent and waited for his opportunity. Adam had reluctantly allowed his wife to work alone that day in another part of the garden.
Satan accosted her, showering her with flattery, comparing her to a goddess. Astonished and a little pleased by the compliments, Eve demanded to know how the serpent managed to acquire speech. From eating a certain fruit, Satan explained; no sooner had he tasted it than he had found himself able to speak and reason. Though Eve was suspicious, she followed the snake to the tree bearing the fruit. Above the woman’s protest that it was forbidden to her, Satan delivered a masterful, subtle argument that if the fruit of the tree could give a mere serpent human faculties, surely it would transform humans into gods! Furthermore, he asserted, the warning of certain death associated with eating the fruit could not be true, since he himself had eaten it and had not died.
Swayed by these words, Eve took of the fruit and ate her fill. She returned to Adam, overcome with the sensation of knowledge and power. While horrified that she had partaken of the forbidden fruit, Adam chose to partake as well rather than be separated from her. Their newfound knowledge, however, was already working changes in their nature. Once wholly innocent in their nakedness, the man and woman now looked on each other with licentiousness; Just overtook them. Afterwards, in guilt and remorse, the transgressors resorted to pleading with God for forgiveness of their sins. The Son, acting as intercessor on their behalf, carried their cries to the Father, who chose to forgive them on condition that they be expelled from Eden, in order to experience mortality. To the woman it would mean pain in childbearing. To Adam, their fall would bring a world of toil and sweat, and a curse of weeds, thorns and briars. God dispatched Michael, one of His chief angels, to carry out the expulsion. In the meantime, Satan gleefully dashed back towards Hell with news of his victory. On the way he met Sin and Death, busily building a road to earth, and bargained with them to be his ambassadors on Earth. In Hell, Satan haughtily told of his masterful seduction of Adam and Eve. But just at the very moment when he expected to receive their thunderous applause, he heard nothing but hisses – the host of them had been turned into serpents. Trees, exact in appearance to the Tree of Knowledge, appeared, laden with fruit. But when the mass of serpents struggled to bite into the fruit, it turned to bitter ashes. The Son had prevented Hell’s hosts from becoming mortal; they would forever be the hated enemy of mankind.
On an earth filled with storms, floods, earthquakes, violent predators and the discomforts of changing seasons, Adam and Eve contemplated suicide. But Michael arrived, bringing hope God would forgive their sin. Though in consequence of their sin they must be expelled from the Garden, Michael comforted them, manifesting to them a vision of mankind’s future: their progeny; the rise and fall of kingdoms; Noah; Abraham; Moses; the coming of the Messiall, and His death, resurrection and expiration to redeem fallen man; the progress of God’s church; and, in the end, the Lord’s second coming. Cheered by the prospect of the ultimate redemption of their race, the man and woman followed the path leading from their paradisiacal garden to the barren and lonely world below.
The World was all before them, where to choose Thir place of rest, and Providence thir,guide: They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow, Through Eden took thir solitary way. Commentary Few literary poems attempt to take on such a huge theme as Paradise Lost. Milton himself, in the Argumentum that begins the poem, claims to have produced the greatest poem ever written, “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme.” The poem’s theme is nothing less than the origin of evil itself, which Milton sees as being embedded in man’s nature as a result of the original transgression and subsequent sins of humanity’s common ancestors. It recounts, in twelve expansive books, a story line that occupies only a few verses of the book of Genesis. Aside from its sheer size, other elements might make the work somewhat difficult for a modern reader. It is told in the high formal style, filled with rhetorical speeches, invocations, elaborate similes, and long “catalogues” of names, places, and armies.
Milton showers his poem with thousands of allusions to Hebraic, medieval, and renaissance culture, and his syntax may strike a modern reader as twisted. This striking and unusual word order is imitative of Vergil’s Aneid and the structure of many other great classical epics, But one need not be a classical scholar to enjoy Paradise Lost. The music of the language is often mesmerizing, and its imaginative retelling of the Genesis account is without equal. The reader is immediately intrigued by Milton’s portrait of Satan.
In fact, it’s not hard to sympathize with the fallen devil, or even side with him – his character is more fleshy and alluring than that of the somewhat bland God of the poem. But that is the very irony Milton wanted to achieve: just as Satan makes evil appear good, so Satan’s ways may appear, but only at first glance, attractive.
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.