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?
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.
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.
Paradise Lost and Classic Epic Verse Tradition
Being a devout Christian, reasonable freethinker and a popular writer with a political consciousness, John Milton took upon himself the ambitious task of writing a modern Christian epic in English, inspired by the classical pagan tradition of epic verse. Undeterred by his visual handicap, Milton came out with the first edition of Paradise Lost in 1667, in the Restoration era. Given his skill, commitment, and the sheer quality and diverse connotations of the poem, Milton was accordingly granted his due as one of the most important literary figures to have emerged out of the seventeenth century, such that, for the purpose of academic classification, a considerable portion of the age is named after him.
Paradise Lost emulates the epic tradition by starting the poem with an invocation, which also serves as an introduction to the twelve-book poem with a succinct overview of its premise, themes and objectives. Herein, and through the entire poem, Milton is seen to constantly emphasize the novelty and superior nature of his subject, intent and character; asserting the sentiment that set apart Paradise Lost from its predecessors in the epic style. This could be taken as due conceit on the part of the poet, for after all, unlike the ancient classical epics, which at the surface were merely glorious indications of historical themes and legends, Paradise Lost, as Samuel Barrow points out, is the “story of all things”. For Milton, armed with the power of faith, attempts to encompass just about everything from God, Heaven, Hell, creation, the origin of man, to the future of our world, in his verse while working upon the basic Biblical premise. In the process, he includes subtle opinions on pertinent ideas such as predestination, free will, existentialism, polarity in mythology and various metaphysical concepts, to create a grand tableau of fantastical imagery and insight. For this purpose, he also employs numerous popular references and since his subject was Biblical, he aptly works on the reader’s foreknowledge regarding the same, which is of course, at par with epic tradition.
Right from the very first line, Milton makes the lapsarian theme of Paradise Lost clear – “Of man’s first disobedience”, and it is seen throughout the poem, that Milton continues to underline the concept of ‘obedience’ and the repercussions of not adhering to it, be it through the fallen angels or the first mortals. He then proceeds to talk about the infamous ‘fruit of the forbidden tree’, which effectively ‘brought death into the world’, even though God already knew how these events shall transpire. However, over the course of the poem, Milton stresses a certain logic that despite this, man indeed had a free will, and thus, states his view on Calvinistic doctrines. Milton further traces back all human suffering to the fruit, as the source of ‘all our woe’ and the reason behind Adam and Eve’s eviction from the Paradise of Eden. Then comes the first reference to the Son of God as the ‘one greater man’, who shall restore humanity to its rightful place, thereby hinting at the regaining of Paradise.
Thus, squeezing in the entire Biblical plot in these few lines, Milton then proceeds to summon his muse, Urania, ‘the heavenly one’; although, he doesn’t explicitly mention her name until halfway through the poem in Book VII, where he seeks her guidance to continue his tale from Earth after describing the great battle of the immortals in Heaven. Urania as a muse, was known to inspire prophets of Israel such as Moses himself, the man who delivered the Israelites from Egypt and conveyed to them the commandments from God. Herein, through the references to Moses and other Biblical places of significance such as Zion or Siloa, Milton could be seen to draw an analogy between the prophet and himself, as he too was expounding God’s words unto his brethren.
Thereafter, Milton moves on to highlight the epic nature of his “adventurous song, that with no middle flight intends to soar above the Aonian mount, while it pursues things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme”. This particular line is loaded with meaning and sentiment, in trying to establish the supremacy of the poem over classical ones. Aonian mount or Mt. Helicon was deemed sacred to the pagan muses, and hence, Milton brings it up as a reference, albeit, in an unflattering context. Here, it might be argued that Milton, in a way was being utterly dogmatic in terms of religion, but this view does not vouch a strong case for itself. Moreover, it might be even dismissed as immaterial, since faith and passion are essential for the creation of a poem such as Paradise Lost.
Next, Milton prays to the omniscient Holy Spirit to guide his ambitious endeavour, such that it might be corroborated through ‘Eternal Providence’. In contrast to his attitude towards ancient epics, Milton expresses characteristic Christian humility while putting forth his plea unto the Holy Spirit, with a possible allusion to his own blindness: “What in me is dark illumine, what is low raise and support”. However, in the final lines of the invocation, it is clear that Milton’s conviction regarding his subject and purpose remain unwavering, and as David Daiches points out in his essay, The Opening of Paradise Lost, “There is a steady progression here, a steady rising in the status of the role played by the poet…The whole twenty-six lines constitute a remarkable piece of verbal orchestration, ending with the massive chords”, i.e. the last line stating the ultimate purpose of Milton’s prophetic verse: “And justify the ways of God to men”
John Milton’s Description of Wrong Doing and Retribution with References to Adam and Eve as Described in His Book, Paradise Lost
The story of Adam and Eve is one of, if not the earliest tale of crime and punishment in the West. John Milton’s Paradise Lost retells the age-old fable, adding depth and emotion to the story, consequently revealing the very important, sometimes overlooked implications of the legends outcome. Eve, having dreamt the prophetic dream of the fall of mankind in Book V, is created to be read as the character to blame for the tragic loss of Paradise. While God gives both Adam and Eve the capacity to exercise agency, Eve is the only one who encounters an opportunity to do so, and is therefore set up to be the “original” sinner. The punishment Eve faces for eating the fruit reveals the unfortunate consequences of acting upon freewill—especially when it directly opposes God’s word—as well as raises a question about how “free” her actions truly were.
Adam and Eve’s punishment is explained in Genesis, and while they are both subjected to consequences for exercising freewill and eating the fruit, the penance Eve must pay is far worse than Adam’s—regardless of the fact that they committed the same act of disobedience. This reveals a frame of logic that implicitly sets Eve up to be the one to blame for the fall in Paradise Lost. After the loss of paradise occurs, Genesis states that God revisits the couple and outlines the fates of both Adam and Eve proclaiming,
Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and they conception, in sorrow though shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. And unto Adam he said, Because though has hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Though shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt though eat of it all the days of thy life (3.16-17).
This passage unveils the subconscious workings of the story’s core. Not only is Adam punished solely for listening to his wife, his long-term consequence is that he must eat from cursed ground. Eve, by stark contrast, has not only herself, but also all women to come, punished and ordered into a position of overtly lesser importance in relation to her husband. This severe punishment doled out unequally and thusly unfairly sets the stage for Milton’s story. Eve is written in Paradise Lost to be the one to begin the fall—having the dream—and therefore, the one created to take all the blame. Freewill most certainly exists in Eden, but having God punish Eve, as well as all women to come, into a life of eternal subordination to her husband sounds an alarm to the reader—if Adam eats the apple too, committing the same ‘deviant’ act as Eve, why is he not punished in the same manner and to the same degree? Eve is the character in Genesis that feels the most from defying God, even though the two were equally at fault, creating a pattern of blame that seeps into Milton’s story. There, Eve’s “freewill” is masquerading as such, but given the outcome of her actions, it is clear that she was written to be the scapegoat all along, calling into question her ability to actually act freely.
Adam and Eve live their first days in paradise in utter bliss—never fearing, never hurting, never experiencing any emotion other than joy and appreciation—until the night Eve dreams the terribly frightening dream of succumbing to Satan’s manipulative ways, marking the first negative experience of paradise and the beginning of the fall. Adam wakes Eve up so they can begin their day of gardening and working, and is surprised to see Eve tossing and turning in her sleep. Upon her awakening, Eve explains the cause of her distress, “Such night till this I…/Have dream’d,/If dream’d, not as I oft am wont, of thee,/Works of day past, or morrow’s next design,/But of offence and trouble, which my mind/Knew never till this irksome night” (5.30-34). In the paradise God places Adam and Eve within, the preserving of innocence and goodness is vital to sustaining the purity of the world, making this moment where Eve recognizes the first negative thoughts ever to be entertained crucial in marking the moment where the slow decline of paradise begins. This is the moment where Eden stops being paradise, and it all begins with Eve. While Satan is the one to offer Eve the fruit, tempting and manipulating her into taking a bite, she is the one who has the premonition before the situation ever presents itself. The narrator explains that Satan is drawn to Eve because of her vulnerability, but perhaps he is drawn to her not because of her assumed naivety, but because something about her being the one, rather than Adam, to break Paradise’s bubble of perfection attracted him to her. Had both Adam and Eve had the dream, the outcome may have been different, but the important choice Milton made for Eve to be the one to have the dream and then subsequently be the only one harshly blamed for that choice, as shown in Genesis, demonstrations an un-ignorable line of thinking that inevitably results in Eve becoming the “original” sinner.
Eve’s punishment for taking a bite of the forbidden apple reveals the fundamental moral of the story; freewill is not admirable or acceptable if it disobeys God. Eve’s dream comes to fruition when one day, Adam and Eve decide to split up and work independently in the garden to be able to get more done faster. This is when Satan, disguised in the garden as a snake perched on the Tree of Knowledge, approaches Eve for the first time. He explains the magic that lives within the fruit, tells her that with it comes wisdom and goodness, and for that reason, she should disobey God’s word and act on her own accord—in other words, eat the fruit. So she does, and Adam follows suit soon after, neither of them realizing that God sees all. He is watching. God explains that He, “Hinder’d not Satan to attempt the minde/Of Man, with strength entire, and free will arm’d,/Complete to have discover’d and repulst/Whatever wiles of Foe or seeming Friend” (10. 8-11). God’s vision of the concept free will, as Milton has written it, is complicated. While he allows them both the ability to make their own choices, He does not exempt or allow them to perform “free” actions that directly oppose Him. Freewill, then, becomes less of a gift God grants the protagonists with, and more of an expectation that freedom of choice shall always reflect the wishes and commands of God instead. To what extent, then, did either of them really stand a chance against Satan? This quote and its implications forces the audience to determine how free actions can truly be if they are constantly judged and subsequently punished if deemed oppositional by a force as powerful as God.
If it is assumed, as it is in Paradise Lost, that everything happens for a reason, and that all events and actions are a part of God’s greater plan, then we must also assume that Eve’s choice to eat the apple follows that same logic; It is no accident that Eve is the one to have the dream long before the fall actually happens, no accident that she is the one that Satan lures to eat the fruit, and no accident that she faces a punishment far greater than Adam’s. How much of a free choice, then, was Eve’s engagement with the serpent if God’s plan controls fate? Paradise Lost follows in the footsteps of Genesis’s main societally relevant lesson in the Adam and Eve tale—to hold women far more accountable for choices they make than men, and to rebuke them for engaging in behaviors that can result in any potential power for them. The question of freewill becomes problematic when placed in conversation with the Paradise that Milton writes because it becomes hard to imagine that there truly is any. Genesis sets the stage, using Eve as the scapegoat for the disobedient actions, and Paradise Lost follows suit. The dream Milton writes for Eve to have, and the choice Eve makes to eat the fruit, while both relatively miniscule when looked at largely and generally, are subtle lessons outlining what happens when women choose to challenge the master narrative they are told. In this legend, God sets Eve’s limitations, and her acts of noncompliance, whether genuinely free or not, establish Eve to be, above all else, the “original” sinner.