Paradise Lost Essay?In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Milton draws a line for his characters.
On one side, there is the good, which God represents, and on the other side, there is evil and sin, which Satan represents. As readers read the story of Adam and Eve, readers see who belongs to which side. Yet, as the story goes on, the line shifts and sprouts into two, creating a gray area for the characters.
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However, what causes the line to blur and shift? It comes down to the misogyny and inferiority that Milton illustrates in the story. Milton portrays Adam and Eve in two entirely different ways. Milton portrays Adam to be the epitome of “absolute rule” (4. 301) due to his large forehead and dark, long, flowing hair, whereas Milton portrays Eve to be lower than Adam. This is due to her “wanton ringlets” (4. 306) that coverher from nearly top to bottom, similar to a veil (4.
303). From this, she becomes a character who is not able to display or show any part of herself, whereas Adam is on full display, revealing every part of himself. This menial difference between the two of them confirms that Eve is a figure of indirect, or mediated, knowledge, or in other words, she is immensely inferior to Adam, which in turn, pushes her away from the good and light of God, and closer to the sinful darkness of Satan, causing extraordinary consequences for not only herself, but Adam as well.The first illustration suggesting Eve’s identity as Adam’s inferior counterpart comes from Satan’s arrival to Paradise.Upon his arrival, he spots Adam and Eve.
He begins to observe their daily tasks. He zeroes in on how they work together and how they interact with one another. As he watches the two prepare for bed, he says: “Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed / … / He for God only, she for God in Him” (4. 296, 299). He uses these lines to show their different roles and duties in life. The second line closely relates to 1 Corinthians 11.3 from the Bible.
The verse reads: “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man.” Satan’s parallel words to the Bible show that Adam is a creation of God for God whereasEve is a creation for Adam by God.? Eve does not have God guiding and leading her how Adam does, she has Adam guiding her throughout her life in Paradise.Throughout the course of the book, Eve’s inferior nature proves itself to be innate, not something she learns by being with Adam.
Shortly after her birth, she hears a voice telling her to meet Adam. Without knowing who she is, where she is, or who the voice belongs to, she follows it, saying: “what could I do, / But follow straight, invisibly thus led?” (4. 475-476). This proves that inferiority and submission come naturally to her because the only thing that she could think to do in this situation is to obey the voice.As the book continues, Eve reveals the story of her creation. She says: “O thou for whom / And from whom I was formed flesh of thy flesh” (4.
440-441). Later, God tells her that Adam is “he / Whose image thou art” (4. 471-472), showing that she is an image of Adam.
Her full devotion to him comes from the moment she first meets him; where he tells her that she is “his flesh” and “his bone” (4. 483). Soon after, she wants to run away from him, but he tells her: “to give thee being I lent / Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart / Substantial life, to have thee by my side” (4. 483-485). Here, Adam tells Eve his sacrifices for her creation. Eve later decides to stay and says:”thy gentle hand / Seized mine, I yielded” (4. 488-489).
She gives up the idea of leaving because she feels that she mustabide by him with “meek surrender” (4. 494) because of his sacrifices, in turn, delighting him with her “submissive charms” (4. 498). These lines show Eve’s inability to lead herself, as well as think for herself, especially when she addresses Adam as “my Guide / And Head” (4. 442-443). Later, she tells Adam that she owes more praise to God than he does because she enjoys “So far the happier lot, enjoying thee / Preeminent by so much odds, while thou / Like consort to thy self canst nowhere find” (4. 446-448).
By saying he is “preeminent by so much odds,” and she is not his “like consort,” she once again exhibits her inferiority to him.Unlike Adam, Eve has only one thing going for her: her beauty. When she compares Adam to the image of herself in the water, she confesses, “methought less fair, / Less winning soft, less amiably mild, / Than that smooth wat’ry image” (4. 478-480). She then says: “How beauty is excelled by manly grace, / And wisdom, which alone is truly fair” (4. 490-491).
In these lines, it is evident that Adam, even without his dashing looks, unmediated body, and luxurious hair, is so superior, full of grace, and full of wisdom that he has the capability to overshadow even Eve’s most breathtaking and top qualities. Eve’s inferiority causes not only a divide between her and Adam, but severe consequences for the both of them. In Book Nine, Satan, in the form of a serpent (9.
517), searches for the couple. Once he finds Eve alone, he coils up, gets her attention, and begins flattering her by saying that eating the fruit of one of the trees in the garden made him seek her out in order to worship her beauty (9. 546), as well as telling her that if she partakes in eating the fruit, she will gain equal knowledge to Adam.
She then follows Satan until he brings her to the Tree of Knowledge, where the forbidden fruit is. She refuses, telling him that the tree is off limits, but Satan argues that God wants them to eat from the tree. Satan takes advantage of Eve’s inability to think for herself and says that God forbids eating from the Tree of Knowledge because he wants them to show their independence. After pondering the decision to eat from the tree, she reaches for an apple, takes it from the tree, and takes a bite (9. 781), not knowing she is eating death. Then, the “Earth felt wound, and nature from her seat / . .
. / That all was lost” (9. 782, 784). In other words, humankind falls. She then goes off to find Adam to tell him about the fruit. Knowing that Eve will die if he does not eat the fruit, he finally partakes in eating theforbidden fruit. Later, the two of them fall asleep. Though, once they wake up, the world is different; they are no longer in Paradise.
The loss of Paradise is solely because of Milton’s portrayal of Eve. With her inability to think, process, and make decisions on her own, she becomes the one reason for the downfall of humankind. She is the one that Satan tempts and hides information from. This is not because her beauty is so ravishing, but because he knows Eve does not know any better, for she only gains knowledge and information from those who give her them.
In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, readers learn the story of Adam and Eve. Along with that, readers learn the inferiority present in the relationship between the two. Minutes after her creation (from God, solely for Adam), Eve blindly follows an unknown voice to find Adam. After that, she fully devotes herself to him. She listens to him, abides by him, and even admits she is not equal to him in any way, shape, or form.
Upon Satan’s arrival to Paradise, there is an open view to Adam; his body is on full display, whereas Eve’s is not. Her hair covers herbody, similar to a veil. These two small differences create a world of difference between the two of them, showing readers that Adam is superior whereas Eve is inferior to him. In an attempt to prove that that is not the case, she goes off to find the Tree of Knowledge.
She indulges and eats the forbidden fruit in an attempt to finally become equal to Adam. Though, it only causes a problem: they lose Paradise. In conclusion, thanks to Milton’s misogyny in making Eve incapable of thinking and making decisions on her own, being easy to convince, and being incredibly naïve, she becomes a figure of mediated knowledge.