This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Adam And Eve: Breaking The Social Construct With John Milton's Paradise Lost

1530 words - 6 pages

Man above woman, or woman above man? For the entirety of human civilization, this question of gender hierarchy has been divisive issue. Regardless, Milton does not hesitate to join the heat of the battle, and project his thoughts to the world. Since the publication of Paradise Lost, many of Milton’s readers have detected in his illustration of the prelapsarian couple, particularly of Adam, a powerful patriarchal sentiment: “he for God only, and she for God in him” (Milton, IV.299). In essence, this idea declares that Adam and Eve possess unequal roles – Adam is better than Eve, as men are better than women, in accordance to the deeply conventional reading of the relations between the sexes. Eve’s purpose for Adam makes her less spiritually pure and thus farther removed from God’s grace.
Throughout literature, especially in Milton’s time, the gender disparity between men and women has been unfairly defined: men are reasonable and therefore should lead, while women are passionate and thus should be led. However, these roles have often been misinterpreted, and have resulted in the idea that only men are reason manifest, while only women are passion incarnate. For example, in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, Bobbo is rational in his approach to solving problems – count everything in monetary value – while Ruth often cries and evokes great emotion when facing struggles (Weldon, 20-24). However, Milton does not support this conventional idea of gender roles, as oftentimes Eve takes on Adam’s role as the voice of reason in sustaining the Garden of Eden, and vice versa. In Paradise Lost, Milton refutes the hieratical construct of gender inequality, by reversing the roles of Adam and Eve in terms of reason and passion, and instead proposes that the ideal relationship is one of complements and mutual dependence.
Milton makes it difficult for readers to be absolutely sure that Adam represents reason and Eve passion, as Adam’s passion for Eve is the source of his gradual decline into corruption. At first sight, he is spiritually attracted to Eve because she was created from his rib: “His flesh, his bone; to give thee being I lent / Out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, / Substantial life, to have thee by my side” (IV.483-485). Consequently, Adam immediately loves her, since he feels a strong manifestation of himself in her. However, a problem arises when Adam’s love for Eve transforms into passion, two distinct emotions that are identified by the angel Rafael: “In loving thou dost well; in passion not, / Wherein true love consist not. Love refines / The thoughts, and heart enlarges hath his seat in reason” (VIII.588-590). Love and passion are different because the former “refines” reason while the latter corrupts it – passion can be dangerous to reason. However, in his discussion with Rafael, Adam’s initial depiction of Eve hints that he feels both love and passion for Eve. In describing her, Adam says:
Her loveliness, so absolute she seems
And in...

Find Another Essay On Adam and Eve: Breaking the Social Construct With John Milton's Paradise Lost

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and John Milton's Paradise Lost

1845 words - 7 pages of Frankenstein, as well as his monster allude to John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Book eight of Milton’s story relates the tale of Satan’s temptation and Eve’s fateful hunger for knowledge. The infamous Fall of Adam and Eve introduced the knowledge of good and evil into a previously pristine world. With one swift motion sin was birthed, and the perfection of the earth was swept away, leaving pain and malevolence in its wake. The troubles of Victor

Sin and Death in John Milton's Paradise Lost

2555 words - 10 pages Sin and Death in Paradise Lost       Abstract: Death assumes in his original argument, with most readers of Paradise Lost, that Satan is all bad, having rejected God, and presumably that his charisma is illusory. Sin assumes, with Empson, that Satan's entire career, including his corruption of Eve, is the project of an all-powerful and sinister God. By the time Satan gets to Mt. Niphates in Book IV he is convinced of both; he

The Fallen Angels in John Milton's Paradise Lost

2210 words - 9 pages Paradise Lost. Rpt. New York: Oxford UP, 1979. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. In John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose. Ed. Merritt Y. Hughes. Indianapolis: Odyssey, 1980. O'Keeffe, Timothy J. "An Analogue to Milton's 'Sin' and More on the Tradition." Milton Quarterly 5 (1971): 74-77. Patrick, John M. "Milton, Phineas Fletcher, Spenser, and Ovid--Sin at Hell's Gates." Notes and Queries Sept. 1956: 384-86.

John Milton's Paradise Lost as Christian Epic

1153 words - 5 pages Paradise Lost as Christian Epic John Milton's great epic poem, Paradise Lost, was written between the 1640's and 1665 in England, at a time of rapid change in the western world. Milton, a Puritan, clung to traditional Christian beliefs throughout his epic, but he also combined signs of the changing modern era with ancient epic style to craft a masterpiece. He chose as the subject of his great work the fall of man, from Genesis, which was a

Hero of John Milton's Paradise Lost

996 words - 4 pages , the fruit would turn to ash (Milton 325). This was God’s punishment for tempting Adam and Eve. Even though Satan succeeded in making Adam and Eve fall, Satan received punishment from God, and in the end lost. Even though Milton focuses on Satan and makes his readers feel sympathy for him, Milton does not make him the true hero in Paradise Lost, but Christ instead. One can see Christ as the victor when God sends him to defeat Satan when the

Satan in John Milton's Paradise Lost

2624 words - 10 pages Who is Satan? Satan’s definitions include the advocate of God, a personification of evil, the fallen angel, a spirit created by God, and also the accuser. People see Satan differently, some know of his existence, others think of him as just a myth, and there are those that just ignore him. John Milton's Paradise Lost tells of Satan's banishment from Heaven and his gain of earth. He and his brigade have plotted war against God and are now

John Milton's Epic Poem, Lost Paradise

758 words - 3 pages . Along with hurting pride and a revengeful spirit, Satan is lustful. Lust as a motivation in Paradise Lost is not in the same frame of reference a lust that motivates a teenage boy. This motivation comes from lust of things he cannot have, things he did not create. Satan wishes to control Adam and Eve. God’s giving man free will s the closest Satan is able to come to controlling Adam and Eve. Satan possesses many of the qualities of traditional epic

Connections in John Milton's Paradise Lost

579 words - 2 pages . "Paradise Lost's" initial connections begin with the awesome power of God. Another connection states Satan being theroot of all evil.  The final connection refers to the forgiveness of God. Paradise Lost's ideas and connections have been in use since this epic poem has been written.       The initial idea of "Paradise Lost" states that God is all powerful. God's supreme power is shown throughout "Paradise Lost": "Him

The comparison between John Milton's "Paradise Lost" and its basis on The Bible

2894 words - 12 pages accounts that show the limitations of mortal sight. In Paradise Lost, Milton claims that “Millions of spiritual Creatures walk the Earth / Unseen, both when we wake, and when we sleep” (Milton, John. The Complete Poetry of John Milton. New York; Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1971, 4.677-678). That is to say, with the fall of Adam and Eve there is also a fall in the easiness of communication between humanity and angels; a

Adam's relationship with Eve in "Paradise Lost"

1413 words - 6 pages Hell. Michael the archangel helps God by leading the loyal angelic army against the rebels. Raphael, who is sent put to visit Adam and Eve, he is portrayed as kinder to the social mind than the other angels. Abdiel, who first thought of Satan as good, later stays in Heaven and remains loyal to God. Clearly, God already knows the fate of Adam and Eve but offers them a free will to do betray him or not (Hughes 217).Milton starts his poem with a

Milton's Paradise Lost

1752 words - 7 pages Milton's Paradise Lost From the War in Heaven through the fall of man in Paradise Lost, Satan's weapon at every point is some form of fraud (Anderson, 135). Milton's Paradise Lost explains the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Although the epic is similar to the Bible story in many ways, Milton's character structure of Satan differs from that of the Bible's version. Milton describes the characters as the way he believes

Similar Essays

Adam And Eve In Paradise Lost

610 words - 2 pages Milton was looked on by many feminists, “of or relating to or advocating equal rights for women,”(comma before quotation mark)[1] as rather chauvinistic in the way he portrayed Eve. In, (delete,) Paradise Lost, there are many examples of Eve being slighted (comma and substitute well with while) well Adam remains unscathed. **** Haven’t Developed introduction completely **** When Eve first enters the world, (comma maybe) she awakes, “Under

Adam In Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

1801 words - 7 pages the actions of Adam, the first man. Adam's actions are unclear -- thus he has free will to act on his own -- but at the same time he is governed by an overriding God who can see past, present, and future. Adam is both the subject and ruler of his fate, in a unique contradiction cleverly set up and expressed by Milton. The writing surrounding Adam evidence Milton's essential believe in free will, but also display his thoughtful treatment of the situation. In the epic poem "Paradise Lost", John Milton carefully weighs the two ideas of predestination and free will against each other, with profound and fascinating results.

John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

3120 words - 12 pages John Milton's Paradise Lost John Milton’s Paradise Lost is filled with fantastical tales from the depths of Hell, extravagant descriptions of the fallen angels, and a curious recitation of the council of demons in their new palace. How did Milton dream up such vivid depictions of such horrible demons as the ones we see in Book I? Most of his fallen angels originate in the form of Pagan gods condemned by the Bible, with actual historical

John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

1695 words - 7 pages In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan may be considered a hero by some readers, because he struggles to overcome his own doubts and weaknesses and accomplishes his goal of corrupting mankind. This goal, however, is evil, and proves that Satan is unworthy to hold the title of “hero”. According to Wikipedia, a hero is a person “who, in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, displays courage and the will for self-sacrifice