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

Adam In Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

1801 words - 7 pages

Adam in "Paradise Lost": Fate's Ruler - and Subject

A central problem in John Milton's "Paradise Lost" in the theological issue of free will versus fate, a traditionally much-debated question. Free will is the condition of having control or direction over fate or destiny; the individual shapes his life and future through his actions. The opposing view, complete lack of free will (made famous by John Calvin), is predestination, which expresses the idea that our futures have been foreseen long before our existences, so our actions are preordained, and our paths chosen for us. Milton's presentation of the character Adam wrestles with these ideas around free will throughout Paradise Lost; while he does in fact eat the apple of his own accord, the episode is foreseen by God, in advance. In this epic poem, Milton asserts that man, through Adam's example, exercises free will; but in doing so, he exposes contradiction, makes some absorbing inquiries and asks some engrossing questions.
A cursory history of both views would be beneficial here. John Calvin, the famed apologist of predestination, defines it in this way:

In conformity, therefore, to the clear doctrine of the Scripture, we assert, that by an eternal and immutable counsel, God has once for all determined, both whom he would admit to salvation, and whom he would condemn to destruction. We affirm that this counsel, as far as concerns the elect, is founded on his gratuitous mercy, totally irrespective of human merit; but that to those whom he devotes to condemnation, the gate of life is closed by a just and irreprehensible, but incomprehensible, judgment. In the elect, we consider calling as an evidence of election, and justification as another token of its manifestation, till they arrive in glory, which constitutes its completion. As God seals his elect by vocation and justification, so by excluding the reprobate from the knowledge of his name and the sanctification of his Spirit, he affords an indication of the judgement that awaits them.

Calvin states that God has already planned the fates and actions of all men, and their deeds foreordained. The opposing view, that man has free will, is therefore the opposite; man decides his own fate, his actions shape the course of his singularly individual existence. Which, then, does Adam represent in "Paradise Lost"?
We first meet Adam in depth in Book V, where Eve awakens from her disturbing dream of temptation and Adam must assuage her fears and anxiety over such an unusual and foreboding vision. Here Adam states explicitly, in his argument against the danger of the dream, that it is not a prediction of things to happen because "she still has reason to control her actions." His exact words, on lines 116 to 121:

But with addition strange; yet be not sad.
Evil into the mind of God or Man
May come and go, so unapprov'd, and leave
No spot or blame behind: Which gives me hope
That what in...

Find Another Essay On Adam in Milton's Paradise Lost

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

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

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 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

Analysis of Satan's Speech in in John Milton's Paradise Lost

1112 words - 4 pages Analysis of Satan's Speech in Milton's Paradise Lost       John Milton's Paradise Lost is a work of enduring charm and value because of its theological conceptions, its beautiful language, and its "updating" of the epic to the modern world's values. Book II of this epic poem opens with Satan's speech to his minions in hell, proposing war on Heaven itself. In these first 44 lines, Satan is clearly established as epic hero, but at the

Justifying the Ways of God in Milton's Paradise Lost

1366 words - 5 pages Justifying the Ways of God in Milton's Paradise Lost Through Paradise Lost, Milton ?justifies the ways of God to men?, he explains why man fell and how he is affected by the fall. He shows that although man had a fall it was a fortunate fall, ?felix culpa?. As a result of the fall there are bad outcomes that man and women will endure but it was a fulfillment of God?s purpose. In creating man, God gave him free will; he created him a

The Fallen Angels in John Milton's Paradise Lost

2210 words - 9 pages , David. Milton. New York: Norton, 1957. Elledge, Scott, ed. Paradise Lost: An Authoritative Text, Backgrounds and Sources, Criticism. New York: Norton, 1975. Fox, Robert C. "The Allegory of Sin and Death in Paradise Lost." Modern Language Quarterly 24 (1963): 354-64. ---. "Milton's 'Sin': Addenda." Philological Quarterly 42 (1963): 120-21. Johnson, Samuel. "Paradise Lost." Elledge 521-34. Lewis, C. S. A Preface to

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

Predestination in Book III of John Milton's Paradise Lost

1798 words - 7 pages Predestination in Book III of Paradise Lost   Milton's purpose in Paradise Lost is nothing less than to assert eternal providence and justify the ways of God to men - a most daunting task.  For Milton to succeed in his endeavour, he has to unravel a number of theologiccal thorns that have troubled christian philosophers for centuries.  Since his epic poem is, essentially, a twelve book argument building to a logical conclusion - the

Shelly's Interpretation of Milton's Paradise Lost

897 words - 4 pages Upon reading Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" and John Milton's "Paradise Lost," an obvious correlation sticks out between the two novels. However, after the obvious "Paradise Lost" reference in "Frankenstein," how much do the stories resemble each other? The correlation doesn't jump out in each novel, but it is definitely alive in the characters and meanings of each book.It is unclear whether "Frankenstein" it is an endorsement or criticism of

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

Similar Essays

Milton's Satan In Paradise Lost Essay

2026 words - 8 pages Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost After researching Satan and his kingdom, Hell, through the Bible and Paradise Lost to compare and contrast the two characterizations, I realized that Milton must have been a true Bible scholar. Milton’s Satan is described so closely to the Biblical view of Satan that it is often times hard to distinguish the two. Milton changed and elaborated on a few characteristics of his Satan and his Hell in order to

Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

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

Satan In John Milton's Paradise Lost

2624 words - 10 pages rebelliousness, his seeking of transcendence and his capacity for action, particularly evil action, change certain people’s viewpoints on him, even if their viewpoint might be considered theologically misleading. The question is: do we actually understand Satan and evil by means of the book Paradise Lost? In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan is banished from Heaven for his defiance against God. Satan and the other fallen angels organize and

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