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Analysis Of Adam's Argument To Eve

1306 words - 5 pages

In Book IV of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Eve recounts her memory of her first living moments to Adam. Eve relates that upon seeing Adam, she turned around and began walking in the opposite direction. Eve then quotes the exact words Adam used to convince her to stay: “Return fair Eve! …my other half” (page 91, lines 481-488). Upon examining Adam’s words, I discovered that Adam takes advantage of Eve’s lack of knowledge when reasoning with her. He doesn’t tell her everything. He keeps a few pieces of important information to himself. Assuming all Adam’s logic is truthful and based on facts, then he has a very valid argument as to why she should stay with him. But since it is not based on substantial evidence, rather assumptions, as I will soon prove, his argument to Eve will be shown to be invalid and should be disregarded. Yet, since Eve is unaware of all the facts and has only Adam’s words to believe, Adam prevails and his reasoning wins Eve’s heart, “I yielded, and from that time see how beauty is excelled by manly grace and wisdom which alone is truly fair.” (lines 489-491)

I will begin my proof by analyzing Adam’s use of the word “lent” in “To give thee being I lent out of my side to thee.” (lines 483- 484) According to The Free Dictionary, “lent” is the past tense form of the word “lend” which means “to permit the use of (something) with the expectation of return of the same or an equivalent.” Firstly, how does Adam know that an act of loaning took place? We turn to book VIII where Adam relates his vision of Eve's creation to Raphael. He says “Mine eyes he closed… abstract as in a trance methought I saw (though sleeping where I lay),” (page 190, lines 460-463) showing that at the time, he was neither conscious nor aware of his

surroundings. Additionally, Adam says “She disappeared and left me dark. I waked to find her or forever to deplore her loss,” (lines 478-480) further illustrating that he was not sure if the event he had just “dreamt” had actually happened. If he was sure that it had happened, then he would not have thought that he would never find her, since she was created for him. Once Adam spots Eve, however, he automatically concludes that his dream was a reality and that Eve was definitely fashioned from his rib, “To give thee being I lent out of my side to thee, nearest my heart, substantial life” (page 91, lines 483-484). The problem with this conclusion is that if Adam was previously unsure if Eve existed at all, how can he now, after just seeing Eve, know for sure that she was formed out of his rib? (I am questioning his certainty of her method of creation, not his certainty of her actual creation). His only possible way of knowing that the method he dreamt was the actual method would be if he noticed he was missing a rib (which the book never mentions). Then, he would be able to put two and two together. However, that would bring up a different problem: namely, that if he noticed that his rib was...

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