Comparison Of Daniel Defoe's Roxana. A Woman Who Has "Fallen" Into Sin To Milton's Epic "Paradise Lost"

2239 words - 9 pages

Daniel Defoe's Roxana reveals a fall that is much like the fall in Milton's "Paradise Lost." Defoe utilizes images similar to those that appear in Milton's poem which convey a fall from traditional, tangible worship to a materialization of spirituality that occurs in the abstract space of mind. While both Defoe and Milton convey the abstract power of the mind, Defoe departs from Milton by distinguishing the curse of the fall as one of repetition and replication, which attempts to regain a form of paradise through imitation. Defoe conveys the curse of the fall through his protagonist Roxana by linking images of imitation to the mind's process of thought. Thought involves reference back to the past, and repetition of preconceived idea. Defoe contrasts inauthentic repetition of thought with a superlative symbol for originality and creativity. Through contrasting the images that appear in both Defoe and Milton, the repetitive thought with original creativity reveal that the curse of a fallen world is a world that can never regain the original Eden or paradise. The closest that a fallen world can come to paradis is mere imitation.Defoe's novel Roxana traces the history and life of a once bourgeoisie woman by the name Roxana. Through the novel Roxana recounts the events which led to the rise and fall that occurred in her life. Defoe begins his novel by providing his readers a brief summary of the events that took place in his heroines life by familiarizing his readers with the initial account which caused Roxana to exit her virtuous and modest world and enter into a world of prostitution and sin.Roxana choice of a foolish and incompetent led her to finding herself abandoned in a man's world. Lacking the knowledge of how to provide for herself, Roxana dispersed of her children in hope that they would receive adequate care. Free from her responsibility as mother, Roxana and her maid Amy looked for ways to provide for themselves. As narrator, Roxana swiftly progresses through the numerous relationships that she formed and destroyed through the course of her life.Roxana centers her story upon her life and vast lovers. It is possible to juxtapose Roxana and her lovers to the lovers Adam and Eve who appear in Milton's "Paradise Lost". Just as Roxana describes her lovers in "Bed-side to me (143)," Satan too describes lovers who; side by side were laid"( ). Roxana's maid, Amy speaks into her mistress's ear;"O Madam says Amy, there's abundance of charity begins in that Vice, and his not so unacquainted with things, as to know that Poverty is the Strongest incentive, a temptation, against which no Virtue is powerful ... he [the landlord] knows your Condition as well as you do ... I'm sure he will set you up, as he talks of, you ought not deny him nothing (27-28).While Satan speaks "close at the ear of Eve"( ).As both Roxana and Eve similarly tempt their prey, they both describe the presence of love with which they compete. Roxana refers to the love she received...

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