Essay on Paradise Lost
Paradise Lost by Milton outlines the fall of mankind beginning with Adam and Eve. Although Paradise Lost is a work filled with religious influence it does not stick to biblical truth. Pride and Lust are prevalent in Milton’s version of the Garden of Eden before and after the fall; it is these two deadly sins that seemingly lead toward the fall of Adam and Eve.
Adam is portrayed as a somewhat weak individual who is uxorious. When Eve mentions working apart from each other instead of insisting they stay together he allows her to do as she wishes. Milton reveals his view that this is a mistake by Adam when he states that “hapless” Eve is walking into an ambush set by Satan.
The pride of Eve can first be seen when she is tempted by Satan. One of the arguments that Satan uses to trick Eve into partaking in eating the fruit is that if he, an animal, can eat it and gain knowledge then why can’t she? He argues that since God has given Adam and Eve dominion over everything then surely they should be permitted to eat the fruit. He also tells her that she will become like God. Eve’s lust of the fruit is apparent in the way she gazes upon it. Milton even states, “An eager appetite, raised by the smell/ So savory of that fruit, which with desire/ Inclinable now grown to touch or taste/ Solicited her longing eye.” This statement vividly and dramatically describes the lust that Eve held for the forbidden fruit.
Adam’s lust and pride is at first not quite as visible as Eve’s. When Eve tries to persuade him to eat of the fruit he says the reason he partakes in it is because he could not live without her if in fact eating it would bring death. However, he probably wanted to experience the same enlightenment that Eve said she was experiencing. The text also hints that is was his lust for Eve that convinced him to eat the fruit. Adam states, “My own in thee, for what thou art is mine.”
Once they both eat the fruit all restraint is cast away. Adam wishes for ten more trees that he could eat his fill of the fruit. They then engage in an explicit display of their human lust for one another when they have sex. This is a view of sex of lust, not love; the carnality of desire is portrayed in this part of the poem.
Paradise Lost is a fictional work that portrays the carnal nature of man since the fall. Although the poem is religiously based Milton takes many liberties with the text. Although we do not know the true reasons that Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit this work demonstrates the destructiveness of man’s pride and lust.
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