From the first mention of man and woman in his poem, Milton immediately asserts that the function of a woman is to submit to her husband. Prior to the fall of man, Eve’s submission to Adam is continually emphasized. This emphasis begins with the very first mention of Adam and Eve. The narrator discusses the purposes Adam and Eve appear to be made for as well as Adam and Eve’s hair. While Adam’s hair is long but does not go past his shoulders, Eve’s hair goes down to her waist and “Her unadorned golden tresses wore // Disheveled, but in wanton ringlets waved // As the vine curls her tendrils, which implied // Subjection,” (Milton IV.305-308). Saint Paul believed that men should have shorter hair, but women should have long hair that can act as a cover for them, implying that because women use their hair as a cover they are also submissive. Additionally, gold has always been thought to be one of the most valuable substances on earth, making her golden hair and consequently Eve herself, more valuable. From this statement about Eve’s hair, it is clear that she was found to have more value than she would be otherwise as a result of her submission to Adam. Looking at the length of Adam and Eve’s hair, it is obvious that she has more to be submissive to than he does. However, Adam still has long hair, signifying that he is still submissive to someone. Adam is still submissive to God, as is Eve, but “He for God only, she for God in him:” (Milton IV.299). Adam’s hair is long because he is submissive to only God, where...
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...mission to Adam. Additionally, Eve still wants to stay in Adam’s good graces and has already discovered that the best way to do that is to do what he wants and submit to him. Despite their journey and the knowledge both Adam and Eve gained through the fall, Eve is willing to do anything to receive Adam’s forgiveness and still wants to listen to God, resulting in her ultimate submission.
In his poem, Paradise Lost, John Milton asserts that women are inherently inferior to men and willingly act as such, but once they realize their inferiority, they will become upset enough to fight back before being forced back into submission. As a result of their inherent inferiority and love for their husbands, women are willingly submissive. In spite of their inferiority, women are able to use their beauty and their husband’s love for them as a source of power over their husbands.
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