While Adam and Eve were the first individuals to defy God, Satan is the first of all God’s creation to disobey. His choice to rebel came only from himself—he was not convinced or motivated by others. Also, his choice to continue to defy God after his fall into Hell guaranteed that God would not forgive him. On the other hand, Adam and Eve chose to repent for their sins and asked for forgiveness. Unlike Satan, Adam and Eve understood that their defiance to God would be amended through generations of labor on Earth. This path is obviously the correct one to take: the visions in Books XI and XII established that compliance to God, even after constant falls, could lead to humanity’s deliverance.
Paradise Lost is about hierarchy as much as it is about compliance. The arrangement of the universe—with Heaven above, Hell below, and Earth in the middle—presented the universe as a hierarchy based on closeness to God and his grace. This hierarchy led to a social hierarchy of angels, humans, animals, and devils: the Son is next to God, with the seraphs and cherubs behind him. Adam and Eve and Earth’s animals...
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...gnifying its lightness and worthlessness. These scales symbolize the fact that God and Satan are not truly on opposite sides of a struggle—God is all-powerful, and Satan and Gabriel both derive all of their power from Him. God’s scales force Satan to realize the futility of taking arms against one of God’s angels again.
The wreath that Adam makes as he and Eve work separately in Book IX is symbolic in several ways. First, it represents his love for her and his attraction to her. But as he is about to give the wreath to her, his shock in noticing that she has eaten from the Tree of Knowledge makes him drop it to the ground. His dropping of the wreath symbolizes that his love and attraction to Eve is falling away. His image of her as a spiritual companion has been shattered completely, as he realizes her fallen state. The fallen wreath represents the loss of pure love.
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