Throughout modern society nothing symbolizes the fall of humankind more than a woman with feminine flowing hair and luscious lips biting into a large apple. While the biblical account evoking such imagery remains the primary authority, John Milton in Paradise Lost enlightens beyond the allegorical, offering a complexity of character and purpose. In this epic, readers are guided along humanity’s fall from grace, contrasting the ideal union of man and wife alongside harsh consequences that emerge from dangerous engendered perspectives.
From its inception, the human race was built upon a singular perception, an outlook based in patriarchal ideals. God, a supreme creator, armored in precision, creates man in his own image. It is inside this divine state that Adam is born, shaped from the Earth, his journey unfolds. Awakening in the splendor of Eden, Adam immediately recognizes his bond with a higher power, asking fellow creatures in the garden to expound upon the glory of his maker, “Tell me how I may know Him, how adore, from whom that thus I move and live” (XIII. 280-281) Outward from the account of his birth, readers are instructed, led toward patriarchy, following the use of a distinguishing pronoun “Him”. Milton throughout the text renders a strict Christian theological perspective, showcasing a phallic authority that spawns from the dawn of creation.
In the garden, a seemingly perfect being, Adam, is aligned within the sphere of God, joined by their dualistic and shared image. Yet as Frye Northrop points out, “In the soul of man, as God originally created there is a hierarchy…the reason… the will, and the appetite” (Northrop, 458). It is with little surprise that such a perfect body does not remain whole, as Adam takes not...
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...lton engages and delights, providing readers with a heightened unique understanding of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace.
Frye, Northrop “Children of God and Nature” Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Gordon
Teskey. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2005. Print.
Lewalski, Barbara “Higher Argument: Completing and Publishing Paradise Lost”
Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Gordon Teskey. New York: W. W Norton & Company,
Inc, 2005. Print
Lewis, C.S. “On God” Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Gordon Teskey. New York: W. W.
Norton & Company, Inc, 2005. Print.
Milton, John. "Paradise Lost." Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Gordon Teskey. New York:
W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2005. Print.
Waldock, A.J.A. “The Fall” Norton Critical Edition. Ed. Gordon Teskey.
New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2005. Print
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