Essay on Woman's Role Defined in "Paradise Lost" and the Bible

Essay on Woman's Role Defined in "Paradise Lost" and the Bible

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John Milton's Paradise Lost attempts to justify "God's will" by giving a better understanding of the "ways of God", according to the author. In his work, Milton addresses several issues from biblical text as he expands on the "role of woman" as it is written in the book of Genesis. "Woman's role" is recognized and presented as one that is subordinate to man. Several associations are recognized between Milton's work and books of the Bible which reveal much about the way both of these books intend to define the role of a woman.

The two books attempt to establish an understanding of Eve as a being inferior to Adam as she is made in his image. Milton does this by pointing out how Eve "resemble[s] less/ His image who made both" (man and woman) (8.543-4) and allows Adam to call her "best image of myself" (5.95). Adam believes this as God says to him before creating Eve, "What next I bring shall please thee, be assured, / Thy likeness" (8.449-50). As it goes, in the biblical story of Genesis, man is recognized as one who has been created in the image of God, whereas woman is created from the man. In this story, God created man in his likeness and created woman from a rib of man. The book says God recognizes "it is not good for man to be alone" and decides to ."..make him a helper and partner" (Genesis 2.18). Later in the scripture man recognizes God's newest creature as "woman." In verse 23 of chapter 2, man says,

This at last is bone of my bone,

Flesh of my flesh;

This one shall be called Woman,

For out of Man this one was taken."

Since God gave man this type of "dominion" over all other living creatures of the earth and re-enforces this gift to man by saying "whatever man called every living creature, that would...


... middle of paper ...


...ife.

Resources

C.S. Lewis, A Preface to Paradise Lost. Oxford, 1960.

Coogan, Michael D. The New Oxford Annotated Bible: Third Edition. New York:
Oxford UP, 1989.

Earl, James W. "Eve's Narcissism." Milton Quarterly. Vol. 19, No. 1. 1985 (March): p13-
16.

Gallagher, Philip J. "Milton, The Bible, and Misogyny." Modern Philology. 90 (Feb. '93)
p.433-9

Luxon, Thomas H., ed. The Milton Reading Room, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton,
May, 2004.

Works Cited

Coogan, Michael D. The New Oxford Annotated Bible: Third Edition. New York:
Oxford UP, 1989.

Gallagher, Philip J. "Milton, The Bible, and Misogyny." Modern Philology. 90 (Feb. '93)
p.433-9

Luxon, Thomas H., ed. The Milton Reading Room, http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton,
May, 2004.

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