"She pluck'd, she eat" (PL IX.781). With these four monosyllables, Milton succinctly announces the Fall of Eve in Paradise Lost. Eve's Fall, however, is far more complex than a simple act of eating, for her disobedience represents a much greater loss of chastity. Indeed, Milton implies that the Fall is a violation not only of God's sole commandment but also of Eve herself, for Milton implicitly equates Dis's ravishment of Proserpina with Satan's seduction of Eve. Milton weaves the Proserpina myth, as told by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, throughout Paradise Lost as a trope for rape and Eve's loss of virginity, and this culminates in a metaphorical construction of the Fall as a rape of Eve by Satan. Milton's depiction of Eve's ravishment, moreover, is ambivalently misogynistic, for Milton casts Eve as a seductress who has largely engendered her own rape.
Early in Book IV of Paradise Lost Milton compares Eden to beautiful landscapes of classical mythology, while insisting that his Christian Garden is "not" like such pagan settings. Milton's negative syntax implies the ineffability of Eden—this unfallen paradise cannot be described by a fallen poet to fallen readers and certainly cannot be evoked by pagan similes. Yet Milton's lush catalogue of classical landscapes forces an analogy, and as we amble through the myths, we conjure an image of Eden based on its classical precursors. Particularly salient is the first classical allusion, which compares Eden to Enna:
Not that fair field
Of Enna, where Proserpin gath'ring flow'rs
Herself a fairer Flow'r by gloomy Dis
Was gather'd, which cost Ceres all that pain
To seek her through the world
(PL IV.268-72) ...
... middle of paper ...
...ks to be the "greater Man." Later in his letter to Diodati, Milton quips: "You ask what I am thinking of? So may the good Deity help me, of immortality!" (Patterson 27). With his chaste epic ambition, Milton seeks to place himself in the role of savior, using his poetic brilliance to undo the Death engendered by the Fall.
Hughes, Merritt Y., ed. John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose . New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1957.
Milton, John, and Barbara Kiefer Lewalski. Paradise Lost. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub., 2007. Print.
- - -, Samson Agonistes. In John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose. Ed. Merritt Y. Hughes. New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1957. 550-93.
Ovid, Metamorphoses. Trans. and ed. D. E. Hill. Wiltshire: Aris & Phillips Ltd., 1992.
Patterson, Frank Allen, ed. The Works of John Milton, Volume XII. New York: Columbia UP, 1936.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- A significant issue put forward in this contention is a re-examination of the significance of the name Adam, (“Adham” in Hebrew). Although some use “Adham” as a correct name for the male creation of God, Dr. Trible informs us that the phrase “Adham” can be utilised as a generic term for humankind – “adham is an androgynous term; one creature incorporating two sexes.” Secondly, the scribe points out that the creation of woman was a divine proceed rather than a demand by Adam. She extracts Genesis 2:18, in which God concludes that Adam needs a “helper fit for him.” The focus being on the phrase “helper” (“ezer” in Hebrew).... [tags: god creation, adam, eve, genesis]
529 words (1.5 pages)
- 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.... [tags: grace, Eden, Adam, Eve, Wadlock, Milton]
2340 words (6.7 pages)
- Cultural Rape In Things Fall Apart In Things Fall Apart, Achebe shows the ruthlessness of the missionaries in pursuit of new converts. Domestic support for the missions depended in large measure upon the tangible success of their preaching, 'success' being reflected in the numbers of conversions. This relentless focus on "success" caused the "cultural rape" of the people of Umuofia. Achebe even hints at their use of bribery and blackmail in their endeavours. He tells us, 'the white missionary had set up a school to teach young Christians to read and write' (126).... [tags: Things Fall Apart Essays]
1370 words (3.9 pages)
- “The sexes are at war” according to Camille Paglia, author of “Rape: A Bigger Danger Then Feminists Know” (2). The number of date rape cases is on the rise, especially among college students. Paglia claims that the cause for this is women not being careful around men. However, feminist like Susan Jacoby, author of “Common Decency”, claims that is more of a social cause. According to research the causes are women not being self aware, the media and the leading cause being alcohol and drug use.... [tags: Date Rape Essays]
1588 words (4.5 pages)
- Rohypnol is a very strong benzodiazepine. It is ten times more powerful then any other benzodiazepine valium, the effects are felt very fast by any user. The drug usually works on the body for up to eighteen hours or (sometimes longer). Also during that time the user will feel many symptoms and some are: Drowsiness, disoriented, and they can loss consciousness. Most people when they take Rohypnol will suffer from a form of amnesia that prohibits memory formation for as long as they have the drug in the body.... [tags: Date Rape Essays]
936 words (2.7 pages)
- The Power of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues When Obie award-winning author and playwright, Eve Ensler, began collecting testimonials from women across the country regarding their experiences with sexuality, she had no idea what would eventually occur as a result of her innovative ideas. Ensler gathered 200 monologues from women, and wove them into a play that represents the strength and vitality of female sexuality. The Vagina Monologues were first performed in the basement of New York City’s Cornelia Street Café in 1996.... [tags: Eve Ensler The Vagina Monologues]
597 words (1.7 pages)
- Madonna vs. Eve A portrait of the Renaissance Woman The role of women has been portrayed through art since prehistoric times. Women have been a sign of hope, downfall, and power. This image of women was most powerful during the Renaissance. A cultural revival or "rebirth" occurred during the 15th and 16th century in Europe. The economic growth of the 14th century created a prosperous middle class. This allowed more of the mass to invest their income. Patronage of the arts soon became very fashionable as did religious faith1.... [tags: Woman Females Eve Madonna Essays]
820 words (2.3 pages)
- Milton's Portrayal of Eve in Paradise Lost The seventeenth century poet, John Milton, takes the attitude common to the time period while portraying Eve in Paradise Lost. This epic, telling of Adam and Eve's fall from Paradise and the story of creation, constantly describes Eve as a weak individual, while Adam is often compared with God. The idea of women's inferiority has been fixed through time, making Milton's characterization of Eve not surprising, but rather expected and accepted. However, Milton shows a suggestion of women's inner strength while describing the control Eve has over Adam. Nevertheless, except for this instance, Eve is depicted as subordinate to Adam. This i... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays Eve Creation]
1140 words (3.3 pages)
- Eve and the Apple No one completely understands the ways of God. Many of us can come up with our own opinions, and justify his ways in our own minds, just as Milton did in Paradise Lost. Just as Adam and Eve, we all are gifted with free will and the responsibility of making important decisions and choices in our life, which will determine our future. But we may well ask ourselves today, of what use would this free will be to us if we did not know good from evil. When Eve ate the apple in the Garden of Eden she had two different voices telling her what to do.... [tags: God Religion Religious Eve Adam Essays]
781 words (2.2 pages)
- The poem “Rape,” by Adrienne Rich maps the journey of a woman who is “…guilty of the crime of having been forced.” (Ln. 14-15) The nameless woman in this poem not only has to endure a physical rape, but also a social and emotional one. She struggles desperately to find her footing in a world that has been forever changed to her. She no longer feels at home in her own body, amongst society, and even within the safety of her own mind. The rape of a woman does not end with the act itself. It is merely the first step of many on a long, lonely and deserted road.... [tags: essays research papers]
696 words (2 pages)