Eve’s Speech to the Forbidden Tree in Milton’s Paradise Lost

Eve’s Speech to the Forbidden Tree in Milton’s Paradise Lost

Length: 1150 words (3.3 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Eve’s Speech to the Forbidden Tree in Milton’s Paradise Lost

In Book IX of Milton’s Paradise Lost, Eve makes a very important and revealing speech to the tree of knowledge. In it, she demonstrates the effect that the forbidden fruit has had on her. Eve’s language becomes as shameful as the nakedness that Adam and Eve would later try to cover up with fig leaves. After eating the forbidden apple, Eve’s speech is riddled with blasphemy, self-exaltation, and egocentrism.

The first part of Eve’s speech contains the most blatant blasphemy. In it, she turns the forbidden tree into an idol, or a false god. She promises that “henceforth [her] early care, / Not without song each morning, and due praise / Shall tend [the tree]” (ln 799-801). The long sounds of the spondees in “not without song each morning, and due praise” add to the deliberateness of Eve’s blasphemy. The tree replaces God in her eyes, and begins to receive the praise that she had formerly reserved only for God. Besides being blasphemous, this is also ironic. In her foolishness, Eve ends up praising the very thing that will ultimately prove to be her undoing.

Eve considers the tree a great gift. However, because of the influence of the serpent, she does not consider it a gift from God. The serpent has caused her to believe that God did not give the tree to Adam and Eve because it was not his to give. Therefore, Eve supposes that God must “envy what [he] cannot give: / For had the gift been [his], it had not here / Thus grown” (ln 805-7). In other words, she argues that if God had had possession of this tree, he would not have left it where it is. Therefore, according to Eve’s manipulated reasoning, God must not have the knowledge that the tree bestow...

... middle of paper ...

...d “Adam” in line 831.

The last two lines of this speech are very dramatic. Eve has such a great love for Adam that she could endure anything as long as he would be by her side, but she would be nothing without him. However, this creates a paradox. One may ask, if Eve loves Adam as much as she professes to, then why put his life in jeopardy just to make her own suffering more bearable? The answer, of course, goes back to the selfishness that has pervaded her entire speech. These lines stand out because of the spondees at the end of both of them.

Eve’s language is drastically altered when she partakes of the forbidden fruit. It becomes permeated with blasphemy, self-praise and selfish words.

Works Cited:

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. in The Norton Anthology of English
Literature, M. H. Abrams, ed. New York: W. W. Norton and Company,
1993. 1594-5.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on The Forbidden Fruit of Knowledge

- The Romantic Era followed the Age of Enlightenment, a time of scientific discovery, political changes, and philosophical advancement. Romanticism challenged the rationality of the Enlightenment (Britannica). Romantic artists placed emotions above reason. In keeping with the Romantic tradition, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley challenges the benefits of science, education, and knowledge. In Frankenstein, Dr. Frankenstein, his creature, and Robert Walton are all ambitious; they have a desire for knowledge....   [tags: Shelley Frankenstein]

Strong Essays
1433 words (4.1 pages)

Adam and Eve's Relationship to Each Other and God in Paradise Lost Essay examples

- Most certainly all theologians and readers of the Bible interpret Genesis' story of the creation of Earth's first human couple, Adam and Eve, as one of comedy-turned-tragedy, being that their blissful lives were shattered when Satan tempted Eve with the promise of knowledge by eating the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, the one tree in the garden that God designated as untouchable. However, Genesis does not fill-in the missing background information as to the reasons why man and woman came to be the first rational, mortal creations of God's divinity....   [tags: Poetry]

Strong Essays
1428 words (4.1 pages)

Hero of John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay example

- Hero of Paradise Lost John Milton introduces the reader to Satan in the first book of Paradise Lost. Satan is shown defeated in the Lake of Fire after rebelling against God in heaven. Satan rises from the lake and gives a heroic speech to his fallen angels. This displays Satan as a tragic hero, someone who is seen as great but is destined to fail. Satan tries to be the victor, but in the end Satan fails, and Christ is the true hero. Satan is shown to have heroic qualities during the first two books of Paradise Lost....   [tags: Satan, Christ, fight]

Strong Essays
753 words (2.2 pages)

Essay Paradise Lost by John Milton

- Paradise Lost by John Milton In John Milton's Paradise Lost, we learn of Milton's epic poem that deals with the entire story of man's fall from grace, including background for Satan's motives. In Book 1 of the poem, a brief introduction mentions the fall of Adam and Eve caused by the serpent, which was Satan, who led the angels in revolt against God and was cast into hell. The scene then opens on Satan lying dazed in the burning lake, with Beelzebub, next in command, beside him. Satan assembles his fallen legions on the shore, where he revives their spirits by his speech....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
361 words (1 pages)

Characters of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the character of Satan is arrogant and villainous, yet heroic and complex, who crafts himself as the innocent victim, even though “Satan dared to hope he could be defeated.” Milton’s romanticising of Satan highlights and articulates the alluring aspect of a central character designed by Judeo-Christian belief to being menacing. The structure of Milton’s Satan, the romanticizing of this tragic hero and the defining of the character in paralleled response to Milton’s Paradise Regained, will be approached, highlighted and emphasized in this essay....   [tags: innocent victim, epic writer, divinations]

Strong Essays
1614 words (4.6 pages)

Portrayal of Eve in John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

- 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]

Strong Essays
1140 words (3.3 pages)

The Temptation of Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- The Temptation of Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost “Dream not of other worlds,” the angel Raphael warns Adam in Miltons’s Paradise Lost (VIII.175). Eve, however, dreams of another world in which she will gain knowledge and power, a wish that is superficially fulfilled when she succumbs to Satan’s temptation and eats from the Tree of Knowledge. Awakening in the Garden of Eden as though from a dream, Eve searches for her identity and her place in Paradise. Satan provides Eve with a chance to gain knowledge and to become god-like....   [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]

Strong Essays
2743 words (7.8 pages)

Essay on The Rape of Proserpina and Eve's Fall in Milton's Paradise Lost

- The Rape of Proserpina and Eve's Fall in Milton's Paradise Lost "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....   [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]

Strong Essays
3723 words (10.6 pages)

Treatment of Eve in Paradise Lost Essay

- The treatment of eve in Paradise Lost We can see the poem deals with the entire story of man's fall from grace, including background for Satan's motives. In Paradise Lost, Eve was tricked by Satan, who assumed the form of a serpent, into eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Satan had whispered into her ear when she was asleep, and when he spoke to her later, he used his cunning to mislead her: He ended, and his words replete with guile Into her heart too easy entrance won. Fixed on the fruit she gazed, which to behold Might tempt alone, and in her ears the sound Yet rung of his persuasive words, impregned With reason, to her seeming, and with truth, (Paradise Lost, 733-739)....   [tags: John Milton]

Strong Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

Eve And The Apple Essay

- 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]

Free Essays
781 words (2.2 pages)