How would you react if you realized you had altered the future of an entire people? Would you be sympathetic or apologetic? Would you be regretful or sincere? I believe that the reaction of a person in such a situation gives insight into their quality of character and shows us the real extent of their influence over their surroundings and beyond. John Milton’s Adam in Paradise Lost altered the future for mankind just as Margaret Cavendish’s Empress of the Blazing World altered the future for the inhabitants of the Blazing World. Both characters realized the consequences of their actions and desired to change it back to the original state. Both were regretful for their deeds.
However, the manner in which each of the characters showed regret gives us insight into the respective author’s intention for the work. By analyzing the difference between the lamentations of Adam and the Empress, we can see strikingly opposing approaches to the same desire – to correct the wrong. Adam falls into a sincere state of despair while the Empress is much more apathetic about the situation. From this observation, we can make claims about Milton and Cavendish and his or her reasoning for fashioning the characters in the way they are portrayed.
From the outset of the plot, the storylines of both texts seem to parallel along a very similar outline. The opening of each story is a description of a paradise, free from the corruption of conflict, deception, or sin and more importantly, free from the issue of a foreign influence. Perhaps the most influential factor that allows these paradises to continue in their original state is the innocence they possess from just not knowing any other way, the lack of alien influence. This lack of knowledge was G...
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...g entirely fictitious, fabricated, and immaterial. This alteration impacted the reactions of Adam and the Empress. Adam’s real existence required a natural, real reaction just as the Empress’ artificial existence conjured a false, inhuman reaction. The apathetic tone of the Empress mirrored the apathetic tone of Cavendish in stating her intended purpose for the work. The serious tone of Adam mirrored the seriousness of Milton’s intended purpose. Both Adam and the Empress had decidedly altered the future conditions of an entire people to the point that they desired restoration of the original status. However, the Empress’ apathetic tone and Adam’s serious tone shows, respectively, both the extent of influence of the affected people, the reality factor of that people, and most significant, the importance of those people upon the current state of the contemporary world.
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