Book 9 Of Paradise Lost Term Paper

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Paradise Lost - Book

The art of reason is on display in speeches by Adam, and by Eve, in John Milton's "Paradise Lost." What is interesting is not that Milton bestowed them both with reason (after all he also bestowed Satan with reason as well) but that they both still had free will and both still made the choice to partake from the Tree, even though reason would have kept them from doing so.

Many experts believe that Milton's purpose in endowing Paradise Lost characters with reason did not in any way show that Milton believed any less in heaven or hell, in fact, it may have been that Milton was saying because mankind has this ability to reason does not mean that mankind would not, or should not still believe in Him.

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That Milton grounds the freedom to believe in reason...does not mean that, in requiring that man have faith in him, Milton's God is requiring him to do something he is not free to do. For Milton's God does not ask of his creatures endowed with reason that they believe in him independently of that faculty" (Walker, 2007, p. 143). Although questioning of God after their punishment, neither Adam nor Eve show signs of not believing in Him, rather they still believe in Him but feel that the punishment they must endure is rather harsh. Adam especially is rather resentful as evidenced by his lament on lines 774-75 when he states; "Why am I mockt with death, and length'nd out to deathless pain?" Not only does his question show resentfulness, but it also shows a modicum of the reason with which his entire speech is propagated.

Adam's speech is very oriented around reason, even the form of his speech is in a question and self-answering mode.

Initially Adam is hiding from God even before his speech begins.

Adam said, "I heard thee in the Garden, and of thy voice afraid, being naked, hid my self" (116-17).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Book 9 Of Paradise Lost Assignment

He heard God and was afraid, which shows he had already reasoned out the fact that he was going to be in trouble, he knew he was naked, which he had not known beforehand, and he hid himself, which showed that he understood the ramifications of his actions.

When asked by God why he is hiding when he has never hidden before, Adam replies "in evil strait this day I stand before my judge to undergoe my self the total Crime" (125-27).

The reader thus discovers that Adam has sound reasoning, his words show that he knows he is guilty, he knows that God cannot be hidden from and he knows that his only and last resort is to blame the actions on Eve, leaving him in a quandary which he also has already reasoned out. He attempts to present a reasoned argument, and even to somewhat lay the blame at someone else's feet. In this instance the someone else was God. He says, "This Woman whom thou madst to be my help, and gav'st me as thy perfet gift, so good, so fit, so acceptable, so Divine...She gave me of the Tree, and I did eate."

The poem asserts that God gave Adam and Eve reason, and that this faculty is one of the things that distinguishes them from the animals, he claims that it also very clearly establishes that reason "is irrelevant to any decision concerning the forbidden fruit." (Walker, p. 144). Therefore, according to Walker, even if they both had taken time to reason concerning the events involving the serpent, it would have still led down the same path.

Adam and Eve still would have made the same choice. This is followed up by support directly from God (through the poem) when God returns to heaven and tells the angels that was forecast has come to pass. God tells the angels, "be not dismaid, nor troubl'd at these tiding from the Earth, which your sincerest care could not prevent, foretold so lately what would come to pass" (35-38). Even God shows reasoning in this poem and perhaps that was one of the primary purposes Milton wrote it that way.

Much of the underlying purpose behind bestowing Adam and Eve with such strong reasoning capabilities is likely due to Milton's theological concerns. Many experts believe that Milton's purpose in penning Paradise Lost was to mingle the Church's sometimes ludicrous doctrine, its Christian piety and classical mythology together to underscore the fact that man was of enough intelligence to reason through most situations, even theological ones.

Milton also (some would say surprisingly) endowed Eve with reasoning just as strong in nature as Adam's was. Hers was seemingly a more straightforward and simple in its employment, but it was there nonetheless. On expert states that "in the poem Eve is presented in a "remarkably positive" way and that her marriage is, within the range of possibilities offered by biblical exegesis, a "remarkably egalitarian" one" (Steggle, 2005, p. 554). Her words are, to no ones surprise, simple in their elegance, yet very effective. When berated by Adam for being the cause of their despair she replies that without him by her side she is lost.

She says, "Whither shall I betake me, where subsist? While yet we live....between us two let there be peace." Her simplistic reasoning is much more straightforward and to the point than Adam's is as evidenced by her manner when she continues her speech by stating, "The Race unblest, to being yet unbegot, Childless thou art, and Childless remaine: (988-89). This is as straightforward a sentence as can possibly be written.

She seems to be saying that we will both have to suffer for our transgression, but we can foil the monster that tempted us to transgress by not bringing any others to birth (yet ere Conception to prevent). Of course, this could be Eve's way of saying, Look Adam, do you want to waste this lovely young and perfect body of mine, or should we go do what we were commanded to do. This is a pure example of a woman reasoning and it got directly to the heart of the scenario.

Of course, Adam sees the lay of the land immediately, which also is a good piece of evidence that he can reason things out as well as the next man, when his entire demeanor changes towards Eve (surprise, surprise!). The change in him is wraught being 'acknowledged and deplored' when "his anger all he lost, and thus with peaceful words uprais'd her soon" (945-46). This is despite the fact that earlier in the poem Adam has asked God, "O why did God, Creator wise, that peopl'd highest Heaven with Spirits Masculine, create at last this noveltie on Earth, this fair defect of Nature, with Men as Angels without Feminine, or find some other way to generate Mankind?"

Eve, of course, let's these comments slide (probably cause she knew she was in the wrong) and continues to beg his forgiveness stating "I beg, and clasp thy knees, bereave me not." He knows with true reason that there is nothing that the two of them can do except accept their plight and make the best of it. They both then show the signs of strength it would take to get them through this life when Adam tells Eve, "But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame each other, blam'd enough elsewhere, but strive in offices of Love, how we may light'n" (957-60).

Concerning Milton, one article even states "He systematically incorporated into the poetic language of his epic a pair of words, wonder and amazement, that link these emotional responses to a rich philosophical history and ultimately to Milton's sense that spiritual agency is as much a form of response as it is a form of performance" (Bradburn, 2006, p. 77). That reasoned response throughout both speeches is what makes the poem so believable and such an interesting read. There are various strong pieces of reasoning evidence shown by both Adam and Eve, and when attempting to compare the two speeches it becomes a truly difficult matter to choose between which one shows the most sense. They are both simplistic in nature, Eve's more so than Adam's but Adam was more portrayed as the wronged party in this venture, and the bitterness that goes along with that feeling could have been seeping through into his reasoning capabilities.

Comparing the two speeches therefore is not entirely an apples-to-apples comparison.

Both characters show that they know they have done wrong, that it was something they were both going to have to pay for the rest of their lives, it was an act that affected all of mankind and therefore the guilt they felt must have been overwhelming, but at the same time they were reasoned enough individuals to know that they would have to accept the situation and make the best of it. Neither of them reasoned in a more effective manner than did the other.

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Book 9 Of Paradise Lost.  (2007, December 6).  Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

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"Book 9 Of Paradise Lost."  December 6, 2007.  Accessed October 24, 2021.