Importance of Book Iv of Paradise Lost

1152 Words Apr 8th, 2016 5 Pages
Elucidate the importance of The Fourth Book of Paradise Lost.
Answer: In the Fourth book of Paradise Lost, we are given more insight into the character of Eve and Satan. As Eve narrates her first waking moments after her own creation, we are immediately introduced to Eve's weakness, vanity. She awakes near a lake and sees an image of herself and thinks the images beautiful. Modern readers, especially coming from a feminist perspective, might view Eve's admiration of herself not as vanity or a weakness, but rather as a gesture of self-confidence and independence from man (especially as she finds her own image so much more beautiful than Adam's ).
This self confident independence, however, is quickly lost. It is quite clear Milton
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In the same way that Eden is ordered, not prone to radical bursts of natural cataclysms (or even variable weather) but maintaining a steady growth under God's rule, man himself should order his passions with reason and keep them steady under God's eyes. If this is done, then mankind, like the Garden, will grow healthy and safe. Love and love making fit this same theology: ordered love making, unselfishly given, rational, impassionate and without the animal instincts, will create a healthy and steady growing love.
Later, Eden, and creation at large, will become uncontrollable. Floods, fire, famine, harsh weather will all make man's life difficult. Animals will prey on other animals, violence will exist at all levels of nature, and fear will be commonplace. In the same way, post-Fall man will have to deal with his nearly uncontrollable passions and corruption. But in this pre-Fall Eden and Adam, life is ordered, good, directed toward God.
Much is made of the astrology and astronomy in Milton as seen in the later end of this Book IV. Suffice it to say here that, theologically, it follows the same ordered/reason theme as the Garden and as Adam and Eve's love. The sun, moon, planets, and stars turn in an ordered manner, following a destined plan. God is actually Aristotle's unmoved mover, the first cause, who first pushes the outer "globe" of the cosmos to set all the other cosmos in
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