Essay on Milton and the Natural World

2050 Words Nov 16th, 2010 9 Pages
Blessed Be the Time: Changes in the Natural World as a Result of the Fall

The differences between prelapsarian and postlapsarian life as it pertains to mankind must be stark. The Fall would lose all meaning otherwise, were the consequences of the original sin to be slight. Everything that Adam and Eve had experienced must change so that they could comprehend the vastness of their transgression. This would include everything of a spiritual nature: their relationship with God, the angels, their ability to get into Heaven. However, as a fallen human, the reader might find the physical changes that Adam, Eve, and the world around them undergo as a result of the Fall to be very compelling. As someone who has never and can never
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In his infancy in Eden, Adam is presented with all the animals which instinctively subjugate themselves before him. Not only is he clearly meant by God to be superior the animals, he also seems to have some deeper knowledge of their essence, shown by how he “named them as they passed and understood/Their nature: with such knowledge God endued/[His] sudden apprehension.” (VIII.352-354) Similar to how the fertile earth of Eden provided for Adam and Eve all they wanted, the animals too were at Man's beck and call in the prelapsarian world. Just as the earth seems to have turned against Man after the fall, so do the animals. The special relationship Adam shared with the animal kingdom is dissolved, the animals ceased to stand “much in awe/Of Man but fled him or with count'nance grim/Glared on him passing.” (X.712-714) Animals were now not only scared of Man but more importantly began to actively menace him, whereas Man knew no physical menace in his prelapsarian state. This is because the concept of death has been introduced to the postlapsarian world, starting with the lower animals. In addition to threatening Man, animals began to see each other as predator and prey. This new predatory relationship between animals also portends a predatory relationship between people, when Milton compares those who eventually take over the Church to “grevious Wolves” (XII.508) who prey on the faithful and subvert God's word. After eating the forbidden fruit, Man
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