Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay examples

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Milton’s Paradise Lost has been praised as being the greatest English epic of all time, most stunningly in its author's depiction of the parents of humanity, Adam and Eve. How Milton chose to portray the original mother and father has been a focus of much criticism with contemporary readers. One of the main subjects of these comments is in reference to Eve, who, according to many, is a trivial character that is most definitely inferior to her mate. Nonetheless, many do not recognize that, after the fateful Fall, she becomes a much more evolved character. When Eve is introduced to the storyline of the epic, her character is shallow and extremely undeveloped, meant simply for display. She is quite firmly set as being inferior to her mate …show more content…
He does this because the scene happens in the past and therefore he uses her to discuss it rather than confusing the reader with a flashback type scene. He also has Eve relate what happened to prove that Eve must indeed be beautiful if she herself was taken by her looks as she discusses how she “pined with vain desire” (IV, 466) for the image of her reflection. In fact, Eve’s beauty is discussed repeatedly. For example, when Satan first sees the human couple, he is overtaken by Eve’s “beauty and submissive charms” (IV, 498). Milton even goes so far to stress her beauty and charms as to have her stun Satan himself with it. Actually, as Satan is on his mission to seduce Eve into eating the apple, her beauty overtakes him.

If chance with nymphlike step fair virgin pass, What pleasing seemed, for her now pleases more, She most, and in her looks sums all delight; Such pleasure took the Serpent to behold This flowery plant, the sweet recess of Eve Thus early, thus alone; her heavenly form Angelic, but more soft and feminine, Her graceful innocence, her every air Of gesture or least action, overawed His malice, and with rapine sweet bereaved
His fierceness of the fierce intent it brought.

That space the Evil One abstracted stood From his own evil, and for the time remained
Stupidly good, of enmity disarmed, Of guile, of hate, of envy, of revenge. (IX, 452-466)

Thus Milton creates an Eve
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