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Portrayal of Eve in John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

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Milton's Portrayal of Eve in Paradise Lost

The seventeenth century poet, John Milton, takes the attitude common to the time period while portraying Eve in Paradise Lost. This epic, telling of Adam and Eve's fall from Paradise and the story of creation, constantly describes Eve as a weak individual, while Adam is often compared with God. The idea of women's inferiority has been fixed through time, making Milton's characterization of Eve not surprising, but rather expected and accepted. However, Milton shows a suggestion of women's inner strength while describing the control Eve has over Adam. Nevertheless, except for this instance, Eve is depicted as subordinate to Adam. This is evident through Adam and Raphael's treatment
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The remainder of her supposed downfalls lies in the mistaken ideas of Adam, Eve, and even the angel, Raphael. For at the time of creation and throughout most of history, one was considered weak while possessing those characteristics common to a woman: submissiveness, meekness, docility, etc. Therefore, Milton says, "though both not equal, as their sex not equal seemed; For contemplation he and valour formed, For softness she and sweet attractive grace" (IV 296). Her womanly attributes were determined by Milton to be inferior. In another instance, she is considered weak because she is too gullible. The serpent tricks her, and it is said, "his words, replete with guile, Into her heart too easy entrance won" (IX 733-4). Simply acting sweet and trusting, she is thought to be of a lower rank.

In addition, Eve does not even merit her won creation, having been formed from Adam. Raphael tells Adam, "joy thou In what He gives to thee, this Paradise And thy fair Eve" (VIII 171-2). Eve was regarded as merely a mate for Adam, not a person in her own rite. In their opinion, all her actions should be for the benefit of Adam. Milton says, "for nothing lovelier can be found In woman than to study household good, And good works in her husband to promote" (IX 232-4). Thus, Milton holds to the Puritan belief that a wife's duty is solely to serve her husband. And of course, Eve accepts this role,
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