Symptoms of Narcissism in Eve Using Paradise Lost

1625 WordsNov 28, 20107 Pages
Symptoms of Narcissism in Eve I. Introduction A. “The allusion to pagan fable that most haunts views of Milton's Eve is her Narcissus-like behavior when, fresh from her Creator's hand, she pauses at the verge of the mirror lake attracted by her own reflection and has to be called twice: first by God, who leads her to Adam, and then, as she starts back toward the softer beauty of the face in the lake, by Adam himself.” (McColley 63). B. Eve’s scene in which she observes herself at the pool can be seen as a biblical form of the myth of Narcissus. C. I will argue, first, that Eve’s scene alludes to Ovid's myth of Narcissus. Second I dispute interpretations that view Eve’s actions as a narcissistic impulse,…show more content…
Scholars have attempted to come up with an answer which explains Eve’s Narcissus-like tendencies. Some scholars feel that Eve’s narcissism is an “innocent stage of human development” since she “quickly outgrows it.” (McColley 63). One scholar feels that “There is a certain beauty in Eve’s narcissism” because it is “the linking of above and below.” (Norford 10, 14). Others, like Jonathan Collett, gather the idea that Eve’s scene at the pool is simply a biblical form of the Narcissus myth. The myth of Narcissus, written by Ovid, is the tale of a hero whose self love gradually brought him to his death. Although Eve’s memorization of herself at the pool did not ultimately take her life, there are many similarities which tie Eve’s scene at the pool and the myth of Narcissus together. Mr. Collett writes, “This situation by the pool echoes Ovid's tale of Narcissus and attributes to Eve a native vanity that issues in the Fall, sometimes finding additional sinister implications in periodic resemblances between the creation of Eve and the birth of Sin.” (Collett 88). Throughout his article, Collett notes on similarities found not only between Narcissus and Eve, but also between the birth of Eve and the birth of Sin. One similarity can be found in the myth of Narcissus. Echo, a local nymph, crosses paths with Narcissus, and at first glance, notices his beauty and falls in
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