The Temptation of Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

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The Temptation of Eve in Milton’s Paradise Lost

“Dream not of other worlds,” the angel Raphael warns Adam in Miltons’s Paradise Lost (VIII.175). Eve, however, dreams of another world in which she will gain knowledge and power, a wish that is superficially fulfilled when she succumbs to Satan’s temptation and eats from the Tree of Knowledge. Awakening in the Garden of Eden as though from a dream, Eve searches for her identity and her place in Paradise. Satan provides Eve with a chance to gain knowledge and to become god-like. As Eve is not an equal companion for Adam, she seeks independence from her husband. Shifting her loyalty away from God and Adam and towards Satan and the Tree of Knowledge, Eve strives to find her identity in
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Persistence and longing are dominant in Eve’s nature; even after Eve learns the Creation story and has Adam for a companion, she continues to yearn for more knowledge. Thus, wishing to secure a place for herself in Eden through knowledge, Eve steadily “moves from uncertainty to security and contentment” (Langford, 120), and shifts her loyalty away from the disembodied God to the more concrete realities of Satan and the Tree of Knowledge.

Possessing “attributes different from Adam, God or Paradise…Eve seeks and has the potential to find alternative worlds in her search for completeness and acceptance in a masculine environment. Her ability to experience alternative worlds is what brings disorder into Paradise” (Langford, 119). Full of self-purpose, Eve explores her surroundings in order to find answers to her questions of identity. Staring at her reflection in the water, Eve feels happy and secure. God, however, tears Eve away from her dream world, her world of contentment. Eve’s brief but significant bondage to her reflection shows that she loves herself and longs to understand herself better, for the reflection is of herself. This, however, is not narcissism, because Eve thinks that the reflection in the water is of another being, not of her. When God intervenes in Eve’s pining over her reflection, Eve recognizes “a certain inherent futility in
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