Sunday, 17 April 2016

Characters- An Analysis

Adam and Eve- Love, Marriage and the Power Dynamics

The first and only man in the text: 'Growth, Sense, Reason' have 'all summ'd up in Man'. Emphasis on the male and the masculine in the text.

Adam- the Protective an Loving Husband

A tries to protect E from the temptation God warned the couple about. Tries to persuade Eve not to leave his side when she wants to work alone:

"....leave not the faithful side/
That gave thee being, still shades thee and protects." 

Adam's protective attitude and considers 'guarding' Eve as his responsibility and is 'safest' when she is near.

A believes in traditional gender roles + gendered distribution of duties. He appreciates Eve for taking on domestic responsibilities- 'for nothing lovelier can be found/ In Woman, than to studie houshold good' 

Adam is a loving husband who uses 'healing words' in 'his care and matrimonial love'.

He recognizes and admires Eve's celestial qualities. He puts emphasis on Eve's coming second after himself. A treats E as an equal in terms of her human superiority over God's other creatures

Eve- the Independent and Austere Wife

E very different to Adam in her values. Speaks to A first, letting him know of her wish to sepeate and carry on gardening in different areas of the GofE.

Eve dislikes her husband's attempts at her independence:

"With sweet austeer composure thus reply'd"

Eve is 'austeer' which is unlike 'mild' Adam. Milton wanted to introduce a degree of doubt about Eve's celestial qualities even before Eve is tempted by Satan.

The Married Couple

Role reversal taking place. Traditional female sphere (care, domesticity, docility) is embraced by Adam, the figure of a husband. Whilst masculine traits (austerity, independence and mobility) are found in Eve.

Adam is 'the Patriarch of mankind' which is highly empowering, masculine identity- implies Adam's authority and leadership. Adam has enough authority to decide whether to give permission to Eve.

Eve suddenly 'submiss' and finds it difficult to take up the opportunity that has arisen with Adam's permission. Clear submission as Eve refrains from speaking until Adam has finished.

Tasting the Forbidden Fruit

E experience the first feelings of jealousy as she imagines 'Adam wedded to another Eve' and sees this vision as 'a death to think'.

Eve also seems to realise her own inferiority. Sees it not as natural and right but as something imposed on her and limiting her freedom:

"In Femal Sex, the more to draw his love,/
And render me more equal and perhaps/
A thing not undesireable, somtime"

A is their erotic awakening soon afterwards. A experienced 'carnal desire enflaming'. Symbolise the end of their innocence in Paradise and the embracing of carnal pleasures, which seemed base and beastly.

A + E discover shame and seek to cover their intimate body parts with fig leaves. Regard nakedness as 'obnoxious and unseemliest'.

At the end, they are quite equal as Adam submits to E's right of speech before he speaks. Eve wins her equal status- but it does not serve her any good. The consequences of the shift are ruinous and the couple:

"spent the fruitless hours, but neither of them self-condemning/
And of thir vain contest appeer'd no end.

Humanised Satan 

First-person insights into S reasoning help to provide justification for his actions and render him a fuller, rounder character who is disturbingly sympathetic.

His coming to Earth is concealed by mists and vapours rising- Satan comes 'in mist/ Of midnight vapor.' This image is not only obscuring and unsettling the scene, but it also seems to portray the character of Satan as one who is lost and uncertain.

Satan's Soliloquy 

Encouraged to see S as a damned soul, a troubled individual who tries to justify his ways. S talks with painful admiration about the greatness and perfection of the Earth and all of God's creation, including humans.

Destructive power and disposition of Satan.  He is a lost soul, punished by God, unable to partake in any natural pleasures offered by the Earth, and he is only satisfied by acts of destruction, which he laments.

Commits this transgression of denying his submission to God. Suffers the eternal punishment of being excluded from the joys and enjoyments of both Heaven and Earth. Sense of being wronged gives way to envy and destructive desires. Pleasure to 'destroy' stands in contrast with God's constructive pleasure to create forming a clear binary opposition.


Listen to views and motives- hear his spiteful and wronged voice.

  • arch-villain Satan himself, the fallen angel who turned his back to God and uses his infernal powers to destroy God's beloved creations, humans
  • Animalistic appearance of the serpent that Satan deceitfully employs in order to enter the GofE + tempt Eve in disguise 
  • Humanised self , the emotive self, self which seems to stand behind S 1st soliloquy 
S capable of an array of human emotions and feelings 

Triune God- consists of God, his son Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Christian triune God consists of the celestial spirit of God the Father, the humanised God a well as the Holy spirit -represented as a dove.


Transcedent. Deeds are carefully observed and noted by his omniscent figure. Everything in Paradise revolves around God and his commandments- humble life of A + E

God the Maker and the Almighty 

Referred to as 'Maker' and 'the Almightie'. To A, God is his loving 'Lord' and both A and E refer to God with respect and devotion. S explicitly undermines God's authority + status in Paradise. E visibly attracted to the idea of her divine self as she falls for S's rhetoric. 

Shift in her attitude towards G. Idea of goodliness and the divine loses its focus and becomes elusive. Eve sees herself almost like a deity, also refers to 'Gods' - possible return to polytheism + withdrawal from the Christian tradition. Removes God the Maker from the position of authority. 

E thinks that G is not a loving Lord and carer but 'our great Forbidder'. Does not cease to watch the couple with the help of 'all his spies' by which Eve means the angels.  Lost her faith not in God's existence but his authority and sincerity of intentions. 

God is compared to Satan, with his guile and destructive purposes. 

End of Bk 9 = fortifies the notion of God's power over Paradise. A + E suffer from the results of going against God's commandment and are evidently punished. Experience shame and guilt for the 1st time in human history + their relationship crumbles as they argue endlessly and fruitfully, full of the infernal spite. 

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