Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pre-write! Censorship and the Fall of Adam and Eve

Working Thesis:
Milton utilizes his points established in Areopagitica to orchestrate the action in Paradise Lost in order to suggest that censorship is the cause of the Fall of Adam and Eve. (in order to further his point that censorship really stinks).

[I've been reworking and narrowing my thesis a bit. What do you think? Too broad? Too narrow? Too vague? Not worded well? Just right?] I'll obviously dress the last parenthetical part up a bit but is adding that giving me too much to chew in just a 3-4 page paper?

[Interesting Intro]
[Common Ground] (Milton is depicting the story of the Creation and Fall of Mankind because he wants to write the "English Epic" for the sake of glory, honor, tradition, etc.)
[Disrupting the Common Ground] While this is true, Milton also uses Paradise Lost as a narrative platform to demonstrate the points he has attempted to refute within society. I claim that Milton is making the claim that censorship is the root of the cause of the Fall. (in order to further his point that censorship really stinks).
 - Areopagitica - major points, especially the pieces that have the most significance to what happens in the Garden
 - Raphael, Adam, and Eve - where does censorship occur? (pick one or two instances, the most significant ones that you think are what lead to the Fall! You don't have enough room for them all.)
 - Why do these instances necessarily lead to the Fall/how are they related to what Milton was arguing for in Areopagitica?

Beginnings of my quotes & evidence

Adam to Raphael:
"...who thus largely hast allayed / The thirst I had of knowledge, and vouchsafed / This friendly condescension to relate / Things else by me unsearchable, now heard / With wonder, but delight, and as is due, / With glory attributed to the high / Creator; something yet of doubt remains, / Which only thy solution can resolve." (Loc. 18555) Book VIII, lines 7-14

"...and by his count'nance seemed / Ent'ring on studious thoughts abstruse..."(Loc. 18584) (Book VIII, lines 38-39)
after which Eve gets up and leaves "With lowliness majestic"

"Yet went she not, as not with such discourse / Delighted, or not capable her ear / Of what was high: such pleasure she reserved, / Adam relating, she sole auditress / Her husband the relater she prefereed / Before the angel, and of him to ask / Chose rather; he, she knew, would intermix / Grateful digressions, and solve high dispute / With conjugal caresses; from his lip / Not words alone pleased her."
 {VERY IMPORTANT PASSAGE! Self-inflicted censorship. So Eve would rather listen to Adam than to an angel. What does that say about Eve listening to the snake rather than Adam? Is it the person she likes hearing or what they are saying and how they are saying it?}


  1. I think that your thesis has narrowed from the last time I read it, but maybe you want to list the specific incident you will be discussing from Paradise Lost. I had to read the thesis twice to make sure I understood what you were saying. Some slight rewording would fix that. Other than that, like I said in class on Monday, I think it's a great idea.

  2. Elise, this sounds great! The only thing I would add is that you've clearly made the connection that censorship plays a vital role in leading to the Fall...lack of knowledge, etc. I would maybe include how and why Milton does this (thus tying Areopagitica and Paradise Lost back together again). Then express why censorship is necessary or evil, or however you feel in relation to Milton and his texts.

  3. I feel like your claim is a very bold one, but that likewise means that its very arguable. Causation is harder to prove, I think, than would be influence of censorship on the Fall, but I understand that it's a stronger idea as causation. In terms of wording, the first part was unclear for me as a reader ("Milton . . . Paradise Lost"). I think you could omit "his points established in," and then I would maybe be more specific in terms of what you mean by "orchestrate the action," as it comes off as somewhat vague.

  4. Wahoo! We have the same topic. :) You've fleshed it out a lot more than I have, however...so you don't think that the fall was inevitable? You think that God's censorship is what caused them to be curious enough to break his commandment? That does take it to the next level: claiming that censorship more directly leads to sin rather than just putting it off. Correct me if my interpretation of what you're trying to say is wrong? Can't wait to read your paper!

  5. Fun! I say it so bluntly and obviously in prewriting so that as I am writing the paper I recognize what it is I am arguing for. If it ends up my evidence doesn't entirely equate to the intensity I originally claimed then I reign in the thesis to better fit my support. I am finding that it isn't necessarily the cause but it definitely plays a much larger role then is normally considered. At least within the parameters of Paradise Lost. Thanks everyone! I hope the actually product measures up to your expectations!