Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pre-writing, Strength in Submission

I want to look at the perspective of Eve's nature through contrasting her decisions and fate with Satan's to show that Eve's weaknesses end up becoming her strengths, and without them, though the fall may not have happened, redemption would have not been possible without application of those same weaknesses.

While Eve's portrayal in Paradise Lost seems to set women as the weaker gender, the great irony of Milton's epic poem is that it ennobles weakness and degrades strength; Eve finds redemption in her “weakness”, while Satan remains fallen because of his “strength”.
“All is not lost; the unconquerable will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield: And what is else not to be overcome?”
Book 2 Lines 106-109

“O then at last relent: is there no place Left for repentance, none for pardon left? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue Th’ Omnipotent.”
Book 4: 78-88

“But what if God have seen, And death ensue? Then I shall be no more, And Adam wedded to another Eve, Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; A death to think. Confirmed then I resolve; Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe: So dear I love him, that with him all deaths I could endure, without him live no life.”
Book 9: 826-833 (dependance on Adam)

Adam “And me with thee hath ruined, for with thee Certain my resolution is to die; How can I live without thee, how forgo Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined, To live again in these wild woods forlorn?”
Book 9: 906-910

Basic outline:
  1. Introduction
  2. Characterizations
    A. Weakness of Eve
    B. Strength of Satan
  3. Two falls
    A. Eve's decisions
    B. Satan's decisions
  4. One Redemption
    A. Eve's dependence
    B. Satan's refusal to submit
  5. Conclusion


  1. Remember that in order to get full credit you'll have to compare it to at least one other piece that Milton wrote besides Paradise Lost. Maybe consider Comus? That being said, the outline is very concise and will be good for a short paper. Also, most of the quotes are about Eve. Maybe look up another one for Satan.

    Interesting thoughts. Can't wait to read it.

  2. As I've been thinking about my topic, I've decided that Eve and Satan are really the only dynamic characters in Paradise Lost, so I'll be excited to read your comparisons of the two. One point that you might be able to touch upon is their mutual appeals to reason, which in the end kind of bring about the Fall. Also, in what ways do you see Eve's and Satan's decisions prior to their respective falls as similar (or different)? I see one aspect of that being that Eve wanted to become better than Adam (just like Satan wants to ascend above the throne of God), but are there other facets of that comparison?