Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I still need to narrow my ideas down, but here's what I have so far! Personally, I think I'm intrigued most by option 2. 

1.Feminists have largely accused Milton of being one of the first major authors to portray Eve as a submissive and susceptible woman, lending credence to centuries of oppressions; yet, I believe Milton supports Eve by detailing her quest for knowledge, a theme personally relevant to Milton, and ultimately enables Eve with power and wisdom through her choice to sacrifice all for the pursuit of knowledge.

  • Milton's Divorce Tracts also encourage well-matched couples, who are intellectually suitable
  • Milton stresses the importance of knowledge across all his works, but especially in Areopagitica, so it draws attention to the fact that EVE is the one who seeks more knowledge by eating the fruit
  • Feminists widely clamor to blame Eve, but why not consider the opposite viewpoint? Milton himself sought a wife to challenge and love him, and perhaps Eve represents that mystifying woman he's always sought after
 2. In Areopagitiica Milton expresses his displeasure at the censorship of literature by the government. Paraidse Lost also presents the issue of knowing too much versus too little and the consequences of trying to attain more information. Milton's feelings are now paralleled across time as the battle of digital licensing and security surveillance is being waged between the average citizen and government powers.
  • Restricted knowledge in Paradise Lost leads to sin and downfall because of the desire to know more
  • Censorship, as mentioned in Areopagitica, limits human growth and like Paradise Lost can only invite danger
  • Current society has a wealth of knowledge at hand and can access any information instantaneously. the government is threatened by it and so it monitors usage, or tries to find legal ways to limit access. 


  1. I personally like the first one better, but the second one seems like it would have more direct quotations from Paradise Lost. One benefit of both is that they respond to contemporary issues (feminism and censorship), so they could have a lot of meaningful application for the reader. I personally feel that Milton writes himself into Eve and Satan more so than any other characters, and while this might seem kind of strange at first, it reveals a lot about what Milton deemed important and what kinds of internal struggles he dealt with. I'll be interested to see what you end up writing about.

  2. The second argument is very interesting especially in light of the almost "knowledge-overload" that Adam receives from Michael in the last couple of books of PL. Whereas before the Fall Adam was allowed some knowledge of what happened in the past, after the Fall he is given an immense amount of knowledge about things to happen in the future. I think argument 2 is interesting, but I also think that your first argument about feminism in PL makes a more definitive statement. It works well as a thesis because it sets up a pretty clear pathway and makes an argument that from the start goes against a significant interpretation. Both are real solid. I look forward to reading more.

  3. I actually really like the first one because it would present some information about Eve and Milton in a new way. Should you choose to write about your first option, something to look at would be what Greg mentioned, in that Milton may have been writing himself into Eve. That would definitely open the door to some interesting analysis of his portrayal of Eve.
    If you're set on the second option, one thing to consider is Satan's viewpoint on the idea of restricted knowledge. He often sees the restricted knowledge as a tyrannical move of God and yet he also uses deceit and restricted knowledge to convince Eve to eat the fruit. Anyway, both topics sound very interesting.