Essay 2 Paradise Lost - 1 Core 102 09 November 2014 Essay 2...

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1 Core 102 09 November 2014 Essay 2, Prompt #2 Gender Hierarchy as Related to God’s Culpability for the Fall in Paradise Lost “So will fall/He and his faithless progeny. Whose fault?/Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me/all he could have; I made him just and right,/Sufficient to have stood though free to fall” (Milton 83; 95-99). God in John Milton’s Paradise Lost makes it painfully clear who he feels is culpable for the fall of mankind: He did His job admirably, but man himself is too weak to stay faithful. Free will on the part of man and on the part of Satan—which cannot be impeded by God—was the ultimate undoing of humanity. We tend to lose perspective, though, because if free will extends to the fallen angels and mankind, then it certainly exists for God Himself. When God’s choices as to how to create life on Earth are taken into account, some appear to have quite a bit to do with the fall. Although God in the context of Paradise Lost can ostensibly hide behind the idea of free will when considering his culpability for the fall of mankind, it is His choice to create a gendered hierarchy on earth that creates the context for Eve’s prideful and somewhat jealous sin, rendering Him and His faulty choices culpable for the ultimate fall of humanity. In the process of exercising his free will in creating mankind, God chose to set up a gender hierarchy that put women below men, a parallel structure to the faulty hierarchy in heaven that lead to the fall of the angels. The novel certainly does not hide the fact that the two humans are not equal. God decided to create Eve from Adam as opposed to creating a whole new being, which places her obviously beneath him from the point of creation. One of Adam’s first observations of Eve was that she is “in the prime end/Of
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2 nature her the inferior in the mind/And inward faculties” (Milton 256; 540-542), and Raphael then refers to Eve specifically as “Less excellent” (Milton 257; 566) than Adam. Satan, too, saw the inequality in the humans when he first saw them: “though both/Not equal, as their sex not equal seemed…He for God only, she for God in him” (Milton 119-
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