Book 9 - Paradise Lost Paradise Adam and Eve Fight Book 9...

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Unformatted text preview: Paradise Lost Paradise Adam and Eve Fight Book 9 Satan in Paradise, after “long debate” within… debate” He’s selected the serpent as his “final sentence,” a parody of the Son’s “grace” closing the “final sentence” of God-closing He’s chosen the serpent because it can He’s hide his “dark suggestions” and keep his secret, becoming impossible to interpret or recognize or He’s becoming a brute… Satan in Anguish—at Paradise’s beauty Paradise’s He recognizes what he’s missing (9.99-ff), He and he acknowledges the centrality of God, moving outward through all of his creation in radiating glory, light out of light light He recognizes Man as the summation of all He of God’s glory of He recognizes that he’s forever outside of He it it Satan’s hypothetical view Satan’s He realizes what he could have been and He could have done, but it’s a lost world: could “With what delight could I have walked With thee round/If I could joy in aught—sweet interchange” (9.114-115). interchange” The pleasure and joy of paradise merely The increases his inward torment: he carries hell everywhere but heaven nowhere. hell Satan’s “contraries” Satan’s They are not held in perfect balance, are They not complimentary, are not suspended as a joyous mediating act of creation joyous They are a ‘hateful siege’ inside of him, so They that all that he experiences as good is, for him, a kind of poison. for His only “hope” is to make others as His miserable as he is (9.127-30). miserable Satan is in eternal exile Satan His “sole glory” will be to mar what it took His God six days to create (so it’s hardly surprising that he circles earth seven continuous nights (9.63) as he seeks to dismantle the world and “undo” God’s creative acts with his own destruction. creative He will show God “spite for spite,” feeling He that he’s been replaced by human creation advanced “into our room” (148). creation Satan traces two “descents” The Angels of God engage in “inglorious servitude” by waiting on mankind (O Indignity!! 9.154) Indignity!! He too undergoes a “foul descent” as he He “mixes with bestial slime,” but “what will not ambition and revenge descend to?” he asks. Aspiring is a downward path, turning him into a quivering voyeur within Paradise. Paradise. An “inspired” snake, then An He’ll be rhetorically sophisticated, brilliant He’ll with argument, subtle beyond belief with He’s waiting in Paradise, just out of sight, He’s when Adam and Eve finish morning prayers in the harmonious music and scents of Paradise They say the work’s getting out of control; the garden is “tending to wild”…??? the Eve’s got an idea which Adam can revise or advise can Adam, “Let us divide our labors” (9.214) When we work near one another all day, When we get distracted and get a lot less done (9.220-225). (9.220-225). Adam’s response: “Sole Eve, Associate Adam’s Sole”… I’ll name you mine and praise you for your household industry— you But actually, love’s what life’s about about “smiles are of love the food” (9.243). So, even though you want to promote So, “good works” in me, we have to recognize that work isn’t everything. recognize It’s a little funny that Eve wants to work It’s harder and Adam wants to enjoy the moment… moment… If you’re tired of too much talking (9.248) talking I might be able to give you up for a short might time time And getting back together again would be And even better even (We sense Adam’s defensiveness slightly. (We If she’s “satiated” with my company, is she actually getting tired of me?) she Is Eve “growing up”? Maybe… Is Even in Paradise, every day is not the Even same same Is this couple really “one heart, one soul”? They’re finding that they have feelings They’re quite distinct from one another. They’re not at all the same but clearly “other” not And their interdependency is not always And perceived as a strength… perceived Adam puts this in graphic terms terms “Lest harm befall thee, severed from me…” Lest That word “sever” sounds traumatic, like he thinks of Eve as an extension of his own body. If she’s away, she’s “cut off” own Though he privileges their necessary union Though and unity as a defensive posture against their “enemy,” what he says has other implications implications Words that wound…that make Eve feel defensive Eve Leave not the faithful side That gave thee being, still shades thee and That protects. protects. The wife, where danger or dishonor lurks, Safest and seemliest by her husband Safest stays. stays. Who guards her, or with her the worst Who endures (9.265-8). endures Adam hints that he gave birth to Eve to He takes care of her, protects her, guards He her—fulfilling the position of protective authority (mother, father, and overseer). authority Eve can’t believe what she’s hearing—that Eve he’s denying her agency and freedom. he’s She understands too that he doubts her She (9.280-4). (9.280-4). “Thy equal fear that my firm faith Thy and love/Can by his fraud be shaken and seduced” (9.286-7). shaken It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t trust her It’s as much as he trusts himself. as Adam has to “fix” this situation. He Adam continues to call Eve by new names: continues “Daughter of God and Man, immortal Daughter Eve” Eve” Adam offers “healing words” now now Because both he and God gave birth to her, Because she’s immortal. She’s powerful. she’s He “believes” in her, but he wants to keep Satan He from making the attempt which is in itself “dishonorable” “dishonorable” If they are together, this is a lot more difficult Clearly, she could hold off the enemy in any Clearly, event. Adam is doing fancy footwork here. event. And he reminds her of a few other things… other Satan’s very subtle. After all he seduced Satan’s angels and we’re only human… angels Don’t think of help as “superfluous”—either Don’t extra or unnecessary when it comes to Satan. Yet it’s their individual vulnerability that Adam and Eve each have trouble acknowledging—and, in the next few moments each becomes more defensive. defensive. Eve brilliantly answers Adam… Adam… She reminds him that to be overly She defensive and fearful in this situation is inappropriate. inappropriate. How are we happy if we’re afraid? Satan’s attempt would not tarnish them— Satan’s only himself. True faith can stand alone. Eden were no Eden thus exposed…or this isn’t paradise afterall afterall Adam drops all his fancy names for Eve Adam and responds, “O woman!” perhaps reminding himself and her (again) how she came into being. she Adam hints that she’s right: “within himself Adam the danger lies, yet lies within his power” (9.349). It is about their agency, together or apart. or Adam warns Eve again Adam Since he wouldn’t be present to see the Since test and her accomplishment, how would he know or witness her heroics? But then he goes too far: he says she doesn’t “seem” all that ready to him, and then he says, “Go, for thy stay, not free, absents thee more,” highlighting the very anxiety he feels about her departure anxiety Eve’s presence is an absence now if it’s not free now But then he makes her still more defensive: He tells her to “rely on what [she] has of He virtue,” to “summon all” (as if she has rather too little) rather God has done as much as He can do So she’d better do her part now. Behind this we hear Adam too… Eve assumes a heroic posture Eve Since Adam believes she’s “less prepared,” the Since “willinger” she goes! “willinger” She will have to “prove” her strength, constancy, She courage, and faith since he puts it this way— courage, Adam’s anxiety about Eve’s “completeness” has Adam’s backfired, pushing her to claim space for herself. herself. Eve’s anxiety about her subordinate role in Eden Eve’s has backfired, leading her to prove her strength. Neither relies on the other strength. Glory is always a shared enterprise, even in Eden enterprise, Interdependency holds creation together Adam and Eve (who have been holding Adam hands throughout this argument) 9.385 separate at its close separate Satan, pursuing his quest, is delighted to Satan, find Eve “separate” (9.424) because he’s no longer heroic either. He wants to go after the easier victim after But Eve’s different-But And for at least a few minutes Satan too is And distracted from his own evil distracted His thoughts are “wandering” not into evil His but into good, momentarily. He has to get a grip on himself, convince himself to “hate stronger” (483ff) “hate Even her beauty is terrible to him because Even it makes him vulnerable, briefly it The serpent finally gets her attention attention He plays in front of her, then fawns and licks the He ground, doing her reverence ground, He identifies her as the center of the Gaze, all He things are subjected by her beauty things A power so universal that all the world should power recognize her as a “Goddess among Gods” recognize not just a woman in the Patriarchal order of things… things… Eve is amazed at this talking snake snake Raphael’s teaching to the Test didn’t work very Raphael’s well because in all of the stories and even Eve’s dream, Satan is extraordinary, heroic, beautiful, radiant beautiful, Not an undulating serpent crawling on the ground His “mazy” ways amaze her, tie her up in knots, His confuse her. She asks him to “redouble” the miracle—to keep speaking—and his doubling art of duplicity is rewarded art She wants the Snake’s story She And the snake does have a story—a And biography with a past, a present, and a future rooted in his miraculous transformation transformation He even has a “before” portrait and an He “after” portrait. Now he can think “high” thoughts; before he was only the most creaturely creature consumed with food and sex. and Yet the Tree seduces the Serpent Serpent Its apples are a sexual experience, tempting him Its to taste them… to And he winds himself about the tree, winding And Eve, at this point into his story: the apples have to be “reached” for by you or Adam (9.591), he says. says. After eating he has far greater wisdom, Has the insight that Eve feels is perhaps lacking Has in her… in Eve almost seems to see through the snake through He’s “overpraising” the fruit—and calling it He’s into question. She recognizes the rhetoric for what it is. She doubts him. rhetoric But she also wants to know where the tree But is. She believes him too. is. She notes that the trees in Eden have She many fruits she’s never tasted many The Serpent Guide The Finds the tree, immediately, and the Finds forbidden fruit. forbidden Eve says, “we might have spared our Eve coming hither/Fruitless to me, though fruit be here to excess” (9.647) because this tree is off limits. She knows the rules. this The serpent turns the one denial into a The universal one—and Eve corrects him. universal The Serpent as Orator—in whom eloquence flourishes eloquence He passionately invokes the Tree, As Mother of Knowledge (experiential maternal As order of things) order Enabling him to understand everything, And then he turns to Eve, Telling her not to believe what she’s been told: Telling he’s visible proof against it. He’s attained a far higher “life,” by breaking the rules. higher You’d really be heroic if you broke the rules broke God would praise your “dauntless virtue” instead “Death” is incomprehensible while knowledge of Death” Good and Evil would privilege you Good It was only forbid “to keep you low and ignorant” It was forbid because God doesn’t have control It over it. over The Tree gives you what God denies you— absolute authority, the power to be Gods, Deity How can eating this tree harm God unless he’s really not in control? control? If everything belongs to him, then why is this tree If off limits? off So, the Serpent turns the “sign” of their faith and So, obedience into God’s attempt to subjugate them and deny them their autonomy. them The tree represents their agency which is the one The thing God cannot touch, the one thing that belongs entirely to them, their choice to honor him or not. him Eve thinks about it Eve She’s “impregnated” with the serpent’s reasons And she goes over every one: it enabled him to talk to praise the tree the name of the tree highlights its value (knowledge of the Good and Evil) Good So that God’s “authority” and naming undermines his So command: God forbids us what we need to know command: And she claims that apart from the tree she can’t know And anything, not even what to be afraid of. anything, So she takes the fruit So And after eating it, she praises the tree, not God, And and bows to the tree too: it’s her new religion. Her consciousness is altered entirely: Her She thinks of God as the “great forbidder” She surrounded by spies surrounded She thinks she’s “secret” enough to have gotten She away with it. away She thinks of returning to Adam She Eve, Tempted Alone Eve, Book 9 A picture of how it works picture The snake’s rhetorical gifts and slippery The arguments have won the day: here, at Eve’s ear with a wonderfully alive face, he has entwined himself in the tree and woven himself into her mind. He has caused her to rethink the issue of authority entirely. authority Adam is Next… Adam Should she tell him? Should If this knowledge empowers her, she could If keep it to herself and remain in control. keep But if this knowledge means death, then But Adam will live on after her, maybe with another Eve, “a death to think.” another She’ll accordingly make certain that he She’ll “shares” with her in joy or woe. “shares” She now believes in interdependency (9.820ff) interdependency If she’s going down, he’s going down with If her; if she’s going up, he’ll share that too. She’s not going alone when it comes to transgression. transgression. “With him all deaths I could endure Without him live no life” (9.833-834). The Temptation Of Eve Of Book 9: Here the Book snake puts the fruit in her mouth while Adam has his back turned… his Eve tells Adam what happened… happened… But she sounds like the Serpent, down to a But distinctive hiss in her “missing” of him. distinctive She reinforces how intensely beautiful it is She to be reunited with him (realizing what he wants to hear) wants And she explains that the tree is other than And they’ve been informed, “opener of eyes,” itself establishing “subjectivity,” the “I” itself That “Equal lot” may join us… That Adam needs to taste it, so that “different Adam degree” not disjoin them. Ironically, of course, that is partly why she took fruit in the first place the Adam realizes that she’s “lost” the world, Adam and he remembers Eve in past tense and —”defaced, deflowered, and unto death —”defaced, devote” (901) devote” Adam chooses heroics, too-Adam A martyr’s death for Eve: “And me with thee hath ruined”…”Certain And my resolution is to die.” my He’ll follow Eve to his death, giving up on He’ll God altogether. “Bone of my Bone thou art” he says, and she becomes his only ground of being. ground Eve celebrates Adam’s Love Eve It’s the ultimate love, the ultimate trial —”one heart, one soul in both” she says. She feels this teaches her, at last, what She love is. love But unfortunately, it’s a version of “selfsacrifice” in which the ground of being is sacrifice” the self. the So Adam takes a few moment to reconsider why he’s doing this… reconsider Engaging in Eve’s version of events and Engaging provided, now, with her gift of fruit. provided, When he tastes it, he comments on the When transgressive joy he experiences—that the violation itself makes doing it exciting, and he even suggests that he wishes God would have denied them ten trees, not just one. not Adam and Eve get drunk on the tree’s fruit (1008) the They feel like they’ve become divine, like They they can fly, like they can ascend, they And they begin to lust for one another and And respond just as actively, respond So that they engage in violent sex for the So first time: “Her hand he seized/And to a shady bank…he led her” (9.1040) shady When they awaken afterwards, they know they They’ve lost the world they loved. It reminds us of the first time Adam awoke It in the garden to the smell of fruit, in Only this time it’s really happened, and he Only awakes to all they’ve lost (1065). He puns on Eve’s name, talking about the “Evil hour” she listened to the snake, “that false worm.” “that Everything they had is gone now… now… “Bad fruit of knowledge if this be to know” (1073). It’s visible on their faces, their sin, their crime. And now, in shame, he’ll never be able to look at And God again. He’s lost that connection and is “broken” from being able to see that light. Adam literally alters his style, knowing that he’d like to go into permanent hiding, to never be seen again. seen Adam feels they need clothes Adam To hide their private parts from one To another— another— A sign of their broken relationship to sign nature, to their own bodies, to God, and to one another. to They sew together fig leaves-- They blame one another too They Adam rehashes the morning argument and Adam blames Eve for going off on her own blames Eve blames Adam for allowing her to go, Eve for not ordering her to stay—even as she argues that she couldn’t be a “lifeless rib,” a useless appendage, no matter what. what. She even says he “approved” her leaving Adam plays the abandoned martyr martyr He claims that he sacrificed himself for Eve He and now he gets nothing for it but blame and resentment and But he could have remained “free” of guilt But and sin and he’s sorry now that he didn’t. and He claims that he refused to use force on He her because she’s a free agent, and besides, he admired her too much. besides, Adam and Eve continue to blame one another blame For “fruitless hours,” an echo of all that they’ve lost by For way of the fruit as time and history open up into emptiness and anguish— emptiness But neither Adam nor Eve condemn themselves for their But own individual failures—so “of their vain contest appeared no end.” They, like the angels in the war in heaven, may go on indefinitely in anger and resentment— resentment— Since they cannot come to terms with themselves. Glory —defined by heroics and by martyrdom—proves easily —defined corrupted and self isolating: it offers no community beyond it, no larger space in which to move. beyond ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/10/2011 for the course ENGL 288 taught by Professor Richey during the Fall '10 term at South Carolina.

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