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Paradise Lost | Book 8 | Summary

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Summary

Raphael and Adam continue their conversation about the creation of Earth, and Adam puzzles over the relationship between planets and the heavens. Raphael tells Adam that God has purposely made some things about the universe a mystery and that Adam should be content with the knowledge that God allows him to have.

Adam tells Raphael his first recollections as man and how he didn't know who he was or how he came to be. In a dream he saw the vision of the Garden of Eden, and when he woke up God spoke to him and warned him against eating fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Adam asked God for a companion, and after trying unsuccessfully to make Adam content with an animal companion, God created Eve from Adam's rib. Adam fell in love with her immediately. He tells Raphael that he finds Eve so wise and complete in herself that he has difficulty seeing her as inferior to him. Raphael accuses him of being too dazzled by Eve's beauty and departs Adam with a final warning about falling for Satan's temptations and disobeying God.

Analysis

This book further shows Adam's growing curiosity about his place in the world and what happens beyond Paradise. In relaying Raphael's explanation about the movement of the planets and stars, Milton shows some of the prevailing astronomical beliefs of his era but uses them largely to make the point that scientists shouldn't question the mysterious workings of God.

Adam and Eve have different memories about their first moments of consciousness that demonstrate their inherent differences. Eve is obsessed with her own reflection while Adam observes the world around him and directly communicates with God. Here Milton is showing that Adam is closer to God than is Eve.

Adam's unabashed adoration and love of Eve foreshadows their fall: He is willing to do anything to be with her. His usual logical and rational thinking is blinded when it comes to thoughts of Eve; this is Adam's greatest flaw that Satan can exploit.

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