Paradise Lost, By John Milton Essay

1191 words - 5 pages

In Paradise Lost, Milton writes the creation story from the perspective of three different characters: Eve, Raphael, and Adam, in that order. Eve’s story tells of her creation and her interest in herself rather than in Adam. Adam’s story tells the creation of animals and then of Eve from his rib. Raphael’s story is more of a warning to Adam to make sure that Eve does not eat from the tree of knowledge. Raphael is sent by God because he is omniscient and knows that Satan’s snake will tempt her. Analyzing from the perspective of the already fallen world, it is difficult for us to see how Raphael is doing much more than simply following God’s orders and warning Adam of Eve’s future actions. However, we must remember that Adam, Raphael, and Eve are in an unfallen space and with his warning, Raphael introduces the idea of hierarchy, plants that seed in Adam’s and Eve’s minds, and unintentionally leads to a split between Adam and Eve.

In telling her story, Eve shares with us her initial thoughts and love for her reflection. In addition, we see her reluctance to visit Adam and that she initially turns away from him because she does not think he is as attractive as her reflection. At this point in time, in the unfallen space, Eve and Adam are on a level playing field. There is no hierarchy, because there is essentially no gender, and Lorber helps us understand that gender is what creates hierarchy, because our world of fallen space is a gender-stratified society (46). There is an inequality between the genders, and we live in a binary world, where women are expected to act and dress one way and men have completely different expectations in order to be accepted in society. Women and men have various roles in the fallen world, but Adam and Eve, in the unfallen space, do not have authority over each other. That is, until Raphael appears and turns their world upside down, leads to the separation of Adam and Eve, and ultimately the fall.
Raphael was sent to Earth by God to warn Adam of Satan and his intention to deceive Eve and convince her to eat from the tree of knowledge. However, Raphael could not simply tell Adam flat-out what was going to happen, because humans are not supposed to know the future and what will happen. Raphael could only warn him, and that was his intention. He says to Adam, “And govern well thy appetite, lest Sin / Surprise thee, and her black attendant Death” (Milton 546-547). He never specifically tells Adam what was going to happen, but warns him that Eve will be tempted to sin. God sent him to simply be a warning, but his actions influence Adam and Eve into being aware of hierarchy.

Raphael does not speak to Eve or of Eve, although Adam already knows of her. He continually warns Adam of her faults, and Adam is very resistant to believe what he hears. This shows that pre-fall, Adam does not see that there is a difference between the genders and he believes that he and Eve are the same; in fact, he thinks that Eve is more perfect...

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