The Fall of Adam and Eve in John Milton's "Paradise Lost"

The Fall of Adam and Eve in John Milton's "Paradise Lost"
The story of Adam and Eve which is told in "Paradise Lost" has a symbolic meaning. It contrasts the two states of humanity - the original Edenic existence, when people were innocent and unaware of vices, and the life "after the Fall".
Following the biblical legend, Milton argues that the "fall" of mankind began with the moment when they tasted the fruit from the tree of good and evil:
Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit

Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste

Brought death into the World, and all our woe,

With loss of Eden, till one greater Man

Restore us, and regain the blissful seat (Book I, 10).

Milton developed the philosophical ideas of this parable from the Bible it into the whole teaching of the problem, which constituted the central point of Calvinism and Puritanism. According to that beliefs, the man is initially sinful, his original sin must be atoned with a strict life, full of repentance and restrictions.
Milton solves the problem in a spirit of humanism. The books, depicting unblemished life of Adam and Eve in Paradise, says the man is a good being by nature. But God sent the archangel Raphael who warned that human nature was complex, and God created man "sufficient to have stood, but free to fall." (Book III, 99).
Bliss of Paradise - by Milton – is illusion that does not correspond to the nature of man, because a man body and spirit must be in harmony. Paradise life of Adam and Eve were incorporeal, that is most clearly seen in their love. With the knowledge of good and evil, they were imbued with a sense of first physical nature, but sensuality was not killed in their spirituality. This is shown in the fact that after learning about a violation of Eve, Adam decided to share her guilt. He did this out of love for her, and his love and sympathy strengthened the love of Eve to him.
However, it must be noted that in "Paradise Lost" there is no idea of equality of men and women, as Adam is the highest being according to Milton: "both not equal, as their sex not equal seemed." (Book IV, 295-6).
This tribute to the prejudices of his time can not stifle the compassion with which the author refers to his heroine. Even the "sin" committed by her, the author justified as she did it because of a true human desire for knowledge.
The essence of Milton's life philosophy was expressed in the speech of Adam
after his expulsion from Paradise. Eva desperately was thinking of suicide, but Adam calmed her saying about the great values of life: he knew that they were doomed to suffering and trials, and in no way inclined to downplay the hardships and dangers of earthly existence. But with all its difficulties the life in the eyes of Adam was not uniformly bleak, as :
This having learnt, thou hast attained the sum
Of Wisdom; hope no higher, though all the Stars
Thou knew’st by name, and all th’ ethereal Powers,
All secrets of the deep, all Nature’s works,
Or works of God in Heav’n, Air, Earth, or Sea,
And all riches of this World enjoy’dst,
And all the rule, one Empire: only add
Deeds to thy knowledge answerable, add Faith,
Add Virtue, Patience, Temperance, add Love,
By name to come called Charity, the soul
Of all the rest: then wilt though not be loth
To leave this Paradise, but shalt possess
A paradise within thee, happier far. (XII, 575–587)
Eva believed it was good to leave Paradise with Adam: "Staying the same one - same / loss of Paradise." Adam and Eve “like pilgrims, (...) hand in hand" left Paradise:
They, hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way. (XII, 648—649).

Works cited:

Milton, John. “Paradise Lost”. Oxford World’s Classics edition. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

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