Genesis And Paradise Lost Paradise Lost written by John Milton is a detailed version of the book of Genesis from the Bible. Both stories revolve around a similar basic plot however, in Paradise Lost, the characters are portrayed differently in a negative sense. Paradise Lost gives the character Eve more reasons for being tempted into eating the fruit from the forbidden tree. Eve is also given a more submissive and unintelligent image in Paradise Lost. The qualities she attains basically sets up the stage for her to be the one easily tempted by the Devil.
Since the beginning of her creation, Eve understands that she is somewhat inferior to Adam. She realizes that she was made from his flesh and that he was created first. Eve is to be subservient to Adam in many ways. She states, “O thou from whom I was form’d/..and without whom am to no end, my Guide/ and Head (IV. 132: 440-443).
Eve believes that she has to follow all orders given to her by Adam, and that she has no thoughts of her own. Eve continues giving Adam the title of, “pre-eminent by so much odds, while thou/ like consort to thyself canst nowhere find (IV. 133:447-448).” Adam and Eve were to be created equal in God’s eyes, however this is not demonstrated in Paradise Lost. Eve is already being given the quality of being vain in her attempt to try to explain her forthcoming into Eden. She awoke not knowing where she was.
She had come to a pool of water in which she peered into and saw a reflection of herself. “Of sympathy and love, there I had fixt/ mine eyes till now, and pin’d with vain desire (IV. 133:465-466). Eve is being compared with the same behavior as Narcissus, as being vain. However, Eve is still innocent and has yet to discover her fall.
Milton is already attributing negative qualities to Eve, which makes her “flawed” in a sense whereas Adam is not. Adam is aware he has control over Eve, “he in delight/ both of her Beauty and submissive Charms(IV. 134:498). Eve again addresses Adam as her creator, “God is thy law, thou mine (IV. 138:637). Adam seems to be enjoying the fact that Eve is so submissive to him.
This is not fair to Eve, she should be created with the same authority as Adam. If they are so called “partners,” then they should equally collaborate on decisions. Milton foreshadows Eve’s fall when he refers to the myth of Pandora’s box. Adam and Eve are exchanging marital vows while Milton describes Eve as, “More lovely than Pandora, whom the Gods/ endow’d with all their gifts, and O too like/ in sad event.she ensnar’d/ mankind with her fair looks, to be aveng’d/ on him who had stole Jove’s authentic fire(IV. 140:714-719).” Pandora is responsible for letting evil into the world by opening the box. This parallels to Eve eating of the forbidden fruit and releasing evil into the world.
Pandora is blamed much like the blame is put on Eve. Milton seems to impute many ill qualities to women. While Adam and Eve are asleep, the Devil notices the vulnerability and innocent qualities of Eve. Eve becomes the Devils “prey” as he appears to her in her dream. She states to Adam who has awakened her, “I have dreamed/ .of offence and trouble, which my mind/ knew never till this irksome night(V.
150:31-35).” She dreamt that she encountered the Tree of Knowledge and that it appeared so fair and appealing to the senses. This frightens her because she knows it is forbidden and that in her dream she was so tempted into eating from it. Raphael visits Adam, not Eve, to warn him of the enemy and danger that is potential. For some reason, Eve is not worthy enough or wouldn’t understand what Raphael has to say. Adam is basically the messenger for Eve.
Adam is responsible for teaching Eve the things she needs to know, like the danger of temptation ahead. Let one take into account why the serpent would chose to tempt Eve. Eve is obviously portrayed as more gullible and vulnerable than Adam. The serpent knows not to even try to tempt Adam because he would not be able to. Eve is lacking in the willpower and the ability to chose right from wrong.
But the temptation of Eve is much deeper than the appealing physical characteristics of the forbidden fruit. She wants to be more respected and noted. She wants to have as much power as Adam and God. If Eve was given the authority and knowledge Adam was granted with, she would have never eaten from the forbidden tree. When encountered by the serpent, Eve states, “But of this Tree we may not taste nor touch/ God so commanded.” (IX.
253:651-52). Proceeding her statement the serpent questions her power by asking her “Indeed? Hath God then said that of the fruit/ of all these Garden trees ye shall not eat/ Yet Lords declared of all in Earth or Air?” (IX. 253:656-58). Eve tells the serpent she is forbidden to eat from this certain tree, but the serpent goes on to question her “genuine rank” in Eden. He says that if Adam and Eve are supposed to be the Gods and Rulers of Eden, then they should be denied nothing. Obviously he puts the thought in her mind that someone has higher authority if she is being denied something: this was to cause a desire in her of being more powerful.
The reasons the serpent gives to Eve of why she should eat the fruit are numerous. The main fear for Eve is that she was told that if she ate the fruit she would die. The serpent is able to change her mind by telling her that he has eaten the fruit, he is not dead, and he inherited the ability of speech. Eve then eats the fruit, “greedily she ingorg’d without restraint(IX. 257:791).” After eating the fruit, she feels drunken and starts to praise the Tree of Knowledge.
She remembers Adam is waiting for her return and ponders what to do. Soon enough Adam meets Eve at the Tree of Knowledge. The tables are now turned, Eve is triumphant in getting Adam to eat from the Forbidden Tree. At first Adam is in shock and is overcome by fear for her. Adam is now taking orders from Eve, she is now the “deceiver.” It is said in Book Nine, “against his better knowledge, not deceiv’d/ but fondly overcome with Female charm (IX. 262:998-999),” Adam eats the fruit.
One can see, Adam is not so perfect, he too disobeys God’s commands. Eve had more of a reason to eat the fruit, she had more to gain. However, Adam was all of a sudden “overcome” by Eve’s female charm? I find that debatable. One can conclude that Eve was put in a far worse position that Adam in means of being tempted by the serpent. Eve’s submissive qualities and lack of authority were clearly reason enough for her to eat from the Forbidden Tree.
If God had made Adam and Eve truly equal, none of this might have ever happened. I feel Eve is taking the blame for someone else’s mistake.