How Is Eve Presented In Paradise Lost Book 1

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Amy Xue Han AS.360.133 Great Books at Hopkins Professor Richard Bett To Follow You Out of the Dark Book IV of Milton’s Paradise Lost encompasses Eve’s narrative of her awakening. In lines 453-476 Eve outlines her first memories after waking up confused: following a stream to a lake, peering into the water, becoming entranced by her reflection’s beauty, and finally being snapped out of her entranced state by a voice which leads her away, towards Adam. Utilizing vivid imagery, repetition, and other …, Milton elevates Eve’s description of her actions and mental activity an exhibit of Eve’s inherent shortage of knowledge and means of becoming more intelligent, her underlying curiosity and the desire to learn, and God’s binding of Eve to Adam,…show more content…
Eve recalls that when she is first attracted towards the lake by the sound of water, without any understanding, she “laid me down on the green bank, to look into the clear smooth lake, that to me seemed another sky” (Paradise Lost IV.457-459). Notably, Eve understands the definition of the “sky,” but fails to recognize a lake, thus describing the lake as mirror image of the sky. God’s decision to prioritize Eve’s knowledge of the sky over other components of Eden, connects her mind to him and Heaven more than the nature around her. Eve’s innate precedence of God eventually develops into her desire to become more god-like, and thereafter, close to God: the dominant reason behind Eve’s decision to eat from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve’s failure to identify the lake also establishes her mind as a rather blank slate, and thus one that can be influenced easily, portending Satan’s deception. A further (Eve can only receive knowledge from Adam and from the…show more content…
Milton uses repetition to emphasize Eve’s strong curiosity of her reflection. She remembers, “I started back, it started back, but pleased I soon returned, pleased it returned as soon” (IV.462-464). Repeating her reaction to her reflection – being startled by it at first, but soon approaching it again – Milton highlights the extent of Eve’s curiosity: it is powerful enough for her to overcome her fears of the unknown to fulfill. Eve continues to describe the shape she sees in the water, addressing the reason behind her attraction to the image. She states that her reflection provided her “answering looks of sympathy and love,” leading her to pine “with vain desire” (IV.464-465,466). Eve’s reflection mirrored her image, suggesting that the “sympathy and love” she yearned for could only provided by one with identical sensibility as herself. Evidently, she doesn’t receive such a companion from God, as her husband Adam’s intelligence exceeds hers and his emotional spectrum pales in comparison. This sets the precedent for Eve’s desire to become closer to God, a worshiped figure whom she doesn’t know enough about to pinpoint their differences, hopeful of him being a potential spiritual equal. Milton’s use of the word “vain” to explain Eve’s desire

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