Mercy vs Justice in Book 10

After our discussion of the multiplicity of the Son’s roles in Tuesday’s class, I started to think over how well the son “tempr’d” his judgement and mercy when sent to confront Adam and Eve. Initially, I took the Son’s word that punishment and mercy were mixed equally, but I’ve recently come around to the idea that the Son’s declarations were more condemnatory.

The detail that first turned me around to this idea was the language used in 201-203

“I charg’d thee, saying, Thou shall not eat thereof: Curs’d is the ground for thy sake; thou in sorrow Shalt eat thereof all the days of thy life…”

In these lines, it is the repetition of the word “eat” that made the mandate come off as more vengeful than just. It sort of sounds like a parent scolding a child by using their own logic against them “you are ice cream before dessert now you will eat ice cream for every meal until you can’t anymore, etc.”  There is also the image conjured up by the phrasing eat…all the days,” a linking of words that suggests the Son expects A and E to take the same heedless approach to spending the rest of their lives.

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