haMILTON

Okay, I just saw Hamilton today and it was absolutely fantastic. I had been exposed to the musical four years ago and have grown to learn all the lyrics, intricacies of the plot, and all the fun historical context around it. Other than the amazing choreography, the lyrics really build the show and the characters. One of my favorite things to think about while listening to musicals is how the different characters adopt their own melody or cadence of singing/rapping throughout the whole show and how those signature moves in the music characterize them. For example, at the beginning of the musical while Hamilton is younger, before the war, his words and rapping style is much more upbeat and fast paced to match his energy and personality at that point in his life (think ‘My Shot’). After his son is born, after the war, and he’s completely floored at his new son, his rhymes get weaker and less complex to match the awe in his personality (like in ‘Dear Theodosia”).

While I was watching the show today I thought about that fact and tried to pay attention to it and see if I could pick it up, but I found myself thinking about Milton and how people compared Lin Manuel-Miranda to Shakespeare for the way the rhyme and rhythm contribute to the characterization of a character, if Milton would have had used a similar method. I feel like it’s evident with how Eve speaks. This article I found shows the ways that Milton’s word choice for Eve. Most notably, the article points to the final speech given by Eve and how compared to Adam’s prosody  she is much more composed, much more calm and secure in herself than Adam (which I think mimics the consensus Dr. C made at the end of class on Thursday about how Eve really learned the most).

Sad!

Did anyone else feel like crying after yesterday’s class? Reading the last lines of Paradise Lost and thinking about Adam and Eve being led off the cliff from Paradise then turning around to find themselves completely alone (not with the angel, but they aren’t alone… I guess Providence is with them) made my eyes water up. It’s so beautiful and so sad because they’re literally all alone in the world and they have all this horrible stuff coming to them, but they have each other.

I wonder if they have hope. I wrote down in my notes that I perhaps hope is something better for before the fall, because after the fall surely it wouldn’t be used to comfort people but instead make them lazier — now I’m not so sure. Before the fall it probably was somewhat tied into the love Adam and Eve had for each other, but they did have a need for hope. Then again, it is not going to be helpful after the fall now that mankind just sucks over all. It seems that hope really does sit between a fallen world and a world regained. I used to think it was silly to keep hope in Pandora’s Box, but really, it’s something that could have caused the fall before Satan.

Art, Man!

Hello friends, I’ve been tasked with completing my online art history class over this break and I’ve been missing Milton! I’m at the point in the Art History class where art has begun to be centered around Christianity. Watching the christianity spread and develop through the art is super fascinating and interesting when you consider everything else art was inspired by up until that point (multiple gods, women, cattle, real boring weird stuff).

I came across Gislebertus’ “Eve” from a 12th century church that no longer stands. The piece was at the entrance to remind those visiting the risk of sinning. There are theories about her pose here. Some think her resting her head on her right hand shows contemplation for what she is about to do (as her left hand holds the fruit), some also say she’s the serpent herself and she’s on her way to convince Adam to eat of the fruit. Crazy stuff!

Leave Eve Alone!

I can’t figure out what to make of the reference to Samson and Dalilah that we get in book 9 after the fall. There’s a lot of discussion around the fall in regards to gender because people like to say it’s Eve’s fault that Adam ate of the fruit. I don’t think it’s Eve’s fault, though. In a way she acts as an extension to Satan by ultimately convincing Adam to eat of the fruit as she did, which is the same way that she was convinced. The serpent told her he had ate from it and was fine as she told Adam, and if Adam believes that reason is law, then he has a free will and can make choices then it is not Eve’s fault that he ate of the apple. It was Adam’s weakness.

Milton writes, “so rose the Danite strong Herculean Samson from the harlot-lap of Philistean Dalilah,” comparing Adam to Samson, a character from the bible that lost his strength when he was betrayed by his lover who cut his hair (which was the source of said strength). The comparison is a bit harsh in my opinion because of how it reflects on Eve as almost a villain. Like, it wasn’t Eve that forced Adam to fall, it was Adam’s decision to fall. The story of Adam and Eve’s fall and how they fall together in unity is representative of equality between man and woman, but specifically husband and wife.  I’m curious by how Milton wrote it, if he sees that or if he truly does believe that Eve is the one to blame.

Toddler Speak

Our reading of Paradise Lost on Tuesday was interesting! I say this because I half loved it and half hated it. I loved the flow of the poetry (when we didn’t pause between books… I have no clue why that took me out, but it did), but I hated the awkwardness of everyone before they adjusted to the cadence. Not to bash on anyone because I sounded awkward at times too, but just keeping it real.

The act of reading aloud this old form of English with our own context and modern minds at play with connotations and ‘proper’ spellings reminds me a lot of the process I witness at work. In the PreSchool/Daycare I work at, something I’m always doing is reworking my language to be understood by all the chicken nuggets (read: kids). It was hard not to laugh at the point in PL where Milton writes “methought I saw,” because it literally sounds like something out of one of the two year old’s mouths.

This is a strange post to reflect on our reading circle with, but I thought others would enjoy to think about the fact that we are using our brains in very interesting ways by reading aloud and we should always continue to! Like Reagan said in their blog post, Paradise Lost was composed orally, and so it is in our best interested to consume it so.

I don’t mean to offend anyone by calling this post “Toddler Speak,” Toddlers are learning and developing at a very fast rate and you wish you could absorb knowledge and language and culture like a Tod again — ya heard?

possession isn’t all that bad

“It comes to us, with no work of our own; then leaves us prepared to undergo a giant labor.” — Elaine Scarry

While reading the Hypothesis assignment for today, I was really struck by the last line of “On Beauty and Being Wrong” in which Elaine Scarry writes, “It comes to us, with no work of our own; then leaves us prepared to undergo a giant labor.” It led to me to become curious about inspiration and how that was discussed with writers and artists back in the days. I remember once my friend’s mother told me about a Ted Talk about how in ancient Greece and Roman cultures they imagined the muse literally coming by and visiting the artist, like a spirit possessing them. I thought that was pretty weird so I did some research and voila! I found a seminar presentation by Gerard Naddaf of  York University  that confirms what I missed out on by not watching the recommended Ted Talk (no, I won’t link it). Enthousiasmos, meaning to ‘be possessed by a god’ or ‘having god within’ was the term they used to describe the phenomena of being inspired. I feel like viewing inspiration as something that comes and goes like a spirit possessing our physical bodies is a very laid back and much less pressure on the artist. I feel like if more people still thought of their inspiration as something that is external of them more often there would be a lot less pressure on artists to keep creating at a factory pace to survive, like musicians — instead of constantly being worried about being able to produce art, they are instead at will of the spirits choosing to possess them or not.

A Clean Slate

The Wisdom and Urania conversation continues! I was intrigued by the mention of Wisdom and Urania in book 7 mostly because I thought it was implied that Wisdom and Urania are part of the universe before God was because of the implication that it is an old and timeless factor in our universe, but then I realized that they are just a part of universe that God created.

For some reason it was really hard for me to understand that and to differentiate them from being something that God created to something that preceded God (which probably won’t be mentioned by Milton). Something I considered is that even though Wisdom and Urania don’t precede God, they certainly precede humanity — something I continue to find interesting while thinking of the story of Genesis and how humanity has become whatever it is we have become.

I’ve mentioned the movie Mother! before and how it fascinating to watch because of how they retell the story of Genesis but with a play on perspective. After thinking about the role Wisdom and Urania play I’m interested in finding out if there’s a possibility that they’ve been utilized for creation before. Like, if God has worked on other “humans” because surely Wisdom and Urania haven’t just remained obsolete until the creation of the Earth… right?

At the end of Mother!  the audience gets teased with the idea that God works through the story of Genesis as a trial and error process and recreates the garden and the people all over again while trying to get the story right and (very possibly) trying to have the humans be intrinsically good. I hope this isn’t a complete reach, but it is in fact where my thought process led me when wondering about it “all”.

Chidi tricked me into reading “Paradise Lost” by telling me Satan was, and I quote, “my type”

In book 4 of Paradise Lost, during one of Satan’s dramatic rants to himself, he’s looking at Adam and Eve in the garden and says:

One fatal Tree there stands of Knowledge call’d,

Forbidden them to taste: Knowledge forbidd’n? [ 515 ]

Suspicious, reasonless. Why should thir Lord

Envie them that? can it be sin to know,

Can it be death? and do they onely stand

By Ignorance, is that thir happie state,

The proof of thir obedience and thir faith? [ 520 ]

O fair foundation laid whereon to build

Thir ruine!

I found this quote so interesting. One of my first thoughts was about how this would have been perceived by the audience at the time; surely it would have been considered controversial to make Satan make sense. It is not only Satan questioning god, but also making the reader question themselves, especially so if they are Christian.

I also think it’s interesting because of the lines “o fair foundation laid whereon to build their ruin”. The ignorance of the humans is the fair place to build their ruin. I think Satan is on to something here, indeed. Here is one of the many times Satan has come out of the cut to surprise me in how much I agree with his view. To deny people information only disadvantages them more. To be at our best advantage, it is probably a good idea to be “like god” and know what evil tastes like.

Sponsered By “Mother!” available on hulu

In the 4th book we got a lot of perspective that described the environment around the garden and it made me think about the Earth and the environment in all this. In the garden, she (mother nature) was thriving, but someone mentioned in class that outside the garden walls, the landscape being practically a wasteland, not much going on. So now I wonder… nature was made by God to comfort and help humans? If that is the case, does it only appear for humans?

In the movie Mother! we can see and understand the separation between the creator (God) and the environment that is fostering the creator’s visions (Earth, or the garden). since the film maker, Darren Aronofsky, is an atheist, it’s clear he would not approach the topic of God and the Environment from a creationist perspective, but it does bring up interesting ideas about who all is exactly effected by the fall of man. After Adam and Eve leave the lush paradise, and our ancestors are born and the other stories of genesis get carried out, horrendous events occur. After the fall, God banishes Adam and says :

“Cursed is the ground because of you;    through painful toil you will eat food from it    all the days of your life.18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,    and you will eat the plants of the field.19 By the sweat of your brow    you will eat your food until you return to the ground,    since from it you were taken; for dust you are    and to dust you will return.” (Gen 3:17)

Cursed is the ground. Because of the choice Adam and Eve had to fall, the Earth that held these two outside of Eden was also cursed from the beginning. I think it’s unfair, how about y’all?

[cardi b voice] WHAT WAS THE REASON!?

In @vasaioal’s post “Naïveté, they  mentioned how it is confusing and “complicating that Milton lets us know that Reason can be beguiled,” and I feel as though, yes — it is rather complicating indeed. For God to have given us grace and with that grace alone making us “sufficient” to stand because of the Reason granted to us makes total sense why that would be done to complicate things.

By giving us the chance to change our reasoning or even giving us an option at all, God is ensuring that there are not blind followers or people who are not worthy of keeping the grace given to them. It is complicated, but not in a detrimental way. If anything, the choice to actively follow God and be faithful complicates things in the best way for humans. I almost think it’s funny that God gives us Reason as our only chance when in fact Reason can be beguiled (as we saw with satan), because it kind of rules out the dumb people from going to heaven, right? Also, does the Reason God gives humans apply to the Reason of the fallen angels that beguile human reasoning?

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