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The Sin of Adam vs. The Sin of Eve

One of the things I think is really interesting is how Adam and Eve fall differently in Book IX.  We haven’t talked about it yet in class, but I kinda wanted to get the jump on this, as it really interests me.

In Book IX, we see Eve fall as a result of several different things, but in the poem, it seems like she eats the fruit mainly because she’s been tricked by Satan inhabiting the body of the Serpent.  In my reading, it seemed as though Eve really succumbed to Satan’s argument, believing his rationale and not knowing that she was consuming Death.  It is interesting because early on, it is established that Eve is more of an emotionally motivated character than Adam (reference: when Eve leaves while Raphael is explaining the cosmos to Adam in Book VIII) and while she does appear to have strong intellect, she seems to nonetheless succumb to Satan’s argument, choosing the authority of the Serpent/Tree over God.

Well anyway, by contrast, Adam seems to Fall not as a consequence of being convinced by an argument, but by the emotional motivation of living a life in Paradise without Eve, and chooses Eve over God.  I think it is quite interesting that Adam eats the fruit due to an emotional motivation like this, while Eve seems much more motivated by an intellectual position.

It seems to me that while they both commit the same act, eating the fruit, their motivations and what convinced them are quite different.  Eve chooses to believe that someone other than God could be the most powerful, while Adam chooses his love for Eve over his love for God.  It’s quite fascinating that Milton would choose to depict their sins so differently from one another.  I am not sure why he did this, but I think maybe he chose to depict them this way to show how Original Sin was a choice/not predetermined.  Their motivations for sinning are quite in-line with the complex psychologies of their characters depicted thus far, and having a realistic motivation for each of them that coincides with these portrayals, as opposed to just eating the fruit because it was there, creates a stronger argument for Free Will.

I am not certain about this though, and I would love to know what you guys think about this..

One Comment

  1. Interesting analysis on the whole – curious though as to why you think different motivations invites the possibility of free will. If anything, Adam and Eves fall into temptation despite the perfection of Paradise suggest they are not capable of decision-making.

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