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English 1022E Lecture Notes - Aphrodisiac, Knowledge Acquisition, Simile

Course Code
English 1022E
David Bentley

of 2
English Lecture “Paradise Lost, Book 9” February 1, 2011
Paradise Lost Book 9
1. Greed (appetite)
2. Sexual maturation
3. Knowledge acquisition
4. Disobedience
Sapientia (wisdom)
Scientia (knowledge)
-The Fall is interpreted in many ways.
-After the fall they develop guilt and shame, an adult/mature sense of sexuality. They
cover their bodies now which they never did before.
-Tree of Knowledge interpreted as an aphrodisiac
-Tree of Knowledge is source of knowledge. the fall is a reflection of their aspiration to
gain understanding
-Disobedience. Adam and Eve are unable to abide by the one rule that God has set for
them. Unable to accept his authority. They are not children but adults.
-Milton draws on these interpretations. But his interpretation is more complex than
-Eve and Adam have enough wisdom to cope, but they have limited knowledge.
-Satan appeals to Eve through knowledge.
-Eve has expressed desire to go off by herself and Adam offers her 2 arguments for staying with
-Staying: Companionship. They were made to be together.
-Not going:
-She’s failed to see that two people would be better than one to oppose Satan. She doesn’t
appreciate the cunning of Satan. She’s a little indignant, annoyed at Adam to think that she
wouldn’t be as good at defeating Satan as her and Adam.
-Gates of Hell are much less important than their inner gates of will and reason. They will
become psychologically destroyed if Satan breaks those down.
-Adam denies that he mistrusts her, his argument is strong but we don’t know if he’s telling the
-He tells her to Go. If you don’t want to be with me, you’re not really here.
-Adam’s speech is full of commas and pauses. Speaking slowly, clearly, seriously. He also gives
her time to think about her decision a little bit more.
-Stereotypes on Eve. She’s still logical, but hasn’t really heard what Adam is telling her. Her
logic seems to be falling over itself.
-Eve is the weak link that Satan is going to go for.
-l.494: The temptation begins.
-He comes in from the side. Everything that Satan does is sneaky, sly, indirect, tricky.
-He doesn’t address her directly, he insinuates himself into her company.
-He’s not prone, he’s erect. That suggests that this is a mimicry of Right Reason. He’s mimicking
what is going to sound and look like rational behaviour, rational thought.
-There’s a hint of sexuality in this passage or aesthetic appeal. It’s a good looking erect
snake that attracts Eve because of it’s looks and posture.
-Satan’s response is very masculine. He is going to use his aesthetic appeal to get Eve interested
in him.
-Epic Simile: The fall must take time. To bring an epic simile to it, delays have to be made(?)
-Satan approaches Eve (first stage)
English Lecture “Paradise Lost, Book 9” February 1, 2011
-(second stage) Satan uses all the skills that he’s practiced on the fallen angels, with sin and
death. The dominant mode here is flattery and admiration. We can recognize ourselves in what
is happening here. Satan is a guy picking up a girl at a bar. He pretends to admire her. What
language there is up till this point is body language.
-(Third Stage) Verbal. “What’s a gorgeous girl like you doing in a place like this?” He’s appealing
to her sense of self, sight. He’s directed her thoughts away from Adam, away from God, away
from thinking clearly. He’s replaced this with an emphasis on self centeredness. He’s made her a
‘me’ thinker rather than a God directed thinker.
-(Fourth Stage) Take her to the tree of knowledge. Appeal is to the scent of the apple. He makes
up a story to tell her what the fruit did for him. This story is completely fabricated. “If this made
me a serpent capable of speaking, what could it do for you?” Flattery is making her self centered.
-Eve is now more amazed at what she’s heard, more unwary of Satan. Each mistake Eve makes
draws her closer to the tree.
-He goes forward to the tree in a vapour, delusive light. When Eve gets to the tree she
realizes that she mustn’t touch it.
-Satan now has to convince her against her reason/will.
-The Fall can not occur easily, or quickly. Eve won’t fall immediately to Satan. The
narrator will postpone the drama to keep suspense up.
-Satan is not a Roman Orator, but he can pretend to be. He argues that the tree is not a source
of death. Eve has no idea what death is, has no concept of it. He touches on the aspiration aspect
of the tree. It was this tree that allowed him to become a talking snake.
-l.708 he makes these arguments. Satan is the first ad executive here. If you buy this, you will be
better. The narrator is upset that Eve is succumbing to his argument.
-When he ends, the entrance is now clear for Eve to eat the apple.
-l.776 the fruit’s appeal has a source of power.
-The huge buildup to this event is over in a second.
- Result of this is catastrophic.
-The Earth groans with sadness. Gluttony begins to set in on Eve. Eve focuses her attention on
the tree now. Inverted parallel of the Christian thing to focus on the Cross.
-She worships the tree now. It’s become for her a sovereign, virtuous, precious.
-“I” and “me” is repeated a lot. Eve has assimilated herself to the tree. They are so close together
that they are inseparable. She begins to no longer focus on God. She sees God as a ‘forbidder’
-C.S Lewis has suggested that what Eve contemplates is nothing less than murder.
-Now everything is about her.
-She takes a branch of the tree to Adam.