English Lecture “Paradise Lost, Book 9” February 1, 2011
Paradise Lost Book 9
1. Greed (appetite)
2. Sexual maturation
3. Knowledge acquisition
- 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
- 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
- Epic Simile: The fall must t