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Gaskin 1 John Gaskin English 46A Professor Wallace 12/6/12 The Fall

In the beginning God created the world, and a paradise on Earth for mankind to live in, He then told mankind not to eat from one tree in the garden out of thousands. Mankind, naturally, did and fell out of grace with God. The fall of creation has been a large source of contention and debate for the past few thousand years. Many people have viewed the fall as entirely the womens, Eves, fault, due to weakness, conniving, simplicity or even straight up wickedness. Others seeing it as the Mans, Adams fault for not making it clear to Eve what she was and was not to do, not keeping good care of his wife, or not stopping her when she began to pick the fruit. In his epic Paradise Lost Milton portrays the Garden of Eden and the fall of mankind in an almost non-biblical storyline with a scriptural base. His writing mostly reflects the male dominated, Anti-Feminist culture of the timedelineating Eve as the culpritbut he also writes how Satan had planned the entire thing, alleviating Eve of some of the blame. His story differs greatly from the biblical text in many key points, mainly who was to blame for the Fall. The actual biblical story mostly shares the blame among the Serpent, Adam, and Eve. It begins the Fall with a description of the Serpent 1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. (Bible 2) Depicting the Serpent a corrupt being who, being far more cunning and manipulative than any other creature--including Adam and Eve--could taint other creatures and break them away from

Gaskin 2 God. The fact that the Serpent was absolutely more cunning than anyone else makes it more difficult to determine whos to blame for the fall, as it seems as though he could have gone after Adam and gotten the same results. But the Serpent went after Eve and said exactly what was needed to tempt her fully. Starting by asking if God actually sa[id], You shall not eat of any tree in the garden? (2) Playing on the fact that while God actually told Adam not to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and good and evil, Eve only heard it second hand from Adam. Which, no matter how impressive of a figure Adam was, couldnt have been as imposing. So when the Serpent cajoles her with power saying, You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil. (2) tempting her by saying she could become a near-deity, a rather attractive choice. God certainly recognizes that the Serpent shares a portion of the blame when he curses him above all livestock/and above all beasts of the field; (3) and condemning him to crawl on his belly as long as he lives. (3) And finally he makes sure that no one human will ever be deceived by a snake again by put[ting] enmity between you and the woman,/and between your/offspring and her offspring;/he shall bruise your head,/and you shall bruise his heel. (3) Adams share of the guilt comes from a chapter earlier when God commanded the man, saying, You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (2) Because he directly received a command from God, one might think he would obey it. Not only does he eat the fruit, but it also seems he doesnt object at all when his wife eats the fruit, even though he was with her. (2)

Gaskin 3 Perhaps because Adam was told by God that he was not to eat of the tree, when God comes down to the garden later to find them hiding he calls Adam first, asking where he is. And upon finding out they fell he again asks Adam what happened. To which Adam blame shifts and says, the woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate. (3) showing a bit of unwillingness to share blame. Admittedly though, Adam had already fallen. God then said to him, cursed is the ground because of you;/in pain you shall eat of it all/the days of your life; . . . 19 By the sweat of your face/you shall eat bread,/till you return to the ground, (3) condemning him to work for the rest of his life for food, instead of being provided for in the garden Eve at least attempted to put up a defense when offered the fruit, as opposed to Adam who seemed to just accept it from her. When the Serpent began trying to influence her she stuck to what she had been told and said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. (2) But she very quickly succumbed to the Serpents whiles and when she saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, (2) breaking the covenant with God and bringing all knowledge, sin and death into the world. When Adam blames her for giving him the fruit, Eve doesnt exactly own up to what she did either, blame shifting again saying, The serpent deceived me, and I ate. (3) Both Adam and Eve obstinately disowning their part in the crime doesnt bode well for the future, fallen human race. Ironically, the Serpent doesnt attempt to worm its way out of its share of the guilt. God the condemns Eve to suffer as well saying I will surely

Gaskin 4 multiply your pain in childbearing;/in pain you shall bring forth children./Your desire shall be for your husband,/and he shall rule over you. (3) giving her childbirth pains and establishing the patriarchal, male dominated society for thousands of years. Interestingly enough it was only after Adam ate the fruit that they fell. Only once Adam disobeyed God did the eyes of both . . . open, (2) did they see they were naked and did they hid[e] themselves from the presence of the LORD God. (3) Which implies that Adam had greater significance than Eve. The original Bible story is very different from the tales that spun off of it. Mostly in the distribution of guilt, the Bible laying a relatively even distribution of guilt, most seventeenth century writers portraying it as entirely Adams or Eves fault. Many people, notably John Milton, have taken the story and spun it to fit their own culture and ideas about gender. Milton portrays the story of creation, Adam and Eve and the Fall in a rather different manner. He lays a fairly heavy hand on Satan, predominantly places the blame on Eve and almost idolizes Adam. His views strongly reflected the gradually alleviating Anti-Feminist sentiments at the time, but he was also a man and could have simply been writing from a mans point of view. The Serpent, or Satan, plays a very large role in Paradise lost and is blamed for the Fall in no small way. Milton makes it rather explicit by providing a number of background scenes, that arent biblically based, where Satan is plotting the downfall of Earth and mankind. The demonic Parliament when a plan to confound the race/Of mankind in one root, and Earth with Hell/To mingle and involve, done all to spite (Milton 2.380) is formed and Satan resolves to carry it out himself. God, watching from

Gaskin 5 above denounces him saying, So will fall,/Hee and his faithless Progenie: whose fault?/Whose but his own? ingrate, he had of mee/All he could have; I made him just and right,/Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall, (3.95-99) effectively placing all the blame of Satans own fall on Satan. As in the Bible story Satan seems to accept his

fate after briefly considering reconciliation with God upon entering the Garden, saying farewel Hope, and with Hope farewel Fear,/Farewel Remorse: all Good to me is lost;/Evil be thou my Good; by thee at least/Divided Empire with Heav'ns King I hold/By thee, and more then half perhaps will reigne;/As Man ere long, and this new World shall know. (4.73-79) Not only etting himself firmly against any reunion with God and pitting himself entirely against both the Heavens and Humanity, but also taking his share of the guilt. Milton then finalizes Satans guilt when he describes The guiltie Serpent slinking back into the thicket (9.784-785)
Adam drew the longest straw in Miltons hand and for some reason gets almost deified as this great hero who only falls for love. His love is first made obvious when Eve asks to go off by herself and he answers, Since Reason not impossibly may meet Some specious object by the Foe subornd, And fall into deception unaware, Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd. Seek not temptation then, which to avoide . . . But if thou think, trial unsought may finde Us both securer then thus warnd thou seemst, Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more; (9.362-372)

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Even though hes dejected that his loved one would choose to disobey him, he still wont control her, highly reminiscent of God and Satan. After Eve eats the forbidden fruit Adam is disconsolate, saying
How can I live without thee, how forgoe Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn'd, To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn? Should God create another Eve, and I Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee Would never from my heart; no no, I feel The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh, Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe. (9.908-916)

In his heroic speech Adam chooses his wife over God, almost emulating Jesus in his sacrifice, but in a twisted way. His trouble with womanly whiles is further accented when he accepts the fruit from her With liberal hand: [and] scrupl'd not to eat/Against his better knowledge, not deceav'd,/But fondly overcome with Femal charm. (9.997-999) Knowingly disobeying God, not deceived in any way shape or form, Adam ate the fruit. The only blame Milton puts on Adam is that of loving his wife too much. While Adams love is pure and good, Eve gets the short end of Miltons stick. Shes portrayed as a nave, stubborn, jealous, weak, manipulative lady who cant hold her ground against the forces of evil. She sets herself up for ridicule by saying that her and Adams one charge is easy (4.421) and then breaking the one rule, complaining of their hard labors Our pleasant task enjoyn'd, but till more hands/Aid us, the work under our labour grows,/Luxurious by restraint; what we by day (9.205-207) when the garden seems self sufficient, and stubbornly demanding that she be allowed to go elsewhere to split up the work better. Finally she convinces her husband and tried to assuage his

Gaskin 7 doubts about it by reasoning that A Foe so proud will [not] first the weaker seek. (9.381) The plan didnt work out very well. The serpent, Satan, went after her, tempting her and Into her heart too easie entrance won. (9.734) While Eve was being tempted by the master of evil, she didnt raise much of a fight. All Satan had to do was assail her senses and the fruit soon Sollicited her longing eye. (9.743) After she ate the fruit she began to wonder about the consequences of her actions. Her first thoughts turned to Adam and in what sort/Shall [she] appeer? (9.816-817) Whether or not to keep the wisdom for herself, an ugly enough prospect in itself, but then she realizes that she is going to die and the thought of Adam marrying another Eve sends her into a fit of jealousy, convincing her to seduce him into eating the fruit. Both Satan and Eve carry far more guilt in Miltons epic than they do in the Bible. Adam carries a little less, however all are guilty in both. In the Bible: Satan, the Serpent, is the original instigator of the sin, Eve actually eats the fruit first through a mixture of naivety and weakness, and Adam eats the fruit after standing and watching his wife eat it. In Paradise Lost: the Serpent, Satan, is again the original mastermind, but he shares more blame in the epic as he plans out the entire escapade in direct defiance of God, Eve is far more nave, blind and easier to influence, and Adam is much more heroic and noble, this time not present when his wife fell, but instead plunging in after his wife. Admittedly poetic license had a lot to do with it but Miltons culture most likely played a very large role in the formation of his characters, he lived in a predominantly patriarchal society, and his characters reflect that. It seems the Bible may have been written before so much of a male domination could emerge.

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Works Cited

Genesis. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton: Good News, 2003. Print.

Lanyer, Aemilia. "Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum." The Norton Anthology of English Literature. Ed. Steven Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. B. New York: W.W.Norton and, 2012. 1430-440. Print.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 9th ed. Vol. B. New York: W.W.Norton and, 2012. 1943-2175. Print.