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Paradise Lost by John Milton - Barron's Booknotes
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LINES 288-410. SATAN SEES ADAM AND EVE

We first see Adam and Eve through Satan's eyes. They walk naked and majestic through the Garden, exemplifying the order and harmony of God's creation. They are not equal, for Eve is subordinate to Adam and wears her hair longer, curling like tendrils of a vine that needs a tree for support.

The relationship between Adam and Eve is one of the most difficult ideas in Paradise Lost for us to accept. Adam is Eve's God: "He for God only, she for God in him: / His fair large front and eye sublime declared / Absolute rule." Christian marriage for Milton was not a partnership of equals but a harmonious hierarchy in which man and woman have different roles. Keep this in mind as the story unfolds, for Eve's sin is that she takes over leadership from Adam and Adam's sin is that he lets her do it.



Adam and Eve sit down to a vegetarian supper, watching the animals who play for their delight. Even the elephant gambols, though a bit ponderously.

Satan, watching from the Tree of Life, is consumed with envy. He comforts himself with the thought of dragging mankind away from Paradise to Hell. "There will be room / Not like these narrow limits, to receive / Your numerous offspring."

But don't blame me, Satan says. Blame God who made me seek revenge. Here you'll probably think of those people you know who always find someone or something else responsible for their actions, never themselves.

Satan now assumes the shape of different animals, getting closer and closer to Adam and Eve until he can hear their conversation.

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Paradise Lost by John Milton - Barron's Booknotes
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