The Births of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost - A Literary Essay Example

2021-07-20 07:55:50
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Boston College
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Adam and Eve are major characters in John Milton's Paradise Lost. The two characters are created to exist on Earth after the turmoil in heaven led by Satan (Gale 25). It is vivid that Adam and Eve were not born, but they were created as adults. They were then led by God to the Garden of Heaven in which they were supposed to live happily ever after. However, Satan tempted them into breaking the sole rule that God had given them; hence, they were ejected from the Paradise. Although there are similarities in the births of Adam and Eve as portrayed in the text, Paradise Lost, there are some contrasts, and both are significant contributors to the fall of man.

In Book VII of Paradise Lost, the author explains how both Adam and Eve were created. Both were not conceived and born as normal human beings are. The explanation is based on a conversation between Adam and Raphael. Raphael tells Adam how the earth was created and then Adam tells Man how he was created. Adam explains that he woke up one day in a green flowery bank. Immediately he woke up, he was able to stand, walk and even run. He even knew the names of various plants and animals, and had the ability to speak. However, he was not certain who he was, where he was or where he had come from.

Adam claims that he then fell asleep, a dream vision led him to the Garden of Eden. When he woke up, he saw God who described his creation, and then gave him one rule: that he should not eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Apart from that one rule, God gave Adam control over all the Earth. Then God made all animals to come forward before Adam in pairs, and Adam named them utilizing the knowledge of nature that God had given him.

It was at this point that Adam told God that he felt lonely and that he needed a companion. God, who had already planned for Adams companion, put him in a deep sleep. He then removed a rib from Adam with which he used to create him a female companion. Although Adam was unconscious during the removal of his rib, he was aware of the happening through his imagination. Eve was created from this rib to be Adams helper and is inferior to Adam in all traits except beauty. In a similar scenario to that of Adam, therefore, it can be inferred from the text that Eve was not born. She was created as an adult. According to the text, when Eve woke after creation, she wandered to a lake. At the lake, she looked at her reflection in the water, and she immediately was impressed by her looks. A voice, which she later learned was Gods, guided her to Adam. Although at first, she ran away from him, he convinced her to follow him, and they fell in love with each other.

One of the major similarities of the nativity of both Adam and Eve is that both were created by God. God decided to create Man after war broke out in heaven between angels aligned to God and angels supporting the Satan. After the Satan was defeated, God decided to build a civilization on earth for god-like creatures on earth called Man. Man would only live in heaven if they showed merit on earth. Although Eve was created later after Adam, it is vivid that she was created in the image of Adam. Adam was created in the image of God. This, therefore, means that both Adam and Eve were created by God in the image of God.

Another similarity is that both Adam and Eve were given free will after their creation. Free will can be defined as the ability to acts on ones discretion (Frede & Long 67). After creation, both Adam and Eve are instructed they can do anything they want to do except eating the Fruit of the tree of Knowledge. In Book IX, Adam explains to Eve that God has given then free will and that they can destroy the Paradise at their own will. It is due to this free will that they are not stopped by God when they decide to eat the fruit of the prohibited tree.

Another similarity is based on the powers bestowed upon Adam and Eve. The author posits that the two characters were created to be the rulers of all animals and plants on Earth. Since Adam was the first to be created, he was assigned a role of naming all the animals as they were presented to him. Adam and Eve were expected to act as the representatives of God on earth. Nevertheless, it is important to note that according to the author, Eve is created with some human traits fully developed while others are at the infancy level. She is said to have possessed the ability to reason although the author limits her reasoning to a certain extent. When she wakes up, for instance, she is bewildered by her surroundings and her ability to question her locations shows that she is rational enough to ask questions although the author makes her lack the ability to comprehend some basic concepts. When she first meets Adam, for example, she refers to his face as a shape. Nonetheless, she also realizes the face is welcoming and kind without ever having seen any other before.

Despite the similarities in the birth narratives of Adam and Eve, there are differences. John Milton, demonstrates a hierarchical relationship between Adam and Eve from their birth that brings out their differences (Lewis, 53). It is vivid from the birth narratives that Adam has a superior hierarchy, with Eve a step lower. Adam himself acknowledges he is superior to Eve even in the eyes of God. The fact that Eve is created from the ribs of Adam demonstrates that she is an inferior human when compared to Adam. Eve was expected to be submissive to Adam and to an extent, dependent on him. One can realize that Adam is very worried when Eve decides that they should work on separate parts in the Garden of Eden. The eating of the Fruit of Knowledge was the result of Eve's decision to reduce her dependency on Adam. The author seems to imply that Eve was created as a helper and companion to Adam. This means that God created her in order to make Adams existence one earth easier. It is important to note that Eve was only created after Adam requested God for a helper. Therefore, it can be argued that God created Eve to serve Adam.

Additionally, when Eve is created, she is attracted to her own image. This puts her in two positions. First, she is more beautiful than any other God's creation. This was also confirmed by Adam. Second, it is a demonstration of her vanity. This attraction is more of instinct than reason. Thus, one can argue that Eve is less skilled with logic as compared to her sensuality. This is proved by the fact that when she first meets Adam, she says, "I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, / Under a platan, yet methought less fair, / less winning soft, less amiably mild (Milton & Rouse 144). This means that she thinks that Adams physical attributes are less desirable when compared to hers. One notes that although Adam and Eve had many similarities, they also had several differences. It is the differences that made them become attracted to each other.

The author also links the flaw of vanity to Eve's birth. After her creation, she comprehends the hierarchy of the society, but after seeing her image in the mirror, she does not comprehend why she is below Adam in the hierarchy yet she is more beautiful physically. It is this vanity that Satan, acting as a serpent, exploits to trick her into eating the Fruit of Knowledge.

The feeling of loneliness is what spurs the creation of Eve. According to the author, Adam feels incomplete without Eve, and he longed for companionship. He analyzes the quality he sees in himself and determines that he cannot exist on his own. Before Eve was created, Adam used to converse with God who gave him sufficient oversight on his creation and his existence. Through this interaction, Adam is able to receive more knowledge, and this supplements the knowledge which he was created with. Thus, he had ample time to grow wiser and mature before Eve was created. Adam had enough opportunities to question his existed and discover God before his companion was created (Moe & Luxon). This enabled him to discover himself and then to discover God. Eve did not have this opportunity and thus had to discover Adam first and then she had to discover God through Adam.

In conclusion, it is important to note that according to John Miltons text, Paradise Lost, Adam and Eve both came into existence through the creation of God. Just as are some similarities in their birth narratives, there are differences. Adam is created first, and then when he requests God for a companion, God gives him Eve. Both, according to the author, are created to run the earth and are given the free will to determine what they can do without the interference of God. However, since Adam was created first, he had adequate experience to deal with God. Before Eve was created, he usually conversed with God, and this gave him wide knowledge on different subject issues, and this enabled him to comprehend God. When Eve was born, she had to know Adam before knowing God. The flaw of vanity attributed to the creation of Eve made her question the hierarchy that placed her below Adam, yet she was more beautiful physically. Satan exploited this flaw and tricked her eat the Fruit of Knowledge, and this led to the fall of man. Therefore, the similarities and differences in the creation of the two characters are not coincidental, but are informed by the authors intention to discuss the fall of man.


Works Cited

Frede, Michael, and A A. Long. A free will: origins of the notion in ancient thought. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011. Print.

Gale, Cengage L. Study guide for John Milton's Paradise Lost. Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015. Print.

Lewis, C S. A preface to Paradise Lost. New Delhi: Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 2005. Print.

Milton, John, and W H. D. Rouse. Paradise Lost: A poem in twelve books. London: J.M. Dent, 1897. Print.

Moe, Alison G., and Thomas H. Luxon. "Paradise Lost: Introduction." N.p., 2017. Web. 1 Nov. 2017.


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