"Milton has balanced the argument between Adam and Eve so evenly that it's hard to know which side to be on"
J Martin Evans on the arguments of Adam and Eve in the separation debate
She wakes in an independent mood...she feels her power, gets her way.'
A.J.A. Waldock's anti- Eve reading of the separation debate
"Milton's efforts to encapsulate evil in Satan was not successful"
Carey on Satan
Satanist critics generally emphasise Satan's courage, anti-Satanists his selfishness or folly
Carey on Satanist vs Anti-Satanist
From first to last Eve keeps and takes the initiative... Adam, who Eve expects to be firm, suddenly weakens.
Tillyard on Eve's dominance
By granting her permission Adam becomes involved in what happens to her
Burden on Adam's implication in Eve's fall
There appears in his books something like a Turkish contempt of females, as subordinate and inferior beings
Dr Johnson on Milton's anti-feminism
secondness, her otherness, and how that otherness leads inexorably to her demonic anger, her sin, her fall, and her exclusion from the garden of the gods
Gilbert on anti-feminism
He broke the stereotypical scapegoating of Eve as essentially a temptress and uniquely gave her responsible motives
McColley on Eve's responsibility
The epic as a whole gives at least as much praise to qualities traditionally considered 'feminine' as those considered 'masculine', and this redress is part of Milton's radical reevaluation of prevailing concepts of power.
McColley on the epic style and gender equality
Milton is unusually favourable to Eve...in making her ask the serpent (shrewdly enough) how it came by its voice. The Eve of Scriptual exegesis, on the contrary, is carried away by words...
Weston on favourable portrayal of Eve
'her passions, as a result of her flattery, are ruling her reason'
Weston on Pride
Adam and Eve in book IX never cease to look like free and responsible agents of their own affairs
Burden on human responsibility
I am not sure that critics always notice the precise sin Eve is now committing, yet there is no mystery about it. Its English name is murder
Adam's long speech to himself is consequent upon a decision already made, not a prelude to a decision. (Rationalisation>reason)
Burden on Adam's fall
...like all postlapsarian actions, [our view] is infected by its sinful ground. The love it [Adam's fall] affirms is not free, for Eve has demanded it by dilemma.
Broadbent on postlapsarian action
In a sense Adam becomes corrupt because he refuses to divorce Eve: because he wants solace at any price
Fowler on Adam's responsibility for his fall
She does not have to utter a word to persuade him.
Davies on Adam's resolve to fall
Milton denounces his act. But it was, after all, Milton who imagined his passion so intensely as to make us almost wish that it could be approved
Williams on Milton's characterisation of Adam
Milton has succeeded in bring to life...two quite different models of the politics of love; one is drawn from the experience of being in love with an equal...the other from the hierarchical arrangement of the universe, and the craving for male supremacy
Turner on Milton's portrayal of the politics of love
Milton achieved these effects of parallelism by sustained, meticulous revision. ‘The more we read [the Epic] the more we see of its architectural design, not merely in the narrative as a whole but in innumerable links and contrasts in the smallest details.
Douglas Bush on the architecture of the poem
‘if Milton had been in the garden of Eden he would have eaten the apple, and then written a pamphlet to show how just and necessary his action was.’
Rose Macaulay on Milton's argumentative personality