Flashcards in Plot synopsis cards for Paradise Lost book IX Deck (20):
Lines 1-47 - Introduction by Milton
- It is suggested that this book will be progressive. Topic matter evolves from talking with angel Raphael (angel guest) about hypothetical sin (Venial discourse) to genuine sin (breach/Disloyal on the part of man)
- Consequences of original sin are hinted at (Sin...Death, and Misery)
- Milton suggests this topic is a tragedy (he originally contemplated writing it as one) but makes good subject for poetry. Several comparative classical allusions are drawn to the Iliad and Aeneid. More heroic than:
(i) The siege of Troy, and Achilles vs Hector
(ii) Turnus vs Aeneas for Lavinia (NOT Latvia!)
(iii) Neptune's wrath at the Greeks which prevented Odysseus returning home
(iv) Juno's anger at Aeneas which slowed his journey from Troy to Rome
- Milton treats traditional tales of chivalrous knights and 'feigned' wars with contempt. He says entitling 'person or poem' associated with that subject matter 'heroic' is unjustified.
-Milton reveals the inspiration for his writing and writing style. Urania, muse of Astronomy, is his divine inspiration. He says that without her, England's 'cold climate' and poor subject matter for his poetry would 'damp [his] intended wing.
Lines 48-98 - Satan circles the Earth
-Day has turned to night
-Satan fled from Gabriel in Eden, but has now "improved/ In meditated fraud and malice"
-Uriel, sitting on the sun, sees Satan and forewarns the Cherubim
-He circles the earth seven times "by night...cautions of day". He covers much ground, going from "pole to pole", and finds an entrance on "coast averse"; this is the opposite side of Paradise to the entrance so he will not be seen entering by "cherubic watch"
-Satan hides in the rising mist of a fountain by the Tree of Life
-Satan roams the "orb" (Earth) with "narrowed search" ie Satan is searching specifically for a suitable species to hide in
- Satan finds the serpent. It is suitable because it is:
(i) the "subtlest beast" (cleverest animal, allusion to Genesis three)
(ii) An appropriate container
(iii) No one would be suspicious of a snake's sleights, as snakes are naturally clever (for in the wily snake,/Whatever sleights none would suspicious mark,)
Lines 100-191 - Satan's soliloquy
-Earth is preferred to heaven, as it was built after so therefore built better? The invisible influence of the planents and stars is manifest in life on earth. Earth compared to God: just as God is centre and extends his power, so is the earth central to all it supports
-Satan is tormented by a siege of contraries. He is fond of the Earth and longs for it, but does not "find refuge" there as it reminds him of God. This effect would be exaggerated in heaven.
-This has made him incredibly spiteful. "only in destroying" does he find ease. He wishes only to be on earth after he has mastered God ("heaven supreme") and aspires to destroy in one day what it took God six to build.
-Satan 'freed' in one night half of the angelic host. He suggests that this prompted God to create mankind. God does this because:
(i) He wants revenge
(ii) He wishes to replenish his depleted resources
(iii) God is now unable to create more angels as his "virtue" is "spent"
(iv) He does it out of spite, by advancing an inferior creature in the angels' place
-Entering the snake to hide Satan and his "dark intent" is a "foul descent" as he must go down the 'Great Chain of Being' from divine status to a bestial stage.
-*Satan enters the snake, turning it from a harmless creature into one "inspired with act intelligential"*
Lines 192-205 - We are introduced to Eden
- Eden is introduced with lots of religious connotations. Semantic field: incense, altar, praise, vocal worship to the choir, commune
- Earth sends up silent praise which is received by God's nostrils as a grateful smell
- The work of the two gardeners (Adam and Eve) is expanding greatly
Lines 205-226, 273-290, 322-342, 378-384 - Arguments proposed by Eve in the separation debate
-Eve wants to amend what is already perfect by controlling the growth of the garden of Eden
-Eve argues that the two should divide so they can work where needed rather than being tied to each other
-When the two are together, they distract each other
- Adam should not doubt her firmness to him or God just because they have a dangerous foe
- They are not capable of pain or death
- How can they be happy if they live only in fear of harm?
-Satan's evil will do them no harm, they are immune to it. It will only reflect poorly on Satan
- What is love and virtue if it is not supported by the mutual aid of the receiver of said love and virtue? Why should Eve's qualities not be tested?
-Satan is so proud that even if he is inclined to tempt Eve, his shame will prevent him. This shows great ignorance of the kind of 'pride' Satan has
Lines 227-272, 291-321, 343-377 - Arguments proposed by Adam in the separation debate
- God did not assign them a large volume of work. They are allowed to rest and talk
- All other earthly creatures were not allowed the higher level of existence that humans enjoy so they should make good use of it
-Adam worries that Eve will be in danger if they are separated. Eve is safer with a man (patriarchal)
- If they stay together then they can come to each other's aid quickly (logical)
-He does not doubt that Eve could defend herself from an attempt by Satan. He simply wishes to avoid "the attempt itself"
- His caution is out of love, not mistrust
-He is stronger in her presence, and they are stronger together as he is less likely to attack the pair
- Eve should not question God's will (Eve: If this be our condition, thus to dwell/In narrowed circuit... (322-30) )
Lines 343-433 - Adam consents to the separation and Eve is alone and vunerable
- God left free will, and being free to make rational choices is central to that. However she must be careful not to mis-interpret this "free will" to cause her to make irrational choices that explicitly disobey God's will.
- Eve staying with him when she is not free to choose otherwise upsets him more
- Eve can depend on her virtue to keep her safe
- *Adam and Eve withdraw from eachother*
-Several classical allusions:
(i) Eve is compared/contrasted (which?) to Diana, God of hunting
(ii) Pomona, fleeing from Vertumnus who sought to seduce her by entering her garden in disguise
(iii) Compared to Ceres, God of agriculture, *before* her rape by Jove (FOREBODING)
- Milton writes that Eve is "failing" in her return and will be robbed of her "innocence, faith and bliss". These are qualities Adam said would protect her
- Satan is searching for them, and wishes by chance that he might find Eve alone.
Lines 344-472 - Satan spies Eve alone
-Satan stays hidden, and takes great pleasure in seeing eve in her innocence and feminine beauty
-Momentarily, Satan is "disarmed" of his "emnity" and becomes "stupidly good"
- This does not last long ^, as the siege of contraries takes over. Satan is tortured by this vision of what he cannot have
(i) Garden where Venus kept Adonis alive
(ii) Palace garden where Alcinous entertained Odysseus in The Odyssey
(iii) Biblical garden where King Solomon enjoyed a casual sexual relationship (dalliance) with Pharaoh's daugher
- Epic simile contrasts the populous city to the rural countryside, the sewer's smell to breathing "among pleasant villages and farms" spaced out, unlike the cramped housing. Masculine vs feminine, pastoral vs city, Satan vs Eve.
-Satan sees Eve as "opportune to all attempts" and wishes not be distracted by what he cannot have.
-Satan acknowledges that this foe is "not informidable": is of heroic build in a terrestrial mould and cannot be killed
-Classical allusions to snakes contrast Satan, with malicious content, to eg Hermione and Cadmus (who were transformed into snakes for disbelieving that Dionysus was a God) whose transformation was benign
Lines 532-552 - Satan addresses Eve for the first time
-Satan calls her a sovereign mistress. This elevates her to someone with dominion rather than just stewardship.
- Says she resembles her maker, flattery as she is likened to the divine
-Satan says surrounded by bestial creatures and only one man (Adam) , her true beauty cannot be recognised. Says she deserves a train of angels serving her daily <-- Draws Eve to Satan as he can interact with her
Lines 553-567 - Eve responds to Satan's first address
-Eve is amazed by the "guileful tempter"
-Eve thought that all animals were not given intelligence equivalent to human intelligence
-Asks how Satan came to speak
- Asks how Satan is kinder than "the rest" of his type
Lines 568-614 - Satan addresses Eve for the second time, and explains how he has come to have the power of speech
- Satan says he was originally like any other beast of the field only thinking about food or sex
-Satan passed the tree and was sensually attracted to it
- Other creatures could not reach the fruit but Satan could climb
- Satan ate the fruit, retained his shape but gained the power of speech and reason to consider speculations high and deep rather than lower thoughts of food or sex
- Satan says he was compelled to come and watch Eve as all the higher knowledge/truths he learned were epitomised in Eve's beauty
Lines 615-646- Eve responds to Satan's second address, asking where the tree that gave him the powers of reason and speech can be found
- Satan's "overpraising" leaves Eve doubting whether his claims about the tree can be believed
- She asks where it is, saying that many trees in Paradise are burdened with fruit which will one day be relieved by "more hands"
- Satan claims that he can show her where the tree. There is an inversion in the question-answer structure so that Satan comes to subtly lead Eve, whilst she still thinks she is commanding when she says "lead then"
-Milton uses an epic similie to liken Eve's temptation to that of a traveller drawn into a bog by what is deemed to be a light that might offer them shelter but is actually flammable vapours from the bog which will drown them
Lines 647-655, 659-678 - Eve's arguments against eating the forbidden fruit
-God has commanded them not to eat this fruit, and it is his sole law to them. Otherwise, they enjoy free will
-If they eat the fruit they will die
*Note: LACK of dialogue by Eve here to oppose Satan is evidence that he is definitely leading Eve, and that Eve is therefore not acting as freely as she thinks she is
Lines 656-659, 679-744 - Satan's temptation of Eve/His arguments for why she should eat the forbidden fruit.
- It is illogical that Eve is a Lord over the earth and yet must live oppressed by commandments of a higher authority
- Satan claims Eve will not die as he has clearly demonstrated that the fruit only has beneficial effects
- Satan is proof that the fruit is good
- Should she, a human, be prevented from having that which the snake/Satan, a LOWER creature, can have?
-God will praise Eve's dauntless virtue, not punish her for such a "petty trespass", in seeking a higher level of existence
- If evil is real, why do you as a high and intelligent creature not know it?
- God is only forbidding it to keep you "low and ignorant"
- Satan makes Eve question the power of the Gods, as earth, not the Gods, provides all for them
- Eve could be God like
-How could knowledge possibly be damaging?
Lines 745-779 - Eve tempts herself
-The fruit is undoubtably full of virtue
-God's forbidding of the humans to eat the fruit tempts them more
-Satan has convinced her that she is no longer bound by God's laws
- The serpent (Satan) has eaten the fruit and lives, so she will live also
- Satan is 'far from deceit or guile' so can be trusted (the irony!)
-The fruit will be a good thing for her body and mind. Eating it will be a 'Felix Culpa/Happy Fault'
Lines 780-837 - Eve speaks after eating the fruit
-Eve eats the fruit, without restraint, greedy
-Earth feels the wound
-Satan the "guilty serpent" retreats into the "thicket"
-Eve begins to acknowledge the tree as "sovereign" and will "praise it", rather than God (Cf. Line 192-)
-Eve sees God in a new, self contradictory light now. See words such as "Great forbidder, spies, high"
-Eve debates whether or not to share the knowledge of the fruit with Adam, or keep it for herself
-Eve worries that she will die if God has seen, though wonders if he has as heaven is high and he may be otherwise occupied, and if he has death may follow. She resolves to share it with Adam so they may die together
- *Eve's previous virtuosity has been replaced with greed and selfishness*
838-989- Adam meets Eve, despairs and is then convinced to join her in eating the fruit
-Adam waits for Eve's return, and is making her a garland of flowers. When he hears what she has done he drops them out of horror
- Eve is compared to a reaper, a negative take on Eve as a "harvest queen"
-He goes to meet Eve, who has the fruit in her hands
- Eve says she has missed Adam, and that the tree is not as they thought.
- Eve says all those who have tried it are not dead and are endued with human reason/speech
- Eve invites him to eat also
- Adam says that Eve has lost herself, and attributes this to some devilish deceiver. He says she has doomed him too as he immediately resolves to die with her as he is so infatuated with her that he could not live without her.
-Adam reasons that it cannot be undone, but that it was done by the serpent first so is now less heinous
-Adam believes Eve when she says the serpent has elevated intelligence, and since they are already human it has an especially profound effect
-Adam cannot believe God would destroy his two most important creations, however he recognises that nature will suffer
-Eve is grateful to Adam, seeing the experience as a trial of love. She claims that if she had thought death really would result then she would endure the trial alone rather than harm him (sincere?)
990-1016 -Adam eats the fruit, sex follows...
-Adam's reason says not to, but "fondly overcome with female charm" (Eve seen as a bad influence?) he eats the fruit
-Earth suffers and groans
-The two engage in sexual activity
- Adam now praises Eve for her actions, saying the two had lost "much pleasure" whilst not having the fruit
- The two engage in more sexual activity until the effect of the fruit wears off. It had "made err" their most inward powers - Suggests they are innately innocent??
-Immediately recognise their loss of innocence
-Classical allusions are made:
(i) Adam compared to Samson of Danite tribe, who was tricked by the "harlot" Dalilah into loosing his strength when she cut off his hair. This reinforces an anti-feminist view
Lines 1067-1118 - Adam and Eve cover their nakedness
-Adam is the first to recognise that they have lost their innocence and good, and gained evil through the fruit
- Acknowledges concupiscence: Putting selves and lower desire (sex, food) before God and being tainted thereon by that evil act
- Adam wishes to hide away from higher heavenly creatures in shame, and wishes to hide his parts from Eve
- Milton uses an epic similie and other analogies to represent his desire to be clothed in front of Eve
(i) Fig tree, so thick that loop holes must be cut in it for the herdsmen in India who shelter under it to see their flocks
(ii) "Amazonian targe" - shields that the Greeks used, famously large
(iii) Columbus' discovery of America, where he found natives "girt" with skirts to cover their shame. Adams descendants, which shows long term impact of Original Sin?