Paradise Lost Books IX and X "Discuss the development of the characters of Adam and Eve and their relationship" The major theme of 'Paradise Lost' is the development of the relationship between Adam and Eve
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Paradise Lost Books IX and X "Discuss the development of the characters of Adam and Eve and their relationship" The major theme of 'Paradise Lost' is the development of the relationship between Adam and Eve. Throughout the poem we are asked to draw conclusions on the many different events that we come across as well as the reactions that we see from the two major characters. Indeed, the only real clear-cut thing that we see from Adam and Eve is their unreliability with each other. Milton's presentation of Adam and Eve in "Paradise Lost" book IX changes as a transition occurs throughout the different stages of the 'fall of man'. The prelapsarian innocence and postlapsarian guilt and sin of Adam and Eve are presented and separate characterisations start to emerge. The description that Milton uses to describe the Garden at the start of the poem is very beautiful. In turn, we see the same sort of idyllic scene with Adam and Eve, side by side working together; "With grateful smell, forth came the human pair and joined their vocal worship to the choir". Milton's language here creates a very calm and picturesque portrayal of the garden when in fact; it is merely the calm before the storm for both the garden and the relationship between Adam and Eve.
He asks it as a question almost as if he feels what has been said is untrue, his awareness and understanding of what death is and the all knowing power of God seems entirely greater than Eve's even after she has eaten the fruit. The fact that she goes back to Adam so quickly after eating from the tree gives us some indication as to her motives. She thinks that she will be able to win Adam over, much like the snake persuaded her. This transformation from Eve is clear in her language. "O glorious trial of exceeding love, illustrious evidence, example high". This is a compliment that you could envisage the serpent saying. However, within the praise that she gives to him are words that are quite troubling and double-edged. 'Evidence' and 'trial' send a message to me that she is testing his love here. In this way, it seems to me that Eve has developed into a manipulative and scared woman who has only just started to realise the consequences of her actions. Ironically, before Eve ate the fruit, Adam let her work alone for a few hours and she failed the test that he set before her and broke his trust. Now, Adam will stay with Eve for eternity because of the undying love that he feels for her.
Their relationship, although once uncomplicated, it has now become far more complex. They now know the differences between good and evil. This leads to some problems and arguments but eventually the rewards outweigh the disadvantages of eternal mortality and mental unfulfilment. The development of Adam and Eve's personalities and relationship both experience considerable change during the poem. We see some of the problems that they encounter immediately after they have eaten from the tree. They have lustful, sinful sex and an argument breaks out as both start to feel tremendous guilt, much unlike anything they have experienced before eating; "Is this the love, is this the recompense of mine to thee ungrateful Eve." A bitterness now exists in Adam that is extremely far from his prelapsarian state. Milton sees Adam's only crime as one that; "shall befall him who to worth in women over trusting". Adam however is able to look beyond Eve's previous lapses and now wants to be with her forever. This ending to book nine here gives the piece a symmetry and shows us that although the two characters undergo mental change after 'the fall', they still love each other even though they can now see each others faults and inadequacies. The development can complicate other aspects of their characters but it is clear they won't change greatly in their opinions of each other in even the most extreme circumstances.
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