The readings reminded me of readings we were doing early on in the semester. They all talked about religion but not in the ways that we expected. Satan seemed to be the focus of the texts, well except for the fact that Aemilia Layner blames Adam more than Satan himself. I think Milton’s text, even though very long was rather interesting. I had often heard of Paradise Lost had never read any part of it. There were numerous themes that this piece covered and promoted some of which were pleasure, nature and love. Layner’s piece was a bit better than Milton’s in that it was easier to understand. She was also I think trying to show the disadvantages women are in and how they are often blamed and victimized when in truth it is the men who causes them to not be in the situations they are in or do not help them move on/beyond.
The serpent tempts Eve into eating the forbidden fruit in Garden of Eden by using himself as an example of what the tree/apple can do. He convinces her that the apple has great powers which can make her like a god, she will be smarter than she can ever think. The apple is her demise and he knows that he has to do everything that he can to convince her to eat it. He says to her “look on me! / Me who have touched and tasted yet both live / And life more perfect have attained than fate / Meant me, by vent’ring higher than my Lot” (ll.687-90). If he, a serpent could speak, then the possibilities of what the apple can do to a human is endless. He wanted everyone to be as miserable as him and he needed Eve to bite into the apple so that all others would be doomed as well. She was perceived to be the ‘weaker’ link and so he knew that getting her to eat the apple and give into sin would not be impossible.
I think the general argument was that Adam/men is more at fault for Eve giving into sin than Eve herself is. Lanyer seems to put the blame on men because she feels that Adam should have stopped Eve from eating the apple rather than taking it when she gives it to him. She says “But surely Adam cannot be excused; / Her fault though great, yet he was most to blame; / What Weakness offered, Strength might have refused, / Being Lord of all, the greater was his shame: / Although the Serpent’s craft had her abused, / God’s holy word ought all his actions frame, / For he was Lord and King of all the earth, / Before poore Eve had either life or breath” (ll. 33-40). Adam was smarter and was ‘god’ and therefore should have known better than to take the apple from Eve. He should have tried to convince Eve because he was the one who had been ‘god’s choice’. Eve was only thinking of becoming “smarter” so that she could share this with Adam but what was Adam’s reason? I think that Layner is trying to show that women were being mistreated and men do nothing to help them.