Week 16

The assigned readings had religious elements. It was interesting to uncover how Milton and Lanyer used those religious elements to create a strong plot for their poems. Original sin was the common topic in both poems and the ways in which the authors used this topic to express their ideas were fascinating. For example, in “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women”, it was revealed that Eve ate the forbidden fruit, disobeying God’s command. However, Lanyer gave a twist to the original sin by claiming that “Adam cannot be excused” (line 33). She was trying to enable the readers to understand that women were not entirely to be blamed because Adam also ate the forbidden fruit and he lacked discretion. It was implied that since Adam was “The perfectest man that ever breathed on earth” (line 42), most of the blame should be pinned on him instead of Eve.

In Book 1 of “Paradise Lost”, the ways of God were justified when it was indicated that even though humans will always sin and face the repercussions for their sinful acts, in the end, it would be beneficial to them. In other words, the experiences gained from sinning would be a way of proving to mankind that regardless of their actions, God would still stand by them to help them to turn the bad deeds into good ones. Milton was basically trying to say that God’s reasons behind everything are always good.

In Book 9, the serpent praised and flattered Eve as a way of tempting her into eating the forbidden fruit. For instance, he praised her beauty when he stated that “thy celestial beauty adore with ravishment” (lines 540-541). The serpent even referred to her as a woman of nobility when he mentioned that she was an “Empress of this fair world” (line 568).

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