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Inside Paradise LostReading the Designs of Milton's Epic$
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David Quint

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161914

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161914.001.0001

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Getting What You Wish For: A Reading of the Fall

Getting What You Wish For: A Reading of the Fall

(p.153) 6 Getting What You Wish For: A Reading of the Fall
Inside Paradise Lost

David Quint

Princeton University Press

This chapter relates the separate falls of Eve and Adam in book 9, respectively, to deeply held wishes that Milton reveals in other writings throughout his career. The fall of Eve grows out of the desire to make trial of an otherwise cloistered virtue and to stand approved in the eyes of God: individual recognition, which Milton uneasily assimilates with the wish for fame. Adam, on the other hand, falls in the name of marital love. Both Eve and Adam have good reasons that go wrong when they disobey God, and their respective wishes—the proof, in Eve's case, of one's solitary spiritual worth and sufficiency, the remedying, in Adam's, of one's social deficiency through human love and companionship—survive and are ratified after the Fall when the couple appear to have switched positions. Adam at the poem's end asserts his vertical dependence on the only God, while Eve declares her love for and inseparability from Adam.

Keywords:   Eve, Adam, individual recognition, fame, marital love, spiritual worth, spiritual sufficiency, social deficiency, companionship, human love

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