Praiside Lost

In: English and Literature

Submitted By killerpanda2013
Words 1704
Pages 7
In Milton's epic poem, Paradise Lost, God's only two commandments to his newest creations, the humans Adam and Eve, contradict each other. This is because God incorporates the contradictory notions of both faith and reason into the law by which he says Adam and Eve must abide. God first commands Adam to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge; this commandment is governed by a required faith on Adam's part in God's righteousness alone. Secondly, God (through implication) commands Adam to live according to his capacity to reason rationally. It is made clear to Adam that the first commandment, having to do with faith, is the primary commandment, since it is the only one God articulates. But, when Adam passes the information on to Eve, he does not make this distinction as clear. He also further convolutes the distinction with other things he says. Thus the order of importance of the two contradictory commandments is lost when told to Eve. Then, In book 9, Satan takes advantage of Eve's lack of information by presenting Eve with a situation wherein the conclusion that rational reasoning would produce is at odds with the conclusion that a blind trust in faith would produce. Eve cannot abide simultaneously by both of God's commandments in this situation. By eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge (as Satan tells her to), Eve is guilty of losing faith, which initiates the "original, mortal sin" (9,1003-4). However, acting reasonably is what Adam tells her is otherwise valued by God and is generally the human connection to the divine. Therefore, while Eve is guilty of losing faith (which she understands as one of God's commandments), she is entirely following God's (and Adam's) commandment to be reasonable.
God's commandments are inherently self-contradicting. From Eve's perspective, the contradiction (of the commandments) is even more apparent, and confusing, since the law…...

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