Milton's Eve: "Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint"
Yesterday, I borrowed from a paper by Ryan Marrinan that seemed to imply similitude between Eve and Death, and I offered that I might explore this a bit further. I don't have a lot of time this morning, so I'll just post a few suggestive points, borrowing passages from the online edition of Paradise Lost edited by Thomas H. Luxon: The Milton Reading Room (January, 2011).
Eve grows hungry at the smell of the forbidden fruit while being tempted by Satan toward her first taste:
Mean while the hour of Noon drew on, and wak'dShe falls for the temptation and eats, engorging on Death without restraint:
An eager appetite, rais'd by the smell
So savorie of that Fruit, which with desire,
Inclinable now grown to touch or taste,
Sollicited her longing eye; (PL 9.739-743)
Intent now wholly on her taste, naught elseAbout the same time, Death, always ravenous and now expecting his first meal, scents the effect of the Fall:
Regarded, such delight till then, as seemd,
In Fruit she never tasted, whether true
Or fansied so, through expectation high
Of knowledg, nor was God-head from her thought.
Greedily she ingorg'd without restraint,
And knew not eating Death: (PL 9.786-792)
. . . such a sent I drawGod, watching the progress of Sin and Death as they cross chaos immediately after the Fall, describes the two as cramming their gorges with dead things:
Of carnage, prey innumerable, and taste
The savour of Death from all things there that live:
Nor shall I to the work thou enterprisest
Be wanting, but afford thee equal aid,
So saying, with delight he snuff'd the smell
Of mortal change on Earth. (PL 10.267-273)
My Hell-hounds, to lick up the draff and filthIf we ignore Sin for the moment and focus on Death, then we see some commonalities between Eve and Death. Both savor (9.741; 10.269) the smell (9.740; 10.272) of death (9.792; 10.269), take delight in it (9.787; 10.272), and gorge themselves on it without restraint (9.791; 10.632). There's thus something of a similitude.
Which mans polluting Sin with taint hath shed
On what was pure, till cramm'd and gorg'd, nigh burst
With suckt and glutted offal . . . (PL 10.630-633)
We would do well, however, to note a crucial difference, for whereas Eve "knew not eating Death" in Paradise Lost 9.792, Death himself was "Sagacious of his Quarry" in Paradise Lost 10.281.
But Eve will learn to experience that sagacity soon enough . . .