Saturday, August 02, 2014

Milton's Paradise Lost: Adam and Eve Should Have Known Better!

Eve and the Serpent
You'd think she'd have suspected . . .
By hawanja

I previously said that with respect to Adam and Eve's awareness of the foe's aims, the alert reader should consider PL 9.351-356, in which Adam elucidates faculty psychology further:
But God left free the Will, for what obeyes
Reason, is free, and Reason he made right
But bid her well beware, and still erect,
Least by some faire appeering good surpris'd
She dictate false, and misinforme the Will
To do what God expresly hath forbid . . .
On the Milton List I noted an implication of what God had forbidden, for God had forbidden only one thing, eating from the tree of knowledge:
Given that Adam said (9.356), "To do what God expresly hath forbid," Adam and Eve would seem to have an inkling that the foe would somehow try to get them to eat of the Tree of Knowledge, for what else could Adam be referring to? And what else could Eve have understood him to be referring to? Yet, Eve seems not to remember this . . .
I was challenged on my statement that Eve had forgotten the command, but I actually meant something a bit different, as I clarified:
[P]erhaps I wasn't clear. I meant that Adam's warning about doing what God had expressly forbidden implies that Adam knows - and that Eve should realize - that the foe they face will use the tree of knowledge in some way to try to mislead them, yet they also seem simultaneously not to know this, since otherwise they would speak more directly about avoiding the tree.
I also think that if Eve was expecting the foe to use the tree, she should have recognized that she had met the foe as soon as the serpent led her to the Tree of Knowledge.

Why didn't she?

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