I want to look at the perspective of Eve's nature through contrasting her decisions and fate with Satan's to show that Eve's weaknesses end up becoming her strengths, and without them, though the fall may not have happened, redemption would have not been possible without application of those same weaknesses.
While Eve's portrayal in Paradise Lost seems to set women as the weaker gender, the great irony of Milton's epic poem is that it ennobles weakness and degrades strength; Eve finds redemption in her “weakness”, while Satan remains fallen because of his “strength”.
“All is not lost; the unconquerable will, And study of revenge, immortal hate, And courage never to submit or yield: And what is else not to be overcome?”
Book 2 Lines 106-109
“O then at last relent: is there no place Left for repentance, none for pardon left? None left but by submission; and that word Disdain forbids me, and my dread of shame Among the spirits beneath, whom I seduced With other promises and other vaunts Than to submit, boasting I could subdue Th’ Omnipotent.”
Book 4: 78-88
“But what if God have seen, And death ensue? Then I shall be no more, And Adam wedded to another Eve, Shall live with her enjoying, I extinct; A death to think. Confirmed then I resolve; Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe: So dear I love him, that with him all deaths I could endure, without him live no life.”
Book 9: 826-833 (dependance on Adam)
Adam “And me with thee hath ruined, for with thee Certain my resolution is to die; How can I live without thee, how forgo Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined, To live again in these wild woods forlorn?”
Book 9: 906-910
- CharacterizationsA. Weakness of EveB. Strength of Satan
- Two fallsA. Eve's decisionsB. Satan's decisions
- One RedemptionA. Eve's dependenceB. Satan's refusal to submit