|Adam and Eve Driven Out of Paradise, by John Martin (1824)|
A second component of Fish's thesis is that the reader is in constant motion away from rhetoric and toward logic, a transition that is highly reminiscent of Plato's rejection of rhetoric (for those who don't remember, Plato, believing rhetoric leads to social instability, proposed as a pre-condition for utopian society the expulsion of all poets). Paradise Lost begins with the rhetoric of Satan's speeches and ends with Adam and Eve leaving Eden, these having appealed to logic in their decisions to partake of the fruit. I can definitely see where Fish is coming from in proposing such a shift, and I feel like this is something that I'd like to look into more closely in my research. I'll be keeping my eyes for a similar shift in Milton's other writings.