*note* this paper sucks-I wrote it 1 hour before I had to hand it in. Use w/ caution.
In John Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost , the issue of who is to blame
fall of man is one that for the most part can be interpreted from a
reading of book IX. Based on the text, Eve played a larger role in the
to eat the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and Adam’s
more passive in that he simply followed the wishes of Eve. When
sorted out later in the story, it becomes clear that Adam and Eve were
After an extended visit from the angel Raphael at which time he
explained in great detail to Adam the dangers of falling into temptation
disobeying God’s will, Adam is faced with a problem. The problem is that
wants to split up for the day and Adam knows that this is a bad idea,
particularly after the dream that she has described to him. They argue
length, but in the end Adam allows Eve to do as she wishes even though
she is making a very bad decision. Adam also knows that his ability to
is inherently stronger than Eve’s, yet in his love for her is so strong
consents to her will. This yielding is very similar to Eves yielding to
serpents deception because Adam is aware of the probable outcome of
decision. In his final plea for her to remain pious he says to Eve:
O woman, best are all things as well
Of God ordained them; his creating hand
Of all he had created, much less man,
Or aught that might his happy state secure,
Secure with outward force. Within himself
The danger lies, yet lies within his power;
Against his will he can receive no harm.
But God left free the will, for what obeys
Reason is free, and reason he made right,
Lest by some by fair appearing good surprised,
She dictate false and misinform the will
Not then mistrust, but tender love, enjoins
That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since reason not impossibly may meet
some specious object by the foe suborned,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warned.
Seek not Temptation, then which not to avoid
Were better, and most likely if from me
Thou sever not: trial will come unsought.
Wouldest thou approve thou constancy, approve
First thy obedience, th’other who can know,
Not seeing thee attempted, who attest?
But if thou think trial unsought may find
Us both securer than thus warned thou seemst,
Go; for thy stay, not free, absents thee more.
On what thou hast of virtue, summon all;
For God towards thee hath done his part: do thine.(9,343-379)
In this long speach Adam is pleading with Eve to see that is is a
idea for her to venture out into the garden alone in the mist of such
danger. It is as though he is giving her a speach before he sends her
battle. Battle is precisely what she walks into, and Adam is clearly
this is going to happen. It is his decision to yield to Eve that makes
much to blame for the fall as Eve is for trusting the serpent and
After Eve has been corrupted she is faced with a decision of what to do
about Adam. She decides to convince him to eat the apple as well so that
will share what ever punishment that they will have coming to them. Adam
that eating the apple is very wrong, but he does so anyway because his
Eve is so strong will not let her suffer punishment alone. This being
decision, he eats the apple and thus disobeys the word of God and
every thing he has been telling Eve that they must believe in. After the
is done, they fall into a terrible argument of who is to blame, but the
is that the two of the are equally at fault for the fall of man, because
could have prevented it if they had obeyed the will of God.