Welcome back to my Read Along With Me Challenge!
We’re drawing near to the end of the book – how exciting! I’ll be talking about chapters 7, 8 and 9 of Paradise Lost today.
You can read Chapter 7 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 7 in modern English here:
Milton starts this chapter by referring to another Muse to help him tell the rest of the story. Then, the scene shifts back to Adam and the Archangel Raphael’s conversation. Raphael explains to Adam how Satan fell from Heaven after the war, and then how God created the world, including him and Eve. The rest of the chapter is a retelling of Genesis 1 and 2.
*Muse: A woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist.
For the most part of this chapter, I fully understood what Milton was saying (progress!), because of my background knowledge of the Bible. The archaic language was still really obvious but it didn’t slow me down as much, probably because the language used for the retelling of the creation account could have been lifted from an AV Bible. However, because I understood the narrative, I could really begin to appreciate Milton’s use of creative vocabulary and vivid imagery – something I’ve not been able to grasp until now.
You can read Chapter 8 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 8 in modern English here:
Raphael and Adam continue to chat, talking about God’s goodness in providing a beautiful world and a beautiful wife. However, Raphael warns Adam not to fall into sin by thinking about Eve in a lustful or carnal way. Adam is concerned for the safety of Eve, who seems less “pure” than him, and Raphael again warns of Satan’s plans to destroy Eden. There is noticeable foreshadowing of The Fall in this chapter.
Unlike Chapter 7, I barely understood any of this chapter! I could just about tell how Adam and Eve appreciated each other and valued their relationship, which again adds to the tragic “spoiler”, that we already know both Adam and Eve sin, and Adam blames Eve, which obviously taints their perfect relationship.
You can read Chapter 9 of Milton’s original work and a sample of Chapter 9 in modern English here:
This is the turning point in the book; Milton openly tells the reader that he must not relate the actions of Adam and Eve’s fall into sin. Then, we are taken to the Garden of Eden, where Satan sneaks in again and takes the form of a snake. Meanwhile, Eve has persuaded to work in a different part of the garden, so as to maximise the work she and Adam can complete. Adam is reluctant to let her go, knowing everything Raphael has told him. Eve is in the garden, when Satan approaches and tempts her, shunning God’s warning against the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and so Eve eats of the fruit of the tree. She takes some to Adam, who is shocked and horrified, but also gives in and eats. They instantly become aware of their sin, guilt and shame and hide.
In case you couldn’t tell from the size of this summary, Chapter 9 is huge! It was definitely a challenge working my way through it (Judith, wasn’t that the point of these blog posts?). I could sense the build-up to Adam and Eve’s Fall at the start of this chapter, but it certainly took its time happening, and I wish it had happened quicker. Also, Eve really got on my nerves this chapter. Is she stupid?!
1. Eve eats the fruit because she sees a talking snake, and wonders how he got the ability to talk and so eats it too, hoping to get the same ability, when she can already talk
2. Eve doesn’t notice anything odd about the notion of a snake eating an apple!
– Snakes don’t eat fruit
– Snakes don’t have hands; how would he pick it from the tree?
3. Eve has literally been warned 2 or 3 times about an evil liar prowling about the Garden of Eden, then meets a strange creature and takes it for granted that they are telling the truth
I thought Milton’s expansion of the Biblical account in this chapter was brilliant – it made the scenes tense, dramatic, and there was a tragic sense of “NOOOO” when Eve gave in, despite knowing it would happen anyway!
Thanks for reading this post!
I’ve almost finished the book – thank you for sticking with me through this challenge. Come back tomorrow to read the Finale, where I’ll be talking about about chapters 10, 11 and 12!
That’s all for now!