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Does, that the act of transgression is an act of love?

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Dr. Lewis Essay #4—Definitional-Causal Argument “Paradise Lost”
The tragic predicament of Paradise Lost, then, is not Adam’s fall, though his fall is lamentable.
The real tragic predicament of Milton’s masterful poem is that all of the characters are frustrated
from not achieving true connection with one another, and the distance between them, which they
are constantly attempting to bridge, grows wider and wider because of their desperate, misguided
efforts. Satan wants to reconnect with God, but is driven farther away from Him because he
cannot understand the concept of a wrathful God. Adam wants to connect with Eve, but does so
impulsively and childishly, rather than in a mature assertion of his beliefs and the commitment to
act responsibly. God wants to connect with all of the characters, but His need to preserve the
greater order of society requires him to sacrifice the quality of individual relationships when His
divine law is disobeyed. Although [the critic] offers a compelling reading of Paradise Lost, his
analysis is revealed to lack the depth that a work of this scope merits. Adam’s fall is not simply
the result of a decision between being obedient to God and choosing to love Eve. His fall is not
even the most important action that occurs in the text. Rather, it is the complex negotiation of
relationships among all of the characters and their failure to ever achieve connection that signify
the most important elements of a poem that has endured for almost four centuries (Smith, Nicole.
“Paradise Lost by John Milton: A Critical Reading of Adam’s Fall.” Articlemyriad. Dec 7, 2011.
Jan 10, 2012. Web).
Focus for Essay #4: Select a relationship in “Paradise Lost.” Compose a Causal Argument,
which shows the links in the causal chain of the relationship, establishing why the
relationship is problematic and the causes and consequences which lead to the
deterioration of that relationship. Use the Definitional claim-type to define “relationship,”
primarily, but feel free to go further with definitional terms.
Sample topic focus: The Causes/Consequences of “true love”
[The critic] contends that by choosing to eat from the tree of knowledge, Adam struggles with
his conscience because the decision forces him to choose between his loyalty to Eve and his
loyalty to God, or, as the critic states, between “obedience to God and love of Eve—a choice
between two such goods as are beyond easy conception” (n.p.). Is this really the choice that
Adam was allegedly forced to make? Why does the critic conceptualize, as facilely as Adam
does, that the act of transgression is an act of love? Even Eve realizes how hollow this argument
is. The critic avoids addressing Adam’s process of deliberation, as related to the reader by the
narrator in Book 8, but Eve tackles the subject head on. Again, Adam’s shallowness of character
is revealed. Having chosen, of his own free will, to eat from the tree of knowledge in “Paradise
Lost”, Adam becomes frightened and immediately shifts responsibility to Eve and accuses her of
not being worthy of his actions. Eve questions why Adam, as the “head” (Book 8, l. 1155) of the
couple, did not “command me absolutely not to go [to the tree]” (Book 8, l. 1156). Eve goes on
to accuse Adam of being spineless; he was not “firm and fix’d in thy dissent” (Book 8, l. 1160).
Adam responds with a characteristic childishness, asking “Is this the love, is this the
recompense/Of mine to thee, ingrateful Eve…?” (Book 8, ll. 1162-1163). Both Adam and the
critic fail to acknowledge that an immature decision to engage in an act that one knows is wrong
is not true love; it is, quite simply, poor judgment and even poorer decision making (Smith,
Nicole. “Paradise Lost by John Milton: A Critical Reading of Adam’s Fall.” Articlemyriad. 7
Dec. 2011. Web. 10 Jan. 2012).

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