Line-by-Line Analysis of “Paradise Lost” by John Milton, lines 897-959, Book 9.

Paradise Lost

Background to Paradise Lost:

“Paradise Lost” is an epic poem written by the English poet John Milton and first published in 1667. Book 9 of “Paradise Lost” is a pivotal point in the narrative. The poem explores the Biblical story of the fall of man, focusing primarily on the rebellion of Satan and the temptation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

In Book 9, Satan, having been banished from Heaven for rebelling against God, returns to Earth with a vengeful determination to corrupt God’s newest creation, mankind. He finds Adam and Eve living blissfully in the Garden of Eden and sees an opportunity to disrupt their innocence and harmony with God.

Disguising himself as a serpent, Satan approaches Eve and engages her in conversation, planting doubts and desires in her mind. He convinces her to eat from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, promising her godlike wisdom and power. Eve, tempted by Satan’s words, eats the fruit and then offers it to Adam, who also succumbs to temptation.

Their disobedience leads to their expulsion from Eden and the loss of their innocence. Book 9 of “Paradise Lost” serves as a cautionary tale about the consequences of succumbing to temptation and the importance of obedience to God’s will.

Line Analysis:

  1. “O fairest of creation, last and best”: Adam addresses Eve as the most beautiful and excellent creation, the final masterpiece of God’s creation.
  2. “Of all Gods works, Creature in whom excell’d”: He continues to praise Eve as the pinnacle of God’s creations, surpassing all others in excellence.
  3. “Whatever can to sight or thought be formd”: Adam extols Eve’s beauty and perfection, suggesting that she embodies all that is lovely and admirable in both appearance and thought.
  4. “Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!: He describes Eve using various qualities associated with goodness and divine grace, emphasizing her purity and attractiveness.
  5. “How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,”: Adam expresses his shock and grief over Eve’s sudden fall from grace and her loss of innocence.
  6. “Defac’t, deflourd, and now to Death devote?”: He laments how Eve has been corrupted and defiled, now destined for death due to her disobedience.
  7. “Rather how hast thou yeelded to transgress”: Adam questions how Eve could have succumbed to temptation and disobeyed God’s command.
  8. “The strict forbiddance, how to violate”: He reflects on Eve’s decision to disobey the clear prohibition against eating the forbidden fruit.
  9. “The sacred Fruit forbidd’n! some cursed fraud”: Adam suspects that Eve was deceived by some malicious trickery, attributing her fall to the deceit of an enemy.
  10. “Of Enemie hath beguil’d thee, yet unknown,”: He suggests that Eve was deceived by an adversary whose identity remains unknown to them.
  11. “And mee with thee hath ruind, for with thee”: Adam acknowledges that he too has been ruined along with Eve, as they are bound together in their shared fate.
  12. “Certain my resolution is to Die;”: Despite his resolve to die alongside Eve, Adam expresses certainty in his decision to remain by her side.
  13. “How can I live without thee, how forgoe”: He questions how he could possibly continue living without Eve, unable to bear the thought of being separated from her.
  14. “Thy sweet Converse and Love so dearly joyn’d,”: Adam treasures the companionship and love they shared, finding it unbearable to live without Eve’s comforting presence.
  15. “To live again in these wilde Woods forlorn?”: He contrasts the desolation of living alone in the wilderness without Eve, emphasizing the emptiness and despair he would feel.
  16. “Should God create another Eve, and I”: Adam considers the hypothetical scenario of God creating another companion for him if Eve were to be lost.
  17. “Another Rib afford, yet loss of thee”: He acknowledges that even if another partner were created for him, the loss of Eve would still weigh heavily on his heart.
  18. “Would never from my heart; no no, I feel”: Adam insists that the bond between him and Eve is irreplaceable, and her absence would always be deeply felt.
  19. “The Link of Nature draw me: Flesh of Flesh,”: He describes the profound connection between them as being rooted in their shared humanity and physical existence.
  20. “Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy State”: Adam emphasizes their unity and oneness, declaring that Eve is an essential part of himself, sharing the same origin and nature.
  21. “Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.”: Adam affirms that he and Eve will never be separated, whether experiencing happiness or suffering, they are bound together.
  22. “So having said, as one from sad dismay”: Adam speaks with resolve, as if finding comfort and strength in his declaration, despite the sadness and dismay he feels.
  23. “Recomforted, and after thoughts disturbd”: He feels comforted after expressing his determination but is still troubled by lingering doubts and concerns.
  24. “Submitting to what seemd remediless,”: Adam accepts their seemingly hopeless situation, resigning himself to what appears to be beyond remedy or solution.
  25. “Thus in calm mood his Words to Eve he turnd.”: Despite his inner turmoil, Adam speaks to Eve in a calm and composed manner, trying to reassure her.
  26. “Bold deed thou hast presum’d, adventrous Eve”: Adam acknowledges Eve’s bold and adventurous actions, referring to her decision to eat the forbidden fruit.
  27. “And peril great provok’t, who thus hath dar’d”: He recognizes the great danger Eve exposed herself to by defying God’s command.
  28. “Had it been onely coveting to Eye”: Adam suggests that if Eve’s sin had been merely desiring the fruit without actually eating it, the consequences might have been less severe.
  29. “That sacred fruit, sacred to abstinence,”: He refers to the forbidden fruit as sacred, meant to test their obedience and self-restraint.
  30. “Much more to taste it under ban to touch.”: Adam acknowledges the greater offense of not only desiring the forbidden fruit but also daring to taste it despite the ban against doing so.
  31. “But past who can recall, or done undone?”: Adam reflects on the impossibility of reversing the past or undoing what has already been done, acknowledging the inevitability of their actions and their consequences.
  32. “Not God Omnipotent, nor Fate, yet so”: He acknowledges that neither God’s omnipotence nor fate can change what has occurred, yet there remains a sense of uncertainty and mystery surrounding their future.
  33. “Perhaps thou shalt not Die, perhaps the Fact”: Adam entertains the possibility that Eve may not face immediate death as punishment for her transgression, suggesting a glimmer of hope amidst the despair.
  34. “Is not so hainous now, foretasted Fruit,”: He considers the possibility that the sin of tasting the forbidden fruit may not be as severe as initially thought, especially since it was first tasted by the serpent.
  35. “Profan’d first by the Serpent, by him first”: Adam reflects on the serpent’s role in profaning the fruit by tasting it first, potentially lessening the severity of their own transgression.
  36. “Made common and unhallowd ere our taste;”: He suggests that the fruit was already made common and unhallowed by the serpent’s actions before they themselves tasted it, further questioning the gravity of their sin.
  37. “Nor yet on him found deadly, he yet lives,”: Adam observes that the serpent, despite its role in their downfall, has not faced immediate death, raising questions about the consequences of their own actions.
  38. “Lives, as thou saidst, and gaines to live as Man”: He acknowledges that the serpent continues to live, as Eve previously mentioned, and even seems to benefit from its actions, prompting further reflection on their own fate.
  39. “Higher degree of Life, inducement strong”: Adam considers the possibility that by partaking in the forbidden fruit, they may attain a higher form of existence or knowledge, despite the risks involved.
  40. “To us, as likely tasting to attaine”: He reflects on the temptation to taste the fruit as a means of attaining greater knowledge or enlightenment, weighing the potential benefits against the consequences.
  41. “Proportional ascent, which cannot be”: Adam considers the possibility of achieving a proportional ascent or advancement through their actions, suggesting that their disobedience may lead to greater knowledge or enlightenment.
  42. “But to be Gods, or Angels Demi-gods.”: He reflects on the potential consequences of their actions, pondering whether they may ascend to a divine or semi-divine status as a result of their disobedience.
  43. “Nor can I think that God, Creator wise,”: Adam questions whether a wise creator like God would ultimately destroy them for their transgression, expressing doubts about the severity of their punishment.
  44. “Though threatning, will in earnest so destroy”: He doubts whether God, despite the warnings and threats of punishment, would actually follow through with their destruction, questioning the nature of divine justice.
  45. “Us his prime Creatures, dignifi’d so high,”: Adam reflects on their privileged status as God’s prime creatures, dignified and elevated above all other beings, suggesting that their punishment may not be as severe as feared.
  46. “Set over all his Works, which in our Fall,”: He acknowledges their role as stewards set over all of God’s works, recognizing the significance of their fall and its impact on the world around them.
  47. “For us created, needs with us must fall,”: Adam reflects on the implications of their fall for the rest of creation, recognizing that their failure will inevitably affect everything else that was created for them.
  48. “Dependent made; so God shall uncreate,”: He acknowledges their dependency on God and speculates on the possibility of God undoing their creation, contemplating the consequences of their disobedience.
  49. “Be frustrate, do, undo, and labour lose,”: Adam reflects on the potential consequences of God undoing their creation, envisioning a scenario where God’s efforts are frustrated and his labor is wasted.
  50. “Not well conceav’d of God, who though his Power”: He concludes that it is not well-conceived to believe that God, despite his power, would completely undo his creation, expressing confidence in God’s wisdom and mercy.
  51. “Creation could repeat, yet would be loath”: Adam ponders the idea that God could repeat the act of creation if necessary, but he doubts that God would be willing to do so, suggesting reluctance on God’s part.
  52. “Us to abolish, least the adversary”: He speculates that God would be hesitant to abolish them completely, fearing that it would give victory to the adversary (Satan) and undermine God’s power and authority.
  53. “Triumph and say; Fickle their State whom God”: Adam imagines the adversary (Satan) triumphing and accusing God of being fickle or inconsistent in his treatment of his creatures, questioning whether God’s favor can be trusted.
  54. “Most Favors, who can please him long; Mee first”: He reflects on the possibility that those favored by God may eventually fall out of favor, using himself as an example of someone who was first favored by God but ultimately fell.
  55. “He ruind, now Mankind; whom will he next?”: Adam contemplates the possibility that God’s favor may shift to someone else after their fall, wondering who will be the next to experience God’s wrath or abandonment.
  56. “Matter of scorn, not to be given the Foe,”: He considers their potential fate as a matter of scorn or ridicule, something not worthy of being given to their adversary (Satan) as a victory.
  57. “However I with thee have fixed my Lot,”: Adam reaffirms his commitment to Eve, declaring that he has chosen to share her fate and stand by her side, regardless of the consequences.
  58. “Certain to undergoe like doom, if Death”: He acknowledges that he is certain to experience the same fate as Eve, facing death alongside her if death is to be their destiny.
  59. “Consort with thee, Death is to mee as Life;”: Adam equates death with life when it comes to his connection with Eve, suggesting that he would rather die with her than live without her.
  60. “So forcible within my heart I feel”: He expresses the intense force of emotion within his heart, emphasizing the strength of his love and commitment to Eve, which surpasses even the fear of death.
  61. “The Bond of Nature draw me to my own,”: Adam describes feeling drawn to Eve by the bond of nature, emphasizing their natural connection and unity as partners.
  62. “My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;”: He asserts his ownership of Eve, declaring that she belongs to him and vice versa, highlighting their mutual possession and interdependence.
  63. “Our State cannot be severd, we are one,”: Adam emphasizes the inseparability of their state and their unity as a couple, suggesting that they are bound together inextricably.
  64. “One Flesh; to loose thee were to loose my self.”: He underscores the idea that losing Eve would be tantamount to losing himself, as they are so deeply intertwined and united.

Takeaways from “Paradise Lost”:

In the above lines of Paradise Lost, Adam expresses deep sadness over a loss, showing how much he cares for Eve and how her actions affect him. We learn that Eve made a mistake, and Adam feels the consequences of her actions, teaching us that our choices can impact others. However, Adam also reflects on what went wrong and how they can learn from it, demonstrating the importance of self-reflection. Eventually, Adam accepts what happened and understands they must move forward, showing us the importance of acceptance and resilience. Through Adam’s story, we see universal emotions like sadness, regret, and acceptance, helping us understand our own feelings better. The universality of emotions in the poem invites us to think about our own lives and the choices we make, offering insights into the human experience and the complexities of relationships and mistakes.

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