[Milton-L] help interpret a line

John Leonard jleonadr at uwo.ca
Sun Jan 25 15:51:11 EST 2004

Good point, Jameela.  I shifted the term to "knowledge" because the Tree
is called the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  But Satan does speak
of Wisdom (9.679, 683, 725), and Eve soon follows suit (9.778, 809).
Maybe the conflation you discern is deliberate on Satan's part.  Thanks
for drawing my attention to it.

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu
[mailto:milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Jameela Lares
Sent: Sunday, January 25, 2004 3:18 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: RE: [Milton-L] help interpret a line

On Sun, 25 Jan 2004, John Leonard wrote, response to Diane McColley's
first false premise is indeed the starting point, that the fruit
itself gives wisdom.

> Is it a false premise? The fruit *does* give knowledge of death.
> she ate, Eve had no answer when Satan (just six lines before the line
> question) said:  "whatever thing death be."  After she has eaten, she
> has a new notion of death as extinction.  She says "I shall be no
> (9.827).  This new knowledge is not welcome to Eve, but it is new
> knowledge, and it does come right after eating the fruit.  Before the
> Fall, Adam and Eve are afraid of death but have no idea of what it is
> they fear ("whatever thing death is.  Som dreadful thing no doubt").
> After the Fall, they have an inkling of what death involves (though
> do not immediately apprehend the full terror of the Second Death).
> Satan's tactic, at least in part, is to assure Eve that she doesn't
> to be afraid of something she doesn't understand.

John, I'm struck by what is perhaps an unconscious conflation of
and wisdom on your part.  Cognitive input is not the same as knowing
to do with it.  I rather think Milton would also distinguish "wisdom"
mere "knowledge."


Jameela Lares
Associate Professor of English
Univ. of So. Mississippi
118 College Drive #5037
Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001
+601 266-6214

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