[Milton-L] Milton's use of rhetoric

Alanhorn3 at cs.com Alanhorn3 at cs.com
Thu Mar 4 21:16:22 EST 2004

Reading Book IX on the subway this morning I noticed two more examples of 
ring-composition, or mirror repetition, or epanalepsis, or whatever, within half 
a page of each other.

First as Eve leaves Adam's side in lines 399-407:

Oft he to her his charge of quick return
Repeated, she to him as oft engaged 
To be returned by noon amid the bow'r,
And all things in best order to invite
Noontide repast, or afternoon's repose.
O much deceived, much failing, hapless Eve,
Of thy presumed return! event perverse!
Thou never from that hour in Paradise
Founds't either sweet repast, or sound repose....

Obvious association here between the verbal repetition and Eve's projected 
return (and her actual upcoming inabilty to return to her former state). I 
notice this passage is full of re's ("return" (three times), "repeated" 
(significantly), "repast" (twice), "repose" (twice)). And between the two instances of 
the paired r-p words--"repast" and "repose"--there are three p-r words: 
"presumed," "perverse," "Paradise". A densely patterned passage.

A few lines down (422-424), Satan is hunting:

He sought them both, but wished his hap might find
Eve separate, he wished, but not with hope
Of what so seldom chanced, when to his wish,
Beyond his hope, Eve separate he spies....

Alan H

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