[Milton-L] RE: Eve and innocence

Carol Barton cbartonphd at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 26 11:17:29 EST 2005


In response to John Savoie:

Of course Eve *enjoys* the flattery, John; her beauty is her only "weapon"
(as, when she's younger, it's "alle" that Dame Alisoun has "for to selle"
that any of her clientele are interested in "buying"). Any politician knows
that the way to get a woman to listen to you--not to accept what you say,
but to "lend you her ear," at least--is to praise her baby: the serpent gets
her attention with his flattery, doubtless, but my point was that he gets
her "buy-in" only with his equivalent of the "Philosopher's Stone" . . . the
flattery is prelude, not coup d'etat, and she isn't flirting with the
serpent as much as basking, to the extent that she can, what she knows from
the start to be his hyperbolic praise. (After all, Adam has just wounded her
ego, and she is vulnerable in that sense to the serpent's unctious
approach.) But what she wants is to be acknowledged as Adam's equal, as able
as he to defend herself against the Foe, unassisted by anything save her own
ratio recta: not "Queen of the Universe"--and it's the serpent's offer of a
means to that status that entraps her.

We seem thus to be saying much the same thing, from different perspectives.

Best to all,

Carol Barton





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