[Milton-L] Paradise Lost

Beth Bradburn elizabeth.bradburn at wmich.edu
Mon Nov 28 12:38:28 EST 2005

Elsewhere in PL Milton shifts between past and present tense as a way of 
shifting between points of view.  (In Book I, for example, a change to 
present tense often accompanies an emphasis on Satan's perceptual 
experience at the moment.)  Perhaps this passage uses that technique, 
although in a way so highly compressed as to be nearly invisible.

Beth Bradburn

Felicia Weston-davies wrote:

>I was wondering whether anyone has any thoughts on ll. 7801-1 in Book VIII of
>Paradise Lost: 
>'So saying, her rash hand in evil hour
>Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat'
>To mix tenses at such a key point I think may be deliberate- however the
>notes in my copy suggest that 'eat' may be a Middle English ref. to 'et'. I
>would like to propose that it is instead a purposeful mixing of tenses, 
>suggestive of the fact that the moment at which she first eats will
>reverberate throughout time, affecting all mankind. 
>Any comments/views would be gratefully received.
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Dr. Elizabeth Bradburn
Department of English
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5331
phone: (269) 387-2620

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