[Milton-L] two small queries

Kim Maxwell kmaxwell at stanford.edu
Mon Dec 1 16:55:00 EST 2008


In his first speech of the poem, Adam describes the work in the Garden as "toilsome, yet with thee were sweet."  (4.439)  There is some evidence in the poem that Adam is actually uncomfortable in the Garden, whereas Eve considers it her territory (see beginning of Book VIII when she leaves "serious thoughts abstruse" for a virtual deification in the Garden by herself).   I think a number of views can be developed about what the poem means by these various confusions in Paradise before the fall, but one I like is that Adam and Eve have taken a view of the Garden's excess that is their own, suggesting a kind of native limitation from what might be called perspective.  The Garden is in many ways the metaphorical center of both how they interpret the world and the fact that they have to interpret their world, that what it is and how they understand it are different.  I think this has some implications for how we might explain the fall itself.

Just a thought.

Kim Maxwell
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