[Milton-L] Abdiel (thought-sins)

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Sat Jul 5 17:17:12 EDT 2008

I am not sure how to express the ontological status of Dream Eve. Harold
Skulsky seems to identify her rather directly with Eve.  Although it seems
that her initial "damp horror" expresses Eve's moral consciousness, I don't
think Eve would be morally responsible for Dream Eve, since the latter's
behavior can't be brought under rational control. However, my point has been
that Eve on waking would feel responsible.

Adam says that dreams are product of the fancy, which randomly combines
elements originating as sensory data and stored in the memory. He thinks the
dream is a scrambled version of the material discussed during the previous
day. This theory is closer to the usual contemporary theory of dreams than
Freud's theory is. In the early modern theory, the "unconscious" element
behind dreams is without structure or purpose, very different from Freud's

But of course in this case the scrambling of material isn't random. The
narrator says that Satan tried to reach the "organs of her fancy" to impart
illusions, or else to poison her animal spirits and so give rise to "vain
thoughts" and "inordinate desires" (4.800-809). At any rate, the narrator
doesn't make clear exactly how or to what extent Satan shapes the dream. If
Satan was able to poison her animal spirits, then the dream is affected by
something like a Freudian unconscious, as altered by Satan's intervention.
We might expect to find Dream Eve's thought and behavior affected by this
agency. But then, Satan must dictate some of the dream directly, since the
angel uses Satan's language and tropes. To me, the angel seems to be
projected directly by Satan.

Returning to your question, I certainly don't think that Dream Eve is just
"an image external to Eve's own psyche entirely" and merely projected by
Satan. Clearly Eve's subjectivity is partly incorporated.


On 7/5/08 3:24 PM, "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

> Continuation from previous post, thanks to my 20 mo. old daughter
> sending my previous one prematurely:
> Michael: Just a point of clarification on your distinction between the
> "real" Eve and the "dream" Eve in your previous post -- do you believe
> the "dream" Eve was representative of Eve's unconscious mind, or do
> you believe it was an image external to Eve's own psyche entirely,
> more like a character in a movie being played in Eve's head, Satan
> projecting those images into her mind?
> Jim R
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