[Milton-L] knowledge, freedom, law

Michael Gillum mgillum at unca.edu
Sat Jul 5 18:08:54 EDT 2008

JD Fleming,

Yikes, I see now that Eve in her internal monologue just before tasting the
fruit never talks about equaling Adam or aspiring to divinity -- only about
receiving knowledge. Thank you for the correction. Of course the serpent has
promised, "ye shall be as gods" by virtue of the knowledge, but she doesn't
directly endorse the idea until after the fall.

Regarding Eve's desire to test or prove herself, I think it is evident in
the passage that you quoted and throughout the separation scene, except in
her original suggestion. She's miffed that Adam doesn't think she's strong
enough to resist. It's true that her argument is compatible with Milton's
idea of responsible freedom, and so, out of respect for her freedom, Adam
avoids coercion or even commandment. The wrongness of Eve's desire is
situational. It consists in the disproportion between the infinite risk she
is incurring and the limited good she hopes to realize, if it is a good at
all. Eve knows Adam's wisdom is superior, and therefore she should follow
his advice. She rejects it because she feels slighted and wants to prove him

Thanks for your critique of a post that wasn't ready for prime time.


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