[Milton-L] Is Eve seeking temptation?

John Leonard jleonard at uwo.ca
Sat Sep 5 14:16:37 EDT 2009

Stella says that "Eve is not seeking trial," to which Gardner replies "I 
think she is."  When two very fine Miltonists disagree on a question as 
fundamental as this, we can sure something interesting is happening in the 
text.  My own view is halfway between Stella and Gardner.  I do not think 
that Eve is initially seeking temptation when she proposes to work 
separately.  She just wants to get the work done more efficicently.  Satan 
is not even on her mind in her first speech (9.205-225).  But when Adam 
suggests that she might be wiser to stay by his side. . . . THAT is the 
turning point.  Eve is hurt:

But that thou shouldst my firmness therefore doubt
To God or thee, because we have a foe
May tempt it, I expected not to hear. (9.279-81)

>From this moment on Eve is seeking temptation.  But she wasn't before.


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