[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Sep 9 14:02:09 EDT 2009


Thanks for the reply, Carl.  I never understood Milton to possess
great humility, so that may guide my reading of his works.  But even
if he does not claim success in this endeavor, he does establish a
claim for his intent.  There's an underlying assumption of some kind
of intentionality in most of the posts on this thread -- if we work
from these assumptions, I think Milton seemed to intend to present a
Christian God who can be morally defended.  If we abandon historicity
or intentionality in interpretation, and simply apply our own moral
reasoning to Milton's text, then of course we can side with God,
Satan, Adam, Eve, etc., and make any claims we want.  But to do so is
to make a claim about ourselves, not Milton or his text.

Jim R

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 4:49 PM, Carl Bellinger <bcarlb at comcast.net> wrote:
> Jim, you write::
>
>> Jeffery -- assuming Milton is sincere in his claim to "justify the
>> ways of God to man," I think Milton gave us his answer by explaining
>> to his readers the very purpose of his poem.  If he makes that claim
>> ironically, then of course that changes the entire tenor of the poem.
>
> But it seems to me to go too far to say Milton is making this "claim." He
> doesn't make the claim, but rather petitions the Muse to aid him in the
> adventure of his grand singing-project. Moreover, to my ear there is an
> ironic aspect to the super-heightened style of the opening twenty-six line
> invocation. The language in those lines seems to me more purple than perfect
> decorum would allow, and this is a form of humility. As is also the final
> "men" rather than "man."
>
> Best,
> Carl
>
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "James Rovira" <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
> To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
> Sent: Tuesday, September 08, 2009 12:38 PM
> Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation
>
>
>> Jeffery -- assuming Milton is sincere in his claim to "justify the
>> ways of God to man," I think Milton gave us his answer by explaining
>> to his readers the very purpose of his poem.  If he makes that claim
>> ironically, then of course that changes the entire tenor of the poem.
>> And yes, in this case Milton should be read as a very sophisticated
>> Gnostic author writing a story about another fallen creator-god.  You
>> may believe that is true about the Jewish and Christian God, but was
>> that Milton's belief?
>>
>> I'm fairly confident, however, that Milton's readers would know God
>> was good and Satan was not to be trusted even without Milton telling
>> them.  Seems like he does, though, here and there, does he not?   Even
>> apart from these widespread assumptions, doesn't Satan come to seem
>> very small and petty well before the end of the poem?  Even Shelley
>> didn't think he was a fit subject for his own mythological poem.
>>
>> Jim R
>>
>> On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 3:31 PM, Horace Jeffery
>> Hodges<jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:
>>>
>>> Jim Rovira wrote:
>>>
>>> "This reasoning assumes that God is indeed God, of course, which is an
>>> assumption that I think Milton held."
>>>
>>> But it's an assumption that Satan questions, and brings Eve to question,
>>> so
>>> Milton must be raising the issue, too. Satan and his fallen companions
>>> are
>>> shown openly questioning whether or not the God who has defeated them is
>>> truly God -- or merely a superior angel who happened to come into being
>>> before the rest of them and thereby had an advantage.
>>>
>>> What answer does Milton provide to this question?
>>>
>>> Jeffery Hodges
>>
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-- 
James Rovira
Tiffin University



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