[Milton-L] Re: Eve seeking temptation

James Rovira jamesrovira at gmail.com
Wed Sep 9 20:21:38 EDT 2009

Thanks, Jeffery, I think I've finally caught up to you now.  Satan wouldn't
be much of a Satan if he didn't sound convincing, would he?  I don't think
Satan's ability to sound convincing is any measure of Milton's conscious
intent for his poem.
I tend to read the seduction of Eve within the context of a broader
tradition of acknowledgement of the limitations of reason.  Adam's responses
to Eve in Book 9 include these words:

But God left free the
for what obeyes
Reason, is free, and Reason he made right
But bid her well beware, and still
Least by some faire appeering good surpris'd
*She [Reason] dictate false, and **misinforme** the Will** [ 355 ]*
*To do what God **expresly** hath forbid,*
Not then mistrust, but tender love enjoynes,
That I should mind thee oft, and mind thou me.
Firm we subsist, yet possible to swerve,
Since Reason not impossibly may meet [ 360 ]
Some specious<http://www.dartmouth.edu/~milton/reading_room/pl/book_9/notes.shtml#line361>
 object by the Foe subornd,
And fall into deception unaware,
Not keeping strictest watch, as she was warnd.

This tradition culminates in Kierkegaard's conception of Religiousness B in
Concluding Unscientific Postscript, in which faith is defined as that which
crucifies the understanding.  Once we begin to reason with the devil, we

Jim R

On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 5:06 PM, Horace Jeffery Hodges <
jefferyhodges at yahoo.com> wrote:

> 'Well, that was exactly what I was asking.
> I originally wanted to know if Milton ever gave an answer to the question
> raised in the temptation scene in which Satan brings Eve to the point of
> wondering if God is the true God. Milton was implicitly raising the question
> in his readers' minds, it seemed to me, and I therefore asked others on the
> Milton List if Milton offers an answer in *Paradise Lost*.
> Jeffery Hodges
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