[Milton-L] Help my foggy brain

Carol Barton, Ph.D. cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Fri Mar 30 11:56:16 EDT 2012


I agree with Carrol--with some qualifications.  I think I'd call it Milton's 
"context," rather than his "plot" (we foreknow that eating the fruit is a 
sin, because it's the Genesis story-line), and when we know that Satan (or 
Eve) is lying or dissembling, we recognize the bearing of false witness as 
sinful--and presumably, to that extent anyway, "fallen." We need no cue from 
Milton to know that Satan's "better to reign in Hell" is blasphemous; but 
with the exception of overtly "sinful" or disingenuous declarations (such as 
Adam's "I with thee have fixed my lot . . ." declaration of his intent to 
fall), there is nothing inherently "fallen" in the characters' speech. Even 
the exceptions require external interpretation to make them so: without 
context, "I ate the fruit" is not a morally reprehensible statement.

Best to all,

Carol Barton 




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