Carol Barton, Ph.D., CPCM
cbartonphd1 at verizon.net
Wed Apr 16 13:38:38 EDT 2014
I agree, Oydin. (I cited other interchangeable uses in my earlier post.)
Best to all,
From: Uzakova, Oydin Yashinova
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2014 1:06 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] fallacious=false=deceptive=misleading=delusive
Greg Machacek asked: "I'm undecided on the pun, but I have this question. Is "fallacious" sufficiently motivated here if not for the pun? In what sense is the fruit fallacious, and why is that the feature of it that one would mention here, as its force is being exhaled?"
I believe that Milton used the word "fallacious" simply as a synonymic variation of the word "false"--he used the adjective "false" 21 times in the poem, but the adjective "fallacious" only 2 times: "fallacious hope" (2.568) and "that fallacious fruit" (9.1046). However, in Milton's use of these synonyms, they seem to be perfectly interchangeable, because he also uses "that false fruit" 2 times in the poem (9.1011 and 11.413), referring to the same forbidden fruit as in "that fallacious fruit" (9.1046).
Likewise, Milton uses "false hope" in the same sense as "fallacious hope" just 47 lines earlier in the same Book 2 and even with the same reference to the fallen angels: "Thence more at ease their minds, and somewhat raised/By false presumptuous hope, the ranged Powers/Disband" (2.521-23). In my mind, these identical examples of MiIton's use of these two adjectives prove their interchangeable nature and their purely synonymic value to Milton-the-poet, unless one is also willing to accept my earlier claim that there may be an additional pun on "fall" (as in "fallen") here, emphasizing the fallen angels' and the fallen Adam and Eve's postlapsarian delusion.
The forbidden fruit is "false" or "fallacious" because it allegedly promised "clearer sight," but instead it breeds the cataract-like "film" in Adam and Eve's eyes that Michael has to remove in order to show postlapsarian Adam "nobler sights" in Book 11 (11.412-14). The fruit is also "false" or "fallacious" because it allegedly promised "divinity," but instead it "far other operation first displayed," making Adam and Eve feel "intoxicated" and inflamed with "carnal desire" (1008-13). The forbidden fruit is also "fallacious" because it deceives with fallacious reasoning, with false logic via Satan, as well as "excites" false/fallacious hope in the fallen angels in Book 2 and in the fallen Adam and Eve in Book 9 as a result of their "vain wisdom" and "false philosophy" (2.565).
The postlapsarian delusion resembles the intoxicated state, full of wishful thinking, that can temporarily numb the actual mental and physical pain or "anguish" like "a pleasing sorcery" (2.566):
The fallen angels "in wandering mazes lost" delude themselves with the charm of "fallacious hope" in Hell in Book 2 (lines 566-69):
Yet, with a pleasing sorcery, could charm
Pain for a while or anguish, and excite
Fallacious hope, or arm the obdured breast
With stubborn patience as with triple steel.
Likewise, Adam and Eve experience "the exhilarating vapor" of "that fallacious fruit" that makes their "inmost powers" err in their postlapsarian sex (9.1046-49):
Soon as the force of that fallacious fruit,
That with exhilarating vapor bland
About their spirits had played, and inmost powers
Made err, was now exhaled;
I believe that in both of these instances, Milton chose the adjective "fallacious" instead of its synonym "false" to stress the lapsarian effect of fallacious reasoning even more, as well as to reinforce it with the possible pun on "fall/fallen." Thus, in my eyes, Milton's use of "the force of that fallacious fruit" as emphasizing the intoxicating quality of fallacious reasoning and postlapsarian delusion is "sufficiently motivated" without any need for potential sexual punning.
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