I consider the Bible to be, not just a book, but an authority on many things, so while we were discusing Milton’s Paradise Lost I found myself disagreeing with many things. At first I was getting upset because the story was not the same one I have read in Genesis. Then I realized that I needed to think about it like any other book, Milton got the idea of what could have happened in the garden and he wrote it. This was never meant to be a replacement for Genesis, it was just a story of what could have happened, it became a story like every other we’ve read. Once I realized all that I was no longer upset and I was able to think about it critically like any other story, full of metaphors and ideas about the fall of mankind.
We talked about Sin and Death coming from Satan and that Death had no shape because no one had died, the world being perfect and all. I hadn’t thought about that when I read it, and it struck me as being kinda brilliant. It is obvious to me that Milton didn’t just put his own ideas into this epic, but he spent time thinking about how things would be and why. Sin in a beautiful woman when you look, but the deeper you go the scarier things get. Not only is this a lot of effort, but it is logical and thought provoking, to me at least.
Of course there is an idea about feminism, that seems to be a very hot topic with us. I like the Bible’s version of this more than Milton’s. I like it better because it says that they were together and she ate and then he ate, she didn’t convince him, he was right next to her. In Paradise Lost Eve has to convince Adam to eat with her. I think the reason Milton wrote it like this is simple: he wanted to be able to blame women. Not to say he didn’t like women, but the idea that women are to blame for the fall of man would have been a readily accepted idea at the time.