What are The Reasons Of ‘The Fall of Adam And Eve’ it is a question for the reader and as we, being the readers of Milton‘s Paradise Lost, come to know from the very beginning of the poem that the central subject matter of the poem or epic is concerned with the central action of the fall of Adam and Eve.
The central scene of Paradise Lost is the fall of Eve and Adam in which they eat the fruit of a forbidden tree due to the temptation of Satan.Satan who is the worst enemy of human beings, works on Eve’s thinking and on will power in the guise of a snake.
In the guise of serpent, Satan secretly enters into the garden of Eden and talks to Eve in a manner of secret agent. He describes the advantages of eating the fruit of a forbidden tree and gives some other certain attractions and allurements of eating the fruit of this forbidden tree. Eve puts forward her arguments to Adam that they’ would work more if they divide their duties of labour. Here, Eve criticizes God and thinks that the work which they do is somewhat more than their capacities permit.
According to some critics’ views, Eve’s dissatisfaction with the order of things shows the germs of evil in her character and points towards her tragic fall. Adam who makes full use of his prudence and does not accept her views, so he also does not agree with her suggestion. He is of the views that they are stronger when united. He tells her about his apprehensions that she might not be found by the malicious foc in his absence. Eve who is reluctant to accept Adam’s suggestion and is hurt by Adam’s opinion. However, she insists on her independence. After the continual insistence, the arguments between Adam and Eve end when Adam permits her to go alone.
Though Eve had got permission to go to Adam yet this kind of newly achieved liberty was not approved by some prominent critics. Milton himself does not approve of such kind of liberty because he thinks that such independence opens the way for evil to attack her. This point is Very, worthy to note here that if she had not insisted on her independence then the event of the fall would never have been accured. Moreover, Eve’s love for independence is directly against the will of God who had devised an interdependent life programme for them. Eve’s liberty at once reminds us of Satan’s liberty as depicted in Book I.
Being the worst enemy of the human race. Satan had permanent hatred against human beings and always intended to disturb God’s programme. The liberty of Satan is based on a negative kind of independence because Satan always felt delight in evil doings. His everlasting hatred is generated from his feelings of ‘injured merit’. Being so rude and self determined. Satan preferred to reign in Hell rather than to serve in Heaven which was an open challenge to God’s authority. If we compare this proud independence to the liberty of Eve then we come to know that Eve’s dissatisfaction with God’s scheme or plan of things is based on the difference of opinion. Taking as a whole or together, whether it is Satan’s uncontrolled liberty or Eve’s difference of opinion, both are not recommended by God.
In the very next scene, we see Eve placed side by side with Satan. Milton describes this very scene in a very romantic way. Satan who is always in the persuation of Eve and finally finds her alone in the early hours of the day. He moves towards her in a very deceptive style and after reaching very close to Eve, he starts flattering her. At first glance, she is stunned or moved by the way of addressing a snake and is surprised by the serpent’s capacity for speech. Now, she becomes more curious to know more about him. Satan avails this very opportunity at its full swing and starts making dialogues with her. First of all, he himself tells a lie that he has eaten the fruit of the tree. He starts counting the pleasures, delights and advantages which the fruit of this tree has given or infused in him in the very curious mood, she asks him to show her the tree. Watching this tree at the first glance, she bends her head in disappointment because it was the forbidden tree.
The tricky Satan, abruptly comes to know about Eve’s reluctance in tasting the fruit and at the same time, changes his role and delivers a very powerful rhetorical speech which shows his great psychological understanding of the character of Eve. For a short while, he ignores Eve and turns his attention towards tree itself and starts addressing the tree in the following words:
“O sacred wise and wisdom giving plant, Mother of science”
Outwardly, he removes his pressure from Eve, but inwardly at once he catches her unawareness and again begins flattering her. He assures her that there is no need to believe in the threat of death. Satan, in the guise of serpent, forwards an argument to Eve from which there is no escape for Eve. He asks her if the tree offers knowledge or Good then avoidance from it is unjustifiable and if it offers knowledge of Evil. Once again abstention from it is unnecessary because it is caster to shun evil once it is known.
Moreover, he presents a lame excuse or lie in order to capture the thinking power of Eve fully. He further assures her that if she cats the fruit of a forbidden tree then God would certainly praise or appreciate her this act of courage. After this, Eve becomes totally answerless and speechless and she is completely affected or impressed by listening to the argument of this famous speech of temptation. Though Eve is unable to make any answer yet she ponders over it quite carefully and in a very -deep thinking which is just like a soliloquy, she thinks of the afterward consequences. After judging the pros and cons, she reaches the conclusion that ignorance from Evil would always keep her away from the full importance of goodness.
Here some critics are of the view that her act of pondering over the consequence is certainly praise worthy but the irony of the fact is that her analysis is based on Satan’s lie about the tasting of the forbidden fruit. Then instantly Eve plucks the fruit and greedily eats the fruit.
Here Milton very beautifully and vividly draws the picture of the remorse and upheaval of the natural surroundings because nature itself seems to regret over her action. But on the other hand, Eve feels intoxicated and proudly-asserts that God is too far to watch her. Satan takes full advantage of the situation and slips away into the bush. At the next stage, Eve meets with Adam. As she is fully tempted by Satan and starts thinking herself equal to Adam. Now, she wants that Adam should eat the fruit of a forbidden tree which has recently given her an extraordinary power, sense of liberty, free will and also a sense of equality. The only sense of jealousy in Eve’s feelings prevents her because she doesn’t want Adam to be wedded to another woman at any cost because if she dies as a result of eating the forbidden fruit then Adam would be wedded with another woman.
At the very first glance, meeting with two Adam is shocked at the frank style of her life and the wreath or flowers which he had woven for her hair fell on the ground. In the very alluring and persuasive manner, Eve begins to tempt Adam She argues with full force and confidence that the serpent has tasted the fruit and is still alive. Further, she also tells him that by eating it he too would rise to the status of a deity like her.
Owing to the influence of dominating passion, Adam decides that it is better to die quite consciously for his wife because he thinks that he could not live without her. As he has deep love for Eve by the cores of his heart and thinks that even another Eve could not make him forget his present wife. Eve feels delighted and confident that Adam has offered her so noble a proof of his love. With her loving hands, she offers Adam a piece of the fruit and he eats it quite consciously.
Milton is of the view here that Adam’s act of eating fruit is itself an act of uxoriousness. Actually he is not deceived but it is his passion of love for Eve which dominates on his reason and he succumbs to the victim of Eve’s allurement and attraction which Eve presents before Adam in a persuasive manner.
Their severe consequences of the sin begin when instantly both of them become conscious of their nakedness and a desire for sex rises in both. Now, they are no more innocent. Whatever they do, is neither beautiful nor dignified. In the meanwhile, sleep overcomes them but their sleep is not peaceful. Though they sleep yet they get up very soon and start quarreling with each other over the loss of their innocence.
Another sudden change which occurs in them is that they start feeling shameful. In a very repenting mood both of them sit down and start weeping and also blaming each other of the sin. Here we see that the relationship of man and woman takes absolutely a new turn. At this very moment in the poem, there arises a very major difficulty and Milton finds an opportunity to comment on their action. He points out the reason on the basis of which Adam commits the sin.
According to Milton’s viewpoint, Adam’s fall is due to the influence of ‘female charm’. Here, we see that this reason of Adam’s fall is different from the earlier reason of uxoriousness which he has presented or pointed out in the previous scene. This is a thematic inconsistency because the text of the poem presents Adam’s passion of love for Eve as the cause of his sin while Milton deviates from his own text and considers ‘female charm’ as the cause of his tragic fall. Apart from Milton, there are many other critics who have given their own opinions about Adam’s fall in criticism. Though all of them have defined his tragic fall in terms of a formula yet it is very difficult to find a very satisfactory formula for the fall of Eve and Adam.
Keeping all the above discussion in mind, we can conclude in the following remarks that any such attempt either it is from Milton or from his critic, is bound to end in failure because the style has failed to solve or reconcile the contradiction between the action of the scene and the commentary made on it. In simple words, we can conclude that the grand style has been able to present a situation which is beyond the grasp of the poet but there is no doubt in saying that Milton’s Paradise Lost is one of the greatest masterpieces of English Literature.