John Milton's Paradise Lost:

Character Analysis:

Eve is the second human created, taken from one of Adam’s ribs and formed into a female form of Adam. Positively, she is the model of a good subject and wife. She consents to Adam leading her away from her reflection when they first meet, trusting Adam’s authority in their relationship. She is very beautiful, so much so that she is almost a danger to herself and Adam. Her beauty not only obsesses Adam, but also herself. After she is first born, she gazes at her own reflection in a pool of water and is transfixed by her own image. Even after Adam calls out to her she returns to her image. It is not until God tells her to go to Adam that she consents to being led away from the pool. This shows that from the beginning she is in danger of narcissism, much like Satan. She is also the first to come into contact with satanic influence; Satan worms his way into one of her dreams to tempt her. After this incident she seems to develop the independent streak that so perplexes Adam during his conversation with Raphael, wanting to go off by herself to work in the garden. She also develops the Satanic view of wanting to organize the garden, wishing to split up to get more work done, worrying that the garden is "messy" and wishing to impose some kind of order on it, which is Satan’s wish as well. She eventually does give into temptation, being the first to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, effectively causing the Fall. She is not portrayed in a totally negative manner in the story, however; during her argument with Adam about whether or not they should split up, Adam says they should stay together in order to avoid temptation and implying that even to be tempted would be dishonourable to them, which is a flawed argument. Eve responds by taking a heroic stance, saying that if they would give into temptation that easily that their virtue must not have been very strong to begin with. This is not the only time Eve shows a heroic side either, despite her failings. After the Fall, Adam begins to blame her for everything that has gone wrong, acting as if she alone is the cause despite the fact that he willingly chose to sin also. Eve makes her stand here by humbly taking all the verbal abuse that Adam gives to her, instead of arguing and causing a further rift between them. By taking everything upon herself she is portrayed as a Christ-figure, accepting fault that is not hers and bearing it for the sake of the future of humanity.

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