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We’re in the home stretch for Paradise Lost! As usual, lots of stuff went over my head, but here are a few quick thoughts on Books VII and VIII.
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Raphael continues his conversation with Adam, but this time he is relating the story of how God created the Earth and then mankind. As told in the Bible, creation take six days where land was separated from water and animals of every kind were created. Raphael infers that by creating the Earth, God is showing Satan and all the other rebellious angels that God’s power can be expanded in other ways and into other spaces. Then pleased with the results of his work, God rests on the seventh day.
I find it interesting how Raphael has come to provide Adam with, among other juicy info, this education about God. As if, even though God has a connection to Adam, he felt it was better to send a representative to discuss these matters. I get the impression that Adam is very innocent and naïve, the vacant-eyed doll I imagine him to be. Could God not have made him smart, strong and ready to face the dangers out there? On another note, I noticed that some of the language Milton used to describe the creation of the Earth was similar to language from the Bible, such as “God saw the light was good”. However, Milton’s version is much more eloquent and pretty.
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Among other things, Raphael and Adam talk about how he and Eve was created and this leads to a conversation about love and sex. Adam admits he is strongly attracted to Eve’s beauty and the angel warns him that Eve is a weaker creature by nature and this will lead to Adam’s downfall. Raphael says that love should be pure and not based on passion or carnal desires, and Adam should strive for a love that will raise him to heaven.
I had wondered where Eve was during this conversation and was shocked when she gets up and leaves the conversation to tend to her plants, as if she was bored. I guess Milton felt she had nothing intelligent to contribute during the entire discussion. Raphael must have been so relieved Eve left because the man-to-man conversation he has with Adam is basically to slam Eve for being the weaker sex and wrong for Adam. Very subtly, Raphael suggests that Adam get some control over his hormones and prepare for Satan.
What will happen next? Well, I guess we kinda know, don’t we?