Paradise Lost "Defaced, Deflowered, And Now To Death Devote"

John Milton

"Defaced, Deflowered, And Now To Death Devote"

Context: Eve, deceived by Satan disguised as a serpent, eats the forbidden fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The immediate effect upon her is a feeling of intoxication. She soliloquizes that to tell Adam what she has done and to share the fruit with him will be to sacrifice the superiority that she has gained by her daring act. She believes that her new superiority will enhance her charms in Adam's eyes. She then thinks that death, which has not yet appeared, may actually be the result of eating the fruit, and she cannot stand the thought of herself dead and Adam living happily in the garden with a new Eve. She then resolves that Adam will have to eat the fruit and so share her fate, whatever it is to be. When she approaches him, she says that what they had heard about the fruit was not true; it is a remarkable stimulant which made the serpent almost human and her almost a god. Adam is appalled at what she has done, as he fully realizes the immensity of her crime. He drops the garland he had woven for her, and all the roses in it fade and drop their petals. He speaks:

O fairest of creation, last and best
Of all God's works, creature in whom excelled
Whatever can to sight or thought be formed,
Holy, divine, good, amiable, or sweet!
How art thou lost, how on a sudden lost,
Defaced, deflowered, and now to death devote?
Rather how hast thou yielded to transgress
The strict forbiddance, how to violate
The sacred fruit forbidden! some cursèd fraud
Of enemy hath beguiled thee, yet unknown,
And me with thee hath ruined, for with thee
Certain my resolution is to die;
How can I live without thee, how forgo
Thy sweet converse and love so dearly joined,
To live again in these wild woods forlorn?
. . .