Could you write a long essay about Satan’s arguments and the argument techniques in book IX, with reference to the text?

In Book IX, Satan uses flattery and twisted logic in order to get Eve to believe God wants her to eat the forbidden fruit in order to prove her courage and independence. He links disobedience with virtue and makes Eve feel the effects of ego and vanity.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It is in Book IX of Paradise Lost that the disguised Satan achieves his end in seducing Eve, persuading her to taste the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. He praises her beauty, then claims he gained the ability to speak by eating the forbidden fruit.

Satan's arguments largely center around distorting Eve's perception of God and flattering her vanity, calling her a "goddess" or "Queen of this Universe." He tells her God intended for both her and Adam to break the rule all along because in that way they will prove themselves independent and brave. He links disobedience with virtue, which Milton spells out as a warped notion of true heroism (recall at the beginning of Book IX when he mocks the violent idea of heroism espoused by the ancient Greeks and Romans, comparing it with moral heroism as encouraged by Christianity).

Satan also questions the technicalities of God's warnings. When Eve claims they shall die if they eat the fruit, Satan questions if the term death is meant to be metaphorical or physical:

So ye shall die perhaps, by putting off
Human, to put on Gods, death to be wisht,
Though threat'nd, which no worse then this can bring.

Once again, he is distorting Eve's idea of God: instead of painting God as a loving father figure, Satan is claiming God is a fearful hoarder of power, a description which ironically suits Satan more than anyone else in the story.

Overall, Satan's main argumentative techniques are an appeal to reason or logos, but it is a warped version of reason. The serpent appears to be logical in his arguments, but the naive Eve has to make a lot of assumptions about God's intentions in order to accept them. Therefore, Satan's arguments are just as dependent upon their intended audience as they are on their actual content.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team