Paradise Lost Questions and Answers
by John Milton

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Discuss Eve's character in Paradise Lost, Book IX.

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Eve "falls" in this chapter, bringing humankind as a whole out of joint with God. Even before the fall, she is depicted by Milton as a woman with weaknesses. She is vain about her beauty, for she likes to gaze at her reflection in water, and she is portrayed as using her feminine wiles to beguile Adam into allowing them to be apart in the Garden against his better judgment. Even before the fall, there is something wanton and slightly sexualized and manipulative about Eve. She also tends to overestimate herself, even while treating Adam as the wiser of the two.

The serpent (Satan) hones in on these weaknesses and goes straight to work as soon as he finds Eve alone. He flatters her beauty and charm, as well as her ability to reason. While his reasoning for why she should eat the fruit is faulty, she is convinced by it, and does the fateful deed.

Eve is then shown taking Adam down with her, using his love of her to persuade him to share her fate.

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Although Adam is presented in Paradise Lost as...

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