One particularly interesting episode in Paradise Lost that is relevant to the issue of gender and to the relationship between Adam and Eve occurs in Book 10, after the sin has occurred and after Adam and Eve have quarreled and become bitter toward one another. In lines 867-908, Adam has just angrily reproached Eve, even exclaiming, “Out of my site, thou serpent” (867). Later he turns away from her (909), but Eve,
Not so repulsed, with tears that ceased not flowing,
And tresses all disordered, at his feet
Fell humble, and embracing them, besought
His peace (910-13)
Such behavior on Eve’s part might seem stereotypically feminine and might seem actually weak, especially when she embraces Adam’s feet.
However, Eve’s humble behavior here is actually brave and ideal behavior from Milton’s Christian perspective. Her conduct indicates that she has begun to break free of the pride that caused the fall in the first place and that made the results of the fall even worse. Eve is actually...
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