In his speech to Eve, Satan uses every rhetorical means at his disposal to persuade her to defy God and eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. First of all, he uses ethos, an ethical appeal, in an attempt to establish his credibility and honesty as a speaker....
In his speech to Eve, Satan uses every rhetorical means at his disposal to persuade her to defy God and eat the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. First of all, he uses ethos, an ethical appeal, in an attempt to establish his credibility and honesty as a speaker. He does this by approaching Eve in a respectful, even flattering manner:
Wonder not, sovereign mistress, if perhaps
Thou canst, who art sole wonder, much less arm
Thy looks, the heav’n of mildness, with disdain (532-534).
Satan knows that he has to establish a bond of trust with Eve if he's going to get her to do his bidding, so it's all important that he comes across as modest, humble, and morally sound.
Playing on Eve's vanity, Satan proceeds to flatter her in an attempt to to gain her trust:
Fairest resemblance of thy Maker fair,
Thee all things living gaze on, all thing thine
By gift, and thy celestial beauty adore. (538-540)
Now that Satan's got his hooks into Eve, it's time for his next rhetorical strategy: pathos, an appeal to the emotions. Satan attempts to make Eve feel angry and resentful at the fact that she is only ever seen by wild beasts and a man, Adam, who does not recognize her remarkable beauty:
Beholders rude, and shallow to discern
Half what in thee is fair, one man except,
Who sees thee? (544-546)
In other words, Eve has this extraordinary beauty and no one to appreciate it. Surely such a beautiful woman, a "goddess among gods" no less, should be admired by divine beings?
Satan's rhetoric is clearly working, as can be seen from the following line:
Into the heart of Eve his words made way (550).
But Satan's not done yet; he's going to seal the deal by using logos, an appeal to logic. He does this by proceeding to give Eve good reasons why she should defy God and eat of the Tree of Knowledge. He tells her that he was once just a common beast, but then one day he came across the forbidden fruit:
[O]n a day roving the field, [he] chanced
A godly tree far distant to behold
Loaden with fruit of fairest colors mixed (575-577).
Unlike Satan's use of ethos and pathos, there's a relative lack of ornamentation in the language used here. Satan is simply stating what he wants Eve to believe are the pure, unvarnished facts. So he uses appropriately factual language in telling Eve how he came to talk, how he was
[Q]uickened at the scent
Of that alluring fruit and ate until he was full. (587-588)
He then gives Eve sound logical reasons why she should eat the forbidden fruit. As humans are the only animals physically able to eat the fruit, then they must try it:
For high from ground the branches would require
Thy utmost reach or Adam’s. (590-591)
The implication here is that if God had really wanted Adam and Eve to avoid the forbidden fruit, he wouldn't have put it within their reach.
Satan then uses another powerful logical argument to convince Eve to defy God. He ate the forbidden fruit, and yet look at him; he's perfectly fine:
Look on me,
Me who have touched and tasted, yet both live (687-688).