Paradise Lost Questions and Answers
by John Milton

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In John Milton's Paradise Lost, how does the relationship between Adam and Eve differ before and after the fall?

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Before the fall, the love that Adam and Eve share, both spiritual and sexual, is in harmony with God's desire and plan for humankind. Adam is the head of their relationship. He leads by putting Eve's needs first. She, in turn, loves and respects Adam and is glad, therefore, to submit to his leadership. There is no struggle or discord between them as they enjoy their pleasant days working and playing in the Garden of Eden. They have complete peace of mind and function seamlessly as one.

What Milton calls "wedded love" (sex) is in its proper sphere, meant for the propagation of children:

Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring ...

However, after Eve eats the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and entices Adam to do the same, their relationship turns to one of mutual lust, mistrust, and discord. Adam expresses his lust as follows just after having the fruit:

For never did thy Beautie since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorn'd
With all...

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