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Book 11 Summary and Analysis

Adam and Eve now stand repentant before God who has sent his prevenient grace down from Heaven to soften their hearts. Their prayers are heard by the Son who intercedes for them, asking for their peaceful reconciliation with God. Though he grants them forgiveness, God will not allow them to remain in Paradise because its “pure immortal elements” will no longer mix with their sinful nature. God has provided Death as Man’s “final remedy” which will be followed by a “second life” for the just who live by faith.

God then calls an assembly of his heavenly angels to inform them of his judgment of mankind. To prevent Adam and Eve from tasting the fruit of the Tree of Life and, thereby, living in their sinful state forever, God decrees that they be removed from the garden. He appoints the archangel Michael to “drive out the sinful pair” but to soften the “sad sentence” and console them by revealing to Adam what the future will hold for them and their descendants. God will “enlighten” Michael as he foretells the future of mankind. Michael should again remind Adam and Eve of God’s covenant to destroy Satan and his evil powers through Eve’s offspring. The east gate of the garden must be closely guarded to keep the foul spirits from entering. Michael prepares to go, taking four Cherubim along to assist him.

Meanwhile, Adam and Eve greet the morning after their night of prayer. With renewed hope, Adam addresses Eve as the “Mother of all Mankind” whose offspring will destroy Satan and his evil powers. With humility Eve replies that she does not deserve such a title. Since she was the one who first brought Death into the world, she should not be honored as the “source of life.” Though they have had a sleepless night, the morning again calls them to their labors. Determined never to leave Adam’s side again, Eve suggests that they live contentedly in their fallen state, enjoying the “pleasant walks of Paradise.” Adam senses a bad omen, however, when the eagle and the lion hunt their prey for the first time.

Adam predicts a “further change” and his fears are not unfounded as a group of angels arrive from Heaven and land on a hill in Paradise. The archangel Michael approaches and Adam goes to meet him, telling Eve to stay behind. He looks more majestic than Raphael, and Adam fears that there will be some new laws imposed on them. Adam bows low as he meets Michael who does not appear in the shape of an angel but is dressed as a kingly young man in military attire.

Michael begins by telling Adam his prayers have been heard, and, though his sentence is death, by God’s grace, he will be given enough time to cover his one sinful act with “many deeds well done.” He has come to remove Adam and Eve from Paradise since God will not permit them to stay any longer. Surprised and heartbroken, Adam stands speechless, but Eve can be heard in the background, lamenting the loss of Paradise which is a blow “worse than...

(The entire section is 2,401 words.)