"Her Rash Hand In Evil Hour Forth Reaching To The Fruit, She Plucked, She Eat"

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Last Updated on May 9, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 179

Context: Beguiled by Satan in the shape of a beautiful serpent, Eve finally is persuaded to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge, fruit which God has commanded man not to taste or touch. Later, out of jealousy that she is created unequal to Adam, she will persuade him, too, to eat. At the moment she is content to gorge herself without restraint, her ambition and her pride leading her to wish to eat of the fruit till she be the equal of the gods. Faithful to epic tradition, Milton introduces at this point of the poem portents of what is to follow. When Eve disobeys God's injunction by eating of the fruit, nature herself sighs and gives omens of the unhappiness that is to be visited on the world as a result of Eve's act. As the poet describes the scene:

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. . . her rash hand in evil hour
Forth reaching to the fruit, she plucked, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and nature from her seat
Sighing through all her works, gave sign of woe,
That all was lost.

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