Analysis Of Our Credulous Mother In Paradise Lost

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Words; as played by “our credulous mother”
The characters in Paradise Lost are directly represented in the text through the linguistic choices that Milton makes. Eve in particular shows many similar attributes to the words describing her. Milton is able to subjugate the reader into focusing on the gender roles of society. In the passage where Eve is following Satan to the tree of prohibition, the text itself as well as the characters explore different dispositions and create or diffuse individuality. Enjambment and diction show the occupation of the words when independent of one another and their dependence while Eve shows her independence and dependence on Adam and Satan by being “led” by them. The use of simile and symbolism demonstrate
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Milton is trying to do the impossible: describe the indescribable. Similarly, Eve represents women as a whole, which is also impossible. Her character is undefinable because many of her actions are contradicting. The words “credulous mother” used together creates the perfect example for this passage representing something that it is not. While the word “mother” has a wise and nurturing connotation, one who is “credulous” is naïve and unexperienced. These two words used together cancel out each other and in doing so, mean nothing. Eve is described as a mother, but she is not a mother, though she may subconsciously want just that. Likewise, Satan is described as a serpent. He is not a serpent and he does not reside in this world of Eden but, he longs for it. When using figurative language, such as the simile comparing “a wandering fire” being put out to Satan leading Eve astray, words can mean the exact opposite of what they usually mean. The personification of the fire that can wander illustrates this. The addition of the simile adds a better picture of the event without actually describing it. Because the fire is “swallowed up and lost,” it suggests that Eve has a similar fate without explicitly describing her demise. Although the fire reaches its end in “through pond or pool,” water symbolizes adaptability, a quality which both Eve and diction possess. Words convey adaptability by collaborating to …show more content…
Contradicting Eve’s submissiveness with her manipulation causes even more confusion regarding her disposition. The first words of this passage are Eve commanding Satan to “Lead then.” She is able to manipulate Satan into thinking that she is submissive to him when in actuality she is only using him to get to the tree of prohibition in order to gain more knowledge. In another instance she works with diction in order to coerce Adam into eating the fruit after she completes the action. Time is manipulated by the diction and syntax. By using the word “swiftly,” the text explicitly defines the fact that Satan is leading quickly; however, when the words evolve into the simile, time slows down for the reader by distracting them from the event occurring. The use of caesura in the phrase “There swallowed up and lost, from succor far” creates a pause in the middle of a train of thought. Milton purposely uses the comma to control the readers’ thoughts, making them stop and realize that the flame is “swallowed up and lost,” highlighting the state in which Eve will soon be: lost while also illustrating the lack of help that Adam and Eve will receive after they eat the fruit. “Swift” assists in more than one form of manipulation towards the readers’ view of the work. A swift was used to untangle silk or wool (Oxford Dictionaries). Tangles represent a lack of organization and in doing so, a lack of

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