Essay On Rhetoric In John Milton's Paradise Lost

758 Words 4 Pages
Paradise Lost holds some of the greatest literary elements throughout its series of books. This work, by John Milton, showcases many persuasive skills and rhetoric. Aristotle once stated that rhetoric classifies as “the ability, in each particular case, to see the available means of persuasion.” Among the three main arguments in Paradise Lost, each carry, at least, one form of Aristotle’s rhetorics: Ethos, Pathos, and/or Logos. Whether it be Eve persuading Adam, or Satan persuading Eve, each argument succeeds in its intentions, ultimately winning over the counter-arguments.
The first of the three arguments proposes itself between Eve and Adam, over their separating. Eve insists the two separate in order to finish the labor, though Adam disagrees. Adam throws reason after reason, at Eve, yet she finds logical counter-arguments. One of which, challenging Adam’s theory of Eve susceptible to pain, “His violence thou fear’st not, being such, / As we, not capable of death or pain, / Can either not receive, or can repel” (Milton 282-4). She explains that her and Adam share the incapability of experiencing pain. Along with this, Eve presents Adam with the thought of the plaintive life ahead if constant fear continues, “His fraud is then thy fear, which plain infers / Thy equal fear that my faith and love / Can
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This entices the “sovran mistress” (532) much more, and to add to her mind, Satan offers another argument, “Ye eat thereof, your eyes that seem so clear, / Yet are but dim, shall perfectly be then / Opened and cleared, and ye shall be as gods” (706-8). He states that ingesting the fruit leads to god-like additions, as well as occupying the same tier as God himself. Rather, God commands them not to devour the Tree of Knowledge’s offerings in order for them to be lesser. Inevitably, Eve consumes the fruit, falling victim to Satan’s Logos and Pathos

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