Misogynistic Treatment Of Eve And Eve's Apology In Defense Of Women

Improved Essays
The fall of Adam and Eve is one of the most widely used biblical stories to justify the misogynistic treatment of women as subordinate to men. In “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women” by Aemilia Lanyer, Lanyer reinterprets the Fall to support her declaration of equality, as well as relates it to the biblical story of Pilate’s condemnation of Jesus to crucifixion. In contrast, Book IX of Paradise Lost by John Milton carries the same misogynistic arguments customarily used. Whereas “Eve’s Apology” tears down the misogynistic arguments and defends all women, Book IX of Paradise Lost reinforces them in the following ways: the fact that Adam knew precisely the consequences when he ate of the fruit, Adam’s insistence that Eve fell because of her wandering, …show more content…
The misogynistic implications can be found in that Eve cannot do anything on her own, for without Adam’s control over her she disobeyed God and triggered the Fall. Adam is condemning Eve for her want of freedom. “Eve’s Apology” criticizes this insinuation by referring to the second Genesis story of the creation of man and woman, in which Eve is created from a rib of Adam. Traditionally this is used to portray women as a lesser creation since they are created of man; however, Lanyer uses this to downplay the possible evil within Eve: “If any evil did in her remain / Being made of him, he was the ground of all” (Lanyer 65-66). Anything within Eve, including evil, would have come from Adam since she was created of him. In Book IX of Paradise Lost, Eve’s ignorance is what leads to her sin. Satan offers her a number of sound arguments that appeal to her weaknesses. He is very insistent that wisdom is not an offense, and with that wisdom it would be easier to shun evil: “Of evil, if what is evil / Be real, why not known, since easier shunned?” (Milton 698-699). Another large part of his argument is that eating of the fruit would make Adam and Eve, as humans, move up a level to …show more content…
so to add what wants
In female sex, the more to draw his love,
And render me more equal… (Milton 817-823)
Eve is imagining a way for her and Adam to be equals. As she has now eaten of the fruit, she believes she has ascended a level and is now on par with God. This is a clear indication that Eve feels she is not equal to Adam because of her sex. Adam himself ends Book IX by stating men cannot trust women, and if they trust them, they should be ready to face the consequences:
“Thus it shall befall
Him who to worth in women overtrusting
Lets her will rule; restraint she will not brook,
And left to herself, if evil thence ensue,
She first his weak indulgence will accuse.” (Milton 1181-1186)
Adam’s ending argument in Book IX of Paradise Lost unmistakably paints a picture of misogyny that shadows the entire text. As Lanyer argues in “Eve’s Apology,” Adam should have resisted the urge to eat of the fruit since Eve was created later: “For he was Lord and King of all the earth, / Before poor Eve had either life or breath” (Lanyer 39-40). If it was Adam’s responsibility as the first created to follow God’s laws, he should have not followed Eve’s urge instead of God’s commandment; therefore he bears the greater responsibility for the

Related Documents

  • Superior Essays

    The Sin of Adam and Eve In the passage titled Of the Equal or Unequal Sin of Adam and Eve, two authors; Isotta Nogarola and Ludovico Foscarini, argue about the original sin committed by Adam and Eve. Nogarola starts her claim by stating that Eve lacked a sense and constancy and that she therefore sinned less than Adam did. In her case the serpent thought of Adam as invulnerable because of his constancy. Adam was unable to be persuaded by the serpent because he was created so that he would not change his opinion or state of mind, but Eve was not created that way therefore making her vulnerable. God also lead his command more towards Adam to not eat the fruit from the tree because he esteemed the man more highly than the women.…

    • 1134 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    Ishmael Analysis

    • 1387 Words
    • 6 Pages

    If he considers himself equal to the gods, Adam would exempt himself from the law that is followed by all other species. He would believe that any suffering he caused was approved by the gods. Realizing all of this, the gods chose to prohibit Adam from eating of the tree of knowledge. Ishmael notes that Takers have always been confused as to why the tree of knowledge was forbidden to Adam. Since they believe such knowledge is of great benefit to man, allowing him to rule the world, it seemed expected that they would be granted it.…

    • 1387 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Superior Essays

    However, here in Eve’s punishment gender roles are further solidified as woman is commanded to be submissive to man and man is established as being willed by god to “rule over” women. Other scriptures attribute the original sin to Eve and her feminine nature before acknowledging any role Adam may have played. The best example is the book of Sirach saying “From a woman sin had its beginning, and because of her we all die.” The book of Sirach is highly controversial and today is not a part of Jewish nor most…

    • 1677 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Eve was tricked by the snake into eating it then convincing adam to eat the fruit causing them to be spelled from the garden. Adam was to live a life of labor and Eve was to live a life of childbirth and pain (menstrual cycle). Now Amelia Lanyer states that Eve should not be blamed 100% that adam was weak and he should of done something to stop his wife. She even states that Eve was doing this out of love and that Adam could actually approved of this “ Not eve, whose fault was only too much love which made her give this present to her dear that what she taste he likewise might approve.” This statement is a bit confusing and interesting. It sounds like Eve made him eat the fruit that was forbidden because she loved him and that he might approve of it as well.…

    • 837 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Superior Essays

    God acts lovingly by giving Adam and Eve everything they need, they the humans disobey, and God punishes them by banishing them from the Garden, then God acts mercifully towards the humans forgiving them for their sins. This cycle is shown throughout many stories especially in Genesis 1 -11. Adam and Eve deny what they have previously been told by God and eat from the forbidden tree anyway. This teaches us that humans were made originally to be very good and free from sin, but the world is not perfect and we live in a world of sin so even the first two people on the planet sin. Adam and Eve are given freedom by God to choose how they act.…

    • 1680 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Superior Essays
  • Great Essays

    For example, Adam mentions to Raphael that Eve is intellectually inferior to him and Adam neglects Eve’s questions regarding the earth and planets, while hypocritically asking the same question to Raphael. Basically, if Adam engaged Eve intellectually rather than physically and emotionally, the fall would not have happened in the first place. In this way, Adam’s persistence on acting superior to Eve is counterproductive for him as it eventually results in his downfall as well. That said, Adam constantly undermines Eve and her intelligence reinforcing patriarchal values in Paradise Lost, resulting in the loss of paradise for…

    • 1781 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Great Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Sharia And Marxism

    • 1086 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In this case the vengeful actions of the Abrahamic God are no different than that of Zeus. Moreover, the actions of Adam and Eve, defying the divine, are incredibly similar to Prometous. In both situations the divine authority is denying humanity something that would liberate them from nature. This undermines Shariati’s argument because it reveals that humanity’s relationship to Zeus is very much comparable to that of Allah. This means that Shari’ati’s Islam is also influenced by humans disobeying God in order “to attain independence through the acquisition of divine powers” (9) Therefore, Islamic humanism cannot claim to be superior to Western Liberalism on this score, as it is somewhat influenced by it.…

    • 1086 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    Eve: A Necessary Evil

    • 1655 Words
    • 7 Pages

    Witcombe claims that Genesis advises men to not trust women and even tells women to refrain from trusting themselves. Women are not able to escape being compared to Eve. There are other commentaries that believe Adam and Eve to have been equal when they were created, up until the time that Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Because she sinned,…

    • 1655 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    In that version Adam was not heavily encouraged to disobey God and Eve was not seeking worldly knowledge and independence. They were simply tricked by the devil into being kicked out of heaven. One important difference is that while the bible’s and Milton’s Eve both ate the fruit first it was for very different reasons. When compared to Milton’s Adam & Eve from Paradise Lost to the original story there are clear indicators of the liberties Milton took with Eve’s character. For starters Eve is considered a simpler character from Adam.…

    • 1966 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Improved Essays
  • Improved Essays

    If God is all-knowing, then it is completely possible that Adam and Eve’s sin was another test to see if humankind was ready for his true plan of sending down his Son. God wanted to create a race that had the ability to make decisions for themselves, yet chose to worship him. He knew this would be hard, and I believe it was his plan all along to have Eve sin so that he could send Jesus Christ to Earth. This means that it is possible that Adam and Eve had no true “free will” if they were just following God’s plan and it is only God that has the power of free…

    • 724 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Improved Essays