Eve the Single Weakest Female Character Ever Created
I honestly don’t think I like John Milton much. I know he’s from a generation that viewed women as lesser than man but geeze. Eve is the wost female character ever written. She’s ditzy and easily persuaded. If we were all like that, the world would stop turning. I’m telling you she is absolutely deplorable.
The ease with which Satan persuades Eve to sin paints an unflattering portrayal of woman, one that accords with Milton’s portrayal throughout the poem of women as the weaker sex. Eve allows the serpent’s compliments to win her over, demonstrating that she cares more about superficial things such as beauty than profound things such as God’s grace. Furthermore, that Eve gives in to the serpent after only a few deceptive arguments reveals her inability to reason soundly. Not only is she herself corruptible, however, but she also seeks to corrupt others: her immediate reaction upon discovering her sin is to lure Adam into her fate. Rather than repent and take full responsibility for her actions, she moves instinctively to drag Adam down with her to make him share her suffering. Eve thus comes across as an immoral and harmful being, one whose values are skewed and who has a bad influence on others.
Satan’s argument that knowledge is good because knowing what is good and evil makes it easier to do what is good wrongfully assumes that knowledge is always good. This flaw in his argument is the theological thrust of this book: though the intellect is powerful and god-like, obeying God is a higher priority than feeding the intellect. Milton believes that one cannot first obey reason and then obey God; rather one must trust God and then trust reason. Raphael’s wise argument from Book VIII about the limitations of human knowledge and the need to feel comfortable with this limited knowledge, is blatantly neglected or forgotten. If Eve had stayed to listen to Raphael and Adam’s discussion and had recognized the dangers of working separately, then she could have been safer from Satan’s temptation. Or if Adam had relayed Raphael’s warning message to Eve more thoroughly and persuasively, and if he had denied Eve’s suggestion that they work separately, then the fall might have been avoidable. Eve overestimates the powers of her ability to protect herself and to resist temptation, and Adam underestimates the need to protect Eve and share his knowledge with her. Both must suffer from each other’s shortfalls.
Adam sins not out of a desire to gain the knowledge from eating the fruit, but out of recognition that Eve has left him with little or no alternative. Adam needs even less persuading than Eve to eat the apple, and does so knowing that he is disobeying God. He knows that he could not be happy if Eve were banished, and his desire to stay with Eve overwhelms his desire to obey God. Adam’s sin of temptation is choosing Eve over God, letting physical and emotional impulses overtake reason. The wreath of flowers he makes for Eve symbolizes his love for her. When he sees that she has eaten from the Tree of Knowledge, he drops the wreath, symbolizing her fallen state. The dropping of the wreath may also hint at Adam’s disappointment in Eve as a spiritual lover and companion, and even his falling out of pure love with her. After Adam eats from the apple, his attraction to Eve changes subtly, and he looks at her more like a connoisseur, eager to indulge. The sexuality the two display is now perverted, their love in the dark forest more lustful and animal-like than their earlier love in the lush, bright bower. Their arguing and blaming of each other demonstrate their lack of unity and peace, and demonstrate, as does the Earth’s sighing, their fallen state.
There’s something about this entire scene that just churned my stomach. I am a woman who believes in the power of women. It was an extremely difficult part of the book for me. She’s just so weak. I am not weak at all and the portrayal of a woman as such is just disgusting to me. If you want to see real strength, watch a woman give birth. Let me tell you that right there takes strength no man could ever understand. I appreciate that men are physically more dominating than most women however I am just as strong mentally as any man I know. This book just really made me despise both the first mother according to the Bible and the portrayal of women.