Eve from Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Socrates from Plato’s “Apology”

Updated November 26, 2021

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Eve from Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Socrates from Plato’s “Apology” essay

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Throughout Milton’s Paradise Lost and Plato’s “Apology,” Eve and Socrates take extreme measures in their search for greater wisdom and knowledge. While Adam stares directly into Eve’s eyes, admiring her beauty, Eve looks off into the distance wanting to go back to her reflection, wanting to study that other “more beautiful” creature and search for something else. This is what I imagine when I read the first encounter between the two characters in Paradise Lost. Eve was created as a less equal version of man, inferior to Adam who was her “Guide and Head” (90).

From her emergence she wanted more. Adam was created by God out of nothing for a divine purpose, whereas Eve was created from Adam, for Adam. From the beginning of her time, the moment when she awoke with no one to explain who she was or where she came from, that seed of yearning for more was planted. Once she met Adam, she knew she was his subordinate and lesser of value. Thus, generating the desire to want more than what she was created with, the desire to be equal to her male counterpart.

When Eve had the dream cast upon her by Satan, she knows she did wrong by being tempted, however, I think this moment is what really fueled her fire for that craving of needing more to her life. She saw what the possibilities were. While God explained his creations to Adam because he was first born, Eve was left to receive secondhand word from Adam. God did not speak directly to Eve to prohibit her from eating the fruit, he simply directed Adam to not eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. I suspect this is where Eve found her loophole.

When presented with the opportunity to divide from her better half, she springs upon it to convince Adam to do so. Looking at her actions and reading her comments shows that she’s searching for that knowledge of her identity. Although she had been warned by both Raphael and Adam to resist temptation, she chooses to disobey her orders and give in, despite knowing how severe the punishment of disobedience to God. Once she has eaten the fruit, her self-awareness helps her understand the dynamic between her and Adam, in that she can use Adam’s love for her against him and convince him to eat the fruit as well, so they can continue to be together if they do indeed die.

“For he knows nothing, and thinks that he knows. I neither know nor think that I know”. Even though Socrates claimed to have already gained his reputation from his wisdom, I believe that Socrates’ search for knowledge and wisdom came in the form of truth, because truth is knowledge. Although he didn’t believe himself to be the wisest person, he wanted to go on a mission to disprove those who thought they were the wisest, “And so I go my way, obedient to the god, and make inquisition into the wisdom of anyone, whether citizen or stranger, who appears to be wise”.

Once he went on this quest and essentially interviewed others, the inquires uncovered the truth. I think that Socrates was able to get to a point where he was able to distinguish between knowledge and personal opinion, which further led him to expand his wisdom when being put on trial. Not only did he want to expand his knowledge of truth, but he wanted societies knowledge of truth, particularly the youth.

Another way Socrates personifies the drive for expansion of knowledge is by his teachings. He doesn’t admit to corruption the minds of the youth, but simply states that “young men of the richer classes, who have not much to do, come about me of their own accord; they like to hear the pretenders examined, and they often imitate me, and examine others themselves”.

Eve from Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Socrates from Plato’s “Apology” essay

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Eve from Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Socrates from Plato’s “Apology”. (2021, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/eve-from-miltons-paradise-lost-and-socrates-from-platos-apology/


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