“Paradise Lost” Articles Review

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Liebert, Elisabeth. “Rendering ‘More Equal’: Eve’s Changing Discourse in Paradise Lost.” Milton Quarterly, Wiley/Blackwell (10.1111), 11 Dec. 2003, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1094-348X.2003.00056.x.

Liebert argues that Eve’s character does not align completely with patriarchal standards or feminist ideals, instead Eve contains elements of both worldviews. Liebert’s thesis builds on two separate arguments. Many scholars argue that Milton writes Eve from a misogynistic point of view popular during the time period. These scholars state that Eve is a submissive woman lacking intellect.

The second argument Liebert enters is the belief that Eve’s rebellion was not a result of her naivete, instead she was Satan’s equal responsible for advancing the story of humankind. Liebert argues against both arguments and states Eve’s character cannot be defined as purely victim or feminist. Liebert’s argument is interesting because unlike other scholars, her assessment of Eve is not based solely on her decision to eat the apple. I agree with Liebert’s statement that because Paradise Lost is such a complex poem, Eve can be interpreted in many different ways just as Satan and God are.

Magro, Maria. “Milton’s Sexualized Woman and the Creation of a Gendered Public Sphere.” Milton Quarterly, Wiley/Blackwell (10.1111), 17 Dec. 2002, onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/1094-348X.00013.

Magro’s article argues that Milton’s representation of Eve’s sexuality is intertwined with the historically relevant discussion of civil liberties. She asserts that Eve’s sexuality is both positive and archaic. Magro inserts herself in the debate over Milton’s development of Eve, and status as a feminist image or a result of Milton’s misogyny. Magro argues against the idea that Eve’s sexuality is diminished and represented in a negative light. Magro’s thesis is interesting because it explores the historical context of Paradise Lost as well as attitudes towards women’s sexuality at the time it was written. However, it seems unlikely that Milton was concerned with the nature of female sexuality and presenting it in a new way based on his marital history and Puritan beliefs.

Chernaik, Warren: Milton and the Burden of Freedom. Cambridge; New York: CUP, 2017.

In Chernaik’s book he argues that Milton’s political involvement molded his description of God and freewill. Chernaik states Milton’s descriptions of providence were radical for the time, though they often contradicted themselves. Many scholars have explored Milton’s personal life, specifically his participation in politics, and the influence it had on Paradise Lost.

Chernaik joins this debate in Milton and the Burden of Freedom and argues against the idea that Milton was a strictly conservative Puritan. Chernaik provides sufficient evidence to justify his claim that Milton’s ideas on a tyrannical God and freewill were radical for the time being, as well as examples of Milton’s contradictions. His argument is important to the discussion of Paradise Lost because Milton is commonly cited as a major influence of political movements, and Chernaik points to the overlap within the poem.

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“Paradise Lost” Articles Review. (2021, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/paradise-lost-articles-review/

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