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The Macksey Journal

Abstract

Paradise Lost transforms the Bible’s story of Genesis—the creation and the Fall of humanity—into a fully developed epic poem. Traditional readings of both Paradise Lost and Genesis have often blamed Eve’s consumption of the fruit for the loss of paradise; however, it seems that those traditional readings have restricted the interpretations of the Fall to focus merely on the consumption of the fruit. These readings seem to ignore the situational conditions Milton creates and the motivations of the first people. In order to break away from the traditional interpretations of the Fall, I will examine free will as articulated in Augustine’s On Free Choice of the Will in close relation to the text-based conditions of the first humans in Paradise Lost. With this careful focus on free will and its constraints, I will prove that Eve is not at fault for the Fall in Milton’s epic. I will further contend that the Fall occurred, not because of Adam’s disobedient consumption of the fruit, but rather because Adam chooses to love and prioritize Eve over God.

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