The present article explores Paradise Lost's fixing on the identity of the first woman, as given and found in her name, from Adam's and God's initial, “quasi-baptismal” speech-acts, to Eve's analogization to legendary fallen or vanquished females, heroes, and heroines, to Eve's name in relation to both the Miltonic Fall-motif of woe and the word “live” in Paradise Lost. If classical allusions and received literary motifs seem to draw Eve into a fatal past, or to anticipate a tragic or doomed future, Milton also makes clear that “reason is also choice,” and we must suspend disbelief in foregone conclusions—that is, in favor of free will—until Adam and Eve have reasoned about (and made) their own fatal choices.

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