While critical attention has focused on Milton’s use of sound in Paradise Lost, the substantial recurrence of wordplay invoking the sound and visual patterns of the morphemes ate and eat has been neglected. This article argues that often in passages detailing or contrasting to the Fall, as well as alluding to it proleptically or analeptically, Milton uses the sound and/or sight of ate and eat to underscore—or contrast to—the corrupting, deadly ontological consequences of the “compleating of the mortal Sin / Original.”

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