ABSTRACT

Three sections of Paradise Lost—Eve's love song and astronomical query in Book IV and Adam's parallel dealings with Raphael in Book VIII, Adam and Eve's fateful parting and their fallen evaluations of it in Book IX, and the reconciliation and reunion through prayer in Book X—illuminate the thematic relationship of the epistemologies of experience and faith in the poem. Eve's relationship with Adam parallels Adam's with divine agency. The Eve-Adam data provide experiential guidelines for more fully presenting the abstract analogues of Adam's intercourse with a divinity that must remain essentially mysterious. Adam's justification of himself, “I warned thee, I admonish'd thee... force upon Free Will hath here no place,” gives dramatic human narrative form to the divine theory of Book III and to Raphael's lessoning in Books V–VIII, as in Book X Eve's prostration to Adam and redemptive model provide a human equivalent for the mystery of the need, gift, and reception of grace. The Adam-Eve data mirror the God-man relationship in Milton's representation of difficult theological issues for inescapable human comprehension.

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