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Paradise Lost, Book Eleven
(John Milton)

In Book XI, Adam and Eve have decided to follow through with the punishment that God has placed upon them for their disobedience. They have decided to thwart the Devil in all that they can so that they can feel Gods good graces once more. They offer prayers to Heaven for forgiveness. God hears their prayers and the Son speaks on behalf of Adam and Eve.

The Son states that he will sacrifice himself at the alter of Man?s sins, on his behalf. But God refuses and says that they must undergo the punishment and must be removed from Eden. He sends Michael to Earth to expel Adam and Eve from the garden and calls all the angels to hear his proclamation with regard to the two mortals. However, God states that if Adam and Eve live a good life, they can stay with God for all eternity.

We return to Adam and Eve. Adam comforts Eve and tells her that she will be the mother of all Mankind and they will live on to crush the Devil. Eve says that she does not feel worthy of such an honour since she has brought Sin and Death into the world.

Just as Eve states that she will be happy to live out the rest of her life in Eden, Michael comes and tells them that they must leave Eden. Eve is horrified and begins to lament the loss of everything she has known and loved and held dear to her. Adam, though shocked as well, understands that he must obey God?s commands. He is worried that outside Eden, he will never see or hear God again. He is reassured upon this point, however, Michael informs him that God is omnipotent. Michael realises that he has to show Adam his and Mankind?s future, and so puts Eve into a deep sleep and takes Adam to a high mountain to show it to him.

First Adam seems the murder of Abel by his brother Cain and is informed that both are his sons. He is deeply troubled by this and is shown more terrible ways in which humans die. But he is also informed that if he leads a temperate life, he may die of natural causes and not violently. Adam decides that this is the kind of life that he plans to lead.

Adam is then shown the children of Cain- men who work on the plains with metal and have become very absorbed in the art of creation and this has taken supercedence over the priority they should rightly give God. They are men who sleep with women for lust and live lives of hedonism. Adam finds this scene peaceful and more pleasant than the past. He then sees other men coming from over the mountains. They are the sons of Seth, Adam?s third son. They are God- fearing and Godly men, but they soon succumb to temptation by the women. Michael calls the women atheists who have been trained in sexual arts and when they seduce the men, they make the men forget all about God. Michael says that these are men who have allowed women to become superior to themselves and Adam realises the parallel of this tale to that of his own feelings towards Eve.

Adam sees now that the good and just people who speak with reason are not forgotten by God in the following story of Enoch. He sees another example in the story of Noah when the whole Earth is filled with depravity and Noah is the only person who still obeys God?s will. The story of Noah continues with the flood that God sends to purge Mankind by getting rid of all the evil people and allowing Noah and his kin to replenish the Earth. Adam is pleased by this story and is glad that just people survive in the world and are not forgotten by God.

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