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Paradise Lost, Book Nine
(John Milton)

Book IX has another prologue to it in which Milton send out a little disclaimer saying that he is continuing with the epic conventions. He must now make the epic take a turn by making it tragic. He compares the epic to others like the Iliad and the Aeneid and makes it clear that he is writing a Christian epic, about the greatest of wars, the one between good and evil- God and the Devil. Once again, he calls upon the Muse to aid him to complete his masterpiece and show that what is truly heroic is the Christian idea or motif of sacrifice.
We return to the events in the narrative- Satan had been thrown out of Eden by Gabriel and now he returns to Eden. Once we have been informed that Eve is spiritually weaker than Adam, Satan decides to exploit her by transforming himself into a beast. He chooses a snake, which he thinks is the most subtle characteristics which he can now exploit.
We are now in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve working. Eve suggests that she and Adam should split up, because then, according to her, the work will be done faster. Adam tells her that the angel Raphael has warned him of Satan?s imminent treachery and that she would be better working alongside him. They continue to argue until Adam relents, asking her to come back to the bower as soon as possible. But here Milton puts in the Epic Omen- that Eve will never return to Adam the way she left him that morning.
Satan is very pleased to see Eve working alone and for a moment is lost in her beauty till he realizes the purpose that he has laid out for himself- that he has to twist and ruin God?s creations. Satan speaks to Eve and complements her on her beauty feeding her vanity. She wants to know more about him- she is interested in the fact that he can talk, as well walk on the end of his tail. She asks him the secret of his speech and he tells her that he had eaten from the Tree of Knowledge- therefore, he was now a creature of speech and reason and whished to worship Eve since he thought her to be the most beautiful of God?s creations.
Eve asks to be lead to the tree, and when Satan shows her, she tells him that she will not eat from the Tree, since God has forbidden it and she chooses to obey God. Satan begins to tempt her, telling her that he himself had eaten from the tree and nothing had happened to him. He tells her that eating from the Tree would make her a lot like God, and therefore, God, in a fit of jealousy had forbidden them to eat from the Tree. Eve rationalizes this in her head and then decides to go ahead and eat the fruit.
Milton here goes into the pastoral mode- all of Nature weeps for the fall of Eve. She does not notice or care, she decides to worship the Tree as a God and convince Adam that he too must eat of the fruit. She begins to learn from the knowledge that she has obtained and knows that she may die for her sins and Adam will be given another wife by God. She quickly runs to him and convinces him to eat the fruit. Adam now allows carnal passion to overtake his feelings of reason and the warnings that he has received from both God and Raphael. He eats the fruit and then he and Eve engage in carnal activities- Milton has changed his description here from love to lust, showing the effect of their acts.
When the two awake, they are horrified at what they have done and they spend all their time quarreling and making accusations at one another, neither willing to take on full responsibility. Since they have given away to their appetites- Adam to lust and Eve to vanity, they have lost Paradise and the Earth has begun.

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