Satan finds the display of love and affection shown by Adam and Eve to God and to each other â€śhatefulâ€ť and â€śtormentingâ€ť (l. 505). This comes in the very first line of the monologue in which he will reveal his malicious scheme to persuade Adam and Eve to consume the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge and go against Godâ€™s rule. How Satan finds their love â€śhatefulâ€ť mirrors how he sees good as evil, evil as good. Satan, at least in his own mind, has become the antithesis of God, and everything God views as evil or wrong, Satan will view as good or right.
But he also finds pain in the fact that Adam and Eve can display and share their love so openly and happily. Just as God allows them to be â€śImparadised in one anotherâ€™s armsâ€ť (l. 506), God has subjected Satan to utmost punishment in the depths of Hell, the true anti-paradise. Satan now not only envies the powers and might of God, but he also envies the caring relationship God has with Man, which ironically mirrors the relationship God once shared with Lucifer in heaven.
Satan then interrupts his thoughts of pain with the situation at hand: he has learned that Adam and Even have one rule to follow. They are not allowed to taste the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. Immediately he questions Godâ€™s reasoning behind forbidding knowledge, calling it â€śsuspiciousâ€ť and â€śreasonlessâ€ť (l. 516). Satan, very ironically, accuses God of envy in forbidding his creations knowledge; but here he has a point and seems to genuinely disdain Godâ€™s restriction, whereas in the past Satan normally only disagreed to be difficult and evil. He calls this law from God a â€śfair foundation laid whereon to build / Their ruinâ€ť (ll. 521-2). Satan no longer has his beliefs just to spite God, just to be the evil to Godâ€™s good; he has finally found an action by God that he opposes and truly believes to be unjust. Of course, Satan fails to see that God made this rule and gave Adam and Eve the means to break it to allow them free will.
It is then that Satan reveals his intent and plan. He is going to persuade Adam and Eve to desire knowledge and reject Godâ€™s commands. Satan says of Godâ€™s rule that it is â€śinvented with design / To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt / Equal with godsâ€ť (ll. 524-6). Here Satan seems to want to help Man see things from his point of view. He wants Adam and Eve to be jealous of Godâ€™s rule over them in the same fashion that Satan was jealous of Godâ€™s power earlier.
Satan has already developed an angle with which to approach Adam and Eve: with knowledge, they might become equal with God, in a way, rendering the fact that they would be breaking his rule obsolete. Satan uses his silver tongue already in this monologue, accusing God and his commands of being â€śenviousâ€ť of Adam and Eve. Surely, he is preparing to mount a persuasion so fierce that his mischievous meddling will not go in vain.
Satan addresses Adam and Eve from a distance: â€śLive while ye may / Yet happy pair! Enjoy, till I return, / Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed!â€ť (ll. 533-5). Satan uses â€śsucceedâ€ť here in two ways: not only does this mean that long woes will â€śfollowâ€ť the short pleasures, but Satan is confident that his plans will â€śworkâ€ť and he will accomplish his evil deeds. Satanâ€™s pride shines through here with this taunting exclamation, showing that he is becoming wholly encompassed by evil pride and ambition.
Based on lines 505-35 in Book IV of Paradise Lost
by John Milton.
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Forgiveness is too sacred a sword of social relations to be unsheathed for the pettiest of offenses. This sword should only wear the trickling blood of what is unforgivable, slay what beast steers to spawn enmity between men. For if the vociferous loon is slain over the murderous bear, what is need of a sword over a knife? â€śIf one is only prepared to forgive what appears forgivable . . . then the very idea of forgiveness would disappear." No, this sword was tempered to vanquish not venial iniquity, but mortal. Its very point in being is to strike down the immortal foes of our immoral deeds.
To neglect the sword of its duty is in turn an offense worthy of the blade. Unforgiveness lends itself to unforgiveness; to harbor a grudge is to handle a shield impenetrable to reason, ever-protecting of hate. While I tend to witness people justify resentment towards those that have wronged them or for those that have been wronged, I believe it is tragic that grudges must be held. Donâ€™t grudges usually seem to be used as a weapon to fill the offender with regret? What purpose can this regret serve if not to shame the offender to seeking the forgiveness of the victim? And when the victim denies the offender forgiveness, thus completing the circle, it appears to me that the victim is all too misled or blinded by his indignation to realize his purposeless, ceaseless brooding.
Mahatma Gandhi was compassionate enough to invent the vaccine for world blindness. Nothing is made equal with revenge. The only way to level the battlefield is to respond to a wrong with a right, forgive offense instead of perpetuating it. If Rwanda refuses to help New Orleans, where will the cycle end?
The quicker the slash, the sooner the sword rests in its sheath, unneeded.
Based on "On Forgiveness" by Jacques Derrida.
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Never Again Would Birds' Song Be the Same
He would declare and could himself believe
That the birds there in all the garden round
From having heard the daylong voice of Eve
Had added to their own an oversound,
Her tone of meaning but without the words.
Admittedly an eloquence so soft
Could only have had an influence on birds
When call or laughter carried it aloft.
Be that as may be, she was in their song.
Moreover her voice upon their voices crossed
Had now persisted in the woods so long
That probably it never would be lost.
Never again would birds' song be the same.
And to do that to birds was why she came.
Frost would declare and could himself believe that nature, through human attribution, sustains so vividly an aspect of human affects that he wagers â€śprobably it never would be lostâ€ť (l. 12). In â€śNever Again Would Birdsâ€™ Song Be the Same,â€ť he offers that Everyman over the years has heard and can still hear as Adam the human tone of meaning Eve so softly and eloquently imbued in the birds. Along the course of the sonnet, there is ample room for elements of separation from love and nature that could normally cast loving humans into sorrow, but instead are used to display that a more positive yearning exists. Careful language also affects how the poemâ€™s meaning is relayed. By using his mythological backbone of Eve instilling an oversound into birdsâ€™ song, Frost manages to prĂ©cise the history and everlasting effects of love and nature according to Romantic ideals.
Adam, as the first man to exist, was also the first man to love and be inspired by love when Eve was created. Without any precedent, we have to wonder what it is that made Adam connect the voice of his love, Eve, to the song of birds. The first sentence of the sonnet tells us something about Adamâ€™s location and influence from his surroundings:
He would declare and could himself believe
That the birds there in all the garden round
From having heard the daylong voice of Eve
Had added to their own an oversound.
Adam was dwelling in the garden, able to hear the birds around him singing their usual song. He needed something to equate his love for Eve with, and when in a lush garden with many animals a person is likely to hear the beautiful and prevalent song of birds. But Adam went further than just to equate them; he declared that the birds extracted what they also loved from Eveâ€™s voice and imbedded it into their own song in what probably would be the first act, according to Frostâ€™s interpretation of mythological events, of poetic Romanticism.
The â€śHeâ€ť in the poem may explicitly refer to Adam, but Adam is implicitly used as a figure for Everyman. Adam was Eveâ€™s companion and the only other human alive to bear witness to what Eve did to the birdsâ€™ song. Only Adam could know that â€śNever again would birdsâ€™ song be the sameâ€ť (l. 13) because he was the only person around before Eve was created to have heard both the unchanged song and the altered song after. Adam, however, can represent anyone that has ever realized or has been inspired to place a human affect on nature. In using the idea of the first man and woman ever to exist, Frost sets a precedent that the entire human race, as Everyman, is able to follow. The temporality of the poem also hints that Adam is intended to represent Everyman. We can only assume when â€śnowâ€ť is, but juxtaposed to the modal â€śwouldâ€ť it appears as though the poem takes place in the past looking forward to the future. The â€śprobablyâ€ť admits that the future is still uncertain, but up until the present Eveâ€™s voice has probably not been lost. The same applies in saying â€śNever again would birdsâ€™ song be the sameâ€ť (l. 13); what is also added, though, is the fact that Eveâ€™s effect was a permanent one. The finality of â€śNever againâ€ť resonates through the entire sonnet from the onset because of the title, and when it is repeated as the turn we come to truly understand what it means in the context of the first 12 lines. The reiteration serves as a coda to Frostâ€™s proposition that lasts for all of time and through every human heart.
Despite Frostâ€™s suggestion that this superimposition of human affection and nature is experienced by every passionate human through time, there also exists a tension in the distance between the speaker and Adam. The speaker does not appear to take on any specific identity, so the poem remains presented by an anonymous narration. The fact remains, however, that this sonnet was written in the 20th century: far past the time of Adam and Eve and the simplicity of their garden. This brings attention to what differences the speaker and Adam, referred to only in the third person as â€śHeâ€ť (l. 1), might have. Surely Adam in ahistorical times â€śwould declare and could himself believeâ€ť (l. 1), but perhaps the speaker serves to point out that this belief in modern times no longer truly exists. With the knowledge thrust upon us at the Fall of Man, nobody could honestly believe it is true that birds would or could consciously imbue their song with Eveâ€™s â€śtone of meaningâ€ť (l. 5), whether it was their intention or what seemed to be evident in Adamâ€™s ears.
Furthermore, with his mythological proposal Frost must confess that in order for humans to tie our emotions to birds in such a disjunct manner we must have viewed ourselves as something separate from nature from our very inception and especially after the Fall from the Garden of Eden suffered by Adam and Eve. Here we see Eveâ€™s voice as separate from the birdsâ€™. The birds, â€śhaving heard the daylong voice of Eve / Had added to their own an oversoundâ€ť (ll. 3-4). Birds and Eve each possessed their own distinct voices while in the Garden of Eden despite that humans were still supposed to be connected to nature then. Later in the poem exists even more grinding between the voices than before: â€ś[Eveâ€™s] voice upon [the birdsâ€™] voices crossed / Had now persisted in the woodsâ€ť (ll. 10-11). â€śCrossedâ€ť is presented as a past participle describing voices, which suggests an uneasy friction between the voices of Eve and the birds. In fact, it makes the voices appear to work against one another. There was even less unity between humans and nature: a downward trend that mostly would continue for the rest of time alongside the advancement of human knowledge.
What also seems to separate humans from nature and thus birds is our intelligence and language. One of the greatest distinctions between humans and animals is our spoken word. The greater skills of communication have helped the human race develop lasting cultures and ideas, effectively moving us past the nature from which we came. What makes this clear is that when the birds added the oversound to their song, they added Eveâ€™s â€śtone of meaning but without the wordsâ€ť (l. 5). Birds, clearly incapable of the same level of communication through speech that humans have developed, have not been able to broaden their intelligence; they remain a unified part of nature whereas humans have become something unique in spite of the unity of nature.
Rather than disheartening humans, however, Frost appears to suggest this brand of separation is yet another aspect of what draws our interest to nature and makes us long for it, as well as long to see ourselves in it. Adam and Everyman â€śwould declare and could himself believeâ€ť (l. 1) that the birds were influenced by Eveâ€™s voice: by a humanâ€™s voice. A declaration is a proud variety of statement; a man declares things that he feels speak of achievement and success. Adam and Everyman seem to herald the discovery that an aspect of humanity, however small, can be found within nature in the birdsâ€™ song. That Adam and Everyman â€ścould himself believeâ€ť in this discovery follows the notion that we comfort ourselves by believing our achievements to be true, however improbable they are. As mentioned earlier, thinking that birds use Eveâ€™s â€śtone of meaningâ€ť is tough to believe. But whether birds in reality have the capacity to forge into their own song something they admire in Eveâ€™s voice matters little; the belief is primarily a reassuring prospect that drives the nature-lusting mind. Romantic poets embraced everything natural and emotional and tended to eschew reason, logic, and the scientific trend of the Enlightenment period. What they, like the birds, would embrace is the â€śtone of meaning,â€ť not the â€śwords.â€ť
Although it is not clearly touched upon in the immediate context of Frostâ€™s sonnet, the fact that this story is used allegorically to expand past the time spent in the Garden of Eden is substance enough to consider the Fall and how the meaning expressed is altered from pre- to postlapsarian times. If Eve â€śCould . . . have had such an influence on birdsâ€ť (l. 7) to make them change such an essential part of their natural existence as their song, then we can imagine how strongly she could have influenced Adam to consume the forbidden fruit. Eve, as the first woman, was created as a companion to Adam: someone for him to love. They were even told to reproduce: â€śBe fruitful and increase in number,â€ť the Lord said. But after the Fall, the need of a woman was doubled because humans would no longer be immortal. Adam and Eve were suddenly burdened with the need to have sex to reproduce in order for the human race to live on. However, with the newfound knowledge they received came shame in nudity and in turn a sort of sinful pleasure in sex and eroticism. This is for the most part exclusive in human nature; for the vast majority of living organisms, sex is only for to reproduce. It is no surprise, then, to realize a sexual factor playing a part in â€śwhy [Eve] cameâ€ť (l. 14). Eve at once provides a literal separation of humans from nature with her eroticism and figuratively fecundates nature with her eloquent human voice. It is almost as if her intent was to tear Everyman away from nature just to make him crave it, and effectively her, more. Once again, by embodying in the first woman, Eve, a type of coyness all too common to female nature, Frost sets a precedent to last through all time.
Ultimately, Frost proves that humans, although tragically cast away from nature, still retain a yearning to remain natural entities: a yearning that is frequently played upon due to our love for other humans. Frost is able to capture the essential ideals of Romantic poetry and tie them to the very first instance of love mythologically known to human kind and, in effect, launch them as a permanent precedent that has lasted throughout all of history. And to do that to poetry was why Frost came.
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In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland,
At the sea-downâ€™s edge between wind-ward and lee,
Wallâ€™d round with rocks as on Ishbu Island,
The ghost of NuTang fronts the sea.
A girdle of lemons and thorn encloses
The steep, square slope of the server-less bed
Where the sites that grew green from the graves of Dave's roses
Now lie dead.
The files fall southward, abrupt and broken,
To the low last edge of the long lone land.
If a ping should sound or a comment be spoken,
Would a ghost not rise at the memberâ€™s hand?
So long have the gray, bare blogs lain guestless,
Through forums and guestbooks if a member make way,
He shall find no life but Daveâ€™s, restless
Night and day.
The dense, hard connection is blind and stifled
That crawls by a server none turn to climb
To the strait waste index that the years have rifled
Of all but Dave, who is touchâ€™d not of Time.
The sites he spares when the server is taken;
The pages are left when he wastes the plain.
The members that wander, the blogs wind-shaken,
Not a button to be pressâ€™d of the finger that falls not;
As the heart of Hoya, the pages are dry;
From the thicket of thorns whence Papagoya calls not,
Could he call, there were never a member to reply.
Over the forums that blossom and wither
Rings but the note of thezebraâ€™s song;
Only Dave and le_battement come hither
All year long.
The blogs burn sere and the domain dishevels
One gaunt bleak blossom of textless breath.
Only Dave here hovers and revels
In a round where NuTang seems barren as death.
Here there was laughing of old, there was weeping,
Haply, of users none ever will know,
Who left NuTang two to three sleeping
Heart handfast in heart as they stood, â€śLook thither,â€ť
Did he comment? â€śLook forth from Ishbu to the sea;
For the profiles endure when the blog entries wither,
And members that leave may dieâ€”but we?â€ť
And the baboons sang and the same waves whitenâ€™d,
And or ever NuTangâ€™s last files were shed,
In the fingers that had commented, the text highlightenâ€™d,
Or they lovâ€™d their sites through, and then went whither?
And were one to the endâ€”but what end who knows?
Activity, sea-deep, as a rose must wither,
As the red baboon asses that mock the rose.
Shall the gone take thought for the gone to love them?
What blog was ever as deep as a grave?
They are guestless now as the header above them
Or the wave.
All are at one now, lemons and lovers,
Not known of the sites and the pages and sea.
Not a breath of the server that has been hovers
In the air now soft with a server to be.
Not a shoutbox shall sweeten the index hereafter
of the site or baboon that laughs now or weeps,
When, as they that are free now of weeping and laughter,
Here death may deal not again forever;
Upgrades may come not till all upgrades end.
From the blogs they have made they shall rise up never,
Who have left no site active to comment and send.
Lemons and thorns of the wild ground growing,
While Yenamaboya lives, these shall be;
Till a last serverâ€™s breath upon all these blowing
Roll the sea.
Till the slow server rise and the witty comment crumble,
Till files and bandwidth a member drinks,
Till the strengths of baboons of PPGY humble
The files that lessen, the bandwidth that shrinks,
Here now in his triumph where all things falter,
Stretchâ€™d out on the revenue that his own hand spread,
As a god self-slain on his own strange altar,
Dave lies dead.
(Based on "A Forsaken Garden"
by Algernon Charles Swinburne)
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Benedict de Spinoza may be the first person I have read about that was excommunicated from Judaism. It is admirable that he stuck by his beliefs even though he faced persecution from his family and religious leaders and peers. Other philosophers saved themselves from prosecution by arguing things they probably did not actually personally believe. For example, when Descartes told his readers to set aside the notion of God to understand his famous meditations on dreaming and the evil genius, he followed it up by basically reiterating the ontological argument for the existence of God invented by St. Anselm. I feel that he did this to save himself from any persecution. But Spinoza, on the other hand, was not too concerned with pleasing others by going against his beliefs, and so he was excommunicated for his understanding of God and nature being one in the same, and that God did not actually have a personality. This devotion to the topic is what sets Ethics
apart from other serious works to me. His assuredness in his own beliefs that he reasoned from scratch shows that Spinoza had a strong personal character and was surely underappreciated in his time.
Spinozaâ€™s idea of God is probably close to what I would subscribe to if I could bother with being spiritual. It relies heavily on logic, does not have anything to do with any type of incredible mythology, and does not deal with a set of strict rules nor arbitrary obligations. What it does seem to offer is a prĂ©cised system of belief that uses common sense and everyday morals. Spinoza saw the Hebrew Bible
not as fact, but as a collection of allegories to show by example the nature of God/natural existence. I feel that even if religions were debunked, they still can teach valuable lessons about ethics. I think Spinoza shows how religion could be found useful within a secular view.
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