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Ŕ Bout de Souffle
Out of Breath
Satan’s Plan for Adam and Eve
Satan finds the display of love and affection shown by Adam and Eve to God and to each other “hateful” and “tormenting” (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 God’s rule. How Satan finds their love “hateful” 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 “Imparadised in one another’s arms” (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 God’s reasoning behind forbidding knowledge, calling it “suspicious” and “reasonless” (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 God’s restriction, whereas in the past Satan normally only disagreed to be difficult and evil. He calls this law from God a “fair foundation laid whereon to build / Their ruin” (ll. 521-2). Satan no longer has his beliefs just to spite God, just to be the evil to God’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 God’s commands. Satan says of God’s rule that it is “invented with design / To keep them low whom knowledge might exalt / Equal with gods” (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 God’s rule over them in the same fashion that Satan was jealous of God’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 “envious” 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: “Live while ye may / Yet happy pair! Enjoy, till I return, / Short pleasures, for long woes are to succeed!” (ll. 533-5). Satan uses “succeed” here in two ways: not only does this mean that long woes will “follow” the short pleasures, but Satan is confident that his plans will “work” and he will accomplish his evil deeds. Satan’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.

is so true. sometimes i wonder what's going on in his head...it's hard to think about.
» middaymoon on 2006-11-30 09:23:28

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