Adam, Eve, and the “Virtuous Touch” of Alchemy

  • Malabika Sarkar


In Paradise Lost, Milton has the difficult task of defining the characters of Adam, the “first of men” (4.408), and the “first of women Eve” (4.409), not as a static tableaux, but as evolving figures. Both as individuals and within their relationship, the representation of Adam and Eve in the epic is remarkable for its depth and complexity. Within the very brief time span of the narrative, we notice both individual characteristics that distinguish Adam and Eve as well as subtle changes in their character as the epic proceeds. This nuanced portrayal of the changes that take place in Adam and Eve constitutes the true dramatic core of Paradise Lost. There is no change that we encounter, or indeed expect, in Satan and the good angels, only a series of revelations, sometimes unexpected. It is only in Adam and Eve that there are significant changes in character.


Seventeenth Century Celestial Body Invisible College Paradise Lost Dream Experience 
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© Malabika Sarkar 2012

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  • Malabika Sarkar

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