Custom «Sex and Lust in Paradise Lost» Essay Paper Sample

Sex and Lust in Paradise Lost


The essay is an in depth analysis of the use of sexuality and sexual or erotic imagery in Paradise Lost. Additionally individuals in whom the concept is used, actual representation of sexual congress, meaning of desire, ethical charge as well as natural and unnatural sex are adequately tackled in this paper.' Sex and Lust in Paradise Lost' is one of the literary works of John Milton's that made him to be a recognized American author. This piece of work was written when he had already lost his eye sight and was accomplished through dictation back in 1667.

The poem tells a story of the biblical Fall of Man. The author clearly brings to the attention of the reader how Satan rebelled against God, his failure in presence of God, Satan imprisonment and punishment in hell. Additionally, readers are told how eve and Adam were tempted and later their excommunication of the Garden of Eden.  

Considerably, the innermost role of desire and seduction are obvious in the whole process of Adam and eve falling. Lucifer complains that in hell where he was taken for punishment, "there is neither joy nor love, but fierce desire," a reference to how frustrated he is with regards to lack of sexual gratification.  Issues of Imagery and references to sex are mix together all the way through Milton's poem 'Paradise Lost'. It is apparent that Satan not only represents death but more importantly the concept of insatiated sexual desires.    It is also no doubt that sex as well as lust does have important association with such themes as creation, existence as well as destruction. The author seems to stress that ideal sex is significant he presages also that lust or unnatural sex definitely make the human race find themselves in loggerheads with God as it results to sinning, loss of life as well as brutality.

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Sexuality and sexual erotic imagery

According to James Driscoll;

There is no reason to apply modern theories to Milton if we do not care whether Milton remains alive. However, if we wish him to be more than a historical artifact, we must do more than just study him against the background of his time. We must reinterpret him in light of the germane thought of our own age.

It is apparent form the poem that sexuality as well as erotic imagery has been adequately used between two main characters; Adam and Eve. As portrayed by the author, sexuality is part and parcel of human beings. Milton seems to celebrate the sexual life of Adam and Eve, 'connubial love'. Before the fall, holy love is expressed by the two major characters. The author makes the readers fully aware that before the two could go to their bower they ensured that they did praise God for all good things bestowed on their head. In book IV, (Milton 720-722) the fear for their creator is depicted at the time the two; Adam and Eve "both stood,/Both turned, and under open sky adored/The God that made both sky, air, earth and Heav'n" . Eve the wife of Adam is seen as decorating their bed while there were sounds of heavenly choirs that sung hymnenean songs. It is worth noting here that the love between these two characters is loyal, just as well as pure and not loveless, joyless and unendeared (Milton, 710).

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The sacredness and sanctity of marriage is portrayed when the author uses such terms as pure, mysterious law, innocence, true, holiest, chast as well as blast pair. The love between Adam and Eve is founded in reason, loyal, just and pure (Milton 755).  

According to Milton, based on the hierarchy is seen as being sacred, religious, authorized by God.  In the poem, sex which is considered sacred is depicted as being an intellectual act other than being a physical activity. Similarly, it is a coming together of human souls and not. On the other hand, Milton maker it very clear that lust is linked with bestial imagery as well as bad sleep.   The author is in full condemnation of physical sex as he warns of the serious consequences of the same.

To establish that sex is not a sin, the metaphor used by Milton, "pain of longing pine" clearly depicts that living with out sex is nothing but a hell punishment. This is supported by what Satan held after escaping form hell that "neigh joy nor love, but fierce desire, / Among our other torments not the least, / Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pine" (Milton 509-511). On basis of this then it is evident that Satan escaped hell for the simple reason of engaging in sex.

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Immediately after the fall attributed to the works of Satan, the sacred and pure love between Adam and Eve is seen to be nothing other than canal desire. A simple definition of the term desire is a strong expression of wishing or longing for something, in this context sexual desires. After the first act which was painted to be the will of God, in this second scene, both Adam and Eve are fully engaged in carnal desire.  As suggested by Milton 832 immediately after eating the tree of knowledge, their first love making scene is characterized by such attributes as hecticism, unfulfilling and driven by guilt. Unlike before the fall, the two exhibit egocentrism as well as arrogance as compared to humility, faithfulness and spirituality in love.

It is worth bringing to light that with their acquired knowledge capability, they see themselves to be above their creator, God unlike before the fall where they saw themselves being under God's laws. For this matter, the failure of them praising as well as praying to God the almight before going to bed or sleeping can be linked to such notion. On the contrary, Adam and Eve as portrayed by the author seem to direct all their attention to each other rather than to God, this is contrary to God's expectations. Adam does not take the warning from Rafael with regards to idolatry as he cast his eyes to Eve seeing her as nothing other than a sexual object; the same applies to Eve who sees Adam as an object to satisfy her sexual desires. With such notion, it is evident that the two are no longer in a mutual love but rather in mutual guilt of seal (Milton, 1042).

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There are differences in the way the two; Adam and Eve expressed love to each other. In the first scene before the fall, the two were engaged in love that was endorsed by God who declared it pure. It is important to note that after the fall, there is no heavenly sanction with regard top their relationship; it is a fact that divinity is not exhibited at all after the fall of man. The use of such terms as breeding wings and purple wings are symbolic. The later is used to depict pure love while the former is attributed to adulterous lust which drove men "among the bestial herds to raunge" (Milton 754). The resultant of all this is scorning of the earth.

As explained by Milton, adulterous life lead to the human race, however, the proprietors of the same were not a product of a physical coming together of a man and a woman but rather a creation of God. Physical sexual activity which has been ascribed the term breeding by the author is linked with animals and not man. His condemnation of the same shows that life brought s a result of breeding is bestial while the one brought forth by God's creation opt to have been our origin. An analysis of the poem leaves the reader with the notion that the act of reproducing should not be crude rather mysterious and obviously not physical, sensed and not practiced.

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The author has managed to use a set of terms to explain or rather rwefer to lust sex, for instance intoxicated, wantonly. The imagery exemplified by eating and consuming symbolizes eating of the fruit. Adam and Eve gorged into one another till, "thir fill of Love" (Milton 1042), and "dewie sleep/ Oppress'd them, wearied with thir amorous play" (Milton 1045). The two got very exhausted and the author compares it with the one after engaging in amorous play.

Additionally, it is evident that the flowers found on bed in the second scene can be seen as an emphasis of their sexual desire. Later the two are in coach of common flowers "Pansies, and Violets, and Asphodel,/ And Hyacinth" (Milton 1040). The second love making takes place in a bed that can no longer be deemed nuptial but rather earths freshest softest lap (Milton 1041). This signifies that the falling of the man has downgraded the divine to be worldly.

Considering the kind of sleep experienced by both Adam and Eve, it is evident that clear distinction exists.  Initially, the two after engaging in love making that was ordained by God, they sleep in a restful and blissful manner unlike what happened after the two engaged in physical act. The following paragraph describes this.

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The solace of thir sin, till dewie sleep

Oppress'd them, wearied with thir amorous play. 

Soon as the force of that fallacious Fruit,

About thir spirits had plaid, and inmost powers

Made err, was now exhal'd, and grosser sleep

Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams

Encumberd, now had left them, up they rose,

As from unrest... (Milton 1044-52)

The author successfully compares the unsatisfied sexual activity Eve and Adam engaged in and the manner with which they slept. The two seem to stop in the physical act of sex only because they are "wearied with amorous play" the same applies to the sleep. It is evident that the sleep is not the desire of God. Thus sleep is something seen to be torturing the couple. Additionally, another differences between life of the couple before and after the fall can be seen in how the two united. Before the fall the two were united in mind and body. Numerous words have been used by the author to describe this and include such phrases as both, their, hand in hand. On the other hand, immediately after eating the tree of knowledge, there is no doubt that their unity is interfered with. It is very significant to note that the two let off each other's hand just before going against God's commandments. They find themselves naked surrounded with a life that is not balanced and the author lets the reader clearly know that the two share nothing other than their guilt. The two looked at each other with lots of shame as they tried to hide. The author has managed to make it understood that the two lovers although are trying to hold hands are separated by gulf.  It is worth to not that the desire of the couple in trying to get hold of one another elicit some hope.

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Satan as a symbol of lust and sin

It is no doubt that all the transgression that faced Adam and Eve was architect of Satan, hence the later is a symbol of lust and sin. Readers are made to understand that Satan was once thrown to hell for disobeying God. In hell, Satan was subjected to punishment where he could not get access to his unsatiated sex desires met. This is exemplified by the statement, "neigh joy nor love, but fierce desire, / Among our other torments not the least, / Still unfulfilled with pain of longing pine" (Milton 509-11).  For that matter he escaped and later found his way in the Garden of Eden. He thought of repenting but later resorted to fight against God in which he emerges as a winner in the fast glance but close examination of events depicts that he terribly lost the battle.

The author successfully uses Satan as a symbol of sin and lust. When he was thrown to hell, he was being punished for his lust or desire in sex. While Eve and Adam were asleep after engaging in love ordained by God, it is Satan that tries to seduce Eve to go against the will of God by eating the tree of knowledge. Just before the fall of Adam and Eve it is , Satan who was seeing them enjoy unsinful love that made him jealous and this propelled his actions of deceiving the couple "I hate thy beams /That bring to my remembrance from what state / I fell"(Milton 38).  It is also through Satan that we are aware of the consequences of lust as intended by the author, Milton.

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Additionally, Satan in form of a serpent came in the eyes of Eve in a very erotic manner and made her test the forbidden fruit which had knowledge. Eventually the readers are made to understand that Eve went back to her husband but defaced and deflowered. Satan had seemed to be sure that once he has had physical sex with Eve, there was no doubt in his mind that Adam will also follow suit. Generally speaking the sexual desires and lust of Satan after being sent to hell where such things as sex propagated by God are not in existence left him hungry of the same making him escape to satisfy himself and also ruin others (Milton 947).

Punishment or ethical charge

From the poem, the major punishment deemed to be ethical charge of lust and sexual desire away from God's wish is nothing else other than death. The efforts of Satan against mankind through his various ways that made the couple sin and the consequences of the same can be clearly understood when one goes through the bible in the book of James which clearly states that when man has been subdued with lust and desire, sin comes into limelight and when completed it brings death. It is worth noting that his is what the author has worked very hard to make his readers understand Milton (1043).











Additionally, there were incidences before the fall of man that Adam used to talk directly to God. Similarly Eve heavily depended on Adam to communicate with God. Up0n the fall, the two were sent to earth where such privileges were held back forcing them to talk to God through His son. On the same note being left naked after eating the tree of knowledge is another kind of punishment.  It is also worth to note that when the two individuals' unity was in severity, each individual would assert individuality as well as authority; this implies that the initial view of the wife seeing her husband as a mutual compatriot will no longer be experienced by mankind. For that matter, the wife is no longer ready to continue to hold the view that she needs to be under the 'control' of her husband. What this implies is that mankind will always experience violence and death which accompanies the former.

As suggested by  Milton, lust gives rise to warfare, when mankind is not busy: "marrying or prostituting , as befell, /Rape or Adultery, where passing fair / Allured them" (Milton 717), it wars: "With cruel Tournament the Squadrons join; / Where cattle pastured late, now scattered lies / With Carcasses and Arms the ensanguined Field / Deserted. Others to a city strong / Lay siege" (Milton 655). This clearly illustrates the punishment man faces. Lastly, there are also chances of being locked in hell where such desires cannot be met. The joy that mankind enjoyed before the falling will no longer be there.

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From the review of sexuality and sexual imagery in the poem Paradise Lost by Milton John, it is evident that the author clearly makes the reader understand that sex is not evil. Sex is a religious act and right provided it is acted while acknowledging that it is not beyond God. Satan has been brought to clearly depict that he is a symbol of sin and lust. For that reason, he is the one who is responsible for making the couple transgress from God's command. Before the fall sex was sanctioned by God and love shared was true and joyful, later after the fall of mankind, love between the couple was contrary to what was being experienced before. As suggested by Milton, lustful sex characterized by physical act is what is condemned in the poem especially when placed before God. The sin is punishable by death. Similarly, the couple were left naked and lost the privilege of talking directly to God.

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