Kant On Enlightenment Essay Research Paper 3

Kant On Enlightenment Essay, Research Paper

3. What is the effect of the Fall on Adam and Eve?

Answer: The specious words of the serpent into Eve’s heart “too early

entrance win.” The fruit looked delicious, it was noontime, and she was

hungry. The smell of the fruit aroused her appetite. So “Forth reaching to

the fruit, she pluck’d, she eat.” While nature sighed “That all was lost,”

and the serpent slunk back into the thicket, Eve immediately felt the effects

of the Fall. She eats to excess as never before.

Greedily she ingorg’d without restraint,

And knew not eating Death: Satiate at length

And height’n'd as with Wine, jocund and boon

Thus to herself she pleasingly began.

“Greedily,” “ingorg’d,” “Satiate,” “height’n'd,” “jocund,” and “boon” all

suggest excess in eating and drinking. “Height’n'd as with Wine,” Eve, like a

drunken person, is filled with confidence and high spirits. She praises the

tree which gave such fruit, (C. S. Lewis speaks of her as “worshipping a

vegetable” at this point) and promises to offer it praise every morning. In

her overconfidence she expects to grow more and more mature, the more she eats

of the fruit. She expects to attain “knowledge, as the gods who all things

know.” (Note that she says “gods” now, not God.) She feels that she is reaping

the fruits of experience, that Heaven is too remote to know what she is doing,

and that the “great Forbidder” and his spies have other cares. In short, she

feels (falsely) that she has got away with disobedience and profited from it.

The next thing that we notice is her attitude toward Adam. She wonders

whether or not she should tell him about her discovery. Both her arguments

are selfish. First she thinks she will keep her knowledge secret

so to add what wants

In Female Sex, the more to draw his Love,

And render me more equal, and perhaps,

A thing not undesirable, sometime

Superior: for inferior who is free?

So already she is tempted both to deceive Adam Eve and to be (if

possible) superior to him, thus upsetting the hierarchy of order. But her next

thought is different, though it is equally selfish. Suppose God has seen her

disobedience and suppose she really dies as a consequence. Could she bear the

thought of “Adam wedded to another Eve”? Jealous already in imagination, she

decides she could not bear it.

Confirm’d then I resolve,

Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe

So dear I love him, that with him all deaths

I could endure, without him live no life.

And once more she bows to the tree, committing the sin of idolatry.

Meanwhile, Adam has woven a wreath of flowers, for her hair and is

looking forward to her return, a little anxious over her welfare. She meets

him with a bough of the tree in her hands, and tells him somewhat

apologetically that she has missed him. Quickly she plunges into the subject

of the tree. The tree, she explains, is not evil or dangerous. It made the

serpent wise and Eve wiser than shed use to be, “and growing up to Godhead.”

She wants him to eat it too, for bliss is not true bliss unless it is shared.

Thus Eve with Count’nance blithe her story told,

But in her Cheek distemper flushing glow’d.

Adam “Astonied stood and Blank,” dropping the wreath he had made. He

reproved Eve as “defac’d deflower’d, and now to Death devote.” He sees clearly

what has happened-Satan has tricked her-but even with his eyes open he knows

what he will do: “Certain my resolution is to die.” He loves Eve so much that

he could not live without her. Even “another Eve” could not make him forget


Flesh of Flesh,

Bone of my Bone thou art, and from thy state

Mine never shall be parted, bliss or woe.

He loves her with physical rather than spiritual love, but Eve is

delighted that he has offered her so noble a proof of his love. She offers him

some of the fruit and he sins quite consciously:

He scrupl’d not to eat

Against his better knowledge, nod deceiv’d,

But fondly overcome with Female charm.

His sin is uxoriousness.

As in the case of Eve, the effect of the sin is immediate. Adam is

delighted with the fruit. The two

. . . swim in mirth, and fancy that they feel

Divinity within them breeding wings.

Both experience “carnal desire.”

Hee on Eve

Began to cast lascivious Eyes; she him

As wantonly repaid; in lust they burn:

Till Adam thus ‘gan Eve to dalliance move

Their mutual attraction now is contrasted with the dignity and beauty of

their previous nuptial love. Adam “forbore not glance or toy/ Of amorous

intent,” and Eve’s eyes “darted contagious Fire.” On a bank of flowers

They thir fill of Love and Love’s disport

Took largely of thir mutual guilt the Seal,

The solace of thir sin, till dewy sleep

Opress’d them, wearied with thir amorous play.

But their sleep is not light and healthful, as before, but gross and

heavy, and when they awake, innocence is gone. Their nakedness, which

previously seemed natural to them, now seems shameful, and they make

themselves loin cloths of fig-leaves. They sit down to weep, but not only

tears, but sinful emotions now appear. “High Passions, Anger, Hate,/ Mistrust,

Suspicion, Discord,” now shake their minds, once visited only by peace,

For Understanding rul’d not, and the Will

Heard not her lore, both in subjection now

To sensual Appetite, who from beneath

Usurping over sovran Reason claim’d

Superior sway.

Their mutual recriminations begin. Adam blames Eve for going off by

herself to test her virtue. Eve says first, that Adam would have been

deceived, just as she was, and second, that he should have stopped her, as she

was the weaker of the two. “Is this how you repay my love?” Adam replies, “I

have given up immortal bliss to stay with you. I warned you about going off

alone.” So the two go on bickering, but neither really blames himself. Sin has

entered into the world and into the relationships of men and women. Adam ate

the fruit so as not to be separated from Eve. Ironically, they are immediately

separated by their quarrel.


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