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Mary Nyquist Paradise Lost Analysis

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In her article, “The Genesis of Gendered Subjectivity in the Divorce Tracts and in Paradise Lost,” Mary Nyquist examines Milton’s incorporation into Paradise Lost of the two Genesis accounts concerning man’s creation. In doing so, Nyquist seeks to determine, among many other things, Milton’s position on the balance of power in the relationship between Adam and Eve. She concludes that Milton’s use of the Genesis accounts places Adam in a hierarchically superior position to Eve. Despite the depth of Nyquist’s textual analysis, her argument is flawed for three reasons. First (briefly), her conclusion rests on Milton’s intention in presenting the creation story as he did in Paradise Lost; no amount of critical analysis will fully reveal the author’s intention. Second, her examination of the text subjectively interprets or even ignores several instances which undermine and even disprove her theory. Third and most importantly, Nyquist assumes throughout her essay that Eve’s…show more content…
Nyquist in her article does not consider the possibility of other explanations for the differences between Adam and Eve other than the fact that they all point to Eve’s subjection to Adam, a fact which she never really supports with textual evidence besides seeing an inferiority on chronological events. Milton’s multi-faceted and complex writing style is rarely as self-explanatory as it first appears and there are countless interpretations of his representation of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost. For example, Adam and Eve could represent different elements of mankind in light of his final end: Adam represents reason and intellect, while Eve represent obedience to and faith in both God and Adam. Both are necessary for man in relation to God. Their respective qualities are complimentary to each other, with Adam providing the reason and Eve providing the
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