The Role Of Pregnancy In John Milton's Paradise Lost

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There is no happy pregnancy in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. The only things that pregnancy brings in this epic are pain, violence, and remorse. This is a very different perspective to such a generally happy subject. In this essay I will explore the ways that pregnancy is used and the interesting aspects of making a powerful feminine virtue so negative. Some of the most noticeable effects are the connection they make between sin and women, and the parallels that are created between the bringing of life into the world contrasted with the bringing of death. In Book two the readers are introduced to Sin and Death. The characters Death, Sin, and Satan are in a complicated situation. Reminiscent of another epic poem, Sin has found herself having intercourse with her father and become pregnant. Sin uses the word “pregnant” when speaking of being with Satan’s child: ...Pensive here I sat Alone, but long I sat not, till my womb Pregnant by thee, and now excessive grown Prodigious motion felt and rueful throes (Milton 776-79). This description of herself in the pregnancy just adds to the intrigue. She did not just sit waiting to have her child; she was “pensive”. I would ask the question why. There is certainly a lot for her to be worried about as the creation of the devil and bearer of his child. However, she is thinking. Those thoughts could be reflection of her situation or even her trying to think of a way out of hell. I find the idea of her thinking, pondering, interesting
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