Here is the answer and explanation to the question How is the nature evil explored in book nine of John Milton’s Paradise Lost?
How is the nature evil explored in book nine of John Milton’s Paradise Lost?
The nature of evil in Book 9 of Paradise Lost can be explored through themes of vengeance, duplicity, and persuasion.
One way to explore evil in Book 9 is through the theme of vengeance. In this section, Satan carries out his plan against God. Satan’s conflict with God revolves around power. He wants the unfettered authority attributed to God. As Satan declares in Book 1, “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.” Now, in Book 9, Satan’s evilness takes the form of vengeance. “For only in destroying I find ease,” he admits. In Book 9, Satan disrupts Adam and Eve’s existence in paradise and shows God his creations are vulnerable. He harms them to compensate for a perceived slight, so vengeance is linked to evil.
To carry out his vengeance, Satan employs deceit, so another way to explore evil is through duplicity. Satan doesn’t interact with Eve as Satan but as a serpent. He disguises himself to trick Eve. The serpent is the “fittest imp of fraud” where “His dark suggestions hide / From sharpest sight.” To succeed, Satan has to conceal his evil machinations from view, which he successfully does.
Finally, evil can be explored through persuasion. Adam fails to persuade Eve to work together instead of alone. Meanwhile, Satan persuades Eve to eat the fruit from the tree. As Adam is good and Satan is evil, persuasion (at least in Book 9) is portrayed as evil. Concerning Satan’s convincing rhetoric, the narrator writes, “Into the Heart of Eve his words made way, / Though at the voice much marveling.” Indeed, Satan’s words are piercing, captivating, and, thus, persuasive.
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