A Brief Introduction
“Meanwhile the hainous and despightfull act
Of Satan done in Paradise, and how
Hee in the Serpent had perverted Eve,
Her Husband shee, to taste the fatall fruit,
Was known in Heav’n; for what can scape the Eye
Of God All-seeing, or deceive his Heart
Book 10 of Milton’s Paradise Lost highlights the aftermath of Man’s disobedience by eating the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Based on the disastrous effects of rebelling God Almighty, the poem represents the resolution of the sudden climax of Man’s Fall from Heaven.
Critical Appraisal of Paradise Lost Book 10
The tenth book of Paradise Lost shows God on the forefront where he immediately gives an order to His angels to throw Adam and Eve out of Heaven after knowing about their sin of eating the fruit of the Forbidden Tree.
Exempting angels from their folly of letting Satan enter the paradise, God asks His Son to go to Earth to carry out the punishment given to the human beings. Son reaches to Adam and Eve and asks them if they have disobeyed God. Hearing their confession, the Son says that now human beings will stay on Earth forever till the day of Judgement.
All men will have to work hard to earn their livelihood while all women of Earth will have to bear the pain of giving birth to their children. They will lead a difficult life on Earth full of temptations and evils until God allows them to return to Him after suffering a tragic death. Saying this bitter sermon, the Son goes back to Heaven leaving Adam and Eve alone on Earth.
Meanwhile, Satan, pleased on his glorious triumph, reaches back to Hell where he comes across Sin and Death who congratulate him on his victory and promise to travel to Earth to dissuade mankind from the righteous path.
The book ends with Adam and Eve where they stop blaming each other for their fault and begin to contemplate on their new life ahead. This book vividly highlights the bitter consequences human beings face in life by disobeying their Lord and following the worldly desires.
“Unwarie, and too desirous, as before,
So now of what thou knowst not, who desir’st
The punishment all on thy self; alas,
Beare thine own first, ill able to sustaine
His full wrauth whose thou feelst as yet lest part,
And my displeasure bearst so ill. If Prayers
Could alter high Decrees, I to that place
Would speed before thee, and be louder heard,
That on my head all might be visited,”
The poem revolves around the theme of Man’s fall from Eden and the harsh life he leads after suffering from God’s wrath. The book demonstrates that the happiness and contentment of humans lie in God’s service only and those who incur God’s anger by disobeying him bear the brunt of their follies and sins.
“Thy sorrow I will greatly multiplie
By thy Conception; Children thou shalt bring
In sorrow forth, and to thy Husbands will
Thine shall submit, hee over thee shall rule.
On Adam last thus judgement he pronounc’d.
Because thou hast heark’nd to the voice of thy Wife,
And eaten of the Tree concerning which
I charg’d thee, saying: Thou shalt not eate thereof,
Curs’d is the ground for thy sake,”
Like earlier books, the tenth book in Paradise Lost series also relies on the foreshadowing device to forewarn the readers about the evil designs laid by Satan. The conversation of Satan with his offspring Sin and Death foreshadows the vicious schemes made by the dark forces of Hell to tempt human beings. This conversation reveals that Sin and Death will continue to perish the goodness and virtue by poisoning them with their venom.
The poem by John Milton throws light on the irrefutable fact of life that humankind can prosper and flourish only by remaining obedient and loyal to God because the path of Satan is the direct way leading to the burning hellfire.
“So spake our Father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judg’d them prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess’d
Humbly thir faults, and pardon beg’d, with tears
Watering the ground, and with thir sighs the Air
Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.”