Introducing the Poem
“NO more of talk where God or Angel Guest
With Man, as with his Friend, familiar us’d
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblam’d: I now must change
Those Notes to Tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of Man, revolt,
Book 9 of Paradise Lost by Milton deals with the most significant issue of impending fall of man from Heaven due to his disobedience to God. The poem narrates the entire incident of Adam and Eve falling into the evil temptation of Satan by eating the fruit of Forbidden Tree to bring the wrath of God upon them losing Heaven and all its pleasures.
Critical Summary of Paradise Lost Book 9
Beginning with Milton’s invocation to Urania to guide him in his arduous task of narrating an important incident accurately, the poet believes that the fall of man is a greater historic event than Homer’s and Virgil’s historical accounts.
Taking his readers back to Satan from the conversation of Adam and Raphael, Milton writes about Satan’s attempt to disguise himself as a serpent to tempt Eve. Finding her alone in the garden of Eden, Satan, disguised as a talking serpent, reaches out to Eve and tells her about the benefits of eating the fruit of Forbidden Tree.
On hearing that the fruit makes an individual more beautiful and powerful opening new avenue of knowledge for him, Eve eats the fruit eagerly after showing little reluctance. She then rushes to Adam to inform him of the benefits of the fruit.
At first, Adam expresses his concern about disobeying God but soon he gives in to Eve’s desire and eats the fruit. The book reaches its conclusion when both Adam and Eve open their eyes in a completely different world after eating the fruit of the Forbidden Tree.
Seeing each other’s naked bodies, they soon realise their fatal mistake of disobeying God Almighty and feel repentant on their grave sin. The fall of humans from heavenly Earth reveals that God is omnipotent and omniscient and disobeying Him never brings good results for humankind because His word is always final.
“Forth reaching to the Fruit, she pluck’d, she eat:
Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat
Sighing through all her Works gave signs of woe,
That all was lost.”
The theme of Man’s disobedience and his fall from Heaven is evident in the poem. The fall of human beings is the most significant incidence occurring in the history of the world that completely revolutionised the life of mankind forever. Despite forgiving humanity for his sin, God throws human beings out from Heaven to lead a life full of trials and tribulations until they meet their God once again on the Judgement Day.
“O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give eare
To that false Worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfet Man’s voice, true in our Fall,
False in our promis’d Rising; since our Eyes
Op’nd we find indeed, and find we know
Both Good and Evil, Good lost, and Evil got,
Bad Fruit of Knowledge, if this be to know,
Which leaves us naked thus, of Honour void,
Of Innocence, of Faith, of Puritie,”
Mood and Tone
The mood of this book is more sombre and serious as compared to the other books owing to its depiction of the greatest tragedy faced by humankind. The grave mood and tone of the poem enhance its tragedy and sadness manifold.
Milton’s Paradise Lost Book 9 holds the most significant place among its readers as it informs them of the gravest tragedy and downfall faced by humankind due to its greed and foolishness.
“Thus they in mutual accusation spent
The fruitless hours, but neither self-condemning,
And of thir vain contest appeer’d no end.”