Paradise Lost Book 9: Line 235-241 - Summary

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      Eve contends that she should work separately from Adam, for while they work together, they waste much of their time in looking, smiling or conversing. These interventions obstruct their work and they achieve very little in spite of starting work early in the morning. Thus, Eve points out that they eat their supper unearned.

      Adam admires Eve’s suggestion, for nothing is more praiseworthy and honorable for a woman than her devotion to her household work and her encouragement to her husband to promote the well-being of the family. Eve thus, appears sincere and loyal. But at the same time Adam counters her argument by saying that they were not forced to work by God in such a way that they were not forced to work by God in such a way that they were to be debarred from life’s pleasures, food, rest, sweet conversation, smiles and looks. Adam says that the pleasant smiles issue from reasoning power denied to brutes and these smiles are the food of love and love is one of the noble motives of life, Adam means that God joined delight and rationality in human life. Here Milton attributes to Adam the favourite seventeenth-century view that smiling is a distinctly human attribute, since animals do not smile.

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