Paradise Lost

4 April 2015
A discussion of Eve as a femme fatale in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.

This paper analyzes the character of Eve as the classic femme fatale whose characteristics lead herself and the male to their eventual demise. She has seductive beauty, which effects everyone she comes in contact with, including animals and Satan. She is able to use this beauty and seductiveness to manipulate men into willingly complying with her needs. She is vain and self-centered, believing in her own superiority and putting her wants ahead of others, including her partner. Finally, as femme fatale she leads Adam into temptation, effectively causing the downfall of both herself and Adam.
It is also seen that Eve is vain where she looks at her reflection in the water, Pleased it returned as soon with answering looks / Of sympathy and love; there I had fixed / Mine eyes til now, and pined with vain desire (IV, 464 – 466).

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Eve then learns that this is a reflection of herself and goes to find Adam. On seeing Adam for the first time, Eve recognizes that she is far more beautiful than him, Till I espied thee, fair indeed and tall, / Under a platan, yet methought less fair, / Less winning soft, less amiably mild, / Than that wat’ry image” (IV, 477 – 480). From this it is seen that as soon as Eve becomes aware of herself, she becomes aware of the extent of her beauty.”

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