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A Superior Inferior: Eve as John Milton's Tragic Hero in Paradise Lost

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dc.contributor.author Flaspohler, Laura
dc.date.accessioned 2012-03-28T20:53:34Z
dc.date.available 2012-03-28T20:53:34Z
dc.date.created November 4, 2011 en_US
dc.date.issued 2012-03-28
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/123456789/672
dc.description.abstract John Milton's life experiences and extensive education allowed him to write a complex epic poem with many nuances. One of these nuances involved portraying Eve as the tragic hero of his epic. Using Aristotle's Poetics to define "tragedy" and "tragic hero" this thesis illustrates that Eve is the only character that fits the definition. Milton portrays Eve as an exceptional woman, providing her with a status equal to that of a monarch in Paradise. As a good character with high standing, Eve also demonstrates human appetites, including curiosity, desire, and ambition. These traits allow Milton's audience to connect to Eve as a heroic character, thus eliciting pity when she suffers misfortune. As Aristotle states, the tragic hero's misfortunes must be a result of an error of judgment rather than a flaw in character, and Eve, though ambitious, remains a perfect being before the Fall. Her mistake occurs when she considers Satan's argument, finally giving in to her ambitious desire to become like a god. In addition to dooming herself, Eve tempts Adam to disobey God's command, and once he eats, the Fall is complete. God sends his Son to pass judgment upon the human pair, and the tragic hero.s decline begins. Eve offers to take God.s punishment entirely upon herself because she accepts that the Fall occurred because of her mistake, and her ultimate punishment involves being placed permanently beneath Adam in the hierarchy. While she was an exceptional woman before the Fall, Eve becomes inferior to Adam after the Fall; Milton confirms that most women should be inferior to men. By portraying Eve as the tragic hero, Milton "justifies the ways of God to men" by demonstrating the consequences of aspiring beyond one.s place as determined by the hierarchy and the perfect monarch, God. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject John Milton, Paradise Lost, Eve, tragic hero en_US
dc.title A Superior Inferior: Eve as John Milton's Tragic Hero in Paradise Lost en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.college las en_US
dc.academic.area English Literature en_US
dc.advisor Mel Storm en_US
dc.department english, modern languages and literatures en_US

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