A Level English Literature- Paradise Lost- How are sexual relationships presented?

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username4143820
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#1
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#1
Hey guys,
So I'm a bit confused what the actual message is in Paradise lost about sexual relationships.
I can't make my mind up whether they are frowned upon if they are simply for pleasure, and thus required only for procreation- or whether some level of pleasure and enjoyment is acceptable, especially before the fall...
If anyone could help me that would be great and especially if you could help in relation to books 9 and 10 as those are the only books i'm studying...
Thanks
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esralled
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I love Paradise Lost in its entirety, I can help you out.

Procreation is a punishment for the fall. Adam and Eve were both immortal in Eden. The fall made them mortal, and punished Eve specifically (because she was the first to betray God by being tempted by Satan) with having to bear children.

In book 9 line 235-245, Adam is talking about how God has given them work to do in Eden, but no so much work that they can't stop for a shag every now and then (find a better way to word that in your essay).

Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labour, as to debar us when we need
[...]
this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles
[...]
For not to irksom toil, but to delight
He made us, and delight to reason joined

Casual sex is not sinful, or frowned upon. God even "delights" that Adam and Eve are exploring each others bodies. It is part of the "labour" that God has given them.

However, later on in book 9, lines 595-7, Satan says to Eve

Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill
I spared not, for such pleasure til that hour
At feed or fountain, never had I found.

One of the ways Eve is convinced by Satan to betray God is because Satan talks of the pleasure he experienced from the fruit. Coupling that with the fact that he is a serpent - a phallic image - the appropriate response from God is to make pleasure a sin, and for the result of pleasure after the fall to be the pain of childbirth.
Last edited by esralled; 2 years ago
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username4143820
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#3
Report Thread starter 2 years ago
#3
(Original post by esralled)
I love Paradise Lost in its entirety, I can help you out.

Procreation is a punishment for the fall. Adam and Eve were both immortal in Eden. The fall made them mortal, and punished Eve specifically (because she was the first to betray God by being tempted by Satan) with having to bear children.

In book 9 line 235-245, Adam is talking about how God has given them work to do in Eden, but no so much work that they can't stop for a shag every now and then (find a better way to word that in your essay).

Yet not so strictly hath our Lord imposed
Labour, as to debar us when we need
[...]
this sweet intercourse
Of looks and smiles
[...]
For not to irksom toil, but to delight
He made us, and delight to reason joined

Casual sex is not sinful, or frowned upon. God even "delights" that Adam and Eve are exploring each others bodies. It is part of the "labour" that God has given them.

However, later on in book 9, lines 595-7, Satan says to Eve

Tempting so nigh, to pluck and eat my fill
I spared not, for such pleasure til that hour
At feed or fountain, never had I found.

One of the ways Eve is convinced by Satan to betray God is because Satan talks of the pleasure he experienced from the fruit. Coupling that with the fact that he is a serpent - a phallic image - the appropriate response from God is to make pleasure a sin, and for the result of pleasure after the fall to be the pain of childbirth.
Ahh thanks this is really helpful!
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