Symptoms of Narcissism in Eve Using Paradise Lost

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Symptoms of Narcissism in Eve
I. Introduction
A. “The allusion to pagan fable that most haunts views of Milton's Eve is her Narcissus-like behavior when, fresh from her Creator's hand, she pauses at the verge of the mirror lake attracted by her own reflection and has to be called twice: first by God, who leads her to Adam, and then, as she starts back toward the softer beauty of the face in the lake, by Adam himself.” (McColley 63). B. Eve’s scene in which she observes herself at the pool can be seen as a biblical form of the myth of Narcissus. C. I will argue, first, that Eve’s scene alludes to Ovid's myth of Narcissus. Second I dispute interpretations that view Eve’s actions as a narcissistic impulse, instead maintaining that the scene asserts Eve’s free will. Lastly, I will mention how Eve losing herself to find herself is identical to what the reader goes through while reading Paradise Lost. Trans. ¶

II. Jonathan Collett
A. “This situation by the pool echoes Ovid's tale of Narcissus and attributed to Eve a native vanity that issues in the Fall, sometimes finding additional sinister implications in periodic resemblances between the creation of Eve and the birth of Sin.” (Collett 88). B. Collett presents the idea that Eve’s scene at the pool was directly a biblical form of the myth of Narcissus. Trans. ¶

III. Diane McColley
A. “Instead, she makes the choice on which all further choices depend: she returns to Adam in response to his own cry.” (McColley 65). B. McColley disputes interpretations that view Eve’s actions as a narcissistic impulse, instead maintaining that the scene asserts Eve’s free will. Trans. ¶

IV. Personal Contribution
A. “Like all good adventures, Eve's narrow escape from narcissism is exigent and perilous.” (McColley 66).
B. Eve’s temporary narcissism required her to lose herself in order to find herself while leaving her full freedom to fail, and in turn rewarded her with new opportunities and powers, which is what the poem is for the reader. Trans. ¶

V. Conclusion
A. “The allusions to Ovid's Narcissus do not show either that Eve was primordially vain or that selfhood develops through sin.” (McColley 64). B. Eve’s scene in which she observes herself at the pool can be seen as a biblical form of the myth of Narcissus. C. Collett presents the idea that Eve’s scene alludes to Ovid’s myth of Narcissus. McColley disputes interpretations that view Eve’s actions as a narcissistic impulse, instead maintaining that the scene asserts Eve’s free will. I note on how Eve losing herself to find herself is identical to what the reader goes through while reading Paradise Lost. Edwin Melendez

Mr. Harrison
British Literature Grade 12 Honors
24 February 2008
Symptoms of Narcissism in Eve
A number of scholars who study John Milton’s Eve in Paradise Lost all come to conclusion that her actions can be seen as symptoms of narcissism. Narcissism is defined as “an erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.” This argument is validated when we begin to read the events after Eve is created from Adam’s rib. In this scene, Eve strolls past a pool and is instantly drawn to her reflection. This attraction serves as a distraction. God called Eve and lead her to Adam, only to turn around and head back to the reflection of her face. Then, she is called once again, this time by Adam. This scene in which she observes herself at the pool can be seen as a biblical form of the myth of Narcissus. First, I will present Jonathan Collett’s idea that Eve’s scene directly alludes to Ovid's myth of Narcissus. Second I will counter this though with Diane McColley’s thought of how one can dispute interpretations that view Eve's...
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