Paradise Lost


Book 5 and 6

Book 5 Summary

The next morning, Eve reports to Adam that she had disturbing dreams. She describes being visited by an innocent-looking cherub who presented very convincing arguments as to why she should eat from the Tree of Knowledge. She dreamed that she was overcome with the desire to eat the fruit, and did so. She is now very concerned about the dream, and Adam shares her concern. He is convinced, however, that Eve is too inherently good and innocent for the dream to be corrupting. He suggests that she merely dreamed about it because he had been talking about the Tree of Knowledge the evening before. He comforts her tenderly, and they turn to their days’ work of tending the Garden.

In Heaven, God summons his angel Raphael and instructs him to visit with Adam and Eve. Raphael is to warn Adam about Satan’s evil intentions, and to remind the humans that they have a choice to resist temptation. Although God already knows that man will fall, he pities his creatures and wants to reinforce the concept of free will.

From Eden, Adam sees Raphael approaching and commands Eve to prepare a feast for the angel. They all dine on the bountiful fruits of the Garden, which Raphael is able to transform into food worthy of consumption by an angel. Raphael explains to Adam that he and Eve, as God’s creatures, have the potential to “turn all to spirit” (5.497)—to become like angels, themselves—if they will remain obedient to God. When Adam asks whether it is even possible to disobey God, Raphael says that it is, and explains the concept of free will. Raphael mentions that the angels also have free will, and that those who remain in Heaven do so because of their obedience to God. Adam grows curious at Raphael’s mention of disobedient angels and of Hell, and asks to know the full story.

For the remainder of Book 5, Raphael narrates to Adam the story of Satan’s rebellion. He explains that Satan was once called Lucifer, and that he was God’s highest archangel. When God...

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Essays About Paradise Lost