Paradise Lost


Book 8 and 9

Book 8 Summary

Adam expresses his gratitude to Raphael for all that the angel has told him. Still curious, however, Adam now asks about the movement of the planets and the stars, and what is contained in the other worlds which he cannot see. At this point, Eve leaves the conversation to tend her fruits and flowers. Milton explains that Eve would rather learn more from Adam’s lips alone, suggesting that this is the appropriate role for women. After Eve departs, Raphael explains to Adam that the motion of the planets and other mysteries are not important for Adam to know. In fact, he says, God has deliberately kept many things mysterious, even to the angels. Therefore, Adam should not worry about those things; he should concentrate his attention on Earth and on tending to his responsibilities in daily life.

Next, it is Raphael’s turn to pose a question to Adam. The angel explains that he had been away from Heaven, charged with guarding Hell, on the day that God created Adam. He praises Adam as being made in God’s image, and wants to know Adam’s experience of being created. Adam describes waking up on the grass and feeling the warmth of the sun on his skin. He instinctively knew how to stand up, how to walk and run, and how to speak, and he knew the names of the plants and animals. He did not know where he had come from, but felt naturally joyful and assumed that a great “Maker” must have created him. Soon, God appeared to Adam and told him that he was meant to enjoy the paradise God had created, and that Adam would never have anything to fear as long as he abstained from eating from the forbidden Tree of Knowledge. God warned Adam that to eat from the forbidden Tree would mean death, the loss of immortality, and “a world/of woe and sorrow” (8.332-33).

God then brought all the animals to Adam, instructing the first man to name and to understand each animal, for Adam was to have dominion over them all. Before long, Adam became aware of desiring another one such as himself, as the animals all...

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