ERIC Number: ED339068
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Satan's Temptation of Eve in "Paradise Lost": A Rhetorical Analysis.
Ward, Dee Ann Duke
John Milton employs classical rhetorical techniques in "Paradise Lost" to accomplish Satan's temptation of Eve which begins on line 524 and ends with line 732 of Book 9; however, Satan's oration resembles pejorative sophistry and Milton uses Ciceronian arrangement for Satan's argument. Milton envisions Satan as a clever, cunning creature who purposely misleads Eve--an innocent. In the exordium Satan uses flattery to attract Eve's attention. In the narrative section Satan lies to Eve about how he gained the power of speech. In the partition Satan forces Eve to acknowledge the existence of the Tree of Knowledge from which he obtained the fruit, and he addresses her reservations about partaking of the fruit. The confirmation section employs an Aristotelian enthymeme in which Satan ostensibly delineates an inconsistency in God's commandment. In the refutation Satan uses ambiguity, deceit, and a spurious enthymeme to seduce Eve. Finally, in the peroration, Satan recalls his arguments, ignites ill will against God, and arouses sympathy in Eve. Milton also sympathizes with Eve because he sees her as unequipped to argue with Satan on the same intellectual level. Throughout this oration Milton continues to remind the reader/student than these dishonorable and illogical means of persuasion are antithetical to the Classicists' intentions and consummate for illustrating Satan's character. (Author/PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Classical Rhetoric; Milton (John); Paradise Lost; Rhetorical Devices; Rhetorical Strategies
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (San Antonio, TX, April 18-20, 1991).