Reading literature is like ploughing the earth which is full of pearls, but winning the far-fetched gifts needs a skill and a talent. This can be seen through the work of Emilia Lanyer’s”Eve’s Apology” and John Milton’s”Paradise Lost,Book 9″which appeared in the Renaissance era. On the surface, both works discuss the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from heaven to earth. However, each of which has a different point of view in term of the reason why Eve ate from the tree of Eden and the way how each one perceives women in their societies through a different depiction of the character of Eve.
In “Eve’s Apology”, Emilia Lanyer tries to justify Eve’s fault by saying that eating fruit is a matter of innocence and ignorance.
Lanyer says that Eve that Eve was created simply good by God and she had no further knowledge than Adam. This led her to be curious to know the secret hidden beyond eating such fruit.
As a result, the action itself should not be interpreted as a violation but as a lack of knowledge. Lanyer says”If Eve did err, it was for knowledge sake,”(line53 p 226). Also, the poet suggests that if there is someone to blame, it should be Adam who represents the rationality and reason, but Adam fell as a prey to his desire when he accepted the fruit from Eve;s hand. On the other hand, John Milton insists on blaming Eve for such a fault.
He says that Eve is easily affected by devil that makes her feel proud of her beauty and seek egalitarianism with Adam. Devil also connects her with God directly. As a result, Eve disobeyed God’s command by eating the fruit out of egotism. Furthermore, Milton depicts Eve as an authoritarian wife accusing her for offering Adam the fruit to prevent her husband from getting another wife after her death. The poet says”Then I shall be no more, and Adam wedded to another Eve,”(line 828 p 275). Eve’s character reflects the way each author perceives woman in their time.
For Milton, woman is the source of problem and should be banned from authority since the patriarchal society does not allow her to share in making serious decisions while Emilia Lanyer defends woman rights and calls for equality describing the man as a sinner and responsible for commit Jesus crucifixion on earth. Although Emilia Lanyer presented her work a long time before Milton, her book was neglected until very recently while Milton’s is celebrated until this age. This indicates how the masculine mentality still overtakes the power even in literature.