Mr. Wright 4A
Honors English II
January 28, 2015
Paradise Lost Salon Essay
Symbolism and gender roles shown in book nine of Paradise Lost, the story of Genesis, and the opening title sequence for the show, Desperate Housewives conclude that females possess the negative archetype of being a temptress. A temptress is a usually sexually alluring woman who repeatedly seduces or manipulates others. Eve is shown as a temptress to Adam in Paradise Lost. In the story of Genesis, Eve is also shown as a temptress to Adam. In the title sequence of Desperate Housewives, the young, beautiful girl is seen as the temptress to the old, married man.
In book nine of Paradise Lost, Eve acts as a temptress to Adam. She has complete
control on whether to give Adam the forbidden fruit or not. An example from the text is: “But to Adam in what sort
Shall I appear? Shall I to him make known
As yet my change, and give him to partake
Full happiness with me, or rather not,
But keep the odds of knowledge in my power
Without copartner?”(Milton 816-821).
This shows exactly the decision that Eve has to make. She can either share her knowledge and ultimate happiness with Adam or keep all this to herself. Eve decides to give Adam the forbidden fruit by using her female sexuality. Eve acts as a temptress in this moment, “So to add what wants In female sex, the more to draw his love” (821-822). Eve will use her beauty and sexuality to get what she desires. This shows that Eve is “tempting” Adam into choosing what she wants. Adam is at a disadvantage because he is being manipulated to go against God’s word, not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Also he does not contain the knowledge that Eve does at this moment. This is the main reason that the female archetype of temptress is considered a negative perception on females. Genesis, the first book in the Holy Bible reinstates the same situations as Paradise Lost. Adam and Eve are told by God not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. A serpent tricks Eve into eating the forbidden fruit from the tree, who then feeds it to Adam. An example from Genesis is, “And that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, and he ate” (Chapter 3, 6). This shows Eve wanting to fulfill her happiness and have the knowledge of God. It shows Eve’s ambition and that Eve is easily tempted just as she is a temptress. The serpent, which represents Lucifer, tempts Eve into eating the fruit by flattering her and comforting her fears that God will be angered. Eve then eats the apple and feeds it to Adam. She does this by using her female sexuality and feminism. Although Genesis does not have more detail than Paradise Lost, it reinstates the main concept that