Areopagitica and Other Prose Works

Adam and Eve as "Warfaring Christians": Paradise Lost and Areopagitica College

In his “Areopagitica,” John Milton claims “He that can apprehend and consider vice with all her baits and seeming pleasures, and yet abstain, and yet distinguish, and yet prefer that which is truly better, he is the true warfaring Christian. I cannot praise a fugitive and cloistered virtue, unexercised and unbreathed, that never sallies out and sees her adversary, but slinks out of the race where that immortal garland is to be run for, not without dust and heat” (939). To be a true, strong Christian, one must face temptation and reject it in favor of faith in God. Milton’s belief is furthered and exemplified in Book IX of Paradise Lost, since the characters of Paradise Lost represent different sides of Milton’s claim.

The strengths and weaknesses of Milton’s argument are best seen in conversation between Adam and Eve . In Book IX, Eve suggests to Adam that the two split up to accomplish more work in a shorter amount of time (214). In response to Eve’s suggestion, Adam says, “The wife, where danger or dishonor lurks,/ safest and seemliest by her husband stays,/ who guards her, or with her the worst endures” (267-269). Adam’s claim appears to juxtapose Milton’s belief in the importance of facing temptation, but he justifies his...

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