Study Guide

Paradise Lost Book 8

By John Milton

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Book 8

  • Raphael finishes speaking, and Adam thanks him. But there's still some things he's curious about. Why do all huge stars and planets, etc. move all over the place rather than the earth?
  • Eve gets up and walks out in the garden, but not because she can't handle the discussion that's about to follow. She'd rather hear it from Adam, not Raphael, because Adam will give her little kisses while he's telling her things.
  • Raphael responds, saying it doesn't really matter whether the earth or the heavens are moving. Some things God has concealed.
  • The point though, he tells Adam, is that he (Adam) doesn't really know what's going on. The earth isn't necessarily less than other heavenly bodies just because it's smaller.
  • Raphael then goes on to describe a number of complicated astronomical theories, ultimately telling Adam, "Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,/ Leave them to God above, him serve and fear" (8.167-168).
  • Adam is satisfied, and says he understands: there's no point worrying about all kinds of crazy stuff in the universe and God's purposes in making it that.
  • Adam says he's going to do some narrating and tell Raphael his earliest memories. Raphael says he'd be delighted to hear because God sent him to watch the gates of Hell when Adam first awoke.
  • Adam says he woke up and immediately looked up to Heaven, and then around him. He walked around and discovered that he could speak and name things.
  • He also says, "But who I was, or where, or from what cause,/ Knew not" (8.270-271). He deduced that he was created by somebody but he doesn't know who.
  • He then sat down, fell asleep and had a dream. In the dream, a divine apparition called to him and led him to the Garden of Eden. Adam awoke, and found that he had actually been transplanted there!
  • The same divine being came forth and tells Adam he's the guy Adam's been looking for, the creator of everything.
  • "This is all yours," he essentially says, "except for the Tree of Knowledge. You eat that, you become mortal and have to leave the garden."
  • After this guy (it's God) finishes, all the animals come before Adam in pairs. He names them, but doesn't see what he wants among them.
  • He asks the heavenly vision how he's supposed to be happy if he's all alone. He has no companion.
  • God responds by asking him, essentially, "What do you mean alone? Look at all these animals." Adam responds by saying they're too different from him; he can't converse with lions!
  • God says this is all very interesting but why doesn't He, God, need anybody? Adam "Thou in thy self art perfect," which means he doesn't need anybody. Adam does, though.
  • God responds, saying that he was just testing Adam to see how he would handle being alone. He then tells him to watch what he (God) has in store for him next.
  • God then puts Adam to sleep, but Adam's "fancy" (whatever that is) can still see what's happening, "as in a trance."
  • He watches God create Eve, the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. Then he wakes up and goes looking for her; he sees her, coming towards him led by God's voice. He thanks God.
  • He then led Eve to the marriage bower while all the birds of Paradise were singing. He loves Eve, but realizes that she's "in the prime end /Of natureā€¦the inferior" (8.540-541).
  • Raphael responds, telling Adam to be careful and not to be too over-awed with Eve's beauty. She's worthy of Adam's love, but not his "subjection."
  • Adam says he understands and tells Raphael not to worry. Then he asks him whether or not the angels make love. Hehehe.
  • Raphael smiles, blushes, and says angels are happy, and there's no happiness without love.
  • He then tells Adam it's time for him to go. He tells Adam to keep obeying God and to resist temptation; he and the other angels have high hopes for him.
  • They say their goodbyes, and Raphael returns to Heaven.

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