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Date

5-4-2020

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Numerous scholars have considered Milton's use in Paradise Lost of economics as well as Puritan views of gender and hierarchy, including ways in which the human beings, especially Eve, mirror Satan's errors. Yet while many discussions tend to focus on restrictions of Eve, the role of hierarchy within the world of Paradise Lost, or critiques of imperialism, primarily focusing on order and hierarchy can restrict understanding of Milton's positive rather than restrictive prescriptions for human life. Through a close reading of Paradise Lost and considering its theological, economic, and feminist readings, I will suggest that Eve's appeal to efficiency for her separation from Adam is similar to Satan's error of pride, for both possess a disordered understanding of the hierarchy between self and God and the importance of unity within hierarchy. It is this impetus which is so dangerous for sin, despite being hidden behind efficiency. Yet this also indicates that for Milton valuing leisure amidst initial globalization and industrialization could provide a solution for a disordered understanding of hierarchy and protect against error and sin not only in Eve but in Satan himself. Perhaps the call to leisure amidst difference, diversity, and inequality (though conceiving of both differently in contemporary America than in Milton's early modern England) indicates a way forward amidst our own globalized and post-industrialized world, perhaps even the necessity of rightly-constructed humanities education?

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May 4th, 12:00 AM

Not a Waste of Time: The Importance of Leisure in Milton's Paradise Lost

Numerous scholars have considered Milton's use in Paradise Lost of economics as well as Puritan views of gender and hierarchy, including ways in which the human beings, especially Eve, mirror Satan's errors. Yet while many discussions tend to focus on restrictions of Eve, the role of hierarchy within the world of Paradise Lost, or critiques of imperialism, primarily focusing on order and hierarchy can restrict understanding of Milton's positive rather than restrictive prescriptions for human life. Through a close reading of Paradise Lost and considering its theological, economic, and feminist readings, I will suggest that Eve's appeal to efficiency for her separation from Adam is similar to Satan's error of pride, for both possess a disordered understanding of the hierarchy between self and God and the importance of unity within hierarchy. It is this impetus which is so dangerous for sin, despite being hidden behind efficiency. Yet this also indicates that for Milton valuing leisure amidst initial globalization and industrialization could provide a solution for a disordered understanding of hierarchy and protect against error and sin not only in Eve but in Satan himself. Perhaps the call to leisure amidst difference, diversity, and inequality (though conceiving of both differently in contemporary America than in Milton's early modern England) indicates a way forward amidst our own globalized and post-industrialized world, perhaps even the necessity of rightly-constructed humanities education?