'Domestick Adam' versus 'Adventurous Eve': Arguments about Gardening in Milton's Eden

Rosie Paice*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article emphasizes the importance of Adam and Eve's dispute over gardening in accounting for their progression towards the Fall. Reading Adam and Eve's conversation in book 9 of Paradise Lost in the light of husbandry manuals and the companionship ideals embraced by Milton, it argues that both stray from their culturally and textually sanctioned roles. Eve's rejection of her husband's society in favor of her plants runs counter to the desired movement up “the scale of Nature” (PL 5.509), as outlined by the archangel Raphael. Adam, too, chooses wrongly on the morning of the Fall, seeking pleasure and ease in the bower during the hours assigned for garden labor. As faults, Adam and Eve's misalignments in nature and companionship are temporary and can be put right, but their accumulation makes them susceptible to Satan's temptation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-293
Number of pages29
JournalMilton Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes

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