Eve Reimagined: Milton’s Undoing of Misogynistic Traditions


  • Annalyse Granowski West Texas A&M University




Milton, Poetry, Eden, Genesis


How might John Milton’s depiction of Eve unintentionally reveal the uniquely feminine struggle for equality in a patriarchal power structure? In the epic poem Paradise Lost (1667), Milton “justifies the ways of God to men” by emphasizing the importance of obedience. However, Eve disregards Adam’s suggestion that they work together in Eden, and this separation results in her falling into temptation. Eve chooses to work independently because of her own desire, but is this decision a form of disobedience? Even though Paradise Lost establishes Eden to be a patriarchal structure, I believe that Eve’s decision might plausibly be interpreted as an attempt to gain equality. In this paper, I wish to claim that Milton attempted to minimize the assumption that Eve’s act was merely a selfish or impulsive one. Instead, he depicts his only female figure as a being who can equally make decisions just like the male figures in the Garden, and her independence allows her to attempt to escape a gendered hierarchy. Instead, the misogynistic environment of Eden may play a larger role than originally thought. While traditionally the interrogation of Eve in Judeo-Christian discourse has revolved around her act of disobedience against God, Milton shifts the narrative to focus on Eve’s interactions with Adam; with this modification, Milton creates the possibility for disrupting misogynistic traditions of interpreting Genesis.


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References or Bibliography

Primary Sources

The Junius Manuscript. Ed. Daniel Anlezark. London, England: Harvard University Press, 2011.

Milton, John. Areopagitica. 1st ed. Ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephan M. Fallon. New York: Random House, 2007.

Milton, John. Selections from The Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce; Restored to the good of

both sexes. 1st ed. Ed. William Kerrigan, John Rumrich, and Stephan M. Fallon. New York: Random House, 2007.

Secondary Sources

Bare, Alison. “Feminism Regained: Exposing the Objectification of Eve in John Milton’s Paradise Lost.” English Studies 99:2 (2018): 93-112. Web.

Ferry, Anne. “Milton’s Creation of Eve.” The English Renaissance 28:1 (1988): 113-132. Web.

Liebert, Elisabeth. “Rendering ‘More Equal’: Eve’s Changing Discourse in Paradise Lost.” Milton Quarterly 37:3 (2003): 152-165. Web.

McChrystal, Deirdre. “Redeeming Eve.” English Literary Renaissance 23:3 (1993): 490-508. Web.

Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. David Scott Kastan. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Company, 2005. Print.

Stone, Lawrence. Uncertain Unions: Marriage In England 1660-1753. New York: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.



How to Cite

Granowski, A. (2023). Eve Reimagined: Milton’s Undoing of Misogynistic Traditions. Journal of Student Research, 12(1). https://doi.org/10.47611/jsr.v12i1.1834



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