Friday, 20 May 2016


Of Man's first disobedience, and the fruit
Of that forbidden tree whose mortal taste
Brought death into the World,

Of Man's first .......... into the World,

(i) Poem: Paradise Lost
(ii) Poet: John Milton
(i) Occurrence: Book I (Lines 1-3/798)
(ii) Content: Satan lies dazed in a lake of fire that is totally dark. Next to him is Beelzebub, Satan's second-in-command. Satan speaks to him and laments their current state. Satan suggests that they should leave the burning lake and find shelter on a distant shore. Beelzebub asks Satan to summon his armies. Satan takes up his armor and calls to his legions to join him on land. He addresses his legions and commits himself to continue his fight against God. 
     In these lines the poet describes the result of Man's first disobedience. The word "of" is a generative case. It echoes how the events described in the work brought forth the rest of mankind as we know it today. The words "Man's first disobedience" foretell the theme of the poem. In the Western traditions, the very first line or even words of the poem are often used as a sort of a frame; the essence of the work, the main theme and pivot. Thus the Iliad begins with "Anger (menis) of Achilles", the Odyssey with "The ingenious (polu-tropos) man" and Dante's Divine Comedy with "Midway on the road of our life". "Forbidden Tree" is a reference, obviously, to Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent in the Garden of Eden to eat the forbidden fruit. When they relished the "mortal taste" of this fruit; sin, mortality and woe entered the world, and they were cast out of Paradise. 

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