The passage above provides an apt image, with all its symbolic overtones, of Adam’s reaction to Eve’s mortal transgression—that is, her eating from the Forbidden Tree. The circular nature of the garland signifies perfection and permanence; the roses convey the delicacy, vitality, and bloom of life. The garland not only represents the perfection of a paradisal world, but the union between Adam and Eve. But Eve’s careless and wanton act shatters such a union. This leaves Adam with a choice: to eat the fruit thereby upholding his bond with and love for Eve (an act in defiance of God), or to walk away and shoulder the pangs of a broken heart and the prospect of a solitary future. He chooses the former. Many critics have argued—and will no doubt continue to argue—that slavish and blind passion prompted Adam to eat from the Tree. But this is not the case. Adam acts out of love. He sacrifices himself out of love, a sacrifice that parallels that of the Son (i.e. Jesus) in Book III of the epic.
The Fidelity of the Fruit: A Psychology of Adam’s Fall in Milton’s Paradise Lost.
Undergraduate Review, 5, 150-154.
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