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Paradise Lost by John Milton - Barron's Booknotes
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LINES 385-493. SATAN WATCHING EVE

They part, promising to meet for lunch. Milton addresses Eve directly as she walks away, innocent for the last time.

The serpent has found Eve alone. He watches her and smells her delicious perfume as she tends the plants. Her effect on Satan is expressed in a long and very famous epic simile, beginning with the line "As one who long in populous city pent." A city dweller breathes with pleasure the scents of the country air and finds a country girl so lovely that she "sums all delight." In fact, for a few moments, Eve's innocent beauty makes Satan "stupidly good."



But not for long. He hisses to himself that he has forgotten the main purpose of his journey, which is not to enjoy himself but to destroy others. Eve is alone, without the protection of her husband "Whose higher intellectual more I shun." His hate is stronger than her beauty.

Think back to Eve's boast and Satan's relief that he has found the weaker of the pair alone. The irony is almost unbearable.

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