Paradise Lost

by: John Milton

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 4

What better can we do, than to place
Repairing where he judg’d us, prostrate fall
Before him reverent, and there confess
Humbly our faults, and pardon beg, with tears
Watering the ground, and with our sighs the
Air Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.
Undoubtedly he will relent and turn
From his displeasure; in whose look serene,
When angry most he seem’d and most severe,
What else but favor, grace, and mercy shone?
So spake our Father penitent, nor Eve
Felt less remorse: they forthwith to the place
Repairing where he judg’d them prostrate fell
Before him reverent, and both confess’d
Humbly their faults, and pardon begg’d, with tears
Watering the ground, and with their sighs the
Air Frequenting, sent from hearts contrite, in sign
Of sorrow unfeign’d, and humiliation meek.
         (X.10861104)

These lines at the end of Book X, first spoken by Adam, and then narrated by Milton, relate Adam and Eve’s decision to pray to God for forgiveness and their subsequent action of prayer. This point in the story finds Adam and Eve choosing between obedience and disobedience. Their repentance allows them to be forgiven, and their forgiveness allows for the possible redemption of humankind. These lines present the first step in humankind’s long search for salvation.

Much of Adam’s speech and Milton’s narration overlaps; many lines are repeated with only the tenses and pronouns changed. This use of repetition has a dramatic effect on a dramatic and important scene. Milton’s use of repetition gives his narration an emotional accuracy and compassionate tone. And the repetition places extra emphasis on their act of prayer, allowing readers to understand its extreme importance to the story. It also demonstrates that Adam and Eve repent exactly what they planned in the way they planned it, showing their dedication and determination to obey God strictly even after the fall.