Research Library

Part of the Edifice Project involves making the best of student writing and thought available to future classes.  Writing assignments will be designed specifically to draw upon this existing research library formed by the students of previous years, overlapping their work without repeating it.  The links below will lead to a library of papers based on class and subject.  I have edited these papers for minor spelling and grammatical errors and standardized their citations of Milton’s poetry and prose.

Milton and Reason: Spring 2015
“Eve’s Lack of Mentor: An Analysis of Eve’s Character and the Effects of Divine Intervention,” Sarah Harden
Abstract: This essay explores how Eve’s lack of a heavenly mentor leads to the fall of humanity. Because Eve receives no recognition as an individual and lacks the divine knowledge that is often imparted to Adam, she is more susceptible to Satan’s temptation. Through the causes such as Eve’s craving for attention, Adam’s failure as a mentor, and the appeal of Satan’s temptation, Eve’s lack of a heavenly mentor leads to her sin.

“To Stand or to Fall: Responses to Temptation and Subservience in Paradise Lost,” Arwen Hutchison
Abstract: In Paradise Lost, Milton explores the nuances of temptation and subservience with four major characters: Adam, Satan, Eve and Abdiel. While Adam, Satan and Eve fall, Abdiel remains steadfast and perseveres in his adoration of God. Interestingly, although Eve falls, she bridges the gap between angel and man, heaven and hell, in her logic and action. By comparing her reasoning for standing and falling against others who are also tempted, readers gain a deeper appreciation of God’s professed wish to be worshipped freely versus the aptitude necessary to fulfil God’s request.

“Poisoned with Pride: How Adam Became Truly Like God,” Madison King
Abstract: This essay argues that, contrary to the assertion purported by God, the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil makes the consumer “like God,” as Satan tells Eve, by creating in the consumer a character of pride, selfishness, disdain, and apathy. This argument is explored by examining the lines of reason employed by Adam towards Eve before and after the fall of humanity juxtaposed with the lines of reason employed by God towards Satan after his fall from Heaven.

“Three Cheers to Eve: A Defense of the Desire for Knowledge,” Madison Santana
Abstract: This essay presents Eve’s inherent distance from God and Adam as her primary tool in her development of a sense of reason and logic separate from the two. Eve’s formation as a being closer to the Earth and Creation in effect gives Eve a clearer mind to reason separate from God; her appreciation of sensuality and the physical and concrete give her a nuanced understanding of the world unlike other characters in Paradise Lost. The consequences of Eve’s actions in relation to God’s established hierarchy within Creation are discussed, as are the implications of her “transgression” on the future of logic and choice within the poem and outside of Eden.

Milton’s Satan: Spring 2014
“Milton’s Satan and Eve’s Temptation,” Tucker Godek
Abstract: The contrasts between Adam and Satan are most identifiable and compelling in their respective relationships to Eve. This paper argues that Adam is not a figure of patriarchal constraint to Eve, and that Satan offers a truer sense of restriction for Eve by exploiting the nature of her creation. Satan does not conceive of a benevolent, progressive end for Eve, while Adam has no choice but to support Eve. Satan represents a perversion of Eve’s agency and identity as a woman, while Adam acts as a force of preservation.

“Composite Satan and Heroism,” Jacquavious James
Abstract: This paper considers Satan of Paradise Lost and his actions in contrast to traditional epic hero characteristics and tragic hero characteristics, finding concordance within both. Defining the unity found therein “composite heroism”, the paper outlines the effects in terms of audience reaction and Satan’s character development.

“Falling Pawns: An Argument Against God and His Conniving Ways as Evidenced by Satan and Eve,” Mariah Lawrence
Abstract: This essay argues that Satan did not intend to bring harm to Eve by causing her fall. In fact, neither nor Satan nor Eve had the free will to intend anything. Every action they took was orchestrated by God, who planned to crush his own creation underfoot to give rise to his own glory.

“The Language of the Spirit: An Analysis of Divine Diction in Paradise Lost,” Jared Powell
Abstract: In this paper, the author analyzes the diction of God with regards to Satan, as well as Satan’s own self-descriptions, and shows that there are unexpected patterns regarding the expected evil nature of Satan. After spending some time discussing the implications of the characters’ word choice, the author also relates the issues of good and evil as debated by Satan to Milton’s argument from Areopagitica that the reader must work through such issues on an individual level instead of accepting passed down “truths.”

“Better to Reign: Satan as a Tragic Hero,” Aaron Tinker
Abstract: This essay takes a look at Satan as a tragic hero by exploring his character in relation to six fundamental conventions that defy all tragic heroes. Along with quotes from the text, and with the assistance of Lauren Alexander’s 2013 essay, “The Actions of Good and Evil,” this paper argues that Milton’s Satan is indeed the tragic hero of Paradise Lost. Therefore, this essay strives to examine issues concerning Satan’s position in the hierarchy of both Heaven and Hell, Satan’s tragic flaw, Satan’s increase in awareness, Satan’s free will, Satan’s punishment, and finally, Satan’s emotional connection to the reader.

Fate and Free Will: Spring 2013
“The Actions of Good and Evil,” Lauren Alexander
Abstract: Digs into the discussion of free will and the consequences of the actions chosen by Milton’s characters in Paradise Lost. Free will is intrinsic and gives individuals the choice to build their own character, whether that is good or evil. Faith in God is a motivating factor of good choices, but does not determine that the good choice will always be taken. Milton’s Satan and Adam are examples of actions at work and how their free will gives them the opportunity to be good or evil.

“Faulty Machinery: An Examination of Eve’s Fate as it Relates to Her Creation,” Jacob Boyd
Note: This paper mistakenly involves external research instead of reference to the course research library.
Abstract: In this essay, the author considers the problem of free will in Milton’s Paradise Lost by positing that Eve, though ultimately in control of her actions, makes a logical decision in her eating of the fruit, and causing the fall of mankind. The circumstances of her creation, conducted on God’s word, lead her to possess desires which are gratified directly by her partaking of the fruit, rendering her decision rational, despite their disobedience.

“Free Will or Willed Folly?” Callan Buck
Abstract: This essay explores the question of free will in regards to Adam and Eve’s fall. Upon closer examination, it becomes evident that God did not simply create man with the ability to fall based on free will; instead, He deliberately acted to ensure their downfall and guarantee the glorification of his one and only Son Jesus.

“The Fall of Man: Fated or Chosen?” Cayman Caven
Abstract: This paper argues that Adam and Eve have free will. They are sometimes fated to be put in certain situations, but they have the free will to decide how to act within those situations. Eve consciously chose to eat the fruit and convince Adam to eat the fruit, which led to the fall of man. This argument takes into account evidence from Paradise Lost and Maggie Espino’s paper, “Eve: Defective by Design or Disobedient by Decision?”

“Choice in Milton’s Paradise Lost: A Discussion of Adam’s Free Will,” Karrie Elpers
Abstract: This paper defines free will as the ability to choose between two or more possible options. This definition is used to argue that Adam does have free will because his personality, specifically his devotion to Eve and his curiosity, motivates his choice to eat the forbidden fruit. While God may create Adam’s personality in this way in order to cause him to eat the fruit and thereby fulfill His own design, because Adam is allowed to choose what he thinks is best, it is determined that he has free will even if he is fated to fall.

“The Restraint in Freedom in Paradise Lost,” Olivia McDermott
Abstract: Milton attempts to explain in Paradise Lost that there is true freedom only in following the ways of God, and the freedom to disobey Him can only cause pain and suffering. There is free will and fate with God, and there are also irreversible moments in history God does not allow to change.

“Fate and Free Will: The Decrees and Punishments from God,” Brett Saunders
Abstract: This essay looks at fate and free will and how the commands of God seem to either be arbitrary or have a purpose in relation to Adam, Eve, and Satan. It argues that many of the decrees and punishments made by God do have a purpose, using evidence from Paradise Lost and Julia Miller’s essay, “Is God Complicit in the Fall of man?”

Milton’s God: Spring 2012
“Humanity As Art,” Bill Caudell
Abstract: Argues God creates artistically and that humanity exists as independently of God as one of God’s artistic works, free to fall on its own.

“The Freedom of God and Man,” Clay Greene
Abstract: The author considers the question in Paradise Lost of God’s free will and justice as applied to the choices and experience of his creations and himself, clears his “justice and wisdom from all imputation,” and establishes God as the seat of unities in the poem, whereby a full understanding of him can be the measure of all other aspects of the work.

“Is God Complicit in the Fall of Man?” Julia Miller
Abstract: In this paper, the motives of God are explored in relation to the degree of responsibility He should share with Adam and Eve regarding their crime of disobedience. Quotes and summaries from Paradise Lost as well as Thaddeus Parker’s paper, Evil as Justification for Redemption, are used to argue the idea that God should share blame in the loss of Paradise.

“Milton,” Kendall Ray
Abstract: My essay is engaging with the discussion about the Father’s fault, if any, in the Fall of mankind. After exploring some other works in the research library as well as the Bible itself, I compiled this work. It is obvious that the Father is not complicit in the fall of man. No excuse of man can absolve him of his guilt.

“Milton’s God and his Eternal Providence,” Patrick Rogers
Abstract: In this paper I will attempt to prove that Milton’s God is justified in his lack of interaction with man.

Parents and Children: Spring 2011
The Tuscaloosa tornado of Spring 2011 resulted in only a single submission for the website, as final paper assignments were made optional for all students.

“The Unnecessary Fall.” Thomas Cassidey
Abstract: The Fall of man, or of any of God’s creatures is not necessary. Good and Evil exist as possibilities together in God’s creation, and several characters are able to know evil without disobeying their Father.

Adam and Eve, Men and Women: Spring 2010

“Is Free Will Damning?” Mary Elizabeth Adams
Abstract: This essay asserts that Eve is capable of making her own decisions due to free will. By using texts from Paradise Lost, I prove that it is not free will that corrupts humanity, but certain choices of the individual.

“Eve’s Defective Character,” Katelyn Carr.
Abstract: “Eve’s Defective Character” analyzes and examines the between-the-lines defense provided by John Milton for the character of Eve in his epic poem, Paradise Lost. The paper argues that, “[Eve] is imbued with a strong female curiosity and a drive to reach a level of equality with Adam, but [that] she lacks the makeup to fulfill these lofty aspirations– inherently she is nothing outside of a companion for Adam, and it’s this faulty composition that dooms her.” Outside of analyzing Paradise Lost itself, the paper considers Jeff Davis’ “On Bending,” and Kori Hensell’s “The Shifting Concept of Good and Evil in Paradise Lost” as concurring and supporting opinions.

“Eve: Defective by Design or Disobedient by Decision?” Maggie Espino
Abstract: Some readers of Milton’s epic Paradise Lost might view Eve’s character as “defective-by-design,” created with inherent flaws leading to her downfall. However, though Eve was made subordinate to Adam, she was originally made perfect. She was imbued with God-given free will that she exercises based on a rational reasoning process leading to the Fall.


“The Roles of Teacher and Student Expressed in Paradise Lost,” Ryan McHale

Abstract: “The Roles of Teacher and Student Expressed in Paradise Lost” takes the stance of Adam and Eve’s relationship as one of a student-teacher relationship by focusing on Eve’s piety as dependent on her role as a student and the authority she chooses to submit to as a student. The argument takes into account textual evidence from Milton’s Paradise Lost as well as supporting evidence from Kori Hensell’s essay “The Shifting Concept of Good and Evil in Paradise Lost.”

“Prisoners of Fate: Man’s Sudden, but Inevitable, Betrayal of God’s Instruction,” Jessica Morgan
Abstract: This paper presents the argument that in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, God, not Eve, was at fault for the Fall of mankind. It uses theories and ideas from the work itself, and also from papers on the Edifice website to try to characterize Milton’s use of predestination and free will in Paradise Lost.

“Milton’s Match Made in Paradise,” Jessica Lauren Stephenson
Abstract: In Paradise Lost, Eve is created as Adam’s inferior rather than his helpmeet. She is told to be content with her role as woman, all the while being constantly reminded that her position is not as dignified as man’s. It is Eve’s natural inferiority and search for meaning and purpose outside of her husband that will turn a match made in paradise into a sort of wrestling match for knowledge and power.

Good and Evil:  Spring 2009

“How Good Led to Evil and Evil Created Good,” Becca Ansorge

“On Bending,” Jeff Davis

“Candle in the Dark,” Troy Farsoun

“The Shifting Concept of Good and Evil in Paradise Lost,” Kori Hensell

“And He saw that it was good,” Jennifer Jeffcoat

“Evil as Justification for Redemption,” Thaddeus Parker

“Blindsided: Finding the Good in Paradise Lost,” Johnathan Speer