Paradise Lost

Adam Character Analysis

The first human and the father of mankind. Adam is created as perfect – beautiful, innocent, and wise – but even in his unfallen state he is eager for forbidden knowledge and attracted by Eve’s physical beauty. Milton saw men as inherently superior to women, so Adam is greater than Eve in wisdom, strength, and closeness to God.

Adam Quotes in Paradise Lost

The Paradise Lost quotes below are all either spoken by Adam or refer to Adam. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of Paradise Lost published in 2003.
Book 2 Quotes

If him by force he can destroy, or worse,
By some false guile pervert; and shall pervert;
For man will hearken to his glozing lies,
And easily transgress the sole command,
Sole pledge of his obedience: so will fall
He and his faithless progeny: whose fault?
Whose but his own? Ingrate, he had of me
All he could have; I made him just and right,
Sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), Satan, Adam
Page Number: 2.91-99
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 3 Quotes

So man, as is most just,
Shall satisfy for man, be judged and die,
And dying rise, and rising with him raise
His brethren, ransomed with his own dear life.
So Heav’nly love shall outdo Hellish hate,
Giving to death, and dying to redeem,
So dearly to redeem what Hellish hate
So easily destroyed, and still destroys
In those who, when they may, accept not grace.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), God the Son, Adam
Page Number: 3.294-302
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 4 Quotes

This one, this easy charge, of all the trees
In Paradise that bear delicious fruit
So various, not to taste that only Tree
Of Knowledge, planted by the Tree of Life,
So near grows death to life, whate’er death is,
Some dreadful thing no doubt; for well thou know’st
God hath pronounced it death to taste that Tree,
The only sign of our obedience left
Among so many signs of power and rule
Conferred upon us, and dominion giv’n
Over all other creatures that possess
Earth, air, and sea.

Related Characters: Adam (speaker), God the Father
Related Symbols: The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
Page Number: 4.421-432
Explanation and Analysis:

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Straight side by side were laid, nor turned I ween
Adam from his fair spouse, nor Eve the rites
Mysterious of connubial love refused:
Whatever hypocrites austerely talk
Of purity and place and innocence,
Defaming as impure what God declares
Pure, and commands to some, leaves free to all.
Our Maker bids increase, who bids abstain
But our destroyer, foe to God and man?
Hail wedded love, mysterious law, true source
Of human offspring, sole propriety,
In Paradise of all things common else.

Related Characters: God the Father, Adam, Eve
Page Number: 4.741-752
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 5 Quotes

Happiness in his power left free to will,
Left to his own free will, his will though free,
Yet mutable; whence warn him to beware
He swerve not too secure: tell him withal
His danger, and from whom, what enemy
Late fall’n himself from Heav’n, is plotting now
The fall of others from like state of bliss;
By violence, no, for that shall be withstood,
But by deceit and lies; this let him know,
Lest wilfully transgressing he pretend
Surprisal, unadmonished, unforewarned.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), Adam, Raphael
Page Number: 5.235-245
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 7 Quotes

But lest his heart exalt him in the harm
Already done, to have dispeopled Heav’n,
My damage fondly deemed, I can repair
That detriment, if such it be to lose
Self-lost, and in a moment will create
Another world, out of one man a race
Of men innumerable, there to dwell,
Not here, till by degrees of merit raised
They open to themselves at length the way
Up hither, under long obedience tried,
And earth be changed to Heav’n, and Heav’n to earth,
One Kingdom, joy and union without end.

Related Characters: God the Father (speaker), Adam
Page Number: 7.150-161
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 8 Quotes

Solicit not thy thoughts with matters hid,
Leave them to God above, him serve and fear;
Of other creatures, as him pleases best,
Wherever placed, let him dispose; joy thou
In what he gives to thee, this Paradise
And thy fair Eve; heav’n is for thee too high
To know what passes there; be lowly wise:
Think only what concerns thee and thy being;
Dream not of other worlds…

Related Characters: Raphael (speaker), God the Father, Adam
Page Number: 8.167-175
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 9 Quotes

No more of talk where God or angel guest
With man, as with his friend, familiar used
To sit indulgent, and with him partake
Rural repast, permitting him the while
Venial discourse unblamed: I now must change
Those notes to tragic; foul distrust, and breach
Disloyal on the part of man, revolt,
And disobedience: on the part of Heav’n
Now alienated, distance and distaste,
Anger and just rebuke, and judgment giv’n,
That brought into this world a world of woe,
Sin and her shadow Death, and misery
Death’s harbinger…

Related Characters: God the Father, Adam, Sin, Death
Page Number: 9.1-13
Explanation and Analysis:

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O foul descent! that I who erst contended
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained
Into a beast, and mixed with bestial slime,
This essence to incarnate and imbrute,
That to the heighth of Deity aspired…
Revenge, at first though sweet,
Bitter ere long back on itself recoils;
Let it; I reck not, so I light well aimed,
Since higher I fall short, on him who next
Provokes my envy, this new favourite
Of Heav’n, this man of clay, son of despite,
Whom us the more to spite his Maker raised
From dust: spite then with spite is best repaid.

Related Characters: Satan (speaker), Adam
Page Number: 9.163-178
Explanation and Analysis:

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However I with thee have fixed my lot,
Certain to undergo like doom; if death
Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
So forcible within my heart I feel
The bond of nature draw me to my own,
My own in thee, for what thou art is mine;
Our state cannot be severed, we are one,
One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.

Related Characters: Adam (speaker), Eve
Related Symbols: The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
Page Number: 9.952-959
Explanation and Analysis:

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O Eve, in evil hour thou didst give ear
To that false worm, of whomsoever taught
To counterfeit man’s voice, true in our Fall,
False in promised rising; since our eyes
Opened we find indeed, and find we know
Both good and evil, good lost, and evil got,
Bad fruit of knowledge, if this be to know…

Related Characters: Adam (speaker), Satan, Eve
Related Symbols: The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge
Page Number: 9.1067-1073
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 11 Quotes

Adam, Heav’n’s high behest no preface needs:
Sufficient that thy prayers are heard, and Death,
Then due by sentence when thou didst transgress,
Defeated of his seizure many days
Giv’n thee of grace, wherein thou may’st repent,
And one bad act with many deeds well done
May’st cover: well may then thy Lord appeased
Redeem thee quite from Death’s rapacious claim;
But longer in this Paradise to dwell
Permits not; to remove thee I am come,
And send thee from the garden forth to till
The ground whence thou wast taken, fitter soil.

Related Characters: Michael (speaker), God the Father, Adam, Death
Page Number: 11.251-262
Explanation and Analysis:

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Book 12 Quotes

O execrable son so to aspire
Above his brethren, to himself assuming
Authority usurped, from God not giv’n:
He gave us only over beast, fish, fowl
Dominion absolute; that right we hold
By his donation; but man over men
He made not lord; such title to himself
Reserving, human left from human free.

Related Characters: Adam (speaker), Nimrod
Page Number: 12.64-71
Explanation and Analysis:

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They looking back, all th’ eastern side beheld
Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
Waved over by that flaming brand, the gate
With dreadful faces thronged and fiery arms:
Some natural tears they dropped, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand with wand’ring steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way.

Related Characters: Adam, Eve
Page Number: 12.641-649
Explanation and Analysis:

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Adam Character Timeline in Paradise Lost

The timeline below shows where the character Adam appears in Paradise Lost. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Book 1
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
...the “fruit” of disobedience, punning on the fruit of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge, which Adam and Eve will eat against God’s commandment. This single act will bring death and suffering... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
After this prologue, Milton asks the Muse to describe what first led to Adam and Eve’s disobedience. He answers himself that they were deceived into “foul revolt” by the... (full context)
Book 3
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
...Father sits on his throne with his Son at his right hand. Together they watch Adam and Eve in the “happy garden” of Eden, and they see Satan flying across the... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
God says that Adam and Eve will listen to Satan’s “glozing lies” and disobey God, leading to their “fall.”... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
God declares that he will be merciful in his punishment of mankind, as Adam and Eve will be led into disobedience by Satan instead of on their own. For... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...describing how he will be born of a virgin, and explaining that in one man (Adam) humanity will be condemned, but also in one man (the Son made mortal) humanity will... (full context)
Book 4
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Milton begins by again lamenting the Fall of Man, and wishing that Adam and Eve had escaped Satan’s “mortal snare.” Meanwhile Satan lands on a mountain near Eden... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
As Satan approaches, the man, whose name is Adam, speaks to the woman, Eve. Adam says that they should praise God for their bounty... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Eve agrees with Adam, and praises him as her superior. She then describes her first memories of existence. She... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
The voice then told Eve to leave her reflection, and she obeyed. She found Adam under a “platan” tree, and at first thought him “less fair” than herself and so... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Eve finishes her speech and she and Adam embrace and kiss. Satan looks away in envy but then is strengthened in his resolve,... (full context)
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Evening comes to Eden and Adam and Eve retire to their leafy bower, as they must wake at dawn to work... (full context)
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Milton immediately defends this scene by declaring that Adam and Eve could have sex without sin, as the Fall had not corrupted their natures... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Night falls and Adam and Eve fall asleep, and Milton both blesses and laments their happy state, which will... (full context)
Book 5
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
The next morning Adam awakes from a restful sleep, but Eve seems disturbed and restless. She tells Adam that... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Adam is troubled by this dream, and wonders where evil would come from in Eden, but... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
...Archangel Raphael and tells him that Satan has entered Paradise and is trying to corrupt Adam and Eve. God does not want to be blamed for leaving Adam and Eve ignorant... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
...a naked figure clothed in six beautiful wings. He then passes through the garden and Adam sees his approaching light. Adam tells Eve to set out all their best food and... (full context)
Hierarchy and Order Theme Icon
After the meal Adam wants to ask Raphael about heavenly knowledge, and he questions Raphael further about angels’ food.... (full context)
Disobedience and Revolt Theme Icon
Sin and Innocence Theme Icon
Free Will and Predestination Theme Icon
Adam asks why any being would choose to be disobedient to God, and Raphael tells Adam... (full context)
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...difficult it is to describe heavenly things in earthly terms, but that he will give Adam more than his allotted knowledge if only to teach him the consequences of disobedience. He... (full context)
Book 6
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...says again that he has tried to tell this tale in earthly terms so that Adam could understand, and he hopes that Adam now realizes who his enemy is – none... (full context)
Book 7
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The scene returns to Eden, where Adam thanks Raphael for his tale. Adam wants to know more, however, so he asks Raphael... (full context)
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Raphael assures Adam that the story of creation is not a secret from humans, as it will help... (full context)
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...new creation, and this day became known as the Sabbath. Raphael finishes by asking if Adam wants any other knowledge that is within his bounds. (full context)
Book 8
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Adam stands for a moment in wonder at the story of creation, but then he asks... (full context)
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Raphael responds to Adam by saying that size does not necessarily mean importance when it comes to heavenly bodies,... (full context)
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Adam thanks Raphael for satisfying his curiosity and warning him about “wand’ring thoughts, and notions vain.”... (full context)
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Adam begins his story: he awoke sweating in the sunlight and immediately looked up to heaven,... (full context)
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Adam was then visited by a vision of God, who explained how and why he was... (full context)
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After seeing all the pairs of animals Adam realized that he himself had no companion, and none of the animals shared his gifts... (full context)
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Adam was immediately intrigued by Eve’s beauty and how different she seemed to him, and he... (full context)
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In describing this conjugal bliss, Adam fears that he is too strongly attracted to Eve’s physical beauty. He knows that she... (full context)
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Adam is “half abashed” at this warning, but he continues praising Eve and their marital harmony,... (full context)
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...he must go, as the sun is setting, and as he leaves he again warns Adam to love God before Eve, and for both of them to remain obedient to God... (full context)
Book 9
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...and heavenly beings, but must now turn to the inevitable tragedy of his tale – Adam and Eve’s disobedience and the Fall of Man. Though his story is sad, Milton declares... (full context)
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...its glory he laments how he cannot take any joy in this wondrous new creation. Adam and Eve’s happiness only causes him greater anguish. (full context)
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The next morning Adam and Eve wake up and give their usual spontaneous praise to God. Then Eve proposes... (full context)
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...wishes to prove herself should Satan attack her alone. She also recognizes that she and Adam are “not capable of death or pain,” and so have little to fear. Adam again... (full context)
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...would not make their happiness so fragile as to depend on them always being together. Adam responds, calling Eve “O woman” and reminding her of their free will, which allows them... (full context)
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Eve replies that the proud Satan will surely seek out Adam first, so she is in little danger. Then she departs from Adam to her own... (full context)
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...speak now, as she thought none of Eden’s creatures could talk except for she and Adam, and she asks how this came to be. Satan explains that he found a tree... (full context)
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...from eating its fruit. Satan asks about this commandment, and Eve reaffirms that she and Adam can eat the fruit of any tree except that of the Tree of Knowledge, or... (full context)
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Satan further says that God has forbidden the fruit so as to keep Adam and Eve “low and ignorant” instead of assuming their proper places as gods. If he,... (full context)
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...death.” She then praises the Tree of Knowledge and muses on whether she should let Adam eat the fruit or not – if he doesn’t, then she might finally be “more... (full context)
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Eve bows to the Tree of Knowledge and then goes to find Adam, who has been weaving a wreath of flowers to give to Eve. Adam meets her... (full context)
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As soon as Adam hears this he drops the garland of flowers, which “all the faded roses shed,” and... (full context)
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Nature groans again and the sky weeps a few drops of rain, but Adam feels immediately invigorated and more godlike. He then looks at Eve and is filled with... (full context)
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Adam regrets aloud that Eve ate the forbidden fruit, as he sees now that instead of... (full context)
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Adam and Eve sit down and start to weep, and then the emotions of sin come... (full context)
Book 10
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Back in Heaven, God immediately knows when Adam and Eve eat the forbidden fruit. The angelic guards of Eden also know, and they... (full context)
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...of Gods / Time counts not.” The Son walks through the garden and calls for Adam, but the couple hide themselves in the trees. (full context)
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The Son calls again and then Adam and Eve emerge looking guilty, angry, and ashamed. Adam says he hid because he was... (full context)
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...on its belly as a punishment for being the vehicle of Satan. He ordains that Adam and Eve’s offspring will bruise the serpent’s head, and the serpent will bite their heel.... (full context)
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...condemning all women to suffer in childbirth and to submit to their husbands. He punishes Adam by condemning all men to work constantly at farming the unfriendly ground, and then to... (full context)
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On Earth Adam notices these changes and grows miserable. He now knows that his children will all suffer... (full context)
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Eve approaches and tries to comfort Adam, but he grows angry with her and calls her “thou serpent,” wishing she had never... (full context)
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Adam is moved by Eve’s distress and loses his anger. He says that if she cannot... (full context)
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Adam warns Eve about the dangers of despairing, and that God will not allow her to... (full context)
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Adam decides to take comfort in the fact that they will not die immediately, and that... (full context)
Book 11
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God hears Adam and Eve’s prayers, which were themselves inspired by his grace. The Son intercedes on the... (full context)
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God commands Michael to be firm with Adam and Eve, but also kind, and to show Adam a vision of what will occur... (full context)
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Adam and Eve finish their prayers, and Adam anticipates that God will hear them and be... (full context)
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Adam sees an omen of a hawk chasing two brightly-colored birds, and then he sees Michael... (full context)
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Michael tells Adam that he will be allowed to live many years before Death takes him, but that... (full context)
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Adam laments that he will never be able to speak with God again, and that if... (full context)
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Michael then puts Eve into an enchanted sleep and leads Adam up to a high hill to show him a vision of his descendants’ future. This... (full context)
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First Adam sees two men offering sacrifices to God, and when one is accepted by God and... (full context)
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Adam weeps at this sight and wonders why people do not immediately kill themselves so as... (full context)
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Michael shows Adam a vision of men playing music and forging tools, and then some finely dressed women... (full context)
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Michael then shows Adam visions of towns and cities, and of great armies doing battle, killing thousands of men... (full context)
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Michael says that these armies are the product of the lustful unions Adam saw in the last vision, and that violent, terrible conquerors will arise who praise war... (full context)
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Adam watches as pairs of every animal on earth come to the man’s boat and enter... (full context)
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...mankind. God then flooded the earth and wiped out all other humans. Continuing the vision, Adam sees the waters recede and Noah send out a dove to look for dry land.... (full context)
Book 12
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Michael perceives that Adam’s mortal eyes are weary of all these visions, so he decides to verbally relate the... (full context)
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Adam responds to this tale by condemning the sin of trying to rule over other humans,... (full context)
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There will then be many battles and miracles as the Israelites retake Canaan. Adam interrupts, relieved that God will bless a race of humans after they have been cursed... (full context)
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Adam is overjoyed at this news and he asks Michael to describe the Messiah’s glorious battle... (full context)
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...the faithful dead, and then Heaven and Earth will be joined into one wondrous Paradise. Adam rejoices at this, “That all this good of evil shall produce, / And evil turn... (full context)
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Adam is amazed at how Michael has described all of human history, and he is unspeakably... (full context)
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Michael and Adam descend from the hilltop and Michael sends Adam to awaken Eve, as she has also... (full context)