Paradise Lost, as an epic about “man’s first disobedience” (I. 1), does not deal with the proposed theme directly. The actual disobedience is depicted only in Book IX. Through this arrangement, John Milton presents one of “Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme” (I. 16) in the poetry that I am seeking to discuss. Namely, Milton creates Eve as a subject with subjectivity that can feel and think and that can eventually ignore the oppressive situation in the society of Eden ruled by God when choosing what to do. Eve has the desire for an other self. She can tell whose appearance is less fair between Adam and the image in the waters. She knows her responsibility of taking care of the garden. She has the ability to choose whether to eat the forbidden fruit or not and to choose where to stay.
In this thesis, my task is to explain how the poet uses hairstyles to convey Eve’s ambiguous and sifting status in Eden and how Eve’s subjectivity is reclaimed when she is newly born, because God is trying to establish hierarchical relationship with man by giving her to Adam as a precious gift. Then, when God tries to domesticate human beings by directing what to eat and how to eat, Satan imitates God’s strategy of controlling human eating and then overturns His kingdom, and Eve, in this context, is no longer the helper and the passive gift of her husband, but a helper of Satan and a positive participant of social activities. Eve, by the end of the story, not only takes her subjectivity back, for she eventually makes her won decision to stay with Adam, but also creates an infinite future for human beings, though she and Adam are expelled from the Paradise. Even in God’s oppressive domestication, Eve still keeps her lively and unrestrained character, which is just like her tendrils showing us.