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Me Eve, You Adam

Recently a male friend read Paradise Lost, as part of a book group that was predominately women. How I would have loved to be a fly on that wall.

I told him what I always say to people reading Milton for the first time: He was an incredible poet, but a horrible man who portrayed the mother of all humanity as a bimbo, perpetuating an offensive stereotype as some sort of religious reality. Oh, don't get me started on this guy. I become incoherent talking about him.

After the book club meeting, my friend texted me: You were right about Milton's Eve!

I laughed for a long time at that. Then I got to thinking. What if Eve had been created first, Adam had sinned first, and Milton had been a woman?

Reverse Paradise Lost

Note: Since I could not hope to parody Milton's splendid poetry, I have written this in play form. Please imagine that what follows is an excerpt of an entire work.

Book II.

Eve: I have completed my monumental task of naming all the animals, and I have greatly enjoyed getting to know these splendid creatures. But somehow, I’m a little disappointed. I must have been seeking some sort of connection with one of the animals, but I haven’t found it. (God brings Eve to the top of a gorgeous hill.) Wherefore was I given such great emotional intelligence, if not to ask, what is it I want, O Lord?

God: Look down into the valley before us.

Eve: I see something wandering about, sniffing and touching things curiously. Ah look, it has hit its head on a tree branch! Why have you not shown me this funny creature before?

God: Thou wert not ready; thou wert still a bit of a perfectionist.

Eve: (As she gazes) But surely I am a perfectionist now? For as I look on this creature, I begin to see that it is quite noble and exceeds all my wildest dreams. Look at its broad chest, muscled arms, and flowing locks! True, it appears to have a brain smaller than mine, but what is that to me? (Adam begins to build a hut.) It is strong and is building a kind of shelter! I must go to it.

(Eve goes to Adam.)

Eve: What is your name, noble creature?

Adam: Uh . . . uhhhh . . .

Eve: Surely it behaves this way because it is struck by my beauty, not because it lacketh any intelligence. (To Adam) My name is Eve. What is your name?

Adam: Um . . . (Eve giggles.) Would you like to see me swing on a vine?

Eve: Sure!

(Adam sweeps Eve up in his arms and begins swinging from vine to vine. They land in front of the hut.)

Eve: Whee! Oh my, that was fun. (She looks winsomely up at Adam—naturally she is shorter than him.) I think I will call thee man, for thou art like me, woman, only with a little bit missing.

Adam: Come inside. I have made us breakfast.

Eve: Someone to help with the cooking?? I’m in!

Book III.

(Eve and God are walking together on the hilltop, watching Adam in the valley below.)

Eve: O God, I don’t mean to criticize you—and don’t get me wrong, I’m crazy about him—but Adam isn’t quite what I had hoped.

God: Speak on. I wish to hear all thy feelings, tho’ I already know them.

Eve: I guess I had imagined that we would be able to talk more. You know, just about the things that go on, and everything we’re learning, and the projects we’re undertaking. Also, beyond that, I seek someone with whom to explore this vast universe you have created, through branches of knowledge like science, mathematics, statistics, and calculus. But he doesn’t seem all that interested in STEM. And I want to create great art and compose soaring music to express the wonders of this creation, but he’s not really into that either. As you can see, when I’m not around, he just sort of wanders in the trees and the grasses.

God: Is that all he does?

Eve. Well, no. To be fair, he keeps our house shipshape. (Smiles to herself, although God can see it because nothing is hidden from him) And he has this adorable way of playing with puppies and kittens that just . . . (Sighs) I can’t help wondering what things would be like if we had tiny humans to look after.

God: See how, apart from you, this man would struggle to survive upon the earth and would likely get little enjoyment from it. Yet when you are with him, he reaches beyond himself, moved by a nameless inspiration to become better. With your love and guidance, he canst become a fit consort to rule the world with you.

Eve: He can?

God: Yes, for love moveth mountains.

(Eve and God depart. Satan and a minion enter.)

Satan: That creator of all! He’s the worst.

Minion: You’ve been striving against him since before he created the sun. Perhaps it’s time to call it a day, haha.

Satan: Not at all! I have long known that the chink in God’s armor is that woman he created, but I’ve been unable to turn her against him.

Minion: She is indeed a noble soul, smart, beauteous, full of goodness, and seeing right through all thy strategems. Pardon me for saying so.

Satan: Not so any more! I have, of a sudden, found the chink in her armor. I shall descend into the valley and there work my devious plan.

Book IV.

(Satan descends into the valley, where he tempts Adam to eat the fruit exactly the way Milton’s Satan tempts Eve—first by flattering him, then by telling him that the fruit will make him smart. Adam eats the fruit. Satan departs. Lightning, thunder, and wind strike the valley, although not rain, since this is before Noah’s Flood.)

Eve: (Appearing in the valley) What loud noises do I hear? Why does the air move me about? What strange, lovely flashes of light pierce mine eyes? (Sees Adam leaning against the hut's doorframe) Adam, O Adam, it is silly for me to even ask one so deficient in intellect, but I must: do you know what the atmosphere is up to?

Adam: Babe, it’s only a thunderstorm. No reason to be scared.

Eve: Thou speakest so differently than before. What hast happened to thee, Adam? And by the way, I'm not scared at all.

Adam: I promise you, I’ll protect you.

Eve: Well, you are very strong. (He takes her in his arms and brings her into the hut.) Phew! If I was scared, I would feel very safe with you, Adam. (Looks around the hut) Still, something doesn’t seem right.

Adam: Everything’s just like usual! Don’t worry your pretty little head.

Eve: But the way you talk—I don’t mean to be rude, but you sound so much smarter than before. Actually, smart isn’t quite the right word. Manipulative—that’s it. Wow, that’s a word I’ve never had to use.

Adam: Says the queen of manipulation.

Eve: Excuse me?

Adam: You heard me. Women invented manipulation.

Eve: Wait a minute. What’s happening?

Adam: Just because I take a bite of fruit, suddenly it’s my fault.

Eve: YOU ATE THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT???

Adam: It’s no big deal.

Eve: IT’S NO BIG DEAL? WE’RE HAVING A THUNDERSTORM!! WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT’S NO BIG DEAL?

Adam: Stop being so emotional. I told you, we’ll be okay. I’ll take care of us.

Eve: You better! You better take care of us! What are we going to do?

Adam: Well, I’m having another bite of this fruit.

Eve: Nooooo! You’ll make it worse!

Adam: C’mon, babe. You have some too. Just a bite. It’ll calm you down.

Eve: I do not NEED calming down; I am the only rational one here. Do you realize what’s going to happen to you? God is going to cast you out of the Garden! Our cozy little home will be smashed to smithereens! All our dreams destroyed!

Adam: Nahh.

Eve: Seriously!!! Don’t you ever listen?

Adam: Don’t you ever stop talking?

Eve: Oh my goodness I could KILL you!

(Eve grabs the fruit. Adam imprisons her fragile wrists in his strong hands.)

Adam: Look, God is going to separate us forever if you don’t do what I say and eat the fruit. It’ll just be you and that creepy Serpent you hate.

Eve: (Bursts into tears)

Adam: Whew! Those hormones have really kicked in.

Eve: Fine! I’ll eat it! I’ll eat the stupid fruit and it’ll be all your fault! (Takes a bite)

Adam: There. See? Now we’re together forever.

(The rest is history.)

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