Wednesday, May 14, 2014

"I wept over Dido..."

"You're running away--from me? Oh I pray you
by these tears, by the faith in your right hand--
what have I left myself in all my pain?--
by our wedding vows, the marriage we began,
if I deserve some decency from you now,
if anything mine has ever won your heart...
...If you'd only left a baby in my arms--our child--
before you deserted me!"

"What did you feel then, Dido, seeing this?
How deep were the groans you uttered, gazing now
from the city heights to watch the broad beaches, 
seething with action...
... Love, you tyrant!
To what extremes won't you compel our hearts
Again, she resorts to tears, driven to move the man,
or try, with prayers--a suppliant kneeling, humbling
her pride to passion. She if die she must,
she'll leave no way untried."

"... But Dido,
trembling, desperate now with the monstrous thing afoot--
her bloodshot eyes rolling, quivering cheeks blotched
and pale with imminent death--goes bursting through
the doors to the inner courtyard, clambers in frenzy
up the soaring pyre and unsheathes a sword, a Trojan sword
she once sought as a gift, but not for such an end." 

All at once, in the midst of her last words,
her women see her doubled over the sword, the blood
foaming over the blade, her hands splattered red.
A scream goes stabbing up to the high roofs,
Rumor raves like a Maenad through the shocked city--
sobs, and grief, and the wails of women ringing out..."
Virgil. Book 4, The Aeneid, translated by Robert Fagles (New York: Penguin 2006)/ Image: "The Death of Dido," Claude-Augustin Cayot (1711).

In two posts very long ago, I wrote about wanderers with causes: Aeneas, and then St. Augustine. When it came to the latter, I suggested that his tears at Dido's death, were, in fact, the greatest manifestation of the godly: empathy. I have been thinking about Augustine lately, and I ended up revisiting the Confessions, only to be struck by the fact that all of Augustine's tears are for Dido. They are not for the broken love of Dido and Aeneas, for the subsequent destruction of Carthage, or for a wandering Aeneas: "I wept over Dido," "...over the death of Dido dying for the love of Aeneas." Remarkable, then, is Augustine's affinity with the trials of the queen, the pain of a bereaved woman, a displaced feminine desire, and the anguish of the female heart. On the one hand, Dido is Odysseus's Circe, a designated moment in Aeneas' journey towards the founding of Rome. On the other hand, she is, as Augustine-- and in a brief respite-- Virgil, permit us to see her: "an early suppliant, kneeling." My previous post too dealt with the unnerving image of the lover as abject, in the posture of worship, acutely aware yet numb to the loss of the self. In a sharp contrast to the privacy and seclusion offered to this figure by Eliot, here we have gaze upon gaze heaped upon Dido: her own uncontrolled rage seems to shatter the meter; Virgil's own inquiry is directed upon her "feeling;" "her women" are witness to her suicide; Augustine, the empathetic reader, forces his own emergence/y through a particular reading of Dido.

Dido is older than most tragic heroines who have died for love, but there is a terrible anachronism around her figure: the absence of solitude. That is to say, Dido's abandonment, her subsequent grief, the markedness of her state, and her final act are made unforgivably public. Juliet drinks the poison alone, Isolde dies next to Tristan, Emma schedules her dose of arsenic--in the embracing, productive darkness of the private. Dido's terrible tragedy, then, is not just what she undergoes as a woman left childless and insignificant by her half-god husband, whom she ironically married in the deepest seclusion. Her tragedy is the strange condition of being alone amid so many, of being so very visible bearing a pain that cannot be touched or healed, of not having the privilege of solitude that will be accorded to several women in love after her. St. Augustine, then, in his consumption of her circumstances participates in the spectacle of the doomed, hysterical woman that Dido ostensibly seems to represent.

Before I end, I want to return to the image that I began this discussion with: Dido as suppliant, kneeling before Aeneas. In other words, she prays before Aeneas, she prays to Aeneas, whose godliness here, incidentally, seems so base. Once again, the private, unknowable act of prayer becomes known, marked, noted in the poet's language, later confirmed implicitly by Augustine in his recognition of Dido. In some ways, it seems to me that Dido anticipates the public world of the New Testament, the newly-acquired gaze that permits the Christian world to see and interpret. From other angles, she appears to have been deceived by the realm of the literary, and by the poet into a nakedness of not the body or the soul, but of the passions, the kind that can never quite be read for what it is.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Before Prufrock

"The Love Song of St. Sebastian"

I would come in a shirt of hair
I would come with a lamp in the night
And sit at the foot of your stair;
I would flog myself until I bled,
And after hour on hour of prayer
And torture and delight
Until my blood should ring the lamp
And glisten in the light;
I should arise your neophyte
And then put out the light
To follow where you lead,
To follow where your feet are white
In the darkness toward your bed
And where your gown is white
And against your gown your braided hair.
Then you would take me in
Because I was hideous in your sight
You would take me in without shame
Because I should be dead
And when the morning came
Between your breasts should lie my head.

I would come with a towel in my hand
And bend your head beneath my knees;
Your ears curl back in a certain way
Like no one's else in all the world.
When all the world shall melt in the sun,
Melt or freeze,
I shall remember how your ears were curled.
I should for a moment linger
And follow the curve with my finger
And your head beneath my knees---
I think that at last you would understand.
There would be nothing more to say.
You would love me because I should have strangled you
And because of my infamy;
And I should love you the more because I mangled you
And because you were no longer beautiful
To anyone but me.

I first read this early, unfinished, but terribly haunting T. S. Eliot poem  in the fall of my freshman year at college in a freshman seminar that no longer seems to exist, high up in a seminar room in Blair Tower. At the time, I read this poem wide-eyed and breathless alongside Prufrock, secretly guilty for liking it more than the masterwork. Now, almost a decade later as I am once again immersed in Eliot (this time as a teacher), I am no longer breathless when I read it. I am grateful. And I turn to this work precisely because it resists the abstraction and high referentiality that Eliot would begin to seek out in just a few more years. This poem as I read it now is not unlike the one by Borges below. It is, perhaps, the cruder, youthful version of the latter, the poet intent on expressing himself, his love, and his desire, shamelessly, impatiently, intimately, willfully, prophetically, fanatically. Earlier, when talking about Emma Bovary I thought about love as productive, but for the poet in the garb of a modern St. Sebastian there is another economy of love. (In the historical Christian narrative, of course, St Sebastian, an early martyr and divine performer, tried and sentenced to death for being a traitor to the Roman state, is healed by the human Irene).
Here, where Sebastian seems to want to murder Irene after he kills himself, or at least leave her unfit to be loved again, love, or its true extents, seem reserved or available only to those who are in some way exterior, lowered, and base. The suggestion, I would argue, amidst these images of prayer, ablution, self-flagellation, and darkness is, in fact, that to be capable of loving another, one cannot and must not love oneself, but rather hold oneself in a terrifying abhorrence. Love cannot be social, societal, or domestic, then, rather it must be pariah, covert, discovered only in death. 
What I'm trying to say here is more complex than just thinking of love as all-consuming or destructive, rather I'm suggesting that the figure of the lover/poet, clothed in the sinner's shirt of hair, knows and recognizes how "hideous" he is. It isn't necessarily love that makes him this way, but rather it is his self-repulsion that makes him able to love in the way that he does. His feminine lover, pure for the moment, must willingly embrace the "darkness" of the bed, the blood from the neophyte's attempt at conversion, and the perversion of a relationship in which she is the absorber of his sin. This is not a religious poem, per se, it was written well before Eliot's evangelical turn to Anglicism--practice and ritual function as both perverse and enabling instruments. 
The final third of the poem inverts the order of worship and the possibility of redemption. Her head is beneath his knees as she waits for him to dry her hair after her bath, after she has washed herself of his sins, and as she almost inadvertently bows to him. But love is not cleansing, or purifying after all. It is, she must "understand," the opposite of redemptive; far from promising a spiritual afterlife, it leaves her not dead, but "mangled," another pariah, another leper, unable to claim belonging or function. 
If in Emma's case, love, or the feeling of love meant an overall benefit for the society she lived in, and for Borges came to symbolize a tired persistence, then for Eliot, in between these two works, love is excruciatingly measured. In other words, the economy of love, to use this phrase, is utilitarian rather than social. Love seems to play out outside of the social. It is most importantly, not shared or between the two, that is to say, it manifests, blossoms, replicates, and then self-destructs entirely in the abyss of the person(al).

Friday, December 7, 2012


You were asleep. I wake you. 
The vast morning brings the illusion of beginning. 
You had forgotten Virgil. Here are the hexameters.
I bring you many things. 
The four Greek elements: earth, water, fire, air.
The single name of a woman.
The friendship of a woman.
The friendship of the moon.
The bright colors of the atlas.
Forgetting, which purifies.
Memory, which chooses and rediscovers.
The habits which help us feel we are immortal.
The sphere and the hands that measure elusive time.
The fragrance of sandwalwood.
The doubts that we call, not without some vanity, metaphysics.
The curve of the walking stick the hand anticipates.
The taste of grapes and of honey.
To wake someone from sleep
is a common day-to-day act
that can set us trembling.
To wake someone from sleep
is to saddle some other with the interminable
prison of the universe
of his time, with neither sunset nor dawn.
It is to show him he is someone or something
subject to a name that lays claim to him
and an accumulation of yesterdays.
It is to trouble his eternity, 
to load him down with centuries and stars,
to restore to time another Lazarus 
burdened with memory.
It is to desecrate the waters of Lethe. 
From Section III: "Waiting for the Night," in Poems of the Night by Jorge Louis Borges.

I'm not entirely sure why I've chosen a poem for a post that is long overdue. Just having finished the second chapter of the Dissertation--that too on orientalist poetry and its accompanying scholarship--I'm wondering more than ever why I'm insisting on staying out of my warm, prosy, comfort zone. Here is Jorge Louis Borges, the first Latin American writer I've ever written anything on, and the first twentieth-century figure on this blog. So lots of firsts. At the same time, I wanted to use a text that expressed seconds, thirds, repetition, the grey of endlessness, and though I knew I would find it in the twentieth century, no prose piece I loved enough came to mind. I'm such a novice here though, that the first times might win, and Borges might not have to be my Lazarus. I may have mentioned before that I was introduced to Borges by the wonderful, erudite EK, who read me "Conjectural Poem" to prep me for my first solo lecture on Dante. These firsts don't end, do they?
The untitled poem belongs to what EK and several other Borges scholars understand to be the last phase of the poet's life: well after blindness had overtaken him, at a moment when he was waiting, perhaps, for the lasts, the finals. It's not unclear in the way that it's written: Borges' companion speaks to him in the "obverse," the front, the face, of the "illusion" of wakefulness, of rising from sleep. In the "reverse," we hear the blind poet for whom the act of waking is the act of surrender to his own prisons. The most obvious contrast in these two voices, of course, is that of their syntax. The friend, or lover, speaks in positives, with the idea that there will be another sentence, many other sentences, in fact. Borges, on the other hand, drags, slurs, attempts to explain, hitting finally upon the idea of desecrating the sacred state of unconsciousness, and amnesia. I'll get to that later on, but for now I want to try and understand the nature of the contact the two sets of verses make with each other. That is to say, to they conflict, contradict, butt violently, or just converse, crustily, grumpily, even irritably at moments? As much as my soul would prefer the former set, there's an odd kind of peace to be found in giving the second situation a chance. She knows, I'm suggesting here, that he hates it. She wakes him anyway, she knows he can't remember the poetry that sustains him, so she tells him the sounds. She reminds him he's not dead yet because there is always doubt, just as there is the certainty we crave in the prose of the walking stick. And yet, she doesn't know. She's terribly outside, and he's speaking at her, not with her, and certainly not to her. She is the memories, the lifetime, the name, the person that he used to be--all of which weighs upon him in conscious moments. 
Is he suicidal, wishful of death, this poet who would much rather be in a dreamless slumber? Is there a state that between death, and dreaming sleep that we crave, or that perhaps heals us, absorbs us into a space where blindness doesn't matter anymore? Or is it so very simple-- all he wants is forgetfulness, a blankness which rids him of all that he is, all that he wanted to be, without the promise of a rebirth, a renewed existence? And is he so very strange to want it? Borges, of course, is at this point in his life dealing with the loss of his sight, possibly comfortable in the endless night of his own body. But what about the person who reads each word of the page--where does he find himself on the locus of the page? I'm going to argue here that we, or I, or you, the readers, are the space where the two speakers encounter each other. In other words, this is a poem that is not just trying, but in fact, is struggling, desperately clawing to find meaning in its two parts--the common ground between which is only possible in the mind of the affected reader. For me, surprisingly, the poem seems to be defending repetition, the mundane, the over-and-over-again. She may not know him anymore, but she'll keep at it. They "tremble" together when he is woken, as a we, not just a solitary, sleeping, blind poet anymore. To tremble, then, is to be imbalanced, to be alive, to be afraid, to feel. Fear, the most important of the lot, is the stuff of survivors. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So many St. Jeromes...

Almost three years ago now, I got to see Bassano's St. Jerome penitent up close at the Louvre as part of the breathtaking "Titien, Tintoret, Veronese: Rivals in Renaissance Venice" exhibit. In an earlier post, I wrote about Veronese's Temptation of Saint Anthony, here's another saint, one I know a lot less about and who, at least at a first glance, seemed considerably less exciting than St. A. When thinking about what text this post would be about earlier this afternoon, I did a lot of flipping of pages, some quick glancing at Montaigne's Essays, but nothing seemed to click until I remembered that my little souvenir album of the exhibit still had much to offer. As in so many of my other posts, I "read" this painting in terms of a conversation I had just today, about faith, this world, oneself, the individual, and as I will explain in a moment, Bassano's depiction of the penitent Saint, and not Titian and Tintoret's made sense.
Here is Titian's repentant St. Jerome to the left, and Tintoret's on the right:
St. Jerome's story, if it makes things any clearer, is of a man who partook liberally of the pleasures of life, repenting periodically, and then repeating the same until he took up a permanently ascetic existence, one that led him through Antioch (or present day Turkey), and then into Chalcis (or what we know as the Syrian desert area). His spiritual and physical journey was also an intellectual one, and Jerome became known for his knowledge of Hebrew, and his translations of the Hebrew Bible in Greek. My interest is in his penitence, the active regret he felt for his sin, depicted so beautifully by these three Venetian artists. Before turning to Bassano, I want to take a quick look at Titian and Tintoret's Jeromes. Clutching the stone he uses to punish himself, unmindful of the book in his hand, Titian's Jerome gazes directly at the crucifix, half-prostrated, yet unconscious of his own posture, supported by his own deeds (symbolized by the lion's head engraved into the rock). Tintoret's, interestingly, is almost an inverse--larger in proportion, agent, he holds the cross loosely, away from himself, his gaze focused directly on the pages before him. The landscape, unlike Titien's ravaged scene, is discernable; the lion is guarding, rather than supporting, his figure. Despite this inversion, however, what the two versions of Jerome share is the purpose of their subjects, that is to say, each painting offers a source or center through which Jerome repents. In the first, it is the figure of Christ on the cross, and in the second, it is the gospel or the word of Christ.

But what about Bassano's Jerome? His eyes are totally out of focus--the crucifix is well above his glazed line of vision, and his books have fallen from his lap. He's holding on to his stone, yet his arm his hardly poised to strike. The lion's head is replaced with a human skull that sits across from an hourglass, so many signs of mortality, of a worldliness that is absent from Titian and Tintoret's works. In other words, Bassano's Jerome though prepared for repentance, cannot seem to get it right, that is to say, the crucifix sits unseen, and the gospel unread, while Jerome gazes at nothing in particular, his furrowed brow suggesting a complexity of thought that cannot reconcile with the simplicity of penitence. I may be getting it all wrong in saying that Bassano's Jerome isn't repentant at all, and that he is, in fact, furiously contemplating the nature of this act of worship. He is bodily in a way that the other two are not, placed almost at par with Christ on the cross, Jerome here just doesn't get it. Yet, in the conversation I mentioned earlier (incidentally with a dear friend who has not for the first time inspired this blog) there was a moment in which the problem of reconciling faith with the nature of the world we live in now came up--how can my faith explain all of this, is the question I think Jerome is asking as well. How can the word or the symbol of faith, repentance, forgiveness, love, humanity etc. make sense in my particularly troubled world, this figure seems to suggest. The beauty of this scene, and what draws me to it, is precisely the unanswerability of the question. We can keep looking, and Jerome will not stop thinking, and we'll wait because he's on the brink of figuring it all out.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Love, and other (performance-enhancing) drugs

"From that day forward, they wrote to one another regularly every evening. Emma would take her letter to the end of the garden near the river, leaving it in a crack in the wall, Rodolphe would come to collect it, leaving a letter of his own, and always she complained that his were too short.
One morning, when Charles had gone off before dawn, she was taken with the notion that she must see Rodolphe immediately. She could reach La Huchette quickly, stay there an hour, and be back in Yonville again while everyone was still asleep. The thought of it left her gasping with desire; soon she found herself half-way across the meadow, walking rapidly, without a backward glance."
(Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary, edited and translated by Geoffrey Wall)
There's no better text to resume after a terribly long hiatus than the most beloved of them all--Flaubert's Madame Bovary. Instead of digressing with a speech about qualifying exams, and dissertating, and the mind-numbingness of the prospectus, I might as well use the text for illusion, a favorite motif for Flaubert. I was looking through old entries and realized that I had never written about Madame Bovary, and despite having written my longer Princeton JP, as well as my junior seminar paper on this incredible novel, I had delayed making it a part of my blog. Flaubert, for all of his strangeness, was the reason I chose comparative literature; Madame Bovary, for my nineteen-year old, wide-eyed, hum-sequencing self, was the greatest prose I had ever read. Still true, but there is more to be said here.
I didn't choose Madame Bovary today because I wanted to write about the novel in particular, but rather because it floated in front of my eyes when I was thinking about a conversation I had a couple of days back: love, a relationship, romance, commitment (and other such human connections) make for a productive individual. I tried to think of characters, particularly women, from the nineteenth-century novel and earlier, who are transformed into makers, inventors, writers, artists upon falling in love. That is to say, I wanted character who become productive in a very literal sense of the word. Elizabeth Bennett didn't fit the mark; Augustine and Dante did but this is all about the earthly; and for some reason, Emma kept pestering me. Let's just say she forces the discussion elsewhere.
Reading, more than writing--consuming more than producing--this was Emma till Rodolphe, her adulterous lover entered her life. If the maps of Paris, Balzac, George Sand, furniture in Eugene Sue represent consumption through the text, then Emma's prolific letter writing, her acting out of the much-storied affair, can be read as a kind of production, in the economy of fiction and reality. I was fascinated, of course, by the second paragraph of the passage I've chosen--Emma's exercising briskly, without knowing what she's doing, in order to feed her desire: once again, consumption and innovation come head to head with each other through this relationship. It seems quite simple here, Emma is transformed through her "love" for Rodolphe, going from a vapid dreamer to a dynamic lover, an improv actress, and an increasingly better, liar, or inventor of fictions.
The end of the affair, unfortunately, also means destruction: Emma's first great collapse, though it must be noted that love itself never kills her--it's the economy. But there's more: Emma's recovery from the "illness" that follows the rejection leads, temporarily, at least, in her dedicating herself to "lavish works of charity," recycling the same words she used for her ex-lover on her "Lord." Here is a new kind of productivity, emerging from a new relationship. Her temporary fetish for Catholicism, in a kind of self and social economy, is perhaps even more productive than the one that emerged from her affair. The poor benefit; she attempts teaching Berthe, her young daughter, to read; her otherwise questioning mother-in-law is appeased. And then, her fascination with the Lord too, ends, and Leon, her new lover enters her life.
I'm going to stop here because this post could go on forever, but the point, I think, that has emerged from my ramblings is that the "love" economy is a volatile one. This isn't the most mind-blowing conclusion but what is interesting about it is precisely its volatility: it infuses and revives for short periods, ensuring its permanence, or its replication through the moment it supplies. In other words, the spectacular crash promises a new high.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Original Son.

"... The souls for whom I sang my early songs
will never hear the songs that follow;
those many friends are all dispersed,
their first response, alas! is long since muted.
My tragic song will now be heard by strangers
whose very praise must cause my heart misgivings,
and those to whom my song gave pleasure,
if they still live, roam scattered everywhere.
I feel the spell of long-forgotten yearning
for that serene and solemn spirit realm,
and like an aeolian harp my murmuring song
lets its uncertain tones float through the air.
I feel a sense of dread, tear after tear is falling, 
my rigid heart is tenderly unmanned--
what I possess seems something far away
and what had disappeared proves real."
This is the second half of the dedicatory poem that opens Goethe's Faust. I find it particularly beautiful because I understand the yearnings of a solitary figure to be one of the more powerful precursors to an art form. But this is a broad generalization, so perhaps I should come down to my more specific, and slightly strange reading of these lines. My reading is concerned with the first-person figure in this poem. Possibly still in the shadow of my previous post, or in the the light of Goethe's stage, I am convinced that this is a poem that embodies both the divine and satanic figures of the play. In other words, what I want to argue is that the "I" of this poem is a struggle between God and Mephistopheles. They are the solitary figure, they are the abandoned lovers, they are the singers whose songs now go unheard: God alone in Heaven, and M. constantly seeking to reunite on earth. If they weep, it is not for figures like Faust and Job, but for the figure who has led them to battle-- Adam. If he went uncared for in Paradise Lost, in Faust, he is the reason why God and Mephistopheles flirt with the figure of Faust. He and others like him are the rebound. The lost son is their first, irreplaceable love.
The reason why I think this reading is a plausible one is because God, Satan, and the Fall have for too long been the subject in modern literature: Marlowe, Milton and now Goethe. By the time Goethe does Faust, they have become too human. So human that before the narrative of Faust, the casualty, starts, God desires the "serene" and rejects the "very praise" of the new.  What I'm arguing here, then, is that by the time we get to Faust in this sequence of plays, God is one of us. We have written him again and again, and he has played among us too many times. Adam, his "first" son, and Eve, his first daughter, have long since left the world he had created for them. What is in the play that Goethe writes is the play of a convenient union between God and man, a tired marriage with occasional tests for excitement. God, the passionate lover, is the figure of the dedication-- the figure who dreads, the figure whose existence now is unreal, the figure who is left with everything but what he wants.
If this is God, then it is the same for M. He too weeps, he too has lost his original prize in this new world where he wanders hungrily, praying for repetition but finding no satisfaction. The response to his song is now "muted," so far from the perpetual excitement of the Fall. It is now mundane no matter which it is-- always the same, not a chase, just a chore. 
These two very dialectical figures, I would say, then, are becoming one. The original son, the symbol of their difference is lost, and in this tragic ordinariness, God and Satan speak the same lines.

(Image: Le Damnation de Faust, Metropolitan Opera 2008-09/ Text: Faust I and II, translated by Stuart Atkins, Princeton University Press.)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Paradise, ever?

"Much pleasure we have lost, while we abstained
From this delightful fruit, nor known till now
True relish, tasting; if such pleasure be
In things to us forbidden, it might be wished,
For this one tree had been forbidden ten.
But come, so well refreshed, now let us play,
As meet is, after such delicious fare;
For never did thy beauty since the day
I saw thee first and wedded thee, adorned
With all perfections, so inflame my sense
With ardour to enjoy thee, fairer now
Than ever, bounty of this virtuous tree."
John Milton, Paradise Lost (Book IX). 

For the next few posts, I want to try and focus a little bit on texts that straddle the Renaissance/Enlightenment boundary and try to trace the coming of a new consciousness and and retelling of older narratives in its light. This passage is from Book IX of Paradise Lost: Adam, in Eve's wake, has finished eating his share of the forbidden fruit and now for the first time is experiencing something for which he has no name. This is where Milton tells his version of a question that has remained unanswered for so many lifetimes: what did Adam feel for Eve before he felt lust? In this case, what is he feeling at this exact moment when Eve's beauty inflames his senses and disarms his experience? Though the Doré image accompanying the text is from a few moments later, I am deeply interested in this too short moment that is the bountiful pleasure of sin. In these seconds, these moments before knowledge is forced upon Adam and Eve, what we see is innocence intact and the body altered. If Adam and Eve never know what it is they are experiencing then is lust, lust? Is Eve the Original Sinner or does a cohabitation of the figures of God and Satan give birth to Original Sin?
I want to answer these questions through the idea of a subject's unwavering gaze shifting from his maker to another. In other words, when Adam obeys Eve and takes the fruit, and then more literally undergoes a change in the way he sees her, he has essentially shifted his loyalties from both God and Satan, and transferred them to the figure of Eve. It's ironic that Eve gets the title of "daughter of God," but Adam is not the Son. It is Christ who will be crowned Son, and who will pronounce the Almighty's judgment. The crucial players of Heaven, the son and the daughter, stand at opposite ends.
But I digress. To come back to the questions at hand-- I think the answer may have several layers: Adam and Eve are not the same. Adam gazes upon God, while Eve's gaze is free, to go to Adam, God, the serpent, the fruit. Adam's changed focus also implies a change in God's position at the top of the foodchain, even if in a temporary way. It is in the seconds where loyalty shifts, where capital becomes competitive, where the subject is enticed by a kinder master, that the divine must generate what the goddess cannot. Sin. The temporarily disturbed supremacy is intact again, and the daughter, the goddess of a second, is sent off to her husband's home. Milton's Trinity, then, is barely harmonious-- Father, Daughter and the Unholy Gaze.