Humans are always seeking knowledge to progress further in life or even just to prove they are above others. In the poem “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women” it explains why Adam should be blamed as well for Eve eating the fruit. Men are seen to be more superior to women and more powerful and knowing . In this case though it seems different since Adam was did not keep a good watch on Eve which ends up with her eating the fruit gaining more knowledge than Adam. Adam should have been the wiser one being he was put on earth first.
Instead Adam ends up learning more from Eve since he takes the fruit from her hands and even ends up eating it without her having to persuade him. Lanyer proves this with the use of irony, contrast, and symbolism to develop the idea that men boast about being more superior women but when it comes to knowledge they are actually both equal. Lanyer’s use of symbol expresses that Eve should not have complete blame for eating the fruit since Adam should have had more control of the situation. Adam is said to be the first man on earth so he should have been more aware of the consequences as to Eve.
In the poem Lanyer uses symbol in line 783: “For he was lord and king of all earth”. Adam is being referred to as lord so he should have had more authority and influence yet he did not show any towards Eve. In Literature Criticism it further explains how Lanyer thinks women are symbolized in Christianity. Lanyer believes women are meant to continue gods work. This is expressed by “Asserting that Christ chose women to continue his work on Earth, Lanyer contrasted the failures of Adam, the apostles, and the male sex in general, with the virtues of the redeemed Eve…” (Person 178).
Adam failed at the one job he had so he had to depend on Eve to redeem him for what he couldn’t do. Eve proved that Adam was not as superior as he should have been since she had to make up for his failures. Lanyer’s use of contrast shows how Eve gained her knowledge and the differences in what made them eat the fruit compared to Adam. Eve explains how she was manipulated by the serpent to eat the fruit since she didn’t want to. This can be seen in Lanyer’s poem through line 781: “Although the Serpent’s craft had her abused”.
Eve was tricked by the serpent to eat the fruit she did not want to eat it knowing the consequences she might have to face but hearing what the serpent had to say about the fruit and how convincing he was she ate it so she shouldn’t have the complete blame put on her especially since the serpent was only a disguise for Satan to trick her into eating the fruit. In the poem it also says how Adam was found out about the fruit and the consequences that came with eating the fruit.
It explained exactly who told Adam not to eat the fruit and what would happen if it were to be eaten. Lanyer explains this through line 787-88: “And from God’s mouth received that straight command / The breach where of he knew was present death” God himself told Adam not to eat the fruit and even told him exactly what would happen which would be death compared to Eve who was told by Adam and is later manipulated by Satan to eat the fruit. Even after God himself told Adam not to eat the fruit and what would happen if he did.
Adam did not show that he is the superior one to Eve since instead of showing authority towards Eve he ends up getting influenced by her to eat the fruit so it shows that Eve was the one who had more control over Adam and that it wasn’t the other way around. Irony is the last the last literary element that Lanyer used to express that women and men are actually equal. At the end of “Eve’s Apology in Defense of Women” it is explained how knowledge came from women and passed on to men. Lanyer shows this in line 807-88: “Yet Men will boast of Knowledge, which he took / From Eve’s fair hand, as from a learned Book”.
Men will say they have more knowledge and more superior in comparison to women but Adam gain his knowledge from the fruit which h took out of the hands from Eve. Lanyer wrote an article called “To the Vertous Reader” which explain that at one point in life men and women will be equal. In the article Lanyer explains the irony of how men are born and are given life. She expresses this through “who forgetting they were borne of women, nourished of women, and that if it were not by the means of women, they would be quite extinguished out of the world… “.
Men gain everything from women they are raised and cared for by women they even come into the world because of women and at one point they too were women. Men gain their life from women but with still boast about being the superior sex but if it weren’t for women they would not exist. Lanyer proves through the use of symbol, contrast, and irony that men are not superior to women but rather equal when it comes to knowledge. Lanyer used symbolism to express eve is not completely at fault especially since Adam did not show any sign that he had power and authority over Eve.
The use of contrast showed the differences of Eve and Adam learning about the fruit and how Eve was manipulated to eat the fruit opposed to Adam. Irony explained how men get their life and knowledge from women and that without them they would not even exist. Men and women have different strengths and weaknesses but what they don’t realize is they are more equal to each other . Men will boast that they are the superior sex but they fail to see they wouldn’t be where they are now if it weren’t for women raising them and caring for them.