A friend of mine who grew up in France introduced me to the phrase "A Mr. and Mrs." to describe a marital fight, and today we have the first one in history, at least according to the Biblical literalists: Adam and Eve's spat in Book IX of Paradise Lost. If I were a thoughtful person I would be drawn to the little colloquium between Satan and Eve ("Resolved: The Fruit Is Delicious"), or I might weigh in on the question of whose fault it is. But I'm not thoughtful, especially when Mom and Dad are fighting:
Adam, estranged in look and altered style,To the moon, Eve! Then Eve complains about sitting around the garden all day:
Speech intermitted thus to Eve renewed:—
“Would thou hadst hearkened to my words, and stayed
With me, as I besought thee, when that strange
Desire of wandering, this unhappy morn,
I know not whence possessed thee!
Was I to have never parted from thy side?To which Adam replies (in Jim Belushi's voice):
As good have grown there still, a lifeless rib.
Being as I am, why didst not thou, the Head,
Command me absolutely not to go,
Going into such danger, as thou saidst?
And am I now upbraided as the causeAnd then he ends a little whiny:
Of thy transgressing? not enough severe,
It seems, in thy restraint! What could I more?
But I rueI love "which is become my crime," because how many millions of husbands (or wives, for that matter) have said something like that since? It's a great fight. You can see why Milton was such a big proponent of divorce.
That error now, which is become my crime,
And thou the accuser. Thus it shall befall
Him who, to worth in women overtrusting,
Lets her will rule...
(I will, however, note that Original Sin seems more elegant to me without the story of Adam and Eve, because it seems grander and more tragic. Under the Adam-and-Eve story it just seems like someone broke curfew. )