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Paradise Lost - John Milton’s Satan; Hero or Not?

Uploaded by tcooper1374 on Mar 04, 2001

Throughout time, John Milton’s Paradise Lost has been studied by many people and comprehended in many different fashions, developing all kinds of new interpretations of the great epic. There have been many different interpretations of this great epic. Milton’s purpose in writing the epic was to explain the biblical story of Adam and Eve. Although the epic is similar to the Bible story in many ways, Milton’s character structure differs from that of the Bible’s version. All through out the epic Milton describes the characters in the way he believes they are. In book II of Paradise Lost, Milton portrays Satan as a rebel who exhibits certain heroic qualities, but who turns out not to be a hero.

Milton’s introduction of Satan shows the reader how significant Satan is to Paradise Lost. He uses Satan’s heroic qualities to his followers, and his ability to corrupt to show the thin line between good and evil. Satan was one of the highest angels in Heaven and was know as Lucifer, meaning, light bearer. This shows he was once a good angel. Milton makes the reader see him as a leader and a strong influence to all in his presence. He best describes Satan’s ways when stating, “His pride/ had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host. / Of rebel angels, by whose aspiring/ To set himself in glory above his peers” (Milton Book I). Satan’s pride was the main reason that God banned him from heaven. Satan always tried to be number one and a leader, instead of following in God’s shadow. He would of lived a life in Paradise forever, but he had to follow his feelings as he states, “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven” (Milton 31). This shows how strongly he felt about not being above everybody else.

Milton uses many events like the ones listed above to encourage the reader to view Satan as a hero. “Satan is described to be the brightest and most important angel” (McColley 32). These traits of Satan show how one might recognize Satan as the second in power right below God, who was the highest power of all. Before Satan decides to give up what he has and to rebel against God, he was one of the wisest and most beautiful of all the angels in heaven (McColley 24). Although Satan was beautiful, the most important trait that...

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Uploaded by:   tcooper1374

Date:   03/04/2001

Category:   Literature

Length:   8 pages (1,717 words)

Views:   2634

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