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What impression do we get of Satan in the lines 1 - 242's?

Uploaded by #26985 on Apr 01, 2005

After being 'Hurled headlong flaming from th'ethereal sky with hideous ruin and combustion down to bottomless perdition' (L, 45-47), Satan, along with his cohorts, now lies chained to the fiery lakes of hell, and thus begins their struggle for revenge. As exemplified by that passage, Milton is very detailed in his depiction of Hell and Satan, and due to the length of Paradise Lost, he allows himself to use Epic similes in which he uses comparative descriptions to portray Satan. Milton describes Satan in four different aspects; appearance, emotions, character and his environment and in some cases the contradiction of two aspects, such as his emotions and actions, gives us a more positive and likable Satan.

However, from Milton's first reference to Satan, which appears in the lines 34-15, we already get a bad image of the latter; 'Th'infernal serpent; he it was, whose guile stirred up with envy, deceived the mother of Mankind [...]'. The words 'infernal' and 'serpent' portray Satan as an infinite being of evil. Serpent(s), although still snakes is more of a derogatory means of referring to the reptiles, who are usually associated with evil and cunningness, whilst snakes are seen more as being tricky and sneaky. Whether he chose to act on these characteristics is confirmed in the lines 'deceived the mother of Mankind [...]' and 'with ambitious aim against the throne and monarchy of God raised impious war in heaven'. Not only is he described as a serpent, but he acts on its definition; filled with hate and envy for mankind's happiness he betrays Eve's ('mother of Mankind') trust resulting in both Adam and Eve being thrown out of Paradise, through which he also gets his revenge against God for defeating him and his rebellion. The fact that he is the one who brought about the destruction of mankind's bliss, the loss of paradise and a war against god, depicts him as a destructive, evil and hate filled creature.

Nevertheless Milton does compliment, whether intentionally or not, Satan's already fruitless image by using such words as 'proud' and 'bold' when describing Satan's actions. The significance of such terms when describing his actions is illustrated when compared to Milton's explanation of Satan's feelings. Although, like Adam and Eve, the loss of paradise suffered by Satan 'Torments him [round he throws his baleful eyes]' he still projects an image of a strong leader when he speaks, by trying...

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Uploaded by:   #26985

Date:   04/01/2005

Category:   Poems

Length:   4 pages (966 words)

Views:   1612

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