Characters of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost

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In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the character of Satan is arrogant and villainous, yet heroic and complex, who crafts himself as the innocent victim, even though “Satan dared to hope he could be defeated.” Milton’s romanticising of Satan highlights and articulates the alluring aspect of a central character designed by Judeo-Christian belief to being menacing. The structure of Milton’s Satan, the romanticizing of this tragic hero and the defining of the character in paralleled response to Milton’s Paradise Regained, will be approached, highlighted and emphasized in this essay. The progression of Satan from Book One to Book Five of Paradise Lost recites Milton’s own poetic divinations and portrayals of him as an epic writer, through the use of developing the characters. This articulates the particulars of and gives the main characters more heroic qualities which make them strong for an epic structure. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Heaven and Hell, both Judeo-Christian beliefs, are portrayed as themes of good and evil. Eden, Hell and Heaven are locations based around the introduction of sinfulness inflicted upon Adam and Eve by the lyrical, archetypal Satan. Both Adam and Eve are tricked and condemned after eating from the Tree of Life, revealing the notion of acts of sinfulness apparent within the text. The idea of Hell reveals the characteristics accentuating the grandeur of the ‘fallen angel’, the Promethean hero – a concept taken from Greek mythology – which encompasses human characteristics foreshadowed by the idea of Hell. These romanticized, humanistic qualities that conform the character of Satan include the Judeo-Christian image of the fallen angel as being manipulated and structured by sinfulness – also, this is portrayed i... ... middle of paper ... ...t. The ethos of the characters are seen through the structure of them paralleled by the idea of Hellish things, as “Satan had made a virtue of pride and ambition” . Satan encompasses the very worse of society, with sympathetic language to make him seem Bibliography: • Empson, William. Milton’s God. London: Chatto & Windus, 1965. • Tillyard, E.M.W., Milton. London: Chatto & Windus, 1966. • Wright, B.A. Milton’s Paradise Lost. London: Methuen & Co, 1962. • Milton, John, The Poetical Works of John Milton. London: Fredrick Warne & Co, 1896. • Bush, Douglas, John Milton. London: Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1964. • Daiches, David, Milton. London: Hutchinson & Co, 1957. • Milton, John, Greatest Books of the Western World. Chicago, The University of Chicago, 1952. Milton, John, Paradise Lost. Chicago, The University of Chicago, 1952.

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