Milton is able to do this because it is always worse, and more shocking to see a liked individual reveal himself to be bad, than to always know a bad individual to be bad. Thus, the initial support that Satan gains from readers is designed to alienate him further when his evil side prevails. As the character of Satan progresses, the reader becomes less willing to accept Satan’s goal of freedom of choice. This is... ... middle of paper ... ...n. Satan’s goal of freedom of choice has been lost in his hate. This aspect of Satan serves as the final stage in a reader’s transition from viewing Satan as the brave leader of a just cause, to viewing him as a lowly coward.
His pride, his envy and his manipulative nature all cause him to rebel against God and lead to his own downfall. Not unlike Achilles or Oedipus, Satan is portrayed as the engineer of his own misery. This heroic characterisation of the first few books highlights the scope of his fall, from a dashing angel to a deceitful snake, and shows the audience the sneaky ways evil can be tempting. As Russell writes: “Milton also deliberately made Satan appear magnificent at the beginning so that his audience might feel all the glamour of evil” (Russell, chap.12, p.15). And magnificent he is indeed!
When Paradise Lost begins, the vainglorious actions of Satan have resulted in his removal from heaven and placed him on the path to exact revenge against those who have done so. Though, the reader is hardly able to experience any distaste when reading about this man who opposes the consented force of good. He is are charming, dark, fanatical and desperate in his attempts. It is from these characteristics, that the reader may be swayed into viewing him as the protagonist (or even the hero) of the tale. Even C.S.
Satan states: "How such united force of gods, how such / As stood like these, co... ... middle of paper ... ...pportive of him, later reveal his truly destructive character, resulting in the reader disliking Satan. Accordingly, when the character of Satan is followed throughout Paradise Lost, Milton`s reason behind the order of development can be realized. Milton’s desire to create a strong hatred of Satan is achieved best by emphasizing Satan’s good points first. Then, when Satan’s real character begins to surface, the reader is shocked by the actions of their ‘hero’, causing them to dislike him more than if he had always been a bad character. The reader’s dislike of Satan is strengthened by Satan’s shift in motives.
Everyone involved with him separately thinks that he is doing them favors, when actually he is a backstabbing, conniving person who is the essence of evil and is often referred to as half-man, half-devil. Contrary to Iago, Othello is often referred to as a God-like figure, innocent in every way: trusting and naïve. Unfortunately for Othello, this serves as his eventual downfall helping Iago play Othello like a harp, which results in Desdemona?s death. Iago?s two-sided face and the other characters? readiness to believe him before thinking twice is the driving force of the play and its plot.
He rallies the other fallen angels and even inspires the readers to be moved by some of the things he states. Milton’s epic can be seen as a way to celebrate the evil character however, when one knows the background of the author it is obvious that this appearance of Satan as a hero is meant as a metaphor for the fact that Satan and his evil ways can seem appealing and how easily one can be caught in his trap. Milton uses his skill with words and literature to make the Devil appear endearing or heroic to the those reading his poem yet the poem symbolizes how one can mistake the evil of Satan for something good. Milton’s heroic Satan is only a symbol of the demon he truly is in disguise.
Satan’s journey starts out as a fallen angel with great stature, has the ability to reason and argue, but by Book X the anguish and pain he goes through is more reason for him to follow an evil path instead. Even so, Milton uses literal and figurative imagery in the description of Satan’s character to manipulate the reader’s response to the possibility that Satan may actually be a heroic figure. As the plot of the story unfolds there are moments where the reader can identify with Satan’s desires and relate to his disappointments. In considering Aristotle’s idea of hamartia, someone who is a good person, but fell from grace, and apply it to Satan then it seems reasonable to interpret Satan as having hero like characteristics. Aristotle would say that a courageous person is inspired by confidence, faces dangerous, and acts appropriately to this courage (Nicomachean Ethics).
The important thing is to realize that Satan is sin, and being humans, who are all born into sin, we can easily relate to a sinful character. G-d is holy and perfect. This is something which we, being fallible humans, cannot begin to comprehend. Satan does, at the beginning, follow many of the attributes which coincide with Aristotle's definition of a tragic hero; however, after the first few Books, Satan looses his status as a tragic hero rather rapidly. Along with this, Satan's thoughts parallel the idea of "Evil, be thou my good," (p76, line 110) which is the opposite of what G-d intends.
These instances displays Milton's portrayal of Satan’s ineptitude to win against God’s supremacy. Although Satan is a dark figure that everyone wants to escape from, Milton maximizes the devil’s qualities to portray him as the oppressed fighter for freedom. Milton also humanizes Satan’s attributes by displaying his weaknesses and defeats in the face of the all knowing Creator. Then he is the absolute enemy that deceives and enchants man to succumb to their weaknesses. Milton deliberately creates a reason why Satan is necessary to God by examining the Scripture and was further elevated by C.S.
Paradise Lost is a story of Genesis told as it normally would be, but with a protagonist focus on Satan. The story is told largely with Satan being favorably portrayed and God having little presence other than cursing things, which convinces the audience that Satan’s view of God as a tyrant may not be too far off. Still, Satan is portrayed as the villain of the story. However, he has characteristics of a classical hero; including flaws that make the audience relate to and feel sympathy for him. By using part of the black-and-white Genesis story which paints Satan as evil and juxtaposing a narrative which paints Satan as a sympathetic hero, Milton raises a question about morality that largely define the audience’s reaction to the story: what is immoral?