The great debate whether Satan is the hero of Milton’s Epic Poem, Paradise Lost, has been speculated for hundreds of years. Milton, a writer devoted to theology and the appraisal of God, may not have intended for his portrayal of Satan to be marked as heroic. Yet, this argument is valid and shares just how remarkable the study of literature can be. Milton wrote his tale of the fall of man in the 1674. His masterpiece is an example of how ideas of a society change with time. This is because it wasn’t until the 1800’s during the Romantic era, that people no longer saw the hero of literary works as perfect in every way. It started to become more popular to develop the flawed character similar to the ones written in the classics. A literary criterion that is based on a protagonist, who undergoes conflict on the outside and from within and is prevented by a specific flaw to accomplish their main goal, creates an epic Hero. In Paradise Lost, God does not face conflict because he is perfect and all-knowing, and Adam’s conflict is not presented from the very start, Satan’s is. Because Satan is the main character of the work and possesses qualities that would deem him heroic, such as his determination against tough odds, his ability to lead, and his human-like nature to error, he can be seen has the Hero of the famous poem.
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.
All About That Grace, Bout’ That Grace, No Satan Hero can be distinct as an individual who is accepted or idealized for bravery, exceptional accomplishment, or dignified traits. On the other hand, Satan is known as the leader of all wickedness. With these descriptions in mind, one can determine that John Milton’s character, Satan, in Paradise Lost, is in fact the epic’s hero. Although non-traditional, one can determine that Satan is the epic hero because of textual evidence found in all twelve books of Paradise Lost. The implications implied throughout the twelve books of Paradise Lost entail Satan as the hero because of the information Milton provides to the reader about Satan’s actions and results thereof.
Satan’s spiteful actions, attitude, and appearance are exposed in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and other texts. Satan is a mesmerizing but revengeful figure who utilizes doubt to break the relationship established between man and God.
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.
John Milton was a very interesting human being. Milton was a poet who lived during the seventeenth century and he wanted to create something astounding that rivaled Homer and Virgil, authors of the world’s great epic poems. He decided to follow the story of Adam and Eve from the Bible’s, Genesis 3. To explain the acts of God to men was his chief goal and he achieved it by telling of the first disobediences towards God and what he did as a consequence. What’s even more interesting, is that Milton wrote the whole poem, Paradise Lost, completely blind. He didn’t exactly write it, but rather recited it to his daughters who wrote it down. Another very interesting thing Milton did, was he decided to portray Satan as not only a villain, but also as a hero in Paradise Lost.
Another part of a traditional epic poem is that the hero must perform great deeds of valor to defeat the villain. Milton wants his readers to be forced to face the problem of Satan seeming invincible. Satan is, after all, an angel. He is a mighty angel that is removed from Heaven. In order for us to see the power of God, it is necessary that Satan also be powerful. It is important that Satan, a parody of God, is viewed as an eloquent, bold being; one that possesses superhuman strength, extraordinary martial prowess, and fortitude so that he can be a foil to show how great God is. In order for God to vanquish and control this awesome being, his characteristics must exceed the characteristics of Satan. Therefore, it emphasizes the great valor God possesses to successfully defeat Satan in their battle.
Satan, as a character, has been satirized, mocked and made foolish in our modern world. John Milton, however, presents quite a different Satan from the devil-on-your-shoulder image people are used to seeing. In Paradise Lost, Milton draws on the Bible for his source of Satan’s character, thereby creating a horrifyingly corrupt Satan. Despite this portrayal, readers often find themselves sympathizing with Satan’s cause, and his determination, viewing him as a hero for his cause, as evidenced by his long, brave speeches. Later, however Satan’s speeches begin to show signs of regret, making the reader question their initial reaction to him. In the end the image of Satan is further skewed by his own incriminating speech. Thus, the speeches of Satan, which initially draw readers to be supportive of his plight, later reveal his truly destructive character, resulting in the reader disliking Satan more than if he initially presented himself as a coward.
In Paradise Lost Milton creates Satan’s character with intricate conflicting dualities, ultimately creating him as both good and bad. Milton’s careful and complex development of Satan’s character both establishes and revokes the idea of Satan being good and bad. He uses this tension between Satan’s appealing attributes and bad qualities allowing the reader to be able to relate to Satan on some level. He is also using this tension to tempt the reader to give into Satan’s alluring speeches and challenging them to resist it. Satan is a great speaker; he knows exactly what everyone wants to hear. His speeches are so convincing that even the reader is tempted to fall into the notion that they are all just innocent victims: “Me though just right, and the fixed laws of heaven Did first create your leader, next free choice, with what besides, in counsel or in fight, Hath been achieved of merit, yet this loss” (ln 18-21) Even though Satan’s speeches are intriguing and sound wonderful they are embedded...
Satan’s aspired manner of conduct, his absurd attempts to battle God, and his misleading craftiness construct his intriguing and vital character in John Milton’s Paradise Lost. As illustrated in Paradise Lost, The Screwtape Letters, and Scripture, Satan is a vicious baleful demon who uses deceitful strategies for his own ambitious gain. Satan’s power of manipulation, form shifting, and his own free will, led to his fall as the ruler of hell.