Is Satan the Epic Hero in Paradise Lost?

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Young children and adults across the world are taught that God is a hero above the rest. He is both omnipotent and omnipresent, almost like how Santa Clause is described as to little children. God does no wrong and is incapable of committing a sin; He is a picture perfect being. Satan is God’s archenemy and polar opposite, he’s popularly known for his evil ways and the fiery inferno that he inhabits, described in the book Dante’s Inferno. Rarely do people confuse the idea that God is the hero and Satan is the evildoer that needs to be extinguished from the world. I can safely say that in terms of Christianity and its beliefs there is no mistake to who the epic hero of the bible is. In John Milton’s poem “ Paradise Lost,” the lines between good and evil are blurred, despite Milton’s proclamation of writing this poem to justify God’s ways to the world through the voice of the Holy Spirit. This essay will examine whether or not Milton justified his God’s ways, and if his ways were not justified was Satan the epic hero of the poem.

Many epic writings are written with a muse in mind. Some authors write with the inspiration of a beautiful woman and others with the scorn of betrayal, however in this poem John Milton declares that the Holy Spirit will be his muse. Christians know the Holy Spirit to be part of the divine Trinity. The trinity is comprised of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God exists in three different matters but He is only one God. Milton is acting as an instrument of God in this poem. The purpose of the poem as stated in lines 1-26 is to explain and justify the fall of mankind into sin and the greater plan God has for all. However, the first three books of “Paradise Lost,” depict Satan ...

... middle of paper ... no being or villain that is capable of causing them destruction. For Satan to back down from a fight and admit defeat is a sign that he is not the hero of the poem.

In book ten Satan’s physical form dwindles further down from his previous form as a toad into a slithering snake. Snakes slither on the ground in the dirt, and dirt symbolizes the impurity of the human race. Satan’s degeneration as a snake occurs after another battle he has internally with himself. He is the creator of his own reality as he fulfils his statement made previously in the poem of making hell his heaven. After each internal battle he has with himself over the possibility of returning to God or asking for penance, his physical form is augmented. Just as in the bible, when Satan is in the form of a serpent he illogically and irrationally persuades Eve to commit the first sin on Earth.
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