Humanizing Satan: An Examination of Satan as a Victim In John Milton’s, The Paradise Lost, Milton’s representation of Satan makes us uncomfortable due to the recognition of his humanizing and relatable reaction to what happened to him. The reader expects Satan to be an evil, and malevolent figure who does evil acts because he loves it and there is no defense for it. While these aspects are prevalent in his character in the poem, Satan does not come across as a completely wicked person but instead, a victim. The representation of Satan has a personifying quality that any of us may have and do not want to admit. In book one, Milton’s portrayal of Satan makes us uneasy because we relate to his actions, which are ordinary human responses to similar situations.
When a person hears Satan, a streak of fear, and the thought of evil arises. People fear Satan, and think of him as evil, but in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, he displays a thought of the Father being the evil being, and Satan a tragic hero. In Paradise Lost, Book 1 and 2, the minor areas where God is shown, He is displayed as hypocritical. He contradicts himself by creating the humans to be of free will, but when Satan displays free will, he is shunned. Satan could be described in many terms, and by many people, but all can be disputed.
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.
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? Two important things that make Satan a hero are identified in the beginning of Paradise Lost: an obstacle Satan is trying to overcome and flaws that Satan has. In the beginning of the poem, Satan falls into Hell, which sets up the en media res (starting with action in the middle of the story) narrative so that the reader does not know the circumstances under which Satan rebelled against God. Satan despairs at first at the thought of eternal damnation and debates making up with God, but decides that if he tried to redeem himself he would eventually rebel again. Instead, Satan decides to corrupt the rumored new race, the human race, that God has created and, with his host of demons, “reascend / self-raised, and repossess their native seat [in Heaven]” (1.633-634).
In Milton's Paradise Lost, he writes the story of the fall of Satan, his followers, and mankind. Many critics often view Satan as the unlikely or tragic hero of the epic poem. Satan is, obviously, the main character throughout most of the poem, but not necessarily the hero. Satan's main purpose is to fight G-d, and try to be on the same level as Him. 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.
In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Satan is an ambiguous character that puts a twist on this retelling of the Biblical villain. Milton forces the reader to look at evil and the antagonistic Satan in a more complex light in contrast to the unsympathetic figure referenced in other texts. As the fallen archangel, Satan is a struggling hero fighting against an oppressor, the devil that tempts man to their downfall, and the rebel that involuntarily does God’s bidding. Many of Satan’s attributes are complex and contain contradictory dualities. Satan is determined and believes in his own righteousness when he sees God as a dictator that uses his creations as amusement.
Despite being a coward, Faustus is full of hubris, and assumes that he can exert his will over Mephastophilis. Faustus plans to use Mephastophilis’ powers for his own selfish gains, but must first sell his soul over to Satan. Once the pact between Faustus and Lucifer has been completed, the good and evil angels arrive to talk to Faustus. The good evil encourages him to repent and accept god back into his heart, while the evil angel tells him not to bother as he is already damned. Faustus believes himself to be unable to rep... ... middle of paper ... ...tion due to Satan, their ultimate fates differed significantly.
The reader no longer needs to label the morality of such a character; Satan defines himself with the use of the pronoun 'my' and the preceding definition and assessment that 'My self am hell'. Furthermore through Satan's own assessment the distancing technique by the word 'my' appears to exaggerate the notion of the definition of himself, the natural pause due to the unusual syntax further accentuates this. The use of Milton's alliteration in 'Racked with deep despair' when describing Satan's countenance only empathises this pitiful nature. However this sense of self dou... ... middle of paper ... ...ng that G-d deliberately leads Satan into greater evil. From the outset it appears that G-d and Satan remain in opposition together, an important characterisation of Milton.
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 position as an empowered rebel is illustrated through his infernal mind, and it’s craving for authority; accordingly, Satan urges the shattered forces to “Receive thy new possessor” (line 252). Satan reveals his envious determination and desire to rule when blatantly declaring that it is “Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n” (line 263). Since his fall from Heaven, Satan no longer considers the location of his kingdom to be of monument importance; instead, it is one’s perspective that “Can makes Heav’n of a Hell, Hell of a heav’n (line 255). He believes that individuals create their own authority and control; it is a matter of perception. Satan driven by his envy of God’s position and power manipulates his fellow fallen “to confirm his words, out-flew millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs of mighty Cherubim,” soon they will erect Satan’s personal Kingdom in Hell (lines