Milton uses many events like the ones listed above to encourage the reader to view Satan as a hero. "Satan is described to be the brightest and most important angel" (McColley 32). These traits of Satan show... ... middle of paper ... ...e lead to ingratitude towards God" from the beginning of the epic (Weber 25). Although Satan is a great warrior and can give wonderful speeches, he seems to be hypocritical of what he tells his followers he believes and what he really does. An example of this is when we are first introduced to Satan.
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.
1-5). These lines create an aura of awe and majesty for Satan, showing his glory and splendor through material things, while at the same time inferring indirectly that this material show is all that Satan has, rather than real power or value. After this portrayal of Satan the epic hero in all his magnificence, the speaker (the heavenly muse) is very careful to bring down his image morally, despite the magnificent outward experience. The muse asserts that, by merit raised To that bad eminence; and from despair Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue Vain war with Heav'n, and by success untaught His proud imaginations thus displayed, (II. 5-10).
Satan’s envious nature plagues personality; he soon establishes himself as an empowered rebel. In order to mimic and rival the authority of God, Satan immediately establishes himself in a position of power by claiming the role as the leader of the fallen. As a leader Satan exhibits the audacity of self-confidence, he claims “to be weak is miserable doing or suffering” (line 158). His claim is so commanding that the other fallen angels awaken from their state of mental unconsciousness. 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).
Other examples of his strength are in his conversation with Beelzebub. Beelzebub says to Satan that Satan “shook his throne (Milton14).” One must be very powerful and strong in order to disrupt God’s throne. A third heroic quality of Satan is his perseverance. This is shown in the first book of the epic when he is speaking to one of his fallen angels. His perseverance is shown in lines 120-124.
Epic Characteristics of Paradise Lost Paradise Lost is one of the finest examples of epic tradition in all of literature. In composing this work, John Milton was, for the most part, following in the manner of epic poets of past centuries. By knowing the background of epic characteristics and conventions, it is easy to trace their presence in Book I of Paradise Lost. One of the biggest questions that a reader must face is that of the hero; exactly who is the epic hero in the poem? While Satan may not be the "hero" of Paradise Lost, Milton quickly establishes him as its main character, and as the most complex and detailed of Milton's descriptions.
Mahood, M. M. "Milton's Heroes," in Alan Rudrum, ed., Milton: Modern Judgements, London: Macmillan, 1968, 262-63. Milton, John. Paradise Lost in The Portable Milton. Editor Douglas Bush, New York: Viking Press, 1977. Patrides, C.A.
Christ and Satan are therefore epic machines. (268-272) Although Satan may be an epic machine, he is best portrayed as the tragic anti-hero of "Paradise Lost" or, at the very least, a main character who possesses the stature and attributes which enable him to achieve tragic status. In the Greek tradition, the essential components of tragedy are admiration, fear and pity for the 'hero', who has to display a tragic weakness or flaw in his character, which will lead to his downfall. It might be argued that the flaws in Satan's character are such that we should feel no admiration, fear or pity for him, yet he can be seen to inspire these emotions. Satan's tragic flaws are pointed out in Book I.
Satan journeys through loss and inner conflict. He opposes the status quo and his establishment;he allegorically crosses a threshold to creating his final purpose. Even when he is struck down he is relentless and does not give up. He eventually circumvents his oppressor (god) and creates his own existence and his own realism, he tempts Eve and by extension Adam. Satan is the first and truest form of being throughout Milton’s epic that we relate to because he is vain, we have all been angry, jealous, greedy, vain and in Adams case in “love” Satan is the first and most important character to accept these feelings.
Elledge 482-92. Lewis, C. S. A Preface to Paradise Lost. New York: Oxford UP, 1970. Milton, John. Paradise Lost.