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.
With Milton’s timeframe and era for writing Paradise Lost in mind, we can justify his choice to incorporate an allegory into his epic. Allegories present meanings on two levels, one literal and the other hidden, which often expresses a moral or idea produced by the author. With this in mind, the allegory is key to understanding many parts of Paradise lots since Milton addresses so many issues in this one scene. Within the allegory alone, we discover extensive symbolism and wonder if there are more details to be uncovered each time we study the epic. Milton effectively elicits his readers’ attention by raising such controversy and holds our fascination with his intriguing hidden ideas, meanings, and symbolic relationships.
In Paradise Lost by John Milton, Satan is depicted as a malicious and deceiving character who is fueled by his own ambitions to overthrow God. His role and appearance in Paradise Lost is conveyed through his envious behavior, his foolish attempts to battle God, and his cunning deceptions. Satan’s manipulative and malignant personality is also demonstrated in various verses of Scripture and CS Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters by demonstrating his spiteful behavior and self-deluded lies.
There have been many different interpretations of John Milton's epic, Paradise Lost. 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. 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.
The theme of the 'heroic' in John Milton's Paradise Lost is one that has often been the focus of critical debate, namely in the debate surrounding which character is the 'true' hero of the poem. Most critics of the subject have, however, noted that the difficultly in defining the 'hero' of Milton's work is mainly due to our “vague understanding of what constitutes heroism”1 and the fact that “the term itself is equivocal”2. The 'vague' terming of what heroism can be defined as it what draws critics to disagree with one another over the nature of heroism, as Charles Martindale points out that there are 'different models of heroic', many of which Milton employs in his epic poem. To incorporate these different 'models' of the heroic into his poem, Milton relates various elements of these models to his characters, allowing him to 'test' and 'revalidate' certain ideas and images of the heroic. For the most part, the models of the heroic fit broadly into two camps, which leads critics like John Steadman to identify the “conflict between secular and divine criteria of the heroic”3. Furthermore, within these two main models of heroism critics mostly attempt to define the characters of Satan, Adam and the Son of God, depending on their characteristics throughout the poem.
Milton’s theodicy is shown as a way to explain why if God is all loving, why he lets bad things happen to us. His basic concept is that because Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, many consequences came after. For example children dying of cancer. Many times in our lives things happen that we don’t think are good necessarily, but good things come from bad things. The choices we make have consequences and, but sometimes we are given trial for, what we believe, is no particular reason. This has been the question from the beginning. Milton decided to write this because it is on everyone 's mind, and he wanted to challenge Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey. Milton was successful, in that, his book is well known, but The Iliad and The Odyssey are still the basis of human thought. Everyone in their lifetimes wants to accomplish something that will help them to be more successful than they are now. This was Milton’s thought process. Who wouldn’t want to write a book and have it be considered the basis of human thought and maybe even the book people associate with our nation? Most people would, this is why Milton tried and somewhat had a success. The
... on Milton’s theodicy in Paradise Lost." MLa Commons. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. .
John Milton lived from 1608 to 1674 and was therefore a major part of the Neoclassical Period. Paradise Lost by John Milton was and still is an extremely controversial piece of literature. I have found that the more controversial and disputed a subject is, the more interesting it is to read about. Christianity is a notoriously touchy subject, so naturally I was pulled towards Paradise Lost. When I began my research on this “lost” treasure, I discovered that the recently blinded Milton focused on the tragedy of Adam and Eve. Milton intended to show men the righteous path that God took by rewriting and explaining the original sin (Luxon, “Milton Reading Room”). John Milton contemplated publishing Paradise Lost for a long time due to the controversial nature of the epic. Milton knew that releasing his work into the public would most likely cause an uproar or two, but in the end decided to do it anyway. Little did Milton know that Paradise Lost would be known as "the greatest epic poem in the English language” (Paradise Lost: A Brief Overview).
The seat of faith resides in the will of the individual and not in the leaning to our own reasoning, for reasoning is the freedom of choosing what one accepts as one’s will. In considering the will was created and one cannot accuse the potter or the clay, Milton writes to this reasoning, as “thir own revolt,” whereas the clay of humankind is sufficient and justly pliable for use as a vessel of obedience or disobedience (3.117). The difficulty of this acceptance of obedience or disobedience is inherent in the natural unwillingness in acknowledging that we are at the disposal of another being, even God. One theme of Paradise Lost is humankind’s disobedience to a Creator, a Creator that claims control over its creation. When a single living thing which God has made escapes beyond the Creator’s control this is in essence an eradicating of the Creator God. A Creator who would create a creature who the Creator would or could not control its creation is not a sovereign God. For who would not hold someone responsible for manufacturing something that could not be controlled and consider it immoral to do so? To think that God created a universe that he has somehow abdicated to its own devices is to accredit immorality to the Creator. Since the nucleus of Milton’s epic poem is to “justifie the wayes of God” to his creation, these ‘arguments’ are set in theological Miltonesque terms in his words (1. 26). Milton’s terms and words in Paradise Lost relate the view of God to man and Milton’s view to the reader. Views viewed in theological terms that have blazed many wandering paths through the centuries to knot up imperfect men to explain perfect God.
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...
Paradise Lost is an epic poem portraying John Milton’s theological standpoints. The theme is knowledge and the fall of man. Milton uses his poem to state some of his theological beliefs and his personal reflections. Milton wrote Paradise Lost in the 17th century but uses influence from classic poets. Milton’s epic is an extremely important piece of literature. The excerpt used in this commentary takes on the subjects of sin and the punishment with regards to the atonement from God’s point of view. Milton’s states many of his own theological opinions but wants the reader to know that God is justified in everything that he does, and also wants them to know that man has free will.
John Milton considered himself a puritan, which lead him to be enthralled with God and religion. To learn more about the Lord, Milton dedicated himself to careful study of the bible (Lewalski 310) . Consequently, in the hopes to “repair the ruins of our first parents by regaining to know God alright” he wrote the great Biblical epic, Paradise Lost (Shawcross 1). John Milton's Paradise Lost alludes to the King James Version of the Bible by depicting the fall and redemption of mankind.