Satan Character Analysis

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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. Satan finally acknowledges God’s true nature and wants to be different. He is earnest and persistent in pursuing what he believes to be true, which is evident when he states “The mind is its own place, and in itself/Can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven./What matter where, if I still be the same….” (3). Milton alters the ‘devil’ in Satan into a warrior that carries the burden of Hell within him, yet continues to escape his fate from God’s clutches. Milton goes on to describe Satan as a strong leader, someone who has the power to influence his fellow angels by using the justification that it is “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav'n” (3). The fallen angel flaunts his strong-will by standing against God and refusing to stand on the same ground as his suppressor. Milton clarifies Satan’s profound ideas and questions, but at the same time he also identifies the devil’s tragic flaw as an ambitious being that does not know his own limits. In contrast to Milton’s idealization of Satan, the Bible takes on a fundamental view of the sinner as the ultimate adversary to... ... middle of paper ... ...ot be able to prevent man from turning to God in search of logic. These instances displays Milton's portrayal of Satan’s ineptitude to win against God’s supremacy. Although Satan is a dark figure that everyone wants to escape from, Milton maximizes the devil’s qualities to portray him as the oppressed fighter for freedom. Milton also humanizes Satan’s attributes by displaying his weaknesses and defeats in the face of the all knowing Creator. Then he is the absolute enemy that deceives and enchants man to succumb to their weaknesses. Milton deliberately creates a reason why Satan is necessary to God by examining the Scripture and was further elevated by C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters. In the end, Satan was created to become a figment of people’s conscience where the “evil” accumulates for believers to differentiate the “good” that only exists in their Creator.
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