Satan In John Milton's Paradise Lost

Good Essays
Can the devil be an epic hero? In John Milton's Paradise Lost- the great epic from the English Renaissance, this topic was discussed time and again. Numerous scholars consider that Paradise lost should be one of the most exceptional pieces of the Renaissance, especially when talking about the question can the devil be an epic hero?
Satan's speech allows us to view him as a heroic character, one who will not accept defeat. Milton's presentation of Satan is intriguing and it can be argued that he is the tragic hero of the book. We are able to feel sympathy towards Satan because of his flaws, Satan is flawed because he is proud, selfish and resentful; which are imperfections that we as humans experience our day to day life. At this point in the
…show more content…
He carries on by revising the history of the fallen angels who's "strife was not inglorious, though the event was dire" (Line 624) Satan addresses the shame in them falling from heaven, but holds the idea that God only triumphed because he tricked them "still his strength concealed, which tempted our attempt, and wrought our fail." (Lines 641-642). At this point we adore Satan because of his struggle and look at him as the hero in the story, we know that he cannot defeat God however we feel for him. Satan's rhetoric in his argument holds a powerfully, convincing tone. Although the concept of the debate is for the fallen angels to determine whose idea to pursue, we sense that Satan is instructing them to follow him. Satan inquires the fallen angels "how such united force of gods, how such as stood like these, could ever know repulse?" (Lines 629-630) This rhetorical effect of this makes him emerge as someone strong and allows him to essentially be viewed as a Military Commander, hence making him appear human.
For Milton's part, Satan is courageous, clever and powerful and he is also an acclaimed leader. He is rather unique from the traditional heroes in many distinguished works. In Paradise Lost, the Genesis story upon the corruption of man was recreated by the author, as a matter of fact, caused by Satan. For the sake of Satan's deadly shortcomings
…show more content…
Satan's speech defines him as a fearless and eloquent speaker and he is therefore made to seem human. We as an audience are led to sympathizing with him because of his human qualities; moreover we also sympathize with him because we know his battle is inevitably going to fail. We have to remember that Satan is evil; therefore Milton may have deliberately presented him in this way to allow the reader to see how seductive Satan really is and potentially teach us to be more resistant towards
Get Access