Satan’s spiteful actions, attitude, and appearance are exposed in John Milton’s Paradise Lost and other texts. Satan is a mesmerizing but revengeful figure who utilizes doubt to break the relationship established between man and God.
All About That Grace, Bout’ That Grace, No Satan
Hero can be distinct as an individual who is accepted or idealized for bravery, exceptional accomplishment, or dignified traits. On the other hand, Satan is known as the leader of all wickedness. With these descriptions in mind, one can determine that John Milton’s character, Satan, in Paradise Lost, is in fact the epic’s hero. Although non-traditional, one can determine that Satan is the epic hero because of textual evidence found in all twelve books of Paradise Lost. The implications implied throughout the twelve books of Paradise Lost entail Satan as the hero because of the information Milton provides to the reader about Satan’s actions and results thereof.
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.
Satan, as a character, has been satirized, mocked and made foolish in our modern world. John Milton, however, presents quite a different Satan from the devil-on-your-shoulder image people are used to seeing. In Paradise Lost, Milton draws on the Bible for his source of Satan’s character, thereby creating a horrifyingly corrupt Satan. Despite this portrayal, readers often find themselves sympathizing with Satan’s cause, and his determination, viewing him as a hero for his cause, as evidenced by his long, brave speeches. Later, however Satan’s speeches begin to show signs of regret, making the reader question their initial reaction to him. In the end the image of Satan is further skewed by his own incriminating speech. Thus, the speeches of Satan, which initially draw readers to be supportive of his plight, later reveal his truly destructive character, resulting in the reader disliking Satan more than if he initially presented himself as a coward.
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...
Milton's introduction of Satan shows the reader how significant Satan is to Paradise Lost. He uses Satan's heroic qualities to his followers, and his ability to corrupt to show the thin line between good and evil. Satan was one of the highest angels in Heaven and was know as Lucifer, meaning, light bearer. This shows he was once a good angel. Milton makes the reader see him as a leader and a strong influence to all in his presence. He best describes Satan's ways when stating, "His pride/ had cast him out from Heaven, with all his host. / Of rebel angels, by whose aspiring/ To set himself in glory above his peers" (Milton Book I). Satan's pride was the main reason that God banned him from heaven. Satan always tried to be number one and a leader, instead of following in God's shadow. He would of lived a life in Paradise forever, but he had to follow his feelings as he states, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" (Milton 31). This shows how strongly he felt about not being above everybody else.
Throughout time, John Milton's Paradise Lost has been studied by many people and comprehended in many different fashions, developing all kinds of new interpretations of the great epic. There have been many different interpretations of this great epic. 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. All 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.
In John Milton's Paradise Lost, we learn of Milton's epic poem that deals with the entire story of man's fall from grace, including background for Satan's motives. In Book 1 of the poem, a brief introduction mentions the fall of Adam and Eve caused by the serpent, which was Satan, who led the angels in revolt against God and was cast into hell. The scene then opens on Satan lying dazed in the burning lake, with Beelzebub, next in command, beside him. Satan assembles his fallen legions on the shore, where he revives their spirits by his speech. They set to building a palace, called Pandemonium. There the high ranking angels assemble in council.
Mankind lives in a physical, tangible, material world, which is influenced by the invisible, spiritual world around us. The present day spiritual world is just as existent as it was nearly two thousand years ago when Lord Jesus walked the earth. The Old and New Testaments reveal to us from time to time, glimpses of this spiritual world. These Testaments provide us with the most factual information regarding Satan. Unfortunately, many have been misinformed and do not thoroughly comprehend Satan’s origin and what his purpose concerning the spiritual and physical world. There is a great need to set the record straight regarding Satan especially in our hour with its present angel craze, channeling and a belief in spirit guides. I chose Satan as the subject of my paper because I am one who does not thoroughly comprehend who he is and what his purpose in both the spiritual and physical world is.
The essay written by Elaine Pagels, "The Social History of Satan," illustrates the transformation of Satan from his depiction in the Hebrew Bible to the Gospel's vision of him as a Prince of Darkness who brings about the struggle between good and evil. In her essay, Pagel illustrates the concept of an evil entity and its functions.