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.
Satan could be described in many terms, and by many people, but all can be disputed. According to my sources, Satan is displayed as the hero, while God is the evil deity, and Milton was wrong for writing Him as so. In this essay, I will show my thoughts on the subject of Satan as an evil deity, and other’s opinions on the matter. Satan is thought of as the tragic hero in Book 1 and 2 of Paradise Lost because he is shunned by God for trying to overthrow Him, and being ambitious enough to think he could be God. Satan, in my opinion, is not as much an evil individual, but more juvenile, and ignorant.
Humanizing Satan: An Examination of Satan as a Victim In John Milton’s, The Paradise Lost, Milton’s representation of Satan makes us uncomfortable due to the recognition of his humanizing and relatable reaction to what happened to him. The reader expects Satan to be an evil, and malevolent figure who does evil acts because he loves it and there is no defense for it. While these aspects are prevalent in his character in the poem, Satan does not come across as a completely wicked person but instead, a victim. The representation of Satan has a personifying quality that any of us may have and do not want to admit. In book one, Milton’s portrayal of Satan makes us uneasy because we relate to his actions, which are ordinary human responses to similar situations.
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.
By using part of the black-and-white Genesis story which paints Satan as evil and juxtaposing a narrative which paints Satan as a sympathetic hero, Milton raises a question about morality that largely define the audience’s reaction to the story: what is immoral? Two important things that make Satan a hero are identified in the beginning of Paradise Lost: an obstacle Satan is trying to overcome and flaws that Satan has. In the beginning of the poem, Satan falls into Hell, which sets up the en media res (starting with action in the middle of the story) narrative so that the reader does not know the circumstances under which Satan rebelled against God. Satan despairs at first at the thought of eternal damnation and debates making up with God, but decides that if he tried to redeem himself he would eventually rebel again. Instead, Satan decides to corrupt the rumored new race, the human race, that God has created and, with his host of demons, “reascend / self-raised, and repossess their native seat [in Heaven]” (1.633-634).
According to the Christian religion the Devil, or Satan, is the source of sin and temptation. It is believed that there was a war in heaven against the rule of God and that Satan lead away many of the host of heaven to become fallen angels as God expelled the traitors from the heavens. John Milton wished to write a poem by which he could be remembered as the authors of the odyssey, Iliad, and the Aeneid. He did this in the form an epic poem about the story of Eden. Milton’s poem is written from the point of view of Satan and in such a way that he appears to be the heroic figure of the tale.
Hope and fear are two powerful emotions that affect the main characters in both Dr. Faustus and Paradise Lost. The characters in both stories all have their own hopes, but they are all tested, tempted, and eventually led into committing sin by the Devil, who uses his ability to spread fear to manipulate the characters’ actions. While Adam, Eve, and Dr. Faustus all eventually give in to their fear of Satan and lose grace with God, the fate of Adam and Eve differs than that of Dr. Faustus, because the hopes of Adam and Eve were different than that of Dr. Faustus. In Dr. Faustus, the titular character is an extremely intelligent man who has worked his way up from a lower class family to become a highly respected scholar. However, it is revealed early on that Faustus has become bored with the conventional fields of study, and decides to learn necromancy in order to continue his quest for knowledge.
He was a former high angel from Heaven named Lucifer, meaning, "light bearer" (John). Satan became jealous in Heaven of God's son and formed an allegiance of angels to battle against God, only for God to cast them out of Heaven into Hell (Milton 35). This did not bother Satan at first since he became the leader in Hell rather than a servant in Heaven. Satan believed that it was, "Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven" ( I-l. 263). Much of Satan's reliance on getting things accomplished came from his ability to lie and deceive.
They hold exorcisms to rid people of satanic influence. In the Middle Ages the Church developed an obsession with Satan. Satan, or the Devil, was seen as an ugly man dressed in red, who lived in the fires of a place called Hell. Life was pictured as a cosmic struggle between God and Satan, or Good and Evil, in which humans were little more than pawns. Most Christians believe that Satan was once one of God's high angels until he became greedy and wanted to become more powerful than God.
When Paradise Lost begins, the vainglorious actions of Satan have resulted in his removal from heaven and placed him on the path to exact revenge against those who have done so. Though, the reader is hardly able to experience any distaste when reading about this man who opposes the consented force of good. He is are charming, dark, fanatical and desperate in his attempts. It is from these characteristics, that the reader may be swayed into viewing him as the protagonist (or even the hero) of the tale. Even C.S.