Milton Quarterly 5 (1971): 74-77. Patrick, John M. "Milton, Phineas Fletcher, Spenser, and Ovid--Sin at Hell's Gates." Notes and Queries Sept. 1956: 384-86.
Nowhere is this truer than with the character of Satan. Throughout the text, his rhetoric exists as a window to the nature of his being, and thus evil itself. Milton, through his depictions of Satan's communications with his comrades, the newly formed humans, and even himself (through soliloquy), shows us that evil, as incarnate in the character of Satan, cannot pursue truth, but rather must always focus on deception. Our introduction to Satan comes in a dramatic setting, a 'moralized landscape' of grandiose scale, but attention is immediately removed from striking images of a "fiery Deluge, fed With ever-burning Sulphur" (Book I, Lines 68-9) and focused upon Satan's conversation with Beëlzebub, showing that dialogue will be the center of attention. The core of Satan's speech to his lieutenant is his confidence in the fact that their struggle with God is not over, and that they will eventually win.
"An Analogue to Milton's 'Sin' and More on the Tradition." Milton Quarterly 5 (1971): 74-77. Patrick, John M. "Milton, Phineas Fletcher, Spenser, and Ovid--Sin at Hell's Gates." Notes and Queries Sept. 1956: 384-86.
Mahood, M. M. "Milton's Heroes," in Alan Rudrum, ed., Milton: Modern Judgements, London: Macmillan, 1968, 262-63. Milton, John. Paradise Lost in The Portable Milton. Editor Douglas Bush, New York: Viking Press, 1977. Patrides, C.A.
Rpt. New York: Oxford UP, 1979. Milton, John. Paradise Lost. In John Milton: Complete Poems and Major Prose.
The ones who claim Satan is the hero of the epic, the Satanists, perceive him as the rebellious angel who rises up and defies God’s monarchy and “the tyranny of Heav’n” (174).They choose to focus on Satan’s “nobler qualities, his loyalty in leadership, fortitude in adversity, unflinching courage and splendid recklessness” (Satan/Promo, 3). While these two positions are both valid, this paper will be focusing on a third position; the individuals who believe that Satan is neither the hero nor the villain of the epic. Helen Gardner addresses this notion, claiming how “Satan is, of course, a character in an epic, and he is no sense the hero of the epic as a whole. But he is a figure of heroic magnitude and heroic energy, and he is developed by Milton with dramatic emphasis and dramatic intensity” (Baker/Helen, 208). Satan is without a doubt the antichrist, or “villain” in the biblical scriptures, however one must take into consideration his alternative and more ambiguous portrayal in Paradise Lost.
(1971) Paradise lost. Harlow: Longman Burkhardt, M. S (1997) John Milton's Paradise Lost. New York: Macmillan Weston, P. (1990) John Milton, Paradise lost. Harmondsworth: Penguin Bradford, R. (2001) The complete critical guide to John Milton. London: Routledge
Satan’s journey starts out as a fallen angel with great stature, has the ability to reason and argue, but by Book X the anguish and pain he goes through is more reason for him to follow an evil path instead. Even so, Milton uses literal and figurative imagery in the description of Satan’s character to manipulate the reader’s response to the possibility that Satan may actually be a heroic figure. As the plot of the story unfolds there are moments where the reader can identify with Satan’s desires and relate to his disappointments. In considering Aristotle’s idea of hamartia, someone who is a good person, but fell from grace, and apply it to Satan then it seems reasonable to interpret Satan as having hero like characteristics. Aristotle would say that a courageous person is inspired by confidence, faces dangerous, and acts appropriately to this courage (Nicomachean Ethics).
Satan, as portrayed by Milton in Paradise Lost, is a complex literary character. He has all the heroic qualities such as determination, fortitude, and dignity, yet despite these noble characteristics, Satan allows malice and pride dominate his personality. Paradise Lost exemplifies the notion that although a character may fit the archetype of an epic hero, pernicious and selfish determination can counter these attributes. Satan is initially introduced as God 's fallen creation: “Fallen cherub, to be weak is miserable, / Doing or suffering” is ultimately motivated by malice and vengeance (lines 157-158). The allure of free will is where the captivation of Satan 's character stems.
In John Milton’s Paradise Lost, the character of Satan is arrogant and villainous, yet heroic and complex, who crafts himself as the innocent victim, even though “Satan dared to hope he could be defeated.” Milton’s romanticising of Satan highlights and articulates the alluring aspect of a central character designed by Judeo-Christian belief to being menacing. The structure of Milton’s Satan, the romanticizing of this tragic hero and the defining of the character in paralleled response to Milton’s Paradise Regained, will be approached, highlighted and emphasized in this essay. The progression of Satan from Book One to Book Five of Paradise Lost recites Milton’s own poetic divinations and portrayals of him as an epic writer, through the use of developing the characters. This articulates the particulars of and gives the main characters more heroic qualities which make them strong for an epic structure. In Milton’s Paradise Lost, Heaven and Hell, both Judeo-Christian beliefs, are portrayed as themes of good and evil.