The Role Of Satan In John Milton's Paradise Lost

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Epic poetry is fundamentally rooted in the subject of heroes. These poetic works typically contributed unique insights into the attributes of a hero; mainly by authenticating the hero as one of grandiose importance, and thus positively represents a culture’s heroic ideal. The seventeenth-century author, John Milton, emerged as a crucial and contemporary innovator of the epic genre with his poem Paradise Lost. Milton undertook a “strenuous project of educating his readers in the virtues, values, and attitudes that make a people worthy of liberty” (Lewalski, 442). In many ways, Milton had begun to enter epic poetry into its most ingenious phase. Paradise Lost exemplifies the opposition and incorporation of morality, discernment, and rigorous…show more content…
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. Similar to that of the typical epic hero, in the midst of his defeat, Satan is awarded the power of recovery; despite this choice Satan allows his malice and pride to refrain him from doing so. His hatred and vengeance motivate Satan to dispute God 's authority. Satan, who would prove quite incompetent at single-handily battling God freely, utilizes his masterminding abilities to level the playing field. The chain of events which begin
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Satan’s envious nature plagues personality; he soon establishes himself as an empowered rebel. In order to mimic and rival the authority of God, Satan immediately establishes himself in a position of power by claiming the role as the leader of the fallen. As a leader Satan exhibits the audacity of self-confidence, he claims “to be weak is miserable doing or suffering” (line 158). His claim is so commanding that the other fallen angels awaken from their state of mental unconsciousness. Satan position as an empowered rebel is illustrated through his infernal mind, and it’s craving for authority; accordingly, Satan urges the shattered forces to “Receive thy new possessor” (line 252). Satan reveals his envious determination and desire to rule when blatantly declaring that it is “Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav’n” (line 263). Since his fall from Heaven, Satan no longer considers the location of his kingdom to be of monument importance; instead, it is one’s perspective that “Can makes Heav’n of a Hell, Hell of a heav’n (line 255). He believes that individuals create their own authority and control; it is a matter of perception. Satan driven by his envy of God’s position and power manipulates his fellow fallen “to confirm his words, out-flew millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs of mighty Cherubim,” soon they will erect Satan’s personal Kingdom in Hell (lines
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