Is Satan the Epic Hero in Paradise Lost? Essay

Is Satan the Epic Hero in Paradise Lost? Essay

Length: 2134 words (6.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview


Young children and adults across the world are taught that God is a hero above the rest. He is both omnipotent and omnipresent, almost like how Santa Clause is described as to little children. God does no wrong and is incapable of committing a sin; He is a picture perfect being. Satan is God’s archenemy and polar opposite, he’s popularly known for his evil ways and the fiery inferno that he inhabits, described in the book Dante’s Inferno. Rarely do people confuse the idea that God is the hero and Satan is the evildoer that needs to be extinguished from the world. I can safely say that in terms of Christianity and its beliefs there is no mistake to who the epic hero of the bible is. In John Milton’s poem “ Paradise Lost,” the lines between good and evil are blurred, despite Milton’s proclamation of writing this poem to justify God’s ways to the world through the voice of the Holy Spirit. This essay will examine whether or not Milton justified his God’s ways, and if his ways were not justified was Satan the epic hero of the poem.
Many epic writings are written with a muse in mind. Some authors write with the inspiration of a beautiful woman and others with the scorn of betrayal, however in this poem John Milton declares that the Holy Spirit will be his muse. Christians know the Holy Spirit to be part of the divine Trinity. The trinity is comprised of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God exists in three different matters but He is only one God. Milton is acting as an instrument of God in this poem. The purpose of the poem as stated in lines 1-26 is to explain and justify the fall of mankind into sin and the greater plan God has for all. However, the first three books of “Paradise Lost,” depict Satan ...


... middle of paper ...


...is no being or villain that is capable of causing them destruction. For Satan to back down from a fight and admit defeat is a sign that he is not the hero of the poem.
In book ten Satan’s physical form dwindles further down from his previous form as a toad into a slithering snake. Snakes slither on the ground in the dirt, and dirt symbolizes the impurity of the human race. Satan’s degeneration as a snake occurs after another battle he has internally with himself. He is the creator of his own reality as he fulfils his statement made previously in the poem of making hell his heaven. After each internal battle he has with himself over the possibility of returning to God or asking for penance, his physical form is augmented. Just as in the bible, when Satan is in the form of a serpent he illogically and irrationally persuades Eve to commit the first sin on Earth.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on John Milton's Epic Poem, Lost Paradise

- ... Satan’s motivations in line 242-270 of Book 1 of Paradise Lost seem pretty clear, but there are possibly some hidden motivation’s also. One can automatically assume Satan is working to get back at God and the rest of the Heavenly Host because of hurt pride. Satan is a very egotistical being, so much so that he believed he and his army would be able to defeat God. When God struck him down, Satan’s pride was wounded. Even though his ego has taken a big hit, Satan is still proud and arrogant. “Receive thy new Possessor; One who brings/ A mind not to be chang’d by Place or Time.” (Book 1, lines 252-253) Satan vows revenge on God and the heavenly host....   [tags: theology, satan, heroes]

Powerful Essays
605 words (1.7 pages)

Characters of Satan in John Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- 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....   [tags: innocent victim, epic writer, divinations]

Powerful Essays
1614 words (4.6 pages)

Satan is No Hero in John Milton's Paradise Lost Essays

- Satan is No Hero in Paradise Lost There have been many different interpretations of John Milton's epic, Paradise Lost. 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. 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....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Free Essays
1717 words (4.9 pages)

Satan and Jesus in John Milton's Paradise Lost Essay

- Satan and Jesus in Paradise Lost The subject, the drama, and the importance of Paradise Lost is grand. The epic represents what can be accomplished with the English language as sounds and syntax are carefully crafted. But the work is not shallow, because Milton argues forcefully the wisdom and justice of God Almighty for His dealings with mankind. In the words of Samuel Johnson, Milton attempts to show "the reasonableness of religion."     No doubt, Ezra Pound represents the most vocal of the anti-Milton faction....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Free Essays
846 words (2.4 pages)

Essay on Satan: The True Hero of Paradise Lost by Milton

- Satan: The True Hero of Paradise Lost by Milton The identity of the true protagonist in Paradise Lost is a mystery. One would gather that Milton, a Puritan, would have no problem casting God as the hero, and Satan as the antagonist. However, looking back in history, Milton saw that most epic heroes had conflicts that prevented them from accomplishing their goals. God and his Son have no conflict, and Adam’s story does not really begin until the Fall of Man. Therefore, Milton was forced to select Satan as the hero of Paradise Lost because he adheres to the guidelines of epic poetry set by Homer, Virgil and others....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Powerful Essays
1622 words (4.6 pages)

Comparing the View of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost with Contemporary Views of Satan

- Comparing the View of Satan in Milton's Paradise Lost with Contemporary Views of Satan In Milton's classic epic poem Paradise Lost the reader gains a judicious and even controversial vision of Satan as the protagonist of the epic. This is in direct contrast with our current idea and opinion of Satan as the leading nominal of evil and darkness. In Milton's Paradise Lost the Prince of Darkness is our hero. Perhaps not in the true sense of the word, but rather, he is the character that the reader is able to understand....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost ]

Powerful Essays
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on John Miltons's Paradise Lost: Is Satan a Villain or Hero?

- The question of whether Satan is the hero or the villain of John Milton’s Paradise Lost has been largely debated by scholars over the centuries. The ones who believe Satan is the villain of the epic, more commonly known as the Anti-Satanists, tend to argue that Satan is too foolish to be considered a hero, as his “hostility to Almighty power” is ultimately a futile endeavour (as God’s power is omnipotent) (Carey, 135). C.W. Lewis, also an anti-Satanist, goes as far as to claim that to “admire Satan, then, is to give one’s vote not only for a world of misery, but also for a world of lies and propaganda, of wishful thinking” (Lewis, 203)....   [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]

Powerful Essays
2016 words (5.8 pages)

Milton’s Paradise Lost Essay

- Milton’s Paradise Lost Critics of the Romantic Period have claimed that John Milton was unconsciously allied with the forces of evil. In Paradise Lost Milton’s accounts of “Devils & Hell” are much more elaborate and awe inspiring than those of “Angels & God.” Hell and Satan are portrayed extensively whereas the reader is given brief and inconclusive glimpses of Heaven. The apparent dichotomy is explained by William Blake: “The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels & Gods, and at liberty when of Devils & Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devil’s Party without knowing it.” Milton’s adherence to orthodox views resulted in an uninspired portrait of Heaven....   [tags: Paradise Lost ]

Free Essays
410 words (1.2 pages)

Milton's Take on Satan in Paradise Lost Essay

- Milton makes Satan out to be a loveable likeable character that we can relate to, for a man of principle and a godly man why does he do this “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”Revelation 1: 8 in the King James Version John Milton’s Paradise lost is a poetic amalgam of vice and virtue it is an epic navigates the perils of right, wrong and the grey area that humans themselvesstraddle. An epic inherently conflicted at its very core stemming from the writer and the environment around him....   [tags: Paradise Lost John Milton]

Powerful Essays
1439 words (4.1 pages)

Analysis of Satan's Speech in in John Milton's Paradise Lost

- Analysis of Satan's Speech in Milton's Paradise Lost       John Milton's Paradise Lost is a work of enduring charm and value because of its theological conceptions, its beautiful language, and its "updating" of the epic to the modern world's values. Book II of this epic poem opens with Satan's speech to his minions in hell, proposing war on Heaven itself. In these first 44 lines, Satan is clearly established as epic hero, but at the same time is theologically/morally denounced by the speaker....   [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]

Powerful Essays
1021 words (2.9 pages)