John Milton’s Paradise Lost is filled with fantastical tales from the depths of Hell, extravagant descriptions of the fallen angels, and a curious recitation of the council of demons in their new palace. How did Milton dream up such vivid depictions of such horrible demons as the ones we see in Book I? Most of his fallen angels originate in the form of Pagan gods condemned by the Bible, with actual historical backgrounds which Milton cites in his lengthy descriptions.
Firstly, a few words about Satan would seem prudent, as he is the first of the fallen angels, the leader in the revolt, and the first to venture to earth to corrupt mankind. He is Milton’s main character, and the only one to extend outside of strict biblical interpretations of his character. He appears first in the Bible (if you discount the snake in the Garden of Eden) in the Book of Job, in which he convinces God to test Job by taking away all his worldly possessions and bringing harm to himself and his family. He is addressed with the angels and named as Satan, so his status as an angel who helps bring pain and suffering is no stretch from the ‘biblical truth’. Old Testament Books such as Isaiah and Ezekiel refer to what appears to be Satan, but are in the midst of passages that reflect upon wicked, fallen kings. In Isaiah 14:12 it is written, “how you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” Most speculation is that this directly refers to Satan, although in no other passage is he referred to as Lucifer. The passage is actually concerning a Babylonian king, as is Ezekiel 28:14-15, which laments (for the King of Tyre), “you were the anointed cherub… till iniquity was found in you.” These passages are about wick...
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...of the Memphian Kings (Egyptian Pharoah’s at the great city of Memphis) who built the Great Pyramids, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, but whose city Memphis sustained much damage throughout the years (the city decayed and the capital eventually moved to Thebes).
These are the players of Milton’s epic of light and darkness, good and evil, Heave, Hell, and everything in between. Expounding upon popular beliefs of Satan and his rogue angels and borrowing Pagan gods from old Palestine and Jordan enable the creation of almost Protagonist demons. Though it’s easy to relate to Satan as a rebellious child dealing with punishment, the poem preaches that you strictly obey God. God is omnipotent, omniscient (he even sees Satan’s approach from the depths of Hell), he has conquered countless false and pagan gods, his word is not to be questioned as Adam and Eve did.
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