In this essay I shall be focusing on the characters of G-d and Satan from 'Paradise Lost' by John Milton. Within the essay I shall be attempting to elucidate on the themes of ambiguity of the two characters as well as the uncertainty of moral integrity of each, characterized by John's Milton's use of sentence structure, private thoughts and symbolism.
Foremost I would like to look at the way the way in which Milton characterizes the characters of Satan in particular. Milton specifically presents different elements of Satan's character by his interaction with those around him. For example it may seem ultimately that Satan (even by his very name) is a creature of great evil. However, Milton shows elements of self doubt and an almost pitiful nature, forming a contradiction of the stereotypical image of what Satan represents.:
'Which way I fly is hell: My self am hell'
The repetition of the word 'hell' exaggerates a sense of futility now that he has come to Earth for the first time. The questioning tone implied by the use of the word 'which' further empathises this. The reader no longer needs to label the morality of such a character; Satan defines himself with the use of the pronoun 'my' and the preceding definition and assessment that 'My self am hell'. Furthermore through Satan's own assessment the distancing technique by the word 'my' appears to exaggerate the notion of the definition of himself, the natural pause due to the unusual syntax further accentuates this. The use of Milton's alliteration in 'Racked with deep despair' when describing Satan's countenance only empathises this pitiful nature.
However this sense of self dou...
... middle of paper ...
...ng that G-d deliberately leads Satan into greater evil.
From the outset it appears that G-d and Satan remain in opposition together, an important characterisation of Milton. 'Paradise Lost' states that Satan was acting;
'Against the throne and monarchy of G-d.'
Weston continues this theme by saying that:
'In a fundamental sense, then, the 'hell' of human struggle can be said to have produced the 'heaven' of peace and harmony.'
In other words without the intensity of one character, in 'Paradise Lost' we would be without the other.
Works Cited and Consulted:
Bush, D. 'John Milton' Weidenfeld & Nicolson, London, 1964.
Empson, W. 'Milton's G-d' Penguin, London, 1973.
Milton, J. 'Paradise Lost' Penguin, London, 1955.
Weston, P. 'Paradise Lost- A Critical Study, Penguin Middlesex, 1984.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- 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 ]
1114 words (3.2 pages)
- Satan’s Myth of Free Will in Paradise Lost Milton, through Satan's soliloquies in Book 4, shows that Satan's idea of free will is a facade, and God carefully manipulates him to fulfill his plan of Adam and Eve's fall. While speaking, Satan inadvertently places doubts in the reader's mind that his will is free. Satan proves through his actions that God created him to act in a very narrow range, even though he himself does not realize this. The combination of pride, ambition, abhorrence of subordination, and ignorance of his own state as a puppet lead to perpetually diminishing stature and divinity.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1268 words (3.6 pages)
- Paradise Lost is one of the finest examples of the epic tradition in all of literature. In composing this extraordinary work, John Milton was, for the most part, following in the manner of epic poets of past centuries: Barbara Lewalski notes that Paradise Lost is an "epic whose closest structural affinities are to Virgil's Aeneid . . . "; she continues, however, to state that we now recognize as well the influence of epic traditions and the presence of epic features other than Virgilian. Among the poem's Homeric elements are its Iliadic subject, the death and woe resulting from an act of disobedience; the portrayal of Satan as an Archillean hero motivated by a sense of injured merit and... [tags: Epics Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
3232 words (9.2 pages)
- The Power of Free Will in Milton's Paradise Lost Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "Remember always that you not only have to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one." To be an individual means to act by choice and make decisions with free will enhanced by the power of knowledge. Only then are people true to themselves and to others. In Paradise Lost, Milton clearly conveys this concept of acting freely under God. He shows the reader that only with the freedom to choose do a person's actions become meaningful and sincere.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1562 words (4.5 pages)
- Humanity's Fall in Paradise Lost The original sin that led to humanity's fall in the Garden of Eden is by far the worst sin committed by humankind. It is this sin that led to future sins. This original sin must be emphasized by writers to depict the evil involved in it. In writing Paradise Lost, John Milton recognizes this fact and uses a variety of literary techniques to stress the evil in the story over the good. The techniques used include a series of parallels with the parallel between good and evil being first and foremost as well, as symmetry to keep the poem in balance. Paradise Lost is a poem essentially about the origin of sin and evil, as a result... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- The Rape of Proserpina and Eve's Fall in Milton's Paradise Lost "She pluck'd, she eat" (PL IX.781). With these four monosyllables, Milton succinctly announces the Fall of Eve in Paradise Lost. Eve's Fall, however, is far more complex than a simple act of eating, for her disobedience represents a much greater loss of chastity. Indeed, Milton implies that the Fall is a violation not only of God's sole commandment but also of Eve herself, for Milton implicitly equates Dis's ravishment of Proserpina with Satan's seduction of Eve.... [tags: Paradise Lost Essays]
3723 words (10.6 pages)
- How would you react if you realized you had altered the future of an entire people. Would you be sympathetic or apologetic. Would you be regretful or sincere. I believe that the reaction of a person in such a situation gives insight into their quality of character and shows us the real extent of their influence over their surroundings and beyond. John Milton’s Adam in Paradise Lost altered the future for mankind just as Margaret Cavendish’s Empress of the Blazing World altered the future for the inhabitants of the Blazing World.... [tags: Paradise lost Blazing World]
3548 words (10.1 pages)
- A Comparison of Odyssey, Divine Comedy, and Paradise Lost Epics by definition are long narrative poems, that are grand in both theme and style (Webster 417). They usually involve actions of great glory and are typically centered around historical or legendary events of universal significance. Most epics deal with the deeds of a single individual, however, it is not uncommon to have more than one main character. Epics embody several main features including: supernatural forces, sometimes the deity of the time, that shape the action; battles or other forms of physical combat; and a formal statement of the theme of the epic. Everyday details of life are commonpla... [tags: comparison compare contrast compody]
1092 words (3.1 pages)
- The seat of faith resides in the will of the individual and not in the leaning to our own reasoning, for reasoning is the freedom of choosing what one accepts as one’s will. In considering the will was created and one cannot accuse the potter or the clay, Milton writes to this reasoning, as “thir own revolt,” whereas the clay of humankind is sufficient and justly pliable for use as a vessel of obedience or disobedience (3.117). The difficulty of this acceptance of obedience or disobedience is inherent in the natural unwillingness in acknowledging that we are at the disposal of another being, even God.... [tags: Analysis, Milton]
2843 words (8.1 pages)
- Frankenstein and Paradise Lost Mary Shelley has created a subversive and grotesque God/Man relationship in "Frankenstein." Shelly sets up Frankenstein and, at times, Man in general, to be the monster's God. Shelley's integration with Paradise Lost creates opportunity for making such comparisons. When the monster gives his book review of the found classic, he states, "It moved every feeling of wonder and awe, that the picture of an omnipotent God warring with his creatures was capable of exciting." This is reminiscent of the war he has with Frankenstein when his wishes are refused.... [tags: comparison compare contrast essays]
491 words (1.4 pages)