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.
Satan introspects in the first soliloquy (lines 32-113), searching for the motivation and reasoning behind his fall. He struggles with why he felt the urge to rebel. This very doubting suggests that his rebellion does not originate from a conscious effort; it is part of his internal makeup. Therefore, God created a flawed angel from the beginning (this is also supported by the fact that Sin comes from Satan's head while he is still in Heaven).
Satan first acknowledges that his pride and ambition caused his fall (4.40). After his first mention of the two weaknesses, he says that God created "what I was / in that bright eminence . . ." (4.43); God not only created him, he gave him his pride and ambition. This begins to establish that God wanted him to fall. Satan further laments what has happened: "O had his powerful destiny ordained / Me some inferior angel, I had stood then / happy . . ." (4.58-60). What Milton suggests and what Satan does not catch on to is that God's destiny is for him to be in a position to fall. Still, Satan asserts that his will is his own: ". . . Since against his thy will / Chose...
... middle of paper ...
...em free . . ." (3.122-4), just as mankind is. Milton's presentation of contrary information in Satan's soliloquies, and in the description of Paradise and Adam and Eve presents an argument that Milton was of Satan's party unknowingly as Blake said, because the lack of free will tends to prove Satan's assertion that God is a tyrant.
This would in effect prove what Satan says in the second soliloquy to Adam and Eve: "Thank him who puts me, loath, to this revenge / on you, who wrong me not, for him who wronged," (386-7). If Satan truly had no free will, then nothing would be his fault, as he alleges. God tells Jesus that humanity can find grace because Satan deceives it into falling, (3.130-2). But, if Satan is deceived into falling, can he also find grace?
Milton, John. Paradise Lost. Ed. Scott Elledge. 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 1975.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Satan's predicament after he falls in Paradise Lost is utterly hopeless, yet he chooses to persevere. He reasons that he should continue to struggle, even though he is aware that it is entirely in vain. The process he follows to arrive at this choice is similar to the process Albert Camus will use to justify the unrelenting toil of his 'absurd man.' Before this becomes apparent, portions of Satan as a character must be eliminated from consideration, because they present an intractable set of problems.... [tags: Paradise Lost, The Myth of Sisyphus]
2206 words (6.3 pages)
- Myth of the Fortunate Fall in Paradise Lost From this descent / Celestial Virtues rising, will appear / More glorious . . . than from no fall. (ii. 14-16)1These are Satan's words to the fallen angels in Paradise Lost. Satan claims that their fall from Heaven will seem like a "fortunate fall," in that their new rise to power will actually be "more glorious" than if they had stayed in Heaven all the while. Can we, as fallen humans, possibly make Satan's words our own, even if it is not our own work but God's that causes our "rising"; or, if we do claim a "fortunate fall," have we been beguiled by Satan to rejoice in our fallen state.... [tags: Milton Paradise Lost Essays]
3717 words (10.6 pages)
- 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]
1614 words (4.6 pages)
- Who is Satan. Satan’s definitions include the advocate of God, a personification of evil, the fallen angel, a spirit created by God, and also the accuser. People see Satan differently, some know of his existence, others think of him as just a myth, and there are those that just ignore him. John Milton's Paradise Lost tells of Satan's banishment from Heaven and his gain of earth. He and his brigade have plotted war against God and are now doomed to billow in the fiery pits of hell. Satan is a complex character with many different qualities.... [tags: essays research papers]
2503 words (7.2 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)
- Shelley's Frankenstein and Milton's Paradise Lost Even upon first glance, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and John Milton's Paradise Lost seem to have a complex relationship, which is discernible only in fractions at a time. Frankenstein is Mary Shelley's reaction to John Milton's epic poem, in which he wrote the Creation myth as we perceive it today. His characterizations of Adam and Eve and the interactions of Satan and God and the impending Fall seem to have almost taken a Biblical proportion by themselves. By the time that Mary Shelley read Paradise Lost, it was indeed a stalwart in the canon of English Literature, so it should not come as a surprise to the reader the it should p... [tags: Comparison Compare Contrast Essays]
3160 words (9 pages)
- Fall From Grace: Satan as a Spiritually Corrupt Hero in Milton's Paradise Lost Can Satan -- a being, so evil that even as an Ethereal being of Heaven, who was cast out of God's grace - be a hero. John Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost is very much a romanticized character within the epic poem, and there has been much debate since the poem's publishing in 1667 over Milton's sentiments and whether Satan is the protagonist or a hero. As an angel in God the Father's Heaven, Satan rose up with a group of following of one-third of all of Heaven's angels and tried to unseat Jehovah from His station as the Divine Ruler.... [tags: European Literature]
2844 words (8.1 pages)
- Many arguments have been made that Dante’s Inferno glimmers through here and there in Milton’s Paradise Lost. While at first glance the two poems seem quite drastically different in their portrayal of Hell, but scholars have made arguments that influence from Dante shines through Milton’s work as well as arguments refuting these claims. All of these arguments have their own merit and while there are instances where a Dantean influence can be seen throughout Paradise Lost, Milton’s progression of evil and Satan are quite different from Dante.... [tags: valley of serpents, purgatorio, hell]
1317 words (3.8 pages)
- In the Christian tradition, Satan is commonly accepted as a hideous and monstrous being in direct contrast to God’s graceful mercy, often a shadowy figure with little depth. Yet there exists another very gothic view of this figure, as demonstrated by Milton in Paradise Lost, of a long suffering villain who appears more tragic artist than ultimate deceiver. The Monk, by Matthew Lewis, makes use of more tragic and mythical elements to make something altogether different, a Dionysian figure. Lewis uses such descriptive speech, symbols, and themes all connected to Greek myth to present a chaos creating character who transgresses not only God, but societal boundaries.... [tags: Literature]
1418 words (4.1 pages)
- Promethean Myth Discuss the relationship between Prometheus and Faustus, paying particular attention to the use of cultural myth. The beautiful fables of the Greeks, being proper creations of the imagination and not of the fancy, are universal verities. What a range of meanings and what perpetual pertinence has the story of Prometheus. Ralph Waldo Emerson. The influence and legacy of the Promethean myth can be traced through history. From Hesiod to Shakespeare, Marlowe to the Coen Brothers, the Promethean motif has been reused and recycled until it holds a distinctly familiar, yet strangely obscure grip on the imagination.... [tags: Essays Papers]
1721 words (4.9 pages)